Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1949, Ed Otto promoted races with a NASCAR sanction at the Buffalo Civic Center in Buffalo, NY. It was the official start of stock car racing in western, New York. Bobby Sund won the inaugural 10 lap feature. Don Hall took the A-main at Seekonk.
Sixty five years ago in 1954, Joe McNulty and Moe Gherzi were the Wednesday and Saturday night Sportsman winners at the New London Waterford Speedbowl. Tom VanEpps went two for two as he won non-Ford features on both nights. George Smaldone took top honors at Seekonk.
Sixty years ago in 1959 Don Rounds, who at one time raced on the dirt at the Kingston Fairgrounds in Rhode Island, was the Friday night winner on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway. Rain washed out the New London Waterford Speedbowl for the second week in a row. It also rained at Seekonk. Up in New York State Bill Rafter scored his third win of the year at the Buffalo Civic Stadium. Bud Johnson won a 50 lapper at Lancaster over Cam Gagliardi.
Fifty five years ago in 1964 Rene Charland ended Bill Wimble’s win streak on the dirt at Stafford as he took the Friday night victory over Don Wayman and George Janoski. Ted Stack made it two in a row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl but had to wait a week to complete the feature because of a curfew. Joe Rosenfield made it two in a row at Seekonk as he won a 50 lapper.
Fifty years ago in 1969, Charlie Jarzombek returned to Stafford but this time Bugsy Stevens was ready for him as the defending National Champion was not about to let an outsider get the best of him. When the checker dropped at 30 laps, Stevens had defended his home turf and Jarzombek had to settle for second. Bobby Santos finished third and was followed by Holly Wilder and Tom Sutcliff. At Albany-Saratoga, Lou Lazzaro made it two in a row and three out of four at the upstate N.Y. oval. Guy Chartrand finished second and was followed by Rene Charland and Bernie Miller. Lazzaro repeated at Fonda on Saturday running his string to four in a row at the place they called the track of champions. Kenny Shoemaker, in the Bobby Judkins 2x finished second with Ken Platt, third. At Norwood, Eddie Flemke in the Dave Welch-Greg Mills 79 took the win over Johnny Thompson, Billy Schulz and Pete Hamilton. Bob Potter was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Les Fletcher was the Daredevil winner. Les Andrews won at Seekonk. Thompson ran their 200 on Sunday. Ray Hendrick was scheduled to drive the Tant/Mitchell 11 but became fogbound at the Newark Airport. Ralph”Hop”Harrington was given the ride and ride he did as he won the event going away. Bugsy Stevens finished second with Fred DeSarro, third. Racing at Utica-Rome on Sunday night was rained out.
Forty five years ago in 1974, Charlie Jarzombek went three for three as he won twin events at Freeport on Friday night and a 100 lapper on Saturday night at Islip. Jarzombek had his work cut out for him as invaders Richie Evans and Jerry Cook were on hand. Evans could do no better than second and Cook ended up fourth behind Fred Harbach. It was still a good weekend for Evans as he won at Utica-Rome on Friday over Rene Charland and Ed Pieniezak and won again on Sunday at Fulton over Mike Loescher and Geoff Bodine. At Stafford on Saturday night, Ronnie Bouchard made it two in a row as he beat out Bugsy Stevens and Don Flynn. Also on Saturday, George Kent and Gramme Bolia shared victory lane at Shangri-La and at Waterford Lou Herman took his only Modified win. George Summers scored his third A-main of the year. At Thompson on Sunday, Eddie Flemke in the John Steiger 7 took the win over Bob Santos, Ollie Silva and Mario”Fats”Caruso. In other weekend action, Punky Caron and Ronnie Bouchard shared victories at Monadnock on Friday.
Forty years ago in 1979, Richie Evans started the weekend at New Egypt on Wednesday with a win over Charlie Jarzombek and Jerry Cook. Evans recorded his 198th career win by taking the Friday night 30 lapper at Stafford. Ronnie Bouchard was testing tires during the day and lost the engine in the Bob Johnson 17.Don Flynn offered him his no.25 and was not disappointed as he finished second. Finishing third was Steady Eddie Flemke. Saturday at Riverside Evans made it 199 as he beat out Jerry Cook and Ron Wycoff. At Seekonk, Brian Ross took the win over Ray Lee and Joe Arcana. Islip ran a 75 lapper and it was Wayne Anderson in for the win over Don Howe and George Brunnhoelzl Jr. Evans made it a hat trick as he went four for four and recorded his 200th win as he won at Monadnock on Sunday. Reggie Ruggerio finished second with Jerry Cook, third. Other weekend winners were George Kent at Shangri-La, John Falconi Jr. at Westboro, Rick Donnelly at Waterford, George Savory at Thompson, Punky Caron at Claremont and Maynard Troyer at Lancaster.
Thirty five years ago in 1984, Brett Bodine won at Stafford over Charlie Jarzombek. Corky Cookman, who had been driving for Art Barry, finished last and was fired from the ride. Jerry Pearl was the SK Modified winner. At Riverside, Kenny Bouchard beat out Reggie Ruggerio and in twin events at Waterford, veterans Bob Potter and Glynn Shafer took victories. George Kent had a two-fer as he won both at Spencer and at Shangri-La. At Riverhead it was Tom Baldwin over Fred Harbach and at Islip, races were cancelled due to curfew. John Blewett Jr. won at New Egypt and Tony Siscone was victorious at Wall. In Winston Cup action at Pocono Raceway, David Pearson took the pole but it was Cale Yarborough taking the win.
Thirty years ago in 1989, rain washed out Stafford. At Waterford John Anderson beat Harry Rice and at Riverside it was Tom Bolles over Rick Summers. The racing community was saddened to learn that Tom Druar passed away after suffering injuries at Lancaster. At Riverhead, Bob Park won out over Dan Jivenelli and at Monadnock on Sunday in a mod tour event Reggie Ruggerio won out over Jeff Fuller and Jamie Tomaino.
Twenty five years ago in 1994, Mike Christopher was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Mike Paquette finished a strong second and was followed by Steve Chowanski and Bob Potter. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Lee N.H. Reggie Ruggiero was the early leader until losing an engine on lap 31.From there on it was the Fuller brothers fighting for the lead when they came together and wrecked. Jamie Tomaino was the eventual winner and was followed by Jan Leaty, Charlie Pasteryak, Steve Park and Tony Ferrenti. At Waterford, Bob Potter driving for the Bunnell Bros. took the win over Chris Jones and Mike Gada. Chris Kopec held off Reggie Ruggiero and Steve Park at Riverside and at Riverhead, Chris Young beat out Tom Tillotson for the win. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Rusty Wallace was both the pole sitter and the winner while at Myrtle Beach; Elton Sawyer was the Busch GN winner.
Twenty years ago, in 1999, Lloyd Agor was declared the Friday night winner at Stafford after apparent winner Mike Christopher was disqualified for having illegal mufflers, Jeff Malave ended up second. The Featherlite modifieds were at Riverhead for a 200 lapper, John Blewett III took the win after unwittingly parking Tony Hirschman who had checked up to avoid a wreck. Tim Connolly finished second with Dan Avery, Rick Fuller and Tony Ferrenti following. Billy Sharp beat out Dennis Gada at Waterford and Bob Polverari scored his 36th career win at Riverside. Kenny Tremont made it eight in a row at Lebanon Valley. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Dale Jarrett dominated the event, which went pole to pole, caution free. Jarrett lapped 38 of the 43 starters. Dale Earnhardt was the Busch South winner at South Boston and Brad Leighton won the Busch North event at Beech Ridge.
Fifteen years ago in 2004 the Stafford management called a mid-week meeting with its SK Modified competitors with the hope of eliminating some of the destruction of equipment on Friday nights. Less than 25 competitors showed up as the Stafford management announced that they were eliminating the use of mirrors, radios and changing tire compounds. They would also paint a yellow line on the aprons in the turns. Anyone going below the line would receive a severe penalty. In Thursday night action at the Thompson Speedway Ted Christopher scored the Sunoco SK Modified win over Jeff Malave and Bert Marvin. Christopher carried his winning ways over to Stafford on Friday night as he beat out Chuck Docherty and James Civali for the win. Tommy Fox took the SK Modified win at Waterford on Saturday night over Glen Billings and Don Fowler while at Riverhead it was Mike Andrews over John Fortin. Steven Reed got the best of John Blewett III at Wall Stadium. The NASCAR Featherlite Modifieds were at the Lake Erie Speedway. The event carried a purse of $77,753 and drew 33 cars. Tony Hirschman, who started in second spot, passed pole sitter Rob Summers on lap 14 and went on to score a victory in the 150 lap event. Todd Szegedy finished second and was followed by Jerry Marquis, Rick Fuller, Ed Flemke Jr and Summers. In other weekend action Jason Lefler won a Busch Series event at Nashville and Andy Santerre was the Busch North Series winner at Seekonk.
Ten years ago in 2009, The Bristol Motor Speedway hosted another Modified Test session on Monday, June 8th. The session wasn’t without a few dramatic moments, but nothing major transpired. Teams got adjusted to the super-fast high banks and got their cars more comfortable as the day went on. Ryan Preece, cut a right rear tire and spun off of turn-four. The young driver made a nice save and kept it off the wall. Also keeping it off the wall after a spin was Woody Pitkat who went on a long slide down nearly the entire length of the backstretch. Mike Stefanik was also a slider but suffered no damage. Chris Pasteryak wasn’t quite so lucky as he suffered slight rear body damage when he slid into the wall. Among the fastest was Jimmy Blewett in the Eddie Partridge TS Haulers entry.
Among the missing were Ted Christopher, Don Lia and LW Miller. Miller is currently on the mend from a serious accident that occurred in his race shop. Miller had a spring loaded shock absorber explode as he was removing it from his car that had been wrecked at the recent Franklin County event. According to reports Miller receive a glancing blow from the shock spring that shot up 18 feet, hitting and denting the roof of his race shop. The facial impact loosened up eight teeth. He ended up losing two after having dental and plastic surgery. Had it been a direct hit, Miller could have suffered devastating or even fatal injuries.
In Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway Norm Wrenn brought home the checkers in the Super Late Model race. Leadfoot Larry Barnett made it two in a row as he won the Limited Sportsman feature just days after undergoing arthroscopy surgery. Ten laps into the 50-Lap Late Model race, Mother Nature took over, the rain started and the race program was brought to a halt.
The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of an epic battle for supremacy between Keith Rocco and Ted Christopher. The duo put on a duel for the ages in the extra distance 100 lap SK Modified event, with Rocco coming out as the winner for the second time this year. Ryan Posocco took his second victory of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Brit Andersen won his second race of 2009 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Kevin Gambacorta took his second consecutive victory of the year in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Cliff Saunders picked up his first career victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
The 36th Annual Coors Light SK Modified® 100 took the green with Brad Hietala, Tom Bolles, and Richie Pallai, Jr. at the front of the field. Hietala and Bolles ran side by side for several laps before Hietala got clear to the lead. Pallai made a power move by Bolles on a lap-5 restart and they dueled for the race lead. A caution with 26 laps complete slowed the action and set up a restart. On the restart, Hietala and Pallai made contact, sending Pallai towards the wall where he collected Bolles and brought the caution back out. This put Matt Gallo and Jeff Malave on the front row with Matt Gallo and Doug Coby behind them. Rocco quickly took the race lead from Gallo, but Pallai hit head on into the turn 1 wall to bring the caution back out one lap after the restart.
Rocco held the lead on the restart, with Ted Christopher, who was involved in an early race spin with Woody Pitkat on lap-4, moving into second. Coby held third, with Gallo and Eric Berndt making up the top-5. Rocco held the lead until lap-38, when Christopher moved to the front. Coby continued to run in third place, with Berndt and Malave making up the remainder of the top-5.
With the exception of a caution period with 52 laps complete for a spin by Woody Pitkat, the top-5 cars ran in line until lap-65, which is when the race turned into a great duel between Christopher and Rocco. On lap-65 Rocco moved by Christopher to take the lead only to have Christopher go with a crossover move to get back to the front. But the caution came out before lap-66 could be completed, which put Rocco on the point for the restart.
From lap-66 to lap-80, Christopher and Rocco exchanged the race lead five times with spectacular, breathtaking passing. On lap-80, Rocco moved by Christopher for the lead, but Christopher again used the crossover move to his advantage to retake the lead. Christopher was able to stay out front until lap-85, when Rocco went back by. Rocco pulled Christopher by several car lengths and he maintained that lead over the final 15 laps to take his second feature victory of the 2009 season. Christopher finished second, with Coby, Malave, and Jimmy Blewett rounding out the top-5.
The Waterford Speedbowl completed three feature events before the rain came, halting the remainder of the race program just 28 laps into the Nutmeg State 100 lap ACT Late Model Tour event. Jason Palmer won his ninth consecutive Legends Car event, Al Stone III checkered the Street Stock feature and Danny Field was the winner of the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock race. The scheduled 35-lap SK Modified feature event and remainder of the Nutmeg State 100 were postponed.
The True Value Modified Series beat the impending rain on Saturday night at the Seekonk Speedway. The 100 lapper, which drew 28 Modifieds, saw Jon McKennedy come from an 18th starting spot to take the lead from Vinnie Annarummo on lap 85 and go on to score the win. Dwight Jarvis, who started 19th, finished second with former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series driver Jimmy Kuhn, third. Annarummo and David Berghman rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Bob Grigass, Ed Dachenhausen, Todd Annarummo, Chris Pasteryak and Steve Masse.
In some sad news George Kent’s brother and J.R.’s uncle Ron passed away on June 8 from cancer. He was crew chief on many of George’s Modified victories with many remembering the Plaza Mobil sponsorship on the rides when it was a yellow #26 Modified.
The Associated Press reported that General Motors was planning to cut back on its support of NASCAR teams in all of the sanctioning body’s professional series. Chevy spokesman Terry Rhadigan says GM, which is reorganizing through bankruptcy, is discussing what he described as incremental cutbacks in support. He said cuts will be made soon and that the discussions are “indeed NASCAR-wide.” Rhadigan would not say if one series would be affected more than others, nor would he say the size of the cuts or how much GM spends on NASCAR. The automaker, through its Chevy brand, provides cash and other support to teams including engines and parts.
In NASCAR Nationwide Series racing, Joey Logano was flawless after the restart, passing Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch with 10 laps to go and holding on to win the Meijer 300 at the Kentucky Speedway for the second consecutive year. In Sprint Cup racing at Michigan, Mark Martin saved just enough gas to hang on for his third victory of the season and the 38th of his Cup career.
Five years ago in 2014, The Valenti Modified Racing Series, 34 cars strong, paid a visit to the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Thursday night. Tommy Barrett used an exciting last lap bonsai move under Todd Szegedy to take the win in the Valenti Modified Racing Series 75-lap feature. Winners in NASCAR Whelen All American Series action included a sweep by Ryan Preece in the Sunoco Modified division, Glenn Boss in the Late Models, Shawn Monahan in the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman division, and Chad Baxter in the Monster Mini Stocks. Scott Quinn checkered the Vintage Outlaw feature event.
Barrett, who is getting a reputation as a villain, played his predictable game as he faded from his outside pole starting spot leaving Todd Szegedy and Ted Christopher to slug it out and wear out their tires. Szegedy and Christopher ran nose to tail and at one point had a half lap lead on the field. By lap 55, Keith Rocco was within a car length of Christopher.
A caution flew at lap 66 after Eric Goodale hit the turn one wall set the stage for the fireworks to come. Szegedy held off Christopher on the restart as Rocco moved into second place and relegated Christopher back to the fourth spot. Barrett, with an unbelievable burst of power, came out of nowhere to move into the third position. On lap 68 Barrett appeared to have been shot out of a cannon as he blew Rocco away and set his sight on the leader. Shortly after being passed it appeared that Rocco checked up a bit and was tagged by Christopher, sending him into the backstretch wall
On the restart, Szegedy drove out front once again with Barrett on his bumper. Rowan Pennink passed Christopher for third. Szegedy began to pull away but Barrett glued himself to Szegedy’s rear bumper. Shortly after Szegedy was given the white flag Barrett, in a last ditch bonsai move, dove low and hard into turn one. In the flash of an eye Barrett rode Szegedy high and came close to being planted in the concrete wall. Barrett went on to take the win. Szegedy recovered to finish sixth. Rowan Pennink ended up second with Christopher, third. Richard Savary and Dave Etheridge rounded out the top five.
Barrett is bringing life and excitement back into Modified racing similar to the way Geoff Bodine did it in the mid and late 70’s. Barrett’s style of racing brings fans to the races. Some come to see him win and some come to see him get wrecked. Hopefully no one will get hurt in the intrim.
The Sunoco Modified division kicked off their night with the remaining 17 laps of a feature held over from May 15 with Ryan Preece in victory lane. Preece held off Keith Rocco on a late-race restart for the win. Danny Cates, Todd Ceravolo and Woody Pitkat rounded out the top five.
In the regularly scheduled 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature, Preece once again proved to be the man to beat as he held off Pitkat on a late-race restart for his second straight win. Rocco finished third and was followed by Cates and Kerry Malone.
The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to violent thunder storms for the fourth week in a row. The Whelen Modified Tour Series, rained out twice, will try again at Stafford this week.
In a prepared statement the Waterford Speedbowl management announced the creation of a new position, penalties following Saturday, May 24th’s racing program, and the departure of one member of their staff. As a result of post race inspections following the May 24th race program, SK Modified® division competitors Craig Lutz and Keith Rocco were each fined $500.00 for failure to abide by rule 2.11.5 D of the Speedbowl rulebook. The rule requires the use of wheel tethers on the front wheels of SK Modified® cars. Also announced was the departure of long time SK Modified® division tech inspector Everett Marvin who failed to conduct a pre-race inspection of the cars that had had major work done following destructive wrecks at the shoreline oval. To give Rocco and Lutz the benefit of the doubt, chances are they honestly forgot to re-install the wheel tethers.
As a result, a new position of Race Vehicle Safety Coordinator has been created. The sole responsibility of the newly created position will be overseeing that all cars participating in the Speedbowl’s track race divisions are compliant with track mandated safety regulations.
Lutz and Rocco paid their fines and got somewhat of a redemption as they finished one-two in Saturday night’s SK Modified feature. Lutz, who travels from Long Island every week, spent the opening half of the race trying to find a way around Diego Monahan. Lutz fell to third place for a lap when Ted Christopher inched ahead of him, however slight contact between Monahan and Christopher on lap-16 sent Monahan spinning out of turn two, drawing the yellow flag. Christopher was placed to the rear of the field during the caution period, handing the lead to Lutz.
The toughest part of the race for Lutz was holding back Keith Rocco the rest of the way. Lutz held on during an initial assault by Rocco, then got a brief breather before Rocco raced to his outside over the final four laps. The two raced inches apart and even shared some contact during the final laps. Lutz put forth a determined effort to keep Rocco’s final charge at bay, able to pull ahead out of the final corner to claim the checkered flag. Rocco was forced to settle for second and Tyler Chadwick ran among the front runners all race to finish third. Rob Janovic Jr and Shawn Thibeault rounded out the top five. Christopher recovered from his penalty to finish sixth.
Other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series wins went to Ken Cassidy Jr. who was back in the winner’s circle during an extra-distance Mini Stock feature and Jason Palmer recorded his first Valenti Auto Mall Late Model win of the season. The Northeast Mini Stock Tour race was won by Toby Wells and Robin Berghman picked up the victory in the visiting New England Pro Four Modified race. Jordan Hadley won the X-Car feature.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Howie Brode swept the Twin 30 feature events for his 2nd and 3rd wins of the young season leaving him just two points back of point leader Ryan Preece 135 to 133. The two wins put Brode at 18 career victories.
In Modified racing in the Southland, two nights of racing at the Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina were on tap. Jason Myers won a race without leading a green-flag lap. Myers took the lead after front runners Lee Jeffreys and Tommy Neal wrecked. During the clean up the rains came and Myers was declared the winner when the race was called. Burt Myers was the winner on Saturday night after he dumped Junior Miller on the final lap. Miller became incensed and chased Myers with his car before being subdued by police. The win stood. Myers sent Junior Miller spinning in the final turn of the final lap of a wreck-filled 100-lap Modified race and went on to notch his 60th career victory at Bowman Gray. Myers, Bowman Gray’s defending champion and current points leader, completed a worst-to-first recovery. He started from the rear of the 23-car field as result of a draw.
Miller, Bowman Gray’s all-time leader in feature-race victories, had ended a five-year winless drought just a week earlier. He was a turn away from winning again when he got a shot from behind from Myers and went spinning. Myers gathered his partially-sideways car and made it to the checkered flag. Lee Jeffreys wound up second and Kyle Ebersole third. An enraged Miller sped after Myers and rammed his car into Myers’ car.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action, Jimmie Johnson raced his way to another routine romp at Dover International Speedway. Johnson was the class of the field in a race red-flagged for 22 minutes because of a pothole in the concrete track. Johnson led 272 of 400 laps, and won consecutive races for the 13th time. The six-time Cup champion swept Dover in 2002 and 2009 and won races in 2005, 2010, 2012 and 2013. Brad Keselowski was second, followed by Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin.
Last year, 2018, The Stafford Motor Speedway started the weekend of racing off on Friday night under threatening skies. Taking down feature wins were Chase Dowling in the SK Modified feature, Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Marcello Rufrano in the SK Light feature, Jeremy Lavoie in the Limited Late Model feature, and George Bessette, Jr. in the Street Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Dowling started third and took the lead on lap four as he went on to win the non-stop event, his first of the season at Stafford. Eric Berndt finished second and was followed by Ronnie Williams, Todd Owen and Mike Christopher Jr. A predicted battle between Keith Rocco and Ryan Preece never materialized as they finished eighth and ninth respectively.
Spring Break for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series came to an end. The mighty modifieds resumed at the track known as the cement palace, the Seekonk Speedway located at the Gateway to Cape Cod in Seekonk, Mass. Thirty-one cars were on hand for the 150 lap event.
Justin Bonsignore, who is hot to trot for the series championship made it two out of four after a heated battle with Chase Dowling and Matt Hirschman. After trading the lead numerous times Bonsignore took the lead for the final time on lap 128. In the end, Dowling settled for the runner-up spot with Hirschman, third and Rowan Pennink, fourth. Ron Silk was fifth. Ronnie Williams was sixth, followed by Timmy Solomito, Tommy Catalano, Dave Sapienza and Craig Lutz.
Worth noting was the outstanding run by up-state New Yorker Tommy Catalano who came from 21st to finish eighth. There were many who showed promise early on but in the end, had a not so good day. Anthony Nocella was as high as fourth until getting collected after Wade Cole spun on lap 119. Cole was parked by NASCAR and Nocella, who lost two laps, finished 20th. Defending series champion Doug Coby started 12th and finished 12th. Just didn’t have that little extra. Jon McKennedy had a power steering malfunction and finished 25th after starting fifth. Woody Pitkat lasted 48 laps when his ignition quit, ending his race in 26th spot. Ryan Preece started 15th and lost an engine on lap 41 which placed him 27th at the checker. There were 7 cautions for 39 laps.
The New London-Waterford Speedbowl SK Modifieds suffered their fourth rain-out in a row. Two heats were run with a light field of 11 cars on hand. Support class winners were Peter Bennett in the Legends and. Jon Porter in the Limited Sportsman. Modified heat winners wereDylan Izzo and Tim Jordan.
Across the big pond on Long Island, John Fortin Jr. of Holtsville realized the dream of a lifetime Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway when he won the 40-lap NASCAR Modified feature event mastering numerous restarts during the race to take the Whelen All American Series victory. Once again weather played a role in at the 68-year old track as a rain delay slowed the program for about an hour but the hard working Riverhead Raceway track staff were not going to let mother nature win out and all nine feature events were presented.
Rookie drivers Dylan Slepian and Roger Turbush bought the 19-car field to the green flag with Slepian gaining the advantage at the drop of the green over Turbush. Lap 2 found Chris Young getting by Turbush for second and over the next five laps the second generation driver would test Slepian for the race lead. A double file restart on lap 7 would liven things up at the front of the field with Young riding the outside lane to take the race lead from Slepian as the duo began the 8th circuit. Just two laps later Slepian went for broke racing into the third turn diving very low on Young entering the turn. Unfortunately Dylan’s car slid back up the track clipping leader Young forcing him into a spin drawing a caution flag. When the field was reset John Fortin Jr, who started the race from 6th and Eddie Brunnhoelzl III who started 7th were now occupying the front row for the double file restart.
Eddie Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown was a close runner-up in his Go Green Generators entry while David Schneider of Northport completed the podium in his ESM Racing machine. Kyle Soper of Manorville and Chris Young of Calverton both recovered from early race misfortune to rally back for fourth and fifth place respectfully.
Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Burt Myers led wire-to-wire in the 100 lap featured race and it’s no surprise he wasn’t giving an inch even to his brother, Jason, who stayed on his bumper all night but couldn’t get out front.
Burt, the two-time defending division champion who has won eight tiles overall, drew the front row after a blind draw to determine the lineup after qualifying. Jason was in just behind Burt when the race started and the brothers stayed consistent throughout staying in front of the rest of the field at a pretty good clip.
It was Burt’s 76th career win and third win of the season. Brandon Ward wound up third with John Smith fourth and Tim Brown wound up fifth after a roller-coaster race. Brown was spun out on the first lap and fell back to 12th but worked his way up to fourth at one point but settled for the fifth-place finish.
Lost in the shuffle in a season where Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have turned the NASCAR Cup Series into a two-driver show, Truex came to Pocono and gave the field a reminder that he’s still a driver to beat in the championship race.
Truex stayed out on pivotal caution late in the race to take the lead, then pulled away off a restart with seven laps left to win Sunday at Pocono Raceway