Story By: BETHEL MOTOR SPEEDWAY – WHITE LAKE, NY – Bethel Motor Speedway hosted an exciting night of short track auto racing this past Saturday under pristine weather conditions with crisper autumn weather beginning to be felt after the sun sets.
The night of racing displayed recognition to all the lives lost in the September 11th tragedy 19 years ago, all current and retired first responders along with former four-cylinder racer the late Jimmy Shields who also was a local EMT.
Sadly, Shields passed away unexpectedly several years ago. Shields also was victorious in the last race he ever competed and is deeply missed at the speedway.
Veteren racer Rick Bradley led the Asphalt Modified field to the green and was the early race leader but the yellow came out on lap 2 when a battle for third position found Skip LaPolt and Dan Archiere crashing off turn two into the infield knocking both drivers out of the feature early on. The restart proved to be a strong point from Mike Dutka as he powered ahead over Bradley with Larry O’Donnell running third. Dutka began to distance himself from the field but current point leader Ed Dachenhausen and former champion John Cote moved there way past Bradley and O’Donnell just prior to halfway. Both drivers then began to reel in Dutka as he was contending with lapped traffic. Lap 14 saw Dutka drifting slightly high in turn two while navigating lapped traffic. Dachenhausen trounced on the opportunity and took the lead over Dutka going down the backstretch into turn 3. Dachenhausen then beat Dutka by a car length at the finish line to pick up his fifth asphalt modified win of the season.
The 602 Sportsman feature found Andy Crane outgunning Mike Trautschold to take the lead in the early laps. Ed Dachenhausen quickly took over second position one lap later and began to pressure Crane for the lead. Lap 7 proved to be a lucky one for Dachenhausen as he swooped in on an available low lane the Crane left open in turn 1. Current point leader Jamie Yannone used his patented low side in turn two to take second from Crane at the halfway point. Yannone began to reel in the leader in the caution free race but ran out of time as Dachenhausen picked up his second win of the season in the Scot Sanford owned Brookfield Glass #18s.
Street Stock feature racing was the most exciting race of the night with long time dirt late model racer Ernie Millen leading the charge over Curt Ayers and Don Rosinski. A frontstretch tangle on lap 4 involving Gene Morton, Scott Tyler, and Bob Miller brought out the first caution of the race as pit crews got busy as several cars went pitside for repairs including second and third place running Ayers and Rosinski. All drivers were able to continue. Millen continued to lead over Joel Murns and Brent Shaddock until the top three tangled in turn two triggering the yellow to come out again and knocking all three drivers out of the event with damaged race cars. Kenny Atkins inherited the lead and led for a lap before former track champion Walt Henry passed Atkins for the lead. Kyle Welsch who started way back in twelfth was a high side hustler coming through the pack and began to challenge Henry for the lead. Welsch executed a winning high side pass at the halfway point to take full command of the lead. Henry remained in striking distance but soon found a surging Miller coming back through the pack closing in on Henry’s rear bumper. The checkers found Welsch collecting his third win of the season in his TJ Motorsports #357 over Henry and Miller.
Pure perfection was displayed in Legends feature action as Alex McCollum used the lowside and marched steady through the field from tenth starting position. He then battled with leader Daniel Carter for several laps before completing a full pass by diving low into turn 1 completing the clean pass for the lead and take home his fourth feature win of the season. Carter held steady chasing the leader as Tanner Jones charged through the pack to pass Eugene Drew for third position at the halfway point but could not muster a challenge for the two leaders up front.
Pro Stock feature action proved to be a nailbiter finish coming down to the wire in exciting fashion. Gary Ronk was the early leader over John Rood looking strong in his Ford powered Mercury Cougar as he paced the field. Ronk continued to lead to just prior to halfway when he found himself under heavy pressure from Kenny Hyde and Ed Butler. Hyde was nipping away at Ronk down low, but the leader was able to keep Hyde at bay while Butler wound up the horses on the highside for several laps before pulling ahead solely for the lead coming down the frontstretch. Hyde then went to the highside and completed the pass on Ronk two laps later. Butler then had his hands full as Hyde continued to pressure the leader both high and low but at the checkers it was Butler by half a car length over Hyde collecting his third win of the season. Ronk held off current point leader Joe Barnes to take third at the checker.
The Four Cylinder Jimmy Shields Memorial race found a torrid battle upfront in the first half of the race between Vinny DeGraw and Jeff DeGroat. The two drivers swapped the lead back and forth several times but charging through the field from twelfth starting position was former track champion Mike Travis. When the halfway flags displayed, Travis took full control of the lead by passing DeGroat in the caution free feature. Shawn Maloney chased him through the pack but could not challenge for the win as Travis executed lapped traffic precisely to collect his fourth win of the season. DeGroat and DeGraw continued to battle for third position with a skirmish developing on the final circuit with lapped cars put DeGraw in third officially over DeGroat.
Kaden Rogers put on his best display of racing in his young driving career as he engaged in a dogfight against current point leader Monika Deckleman. Despite Rogers challenging for the win it was Deckelman who kept cool and collected behind the wheel to earn her eighth feature win of the season.
The Novice Pure Stock feature saw Marcus Small having a steady lead but on lap 10 the red came out as an inferno broke out on Aiden Fabian’s car on the frontsretch when the engine detonated. Fabian quickly got out of the hot seat unscathed from the fire. When racing resumed Small continued to lead but Steve Koskey made a valiant pass to take the lead headed into turn 1 with five laps to go. Small continued to challenge Koskey as the two drivers battled door to door. At the checkers it was Koskey picking up his second feature win of the season by a fender over Small. Leora Fabian finished in third.
Asphalt Modified Feature: 1. Ed Dachenhausen, Danbury, CT 2. Mike Dutka 3. John Cote 4. Rick Bradley 5. Mac Crawson 6. Fred Nees Jr. 7. Larry O’Donnell 8. John Hager 9. Steve Haskett 10. Skip LaPolt 11. Dan Archiere
602 Sportsman Feature: 1. Ed Dachenhausen, Danbury, CT 2. Jamie Yannone 3. Andy Crane 4. Mike Trautschold 5. Chris Peloso 6. Kyle Dunham DNS. Doug Atkins
Street Stock Feature: 1. Kyle Welsch, Monticello, NY 2. Walt Henry 3. Bob Miller 4. JB Morris 5. Don Rosinski 6. Kenny Atkins 7. Ivan Guerra 8. Gene Morton 9. Scott Sepe 10. Scott Tyler 11. Alec Graham 12. Brent Shaddock 13. Joel Murns 14. Curt Ayers 15. Ernie Millen
Legends Feature: 1. Alex McCollum, Phillipsburg, NJ 2. Daniel Carter 3. Tanner Jones 4. Eugene Drew 5. Kyle Rogers 6. Jeff Otto Jr. 7. James Anderson 8. Jack Gerzabek 9. Paul Dodorico 10. Jack Polan 11. Conner Piasecki
Pro Stock Feature: 1. Ed Butler, Bethel, NY 2. Kenny Hyde 3. Gary Ronk 4. Joe Barnes 5. John Rood 6. Vinnie Stanton 7. Walt Henry 8. Brandon Decker 9. Joel Murns 10. Jenn Bradley
Four Cylinder Pure Stock ‘Jimmy Shields Memorial’: 1. Mike Travis, Liberty, NY 2. Shawn Maloney 3. Vinny DeGraw 4. Jeff DeGroat 5. Dan Houghtaling 6. Tasha Travis 7. Dan Curry 8. Jerry Kingeter 9. Bruce Illenberg 10. Richard Smith 11. Tim Curry 12. Tisha Curry 13. Nicole Nelson 14. Harold Kinner 15. Dick Shaddock 16. Kenny Hopkins 17. Dan Dulin 18. Gordon Travis DNS. Marisol Torrens
Bandolero Feature; 1. Monika Deckelman, Fremont Center, NY 2. Kaden Rogers 3. Leland Oefelein 4. Isaiah Anderson
Novice Pure Stock Feature 1. Steve Koskey, Monticello, NY 2. Marcus Small 3. Leora Fabian 4. Alberto Lalane 5. Fawn Card 6. Garrett Biagiarelli 7. Ric Ryder 8. Kierstin Fox 9. Aiden Fabian 10. Trevor Rush