Story By: DAVE BUCHANAN / LANCASTER SPEEDWAY – LANCASTER, NY – Lancaster National Speedway’s X-Press Signs Stock Car Series put a bow on the 2018 regular season on Saturday night during Season Championship Night.
Owen Bednasz of Lakeview, N.Y. locked up the VP Racing Fuels Sportsman championship. Andy Cryan of Buffalo celebrated his first career Advanced Auto Parts Street Stock track title. Dan Dressel of Amherst, N.Y. took top honors in the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders for 2018.
On top of the battles for points positions there were also plenty of teams dialing in their cars for the 30th annual U.S. Open weekend, which is coming up in less than two weeks (September 21-23).
The final points race of the season for VP Racing Fuels Sportsman featured 16 cars with Jake Vernon of Hamburg, N.Y. and Scott Wylie leading the field to the final green flag of the regular season. Vernon jumped out to the lead at the start of the race. He led a four-car breakaway at the front of the field that included Wylie, Shawn Nye and George Skora III.
There were just two caution periods in the first half of the 35-lap race. The first happened on lap nine when Jason Bowden of Hamilton, Ontario plowed into the Thermal Foam blocks in turn three. The OSCAAR Modified driver from Canada was making his first-ever start at Lancaster. Then on lap 17 there was contact between Tony Carbone and Owen Bednasz in turn two, and Carbone spun to bring out the yellow flag for the second time.
Wylie and Nye traded the runner-up position back-and-forth as the second half of the race got under way. Wylie eventually regained the spot from Nye. The lead quartet continued to dominate the race while the remaining positions inside the top ten were up for grabs between the likes of Bobby Weber, John Barber, Chris Finocchario and others
Two late-race cautions set up some drama for the final laps of the feature. Dave Kozlowski spun out in turn two on lap 32 for the first yellow flag. Then Jayme Thompson slammed the outside wall coming off of turn four to set up a green-white-checkered finish.
Vernon held off Skora and Wylie for the final two laps to secure his first-ever VP Racing Fuels Sportsman win at Lancaster. The victory was an emotional one for Vernon as he had arrived to the track late and missed practice because he was attending a celebration of life for his grandmother who had passed away three weeks earlier.
Skora, Wylie and Nye followed Vernon across the finish line. John Barber rounded out the top five after starting 14th.
Following the race Owen Bednasz was crowned the 2018 track champion. The final leg of his championship season was an eventful one. It started with a crash in his heat race after getting tangled up with two other cars at the start. The car was repaired in time to make the feature, but the right-side nerf bar came loose early in the race and he had to pit to get it reattached. Luckily for Bednasz he had a mathematical lock on the championship coming into the final race.
Rich Sharpe of Lancaster dominated the Advance Auto Parts Street Stock feature for his fourth win of the season. Sharpe led all 25 laps from the pole position.
Andy Cryan overcame a straightaway-sized deficit to catch Sharpe in the closing laps. Cryan got within a car-length of Sharpe but the right rear tire started to go away in the final circuits. Cryan finished second to round out his championship winning season that included nine feature wins.
Mark Hoch finished third behind Sharpe and Cryan. Tim Welshans came home fourth. Max Northem rounded out the top five in a brand new car.
In the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders, Dave Brunka of Cheektowaga, N.Y. led 19 of 25 laps for his second win of the season. Brunka quickly moved from the fifth starting position to pass Chris Pennell for the lead on lap six, and then drove away to a sizable lead.
It was a Brunka family 1-2 finish as his brother, Joe, placed second. Dan Dressel finished third to sew up his first career Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinder track championship. Jason Anasiewicz and Spencer Speedway regular Jacob Gustafson rounded out the top five.
The NYPA TQ Midgets also had their final tune up before the U.S. Open. AJ Hessler and Mark Schulz dominated for most of the race, pulling out to a large lead until a couple of late-race cautions bunched the field up again. Hessler held off Schulz and Kyle Hutchinson in the final three laps to secure the win.
Lancaster National Speedway closes out the 2018 season with 30th annual U.S. Open on September 21-23. The weekend starts on Friday night with practice and the U.S. Open Kickoff Party with live music from 1980 Something. Saturday’s program is headlined by the 75-lap event for the Race of Champions Sportsman Series and the VP Racing Fuels Sportsman. The Race of Champions Modified Series closes out the show on Sunday with the 30th annual U.S. Open 125. Full details are available on the Lancaster National Speedway website.
About Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway: Founded in 1959, Lancaster National Speedway and Dragway, WNY’s Premier Motorsports and Event Facility, is a multi-use facility located on 77 acres just outside of metropolitan Buffalo, N.Y. The facility features a 1/8-mile drag strip, a 1/2-mile oval track and hosts several non-motorsports events such as car shows and concerts. For the latest information on Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway check out our website www.lancasternationalspeedway.com. Additional information for racers and fans can be found on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LancasterSpeedway) and on Twitter (@LancasterSpdwy).
VP RACING FUELS SPORTSMAN
Heat Winners: Jake Vernon, Scott Wylie
Feature: JAKE VERNON, George Skora III, Scott Wylie, Shawn Nye, John Barber, Bobby Weber, Chris Finocchario, Tony Carbone, Owen Bednasz, Sherri Hogan, Russ Gian, Dave Kozlowski, Jayme Thompson, Mark Pennell, Jason Bowden
2018 Track Champion: Owen Bednasz
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS STREET STOCKS
Heat Winners: Rich Sharpe, Jarrod Brown, Andy Cryan
Feature: RICH SHARPE, Andy Cryan, Mark Hoch, Tim Welshans, Max Northem, Nik Welshans, Chris Powers, Dave Vona, Jarrod Brown, Ken Maltby, Kenny Hejna, Tommy Wentland, Jay Cannonico, Mike Dalfonso, Jerry Koznowski, Garrett Cleversley, Frank Prell, Rick Meyers, Jeff Szafraniec, Mike Rogers, Scott Soos DNS; Bob Blaszak, Jr.
2018 Track Champion: Andy Cryan
ROAMING BUFFALO 4-CYLINDERS
Heat Winners: Dan Dressel, Chris Pennell
Feature: DAVE BRUNKA, Joe Brunka, Dan Dressel, Jason Anasiewicz, Jacob Gustafson, Chris Pennell, Scott Fritz, Andy Danielwicz, Charles Palmer, Josh Schosek, Briar DIls, Dave Evans, Jamie Pew
2018 Track Champion: Dan Dressel
NYPA TQ MIDGETS
Heat Winners: Andy Nye, AJ Hessler
Feature: AJ HESSLER, Mark Schulz, Kyle Hutchinson, Ryan Fraser, Dave Wollaber, Ronnie Flaim, Arik McGruder. Vinny Christiano III, Vinny Christiano Jr., Chad Haywood, Cameron Ruggiero, Tony Patrea, Ted Jones, Jr., Andy Nye, Adrian Stahle, Sean McNamara, Jamie Pew, Erik Musto DNS: Chester Haywood