Story By: BETHEL MOTOR SPEEDWAY – WHITE LAKE, NY – The smell of Autumn mountain air, crisp sunny mornings, leaves in contrasting colors, and cool dark nights are usually signs of relaxation except when it comes to Bethel Motor Speedway as racers amped up the excitement dial another notch for a fun afternoon of short track racing.
The day of racing was highlighted by the ‘Pete Gardner Memorial’ street stock race in honor of the former track champion and was a top competitor at not only Bethel but at Accord and Moc A Tek Speedways as well. Gardner had a wealth of racing knowledge and was always eager to help fellow racers in need. He would often be seen at numerous speedways across the Northeast and was always quick to say he was ‘Living the Dream’ being an avid supporter of local short track racing. Sadly, Gardner passed away a few years ago after battling an illness for several years. Speedway management would like to thank the family and friends of Pete Gardner for their support with this special race.
The street stock classic ‘Gardner Memorial’ found Emerson Cargain Jr. pacing the field in the race’s first quarter of the 56 lap feature. The yellow came out on lap 13 when Gene Morton bumped Scott Sepe around sending both cars to the rear of the field. The restart found Walt Henry storming ahead of the leader like a wind gust. One lap later current point leader JB Morris worked by Cargain for second. Lap 17 saw Morris overtaking Henry to take the lead as the caution came out for a spun Scott Tyler in turn 4. Under caution Henry ducked in the pits for adjustments as Brent Shaddock moved into second. Morris continued to lead until lap 26 as hard charger Kyle Welsch worked his way up through the pack from eighth starting position to take the lead just in time to claim the halfway bonus.Henry who had earlier pitted moved into the top three on lap 32. Welsch, Morris, and Henry ran tightly together as they weaved through lapped traffic unti lap 47 when Morris clipped lapped traffic and went spinning bringing out the caution. The last restart was exciting as Welsch and Henry raced door to door for several laps along with Morris making a rebound racing through traffic. At the checkers it was Welsch collecting his sixth win of the season over Henry and Morris.
Dirt Modified racing saw Bill Deckelman taking full advantage of his pole position start and grabbed the lead over LJ Lombardo. At the halfway point Deckelman got caught up in a tangle that found him suffering from a flat tire and pitside. Lombardo inherited the lead and looked en route to his first career win, but Ed Dachenhausen emerged from seventh starting position and began to put heavy pressure on the leader. At the two to go flags Dachenhausen made a daring move to get by Lombardo going into the inside of turn 1 to complete the pass. At the checkers it was Dachenhausen picking up his second dirt modified feature win of the season. Lombardo and Andy Crane finished second and third respectively.
Former Bandolero campaigner Cody DeMarmels made an infrequent visit to the speedway but was worth it as he took home the win in the four cylinder pure stock feature. Joe Smith and Tasha Travis rounded out the top three at the checkers.
The ageless John Cote proved why he is the master at Bethel Motor Speedway as he outdueled Mike Dutka to take home his second feature win of the season. Skip LaPolt crossed the line in third. Cote is the all time winningest modified driver in track history well over 100 wins.
Bill Deckelman led every lap of 602 Sportsman feature racing to collect his first win of the season in the Affordable Home Improvements # 07. Deckelman who hasn’t won in several years at Bethel picked the right night to do so as his daughter also won in her division.
Legends feature racing was fast and furious with defending champion Eugene Drew leading early but coming through the pack was Kevin Nowak. Lap 8 found Nowak taking the lead over Drew and newcomer Bryan Gardella. Meanwhile a very spirited championship battle was going on between Jeff Otto and Tanner Jones which found them swapping positions several times. At the checkers it was Nowak returning to Bethel’s victory lane for the first win this season over Jones and Drew. Otto ended up fifth which gave him a slight edge of 3 points to win the championship over Jones and Drew.
Gary Ronk outgunned Brandon Decker to take the lead in pro stock feature action. Ronk looked strong and led until halfway when Ed Butler worked the outer groove and whipped up the g-forces to pull ahead at the halfway point. Lap 15 saw Joe Barnes capturing second from Ronk by an inside dive in turn 2 but ran out of time to reel in the leader Butler. Butler picked up his sixth feature win of the season over Barnes and Ronk.
Slingshots visited the speedway for a special race and those watching it found three cars battling for the lead in the early laps as Brock Pinkerous led. The second half of the race found Matt Mertz and Mark Mohr battling fiercely for sole control of the leader position. At the checkers it was Mohr taking the feature win.
Leora Fabian picked up her first career win in Novice Pure Stock racing. She easily outdistanced Sean Lynch and Brandon Kinner to take the victory.
Monika Deckelman inherited the lead with two laps to go when race long leader Isaiah Anderson looped in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. All was well on the restart and Deckelman cruised to her eleventh win of the season over Kaden Rogers and Leland Oefelein en route to winning her first ever track championship
Street Stock ‘Pete Gardner Memorial 56’ Feature: 1. Kyle Welsch, Monticello, NY 2. Walt Henry 3. JB Morris 4. Gene Morton 5. Joel Murns 6. Emerson Cargain Jr. 7. Brent Shaddock 8. Don Rosinski 9. Dave Gerard 10. Jeff Hager 11. Anthony Tarantino 12. Alec Graham 13. Curt Ayers 14. Ray Tarantino 15. Scott Sepe 16. Bob Miller 17. Scott Tyler
Dirt Modified Feature: 1. Ed Dachenhausen, Danbury, CT 2. LJ Lombardo 3. Andy Crane 4. Bill Deckelman 5. Matt Curry 6. Josh Wilbur 7. Jerry Curry 8. Greg Morgan 9. Phil Goetschius 10. Doug Atkins 11. Del Ligouri DNS. Jamie Yannone DNS. Joe Knoth
Asphalt Modified Feature: 1. John Cote, New Milford, CT 2. Mike Dutka 3. Skip LaPolt 4. Larry O’Donnell 5. Rick Bradley 6. John Hager 7. Lou Schlemmer. 8. Dan Archiere 9. Mac Crawson DNS. Fred Nees Jr. DNS. Ed Dachenhausen
602 Sportsman Feature: 1. Bill Deckelman, Fremont Center, NY 2. Ed Dachenhausen 3. Andy Crane 4. LJ Lombardo 5. Phil Goetschius 6. Del Ligouri 7. Kyle Dunham DQ. Jamie Yannone (Ride Height) DNS. Joe Knoth
Legends Feature: 1. Kevin Nowak, Medford, NY 2. Tanner Jones 3. Eugene Drew 4. Bryan Gardella 5. Jeff Otto Jr. 6. Charlie Hodge 7. Jack Polan 8. James Anderson
Pro Stock Feature: 1. Ed Butler, Bethel, NY 2. Joe Barnes 3. Gary Ronk 4. John Rood 5. Brandon Decker 6. Walt Henry 7. Bill VanAken 8. Joel Murns 9. Jenn Bradley
Four Cylinder Feature: 1. Cody DeMarmels, Newton, NC 2. Joe Smith 3. Tasha Travis 4. Jeff DeGroat 5. Tisha Curry 6. Richard Smith 7. Dan Curry 8. Vinny DeGraw 9. Harold Kinner 10. Jerry Kingeter 11. Nicole Nelson 12. Dick Shaddock 13. George VanAken 14. Dan Houghtaling 15. Robert Beach 16. JW Gannon 17. Mike Travis 18. Ben Babcock 19. Bruce Illenberg 20. Dan Dulin DNS. Tim DeGrote DNS. Nick Curry DNS. Ken Barringer DNS. George Barringer
Slingshot Feature: 1. Mark Mohr, Bethlehem, PA 2. Matt Mertz 3. Brock Pinkerous
Bandolero Feature; 1. Monika Deckelman, Fremont Center, NY 2. Kaden Rogers 3. Leland Oefelein 4. Isaiah Anderson 5. Rodney Dowless Jr. 6. Justin Teresak
Novice Pure Stock Feature 1. Leora Fabian, Bethel, NY 2. Sean Lynch 3. Brandon Kinner 4. Fawn Card 5. Joe Hand DNS. Kaitlyn Miller