KUTZTOWN, PA – A pair of point titles, along with a National SpeedSTR Championship were among Tim Buckwalter’s many accomplishments during the 2017 racing season. All of the hard-earned success had him pinching himself (to make sure it really happened) at Friday night’s Championship Energy Action Track USA Awards Banquet at the Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Macungie, Pa.
“Yeah, at times it’s almost hard to believe, but you have to start by surrounding yourself with good people, and I’ve been fortunate to have great people helping me out, and they are the reason for all the success we’ve had these last couple years,” said Buckwalter, who reaped the benefits of winning the USAC All Pro SpeedSTR and Hyper Racing 600 Sprint Championships at Action Track USA, on the Kutztown Fairgrounds, last season.
In the SpeedSTRs, the Douglassville, Pa. wheel-twister captured six feature wins, including the season finale`, to notch his first point title in that division at the Berks County oval. Driving Paul Lotier’s Bagel Rack No. 7, Buckwalter out-pointed three-time winner Billy Pauch Jr. and Ohio’s Matt Westfall to claim the championship. Teen sensation Briggs Danner and Steve Drevicki rounded out the top five in points.
While Buckwalter plans to return to SpeedSTR competition at Action Track USA in 2018, he will not be driving a Lotier-owned machine. That is because Lotier sold his SpeedSTR in order to build a wingless 410 Sprint Car for Buckwalter. The team will run many of the USAC National Sprint Car events, making their debut in a few weeks at Bubba Raceway in Ocala, Florida. His Sprint Car schedule should only cause the third generation racer to miss one race at Action Track USA during the upcoming campaign.
Buckling into Barry & Cheryl Greth’s No. 71, Buckwalter secured his second Action Track USA point crown in the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint division. He won three main events along the way and finished second in the 60-lap Fair Week finale` to wrap up the title after a hard fought, season-long battle with Billy Pauch Jr.
Pauch was a two-time winner in 2017, as was third place points finisher Jason Swavely. The 2016 champ, Eddie Strada, wound up fourth in the standings ahead of two-time 600 titlist Jay Hartman.
The Buckwalter/Greth combo will be back together this season with a new D1 Chassis, while Pauch Jr. moves from the Adam Huff Xtreme Graphics mount to his old, familiar seat in Lamar Shaffer’s No. 91s.
Like Buckwalter, All Star Slingshot point champion Dylan Hoch gave credit to his family and crew for all their long hours in the shop and at the track, as the Mertztown, Pa. driver accepted the hardware for winning his second consecutive Slingshot point title at Action Track USA.
Hoch won two features during the ’17 season and narrowly defeated former track champ Brett Bieber for the championship, earning the crown by just 14 points over Bieber. Three-time race winner Seth Spayd ended up third in the chase, while Alex Yankowski and Jared Silfee finished fourth and fifth in the final standings.
Ten different drivers won the 13 Slingshot features run at Action Track USA in 2017, with seven of those chauffeurs recording their very first victories at the Kutztown Fairgrounds progressively banked clay oval. With his pair of triumphs, Hoch is now the all-time leading Slingshot winner at AT USA with seven victories, while Bieber and Mark Sensenig are tied for second with six wins.
Leesport, Pa. throttle-jockey Reese Nowotarski authored a terrific season for himself in 2017, winning four of the five Junior Slingshot features and the point title at Action Track USA. His victories included the Junior National Tour event on August 18, and he finished fifth in the only race in which he was not the winner.
Nowotarski, who announced at the banquet that he will move up to the All Star class this season, easily won the Junior Slingshot championship over Tyler Banks, with Austin Homan, Decker Swinehart, and Tyler Ulsh completing the top five in points.
The five race Action Track Takeover Series at Linda’s Speedway saw one event get wiped out due to rain. In the four races run for the SpeedSTRs, wingless 600 Sprints, and All Star Slingshots, Steve Drevicki, Tommy Kunsman Jr., and Brett Bieber captured the miniseries point titles.
Drevicki utilized a single victory, a pair of runner-up efforts, and a seventh-place finish to secure the SpeedSTR title over Tyler Ross, Steven Nederostek, Tim Buckwalter, and Briggs Danner.
Kunsman finished first, second, fourth, and third in the four race series for the 600’s, beating Buckwalter, Ben McGowan, Ryan Groff, and Tyler Brehm for the championship.
Bieber registered finishes of second, first, first, and second in the four races run by the Slingshots to win the title. Dave Carraghan, Joe Toth, Austin Daniels, and Mike Glass completed the top five in Action Track Takeover series points.
Special Hyper Racing/ Action Track Attendance Awards were distributed at the banquet. The 600 Sprint drivers who did not miss any of the events held at Action Track USA or Linda’s Takeover Nights in 2017, along with drivers who missed just one race, were eligible for the (four)valuable contingency prizes. There were seven drivers who qualified for the special drawing (Jim Radney was one of the eligible drivers, but, as a Hyper Racing employee, could not win any of the prizes donated by Hyper), including Joe Plunkett, Kenny Miller III, Tim Buckwalter, Tommy Kunsman Jr., Tim Bauer, Jacob Severn, and Radney.
Miller was the recipient of a Hyper rear axle assembly, while Kunsman won a set of (four) Keizer wheels. Radney’s name was drawn as the winner of a set of FK Rod Ends, and Plunkett won the biggest prize, a brand new Hyper 600 frame.
Championship Energy Action Track USA will begin its sixth season under the promotional reign of Rich Tobias and Doug Rose on Sunday, May 13, with its second consecutive Mother’s Day opener, the traditional Elton & Goldie Meitzler Memorial featuring the USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs, Hyper Racing Wingless 600 Sprints, and the All Star Slingshots.
Fans and racers can save money on energy bills and ticket/pit pass fees at Action Track USA by switching to Stream Energy through the Championship Energy Group. For all the details on saving money and the upcoming season at AT USA, visit the following websites: www.actiontrackusa.com and www.ChampionshipEnergyGroup.com. Follow the speedway on social media at Facebook.com/ Action Track USA and on Twitter: @ActionTrackUSA.