By JR KENNERUP
AFTON, NY – Afton Motorsports Park beat the weather on Friday night with a quickly paced racing program that despite some light showers saw the entire show completed.
In the ZMK Construction Modifieds. Tim Mayne made sure that a feature win would not get away from him this week like it did last week when he led a majority of the feature. Mayne led all 30 circuits on this night to claim the win, his first since 2011. Rusty Smith chased Mayne the entire race and settled for second with Mitch Gibbs, Nick Nye, and Brett Tonkin rounding out the top five.
The Chambers & O’Hara Open Sportsman 20 lap feature was an emotional one indeed. As Brandon Kuhn led all the laps to win on the birthday of his late grand mother, his first win of the year. Tyler Hart tried to get past Kuhn but settled for second with Dennis Clapperton, Claude Hutchings, Jr., and Corey Cormier rounding out the top five.
The Butler Auto Sales Crate Sportsman saw veteran driver Gary Smith after getting the lead pull away to win by a large margin in the 20 lap feature. Corey Cormier, Kinser Hill, Aaron Shelton returning from a flat tire, and Blaine Klinger completed the top five.
The Trophy Guy IMCA Modifieds saw an increased purse and a bounty on James Cornell for the 20 lap feature. Despite getting into an accident on lap one Cornell charged back up through the field using the bottom groove this week to claim the $850 win, his sixth in a row. Jake Maynard, Tyler Stoddard, Billy Ward, and Rodney Morgan completed the top five.
The Rinker Insurance Agency Street Stock 20 lap feature saw Butch Green return to victory lane for the fifth time in the Holcomb Motorsports entry. Green made a slick pass for the lead at the halfway point and go on to the win over Jake Fowlston, Jonathon Fowlston, Ernie Staelens, and Ralph Cuozzo.
The Four Cylinder Truck 15 lap feature for the fifth time this year was all Ralph Cuozzo as he won over Bob Crandall, Brandon Loucks, Jerry Lanfair, and Dylan Nichols.
Tim Mayne and Rusty Smith led the Modified field to green with a misty rain falling to start the 30 lap feature. Mayne would use big block power to get the lead over Smith, Kenny Titus, Craig Hanson, and Darwin R. Greene.
Following a lap four restart the top four remained the same while Mitch Gibbs moved into fifth. With Titus slipping up and out of the groove on lap five this allowed Hanson to move into third at this point.
On a lap 12 restart Mayne, Smith, and Hanson paced the field with Gibbs now moving into fourth and Nick Nye taking fifth. Gibbs using the inside line moved past Hanson for third on lap 13.
With the top three pulling away at the halfway point a terrific race was taking place for positions fourth through seventh with Hanson, Nye, Brett Tonkin, and Mike Mahaney all racing hard looking for the quick way to the front.
With ten laps to go Tonkin got around Nye for fifth and that didn’t sit well with the Groton, NY driver. On the next circuit Nye moved back into fifth and one lap later slipped under Hanson for fourth, Tonkin moved past Hanson for fifth on lap 24.
Up front Mayne was holding a comfortable lead as the laps were winding down. Smith had his hands full holding off Gibbs for second but mustarded up enough of a charge to give a shot at the win one last try. On the final lap Smith drove it into turns three and four as hard as he could and he caught the cushion just right.
Mayne in for his first Modified win since 2011 by a car length over Smith, Gibbs, Nye, and Tonkin.
Mayne and Smith won the qualifying heat races earlier in the racing program.
The 20 lap Open Sportsman feature had Brandon Kuhn and Dennis Clapperton lead the field to green with Kuhn getting the lead over Clapperton, Tyler Hart, Claude Hutchings, Jr., and Craig Pope.
Kuhn opened up a small lead and this left Clapperton to deal with third generation racer Tyler Hart . Hart after trying for a few laps was able to get past Clapperton for second on lap five and set sail after Kuhn for the lead. Meanwhile Clapperton had to deal with two time consecutive and defending track champion Hutchings for third.
With the good racing up front, which was keeping the race fans attention, a driver coming from the rear was making some noise. Corey Cormier elected to race in both Sportsman divisions on this night with the same car. Despite being underpowered as he was using his sealed crate engine against the open motors, Cormier moved into fifth on lap 13.
Up front Kuhn held off every chance for a pass by Hart to go on to the feature win over Hart, Clapperton, Hutchings, and Cormier.
Qualifying races were captured by Kuhn and Clapperton.
Rob Loucks and Craig Monroe brought the Crate Sportsman 20 lap feature to green. Loucks jumped out to the lead over Kinser Hill, Gary Smith, Monroe, and Aaron Shelton.
New track regular Ryan Macartney showing that he is learning the quick way around the track moved into fifth on lap two. One lap later Macartney’s night would end with front end damage after getting into an incident while racing for fifth.
On the lap four restart Loucks held on to the lead with Smith getting under Hill for second and Corey Cormier moving into fourth and Shelton after pitting for a flat tire quickly raced back into fifth.
Smith who has showed great speed all year long grabbed the lead from Loucks, who pushed wide in turn one on lap five, Loucks also lost second to Hill at this time.
Once in front Smith showed just how quick his car really is as he easily opened up a full straightaway lead in a few laps.
Loucks once again on lap 11 pushed up the track and that allowed Cormier to move into third and Shelton into fourth.
With five laps to go Smith had a half a track lead with Hill and Cormier locked into a tussle for second and Shelton by himself in fourth and Blaine Klinger in fifth.
Smith in for his first ever Sportsman feature win over Cormier who took second on the final lap, Hill, Shelton, and Klinger rounded out the top five.
Loucks and Fred Christ won the qualifying heat races.
The 20 lap IMCA Modified feature with the help of sponsorship had a potential of seeing $1,025 going to the feature winner and this big money brought some invaders in looking for it.
Tim Vandemark and Bill Nichols brought the field to green with Nichols getting the lead over Vandemark, Jake Maynard, Tyler Stoddard, and Beau Ballard.
The suspense of whether five time feature winner James Cornell could keep up his winning streak was intensified when he was involved in a multi car accident on lap one. Cornell was left no place to go and slammed on the brakes to avoid contact and no damage was incurred on his machine.
On the restart the shuffled running order saw Nichols lead over Billy Ward, Rodney Morgan, Will Ward, and Ballard. Cornell wasted no time in racing back into the top five as he moved past Ballard into fifth on lap three.
The charge of Cornell continued as he moved into fourth on lap four and was on the back bumper of Morgan on lap five when Morgan took second from Billy Ward, Cornell moved into third. One lap later Cornell, this week glued to the bottom groove instead of his normal high groove moved into second.
On a lap seven restart Cornell using his outside front row starting spot grabbed the lead from Nichols while Ballard moved from fifth to second.
Maynard moved into third, Stoddard into fourth, and Billy Ward to fifth on lap nine following the third and fourth place cars getting tangled up to bring out the yellow.
With Cornell comfortably in front the only suspense would be could he complete the race to win his sixth straight.
The suspense happened to second place runner Ballard who suffered a flat left front tire on lap 15 and he pitted under the yellow to have it changed.
Cornell in for the win, worth $850 over Maynard, Stoddard, Billy Ward, and Morgan.
Stoddard and Maynard won the qualifying heat races.
Jonathon Fowlston and Ernie Staelens brought the Street Stock 20 lap feature to green with Dustin Harris moving from third to first. Jonathon Fowlston, Butch Green, Ron Greek and Jake Fowlston completed the top five at this point.
Green would move into second on lap two and the side by side race for the lead would start up after last weeks terrific side by side race for the win between these two drivers.
Father Jake Fowlston moved into fourth on lap three and set up a father son race for third with Greek all over both of them while in fifth.
The top two were racing in heavy lap traffic by lap six and this made things interesting. Harris raced through lap traffic like a pro to keep the lead while veteran driver Green tried every move in his bag of tricks to get the lead.
Lap ten, the halfway point of the race saw Harris make his only mistake of the race as he slipped up the track and that was all Green needed and he filled the opening to take the lead. Jake Fowlston got past his son Jonathon to take third and left him to deal with Greek for fourth.
Once in front Green pulled out to a big lead as the Harris machine started to misfire, a problem he had in hot laps earlier. Harris had to give up the fight for second and pit with an engine misfire on lap 16.
Green in for his fifth win of the year over Jake Fowlston, Jonathon Fowlston, Staelens, and Ralph Cuozzo.
The qualifying race earlier in the program was won by Harris.
Jerry Lanfair and Dylan Nichols brought the 15 lap Four Cylinder Truck feature to green with Lanfair getting the lead over Brandon Loucks, Ralph Cuozzo, Bob Crandall, and Nichols.
Rookie driver Loucks moved into the lead on lap two with Cuozzo hot on his rear bumper. When Lanfair slipped up the track this allowed Crandall to move into third and Nichols into fourth.
Cuozzo quickly disposed of Loucks to get the lead on lap three while Loucks and Crandall set up their own private race for second.
With Cuozzo way out in front, two different, two car races were taking place within the small field of cars. Loucks and Crandall racing for second and Nichols and Lanfair racing for fourth.
At the checkers Cuozzo in for his fifth win of the year over Crandall who got past Loucks for second on lap 13, Lanfair was fourth and Nichols was fifth.
NOTES; bonus money for NYSSCA members were handed out after the features to the top two NYSSCA Members in each feature. Also Hot Rod’s Auto Detailing added $100 to the Street Stock features winners purse, another unnamed sponsor kicked in another $50 for the highest finishing Street Stock who was racing at Afton for the first time this year. MK Enterprises put up $50 for the highest finishing Crate Sportsman in their first Afton visit of the year. Another unnamed sponsor kicked in a huge amount of money into the IMCA Modified purse and also put up a $100 bounty on James Cornell plus added money all the way through the field in every position which saw the feature pay $750 to win and $100 to start. Cornell Motorsports also kicked in an additional $100 for the highest finishing Afton regular on this night. Corey Cormier decided at the last minute to run both Sportsman classes with the same car and it paid off with two top five finishes. Several weekly racers missing due to NYS High School Graduation ceremonies that were taking place on this night. There will be a new Butler Auto Sales Crate Sportsman track champion as defending champion Cody Clark has decided to race elsewhere on Friday nights.
Next weekend finds Afton Motorsports Park in action on Friday night and Saturday morning as the facility hosts Vintage Palooza Weekend. Friday night the CRSA Sprint Cars join the ZMK Construction Modifieds, Chambers & O’ Hara Open Sportsman, Butler Auto Sales Crate Sportsman, The Trophy Guy IMCA Modifieds, and the Four Cylinder Trucks. The Rinker Insurance Agency Street Stocks will have the night off. Also on Friday night many vintage race cars from years gone by will be on display in the midway area. Admission will be $30 for the pits, $14 for the grandstands, seniors age 62 and up are $12, youth aged 9 to 14 are $7, and 8 and under are free with a paid adult admission.
Saturday morning at 10 am will see on track action for the vintage cars who are in attendance. It is expected that there will be Midgets, Sprint Cars, Coupe Modifieds, Coach Modifieds, and many more division will be represented. Admission for this event will be free.
For more information on Afton Motorsports Park please log on to www.aftonmotorsportspark.com or call 607 – 639 – DIRT or 607 – 624 – 3772.
Afton Motorsports Park is fast, fun, and furious…come check us out!
ZMK Construction Modified Finish; Tim Mayne, Rusty Smith, Mitch Gibbs, Nick Nye, Brett Tonkin, Mike Mahaney, Craig Hanson, Darwin R. Greene, JR Hurlburt, Kenny Titus, Steve Babicek, Paul Jensen, Scott Ferrier, Jim Cummings, Steve Cummings.
Chambers & O’ Hara Open Sportsman Finish; Brandon Kuhn, Tyler Hart, Dennis Clapperton, Claude Hutchings, Jr., Corey Cormier, Craig Pope, Dave Rosa, Bill Deckleman, Dan Burman, Skip Pickwick, Don Hart, Jr.
Butler Auto Sales Crate Sportsman Finish; Gary Smith, Corey Cormier, Kinser Hill, Aaron Shelton, Blaine Klinger, Rob Loucks, Fred Christ, Ed Utter, Michael Grover, Ryan Macartney, Craig Monroe. DNS; Tim French II, Mike Barbieri.
The Trophy Guy IMCA Modified Finish; James Cornell, Jake Maynard, Tyler Stoddard, Billy Ward, Rodney Morgan, Beau Ballard, Bryan Steigerwald, Bill Nichols, Gary Roberts, Will Ward, Brandon Smith, Tim Vandemark.
Rinker Insurance Agency Street Stock Finish; Butch Green, Jake Fowlston, Jonathon Fowlston, Ernie Staelens, Ralph Cuozzo, Jason Burgher, Dustin Harris, Shawn Stalker, Ron Greek.
Four Cylinder Truck Finish; Ralph Cuozzo, Bob Crandall, Brandon Loucks, Jerry Lanfair, Dylan Nichols.