Makin’ Tracks – Brewerton, Port USAC, Cunningham & More – DTD Exclusive

By BILL FOLEY

The notebook is packed with stuff and I figured it was time to do some catching up. Whether is be a talk with Weedsport Promoter Jimmy Phelps about the USAC show, a wrap up on a night with 113 cars in the Brewerton pits or talking to Sportsmen driver Chris Cunningham about his first Demon win there is quite a bit of catching up to do.

Will USAC Be Back?

Well, it was fun reading about the Internet predictions that the USAC show was a one and done.

So as Jimmy rested at his 98H trailer on Friday night I asked a few questions.

Jimmy said, “It was an entertaining race for the fans to watch.”

Continuing he said, “Those guys are a riot and afterwards several came over to me to say they enjoyed running the track and hoped they could come back. USAC wants to come back and I would like to have them back. They were really a great group of guys.”

Looking toward ’19 he said, “Bob Miller (who brought the show to Grandview) talked with me this week and to the other promoters about this year’s Eastern Storm. I would have liked to have more time to promote the show as it was very close to the All Star show. However, you can’t pick your dates and you need to select from the dates these groups give you.”

You could tell Phelps enjoyed watching these racers at their job and he was impressed by the way they adapted to Weedsport.

Finally after 30 Years at Brewerton a Win

A week ago Friday, Chris Cunningham ran his first feature at the Brewerton Speedway in 1983 which is just about 35 years ago.  A week ago Friday he also got his first Sportsman win.

In the pits after unloading his 29K this week he said, “It was my first ever Brewerton win. I’ve been close a lot, in fact too many times. Now that I have had a chance to reflect on it it’s cool and I was thinking maybe I was never going to win one here, but I really wanted to. It’s been awesome to get the win.”

For years the Cunningham family has run Mopar and he said, “It would be something to have a Mopar in this Sportsman to win.”

Along with his brother John, Chris has been a staple at Brewerton.

The win came after the two guys in front of him got involved in a situation entering turn one and suddenly Cunningham was in the lead.

He said, “I’ll take it as I’ve been on the other end of that many times in my career. The 24K (Nick Krause) had been running the top and entering the first turn he came down and the 51 got hit. I feel sorry for the 51 (Rich Townsend) guys as they work so hard to get in there. It sort of sucked for them.”

Brewerton Pits Busy

Robbie Bellinger had his 8R destroyed as contact between Pat Ward and Robbie sent the 8R nearly full bore into the front stretch cement. The car was torn up but the Gypsum organization offered Robbie the use of Larry Wight’s 99L back up car. He settled for 15th, but ran all 35 laps…

Jimmy Phelps had a brand new painted helmet with the B’ville Bandit emblazoned on it. First time in his 27 years of racing he’s had one…

A pair of Jimmy’s, Phelps and Witko, were physically involved in the last few laps of the feature as the 98H was third and Witko 4th…

Witko led much of the race, but on a late restart got caught down low as eventual winner Chad Phelps took over. For Chad it was his first Brewerton win in five years…

Chris Hile finished second 1.5 off the pace as he put on one heck of a show on the high side…

Glenn Forward raced at the Demon as Fulton was off on Saturday. He finished 12th in the 20 car field…

Tim Kerr was out after hot laps. He had a rocker arm problem at the Can-Am special earlier in the week and the same situation put him in the trailer on Friday…

Point leader Larry Wight was ninth while second in points was Jimmy Phelps was third.  Third in points entering the night was fifth place finishing Tim Sears Jr…

Willie Decker had a wild ride in his heat. Between three and four the entire left side of the car was up in the air displaying the oil pan. No idea how or why it didn’t go over…

Billy Decker in the house again and put on a fun show to watch, but settled for seventh right behind Max McLaughlin…

Tony Finch II destroyed his car at Weedsport earlier in the week and the frame broke in three places along with the left front being sheered off. He hopped in Chris Bonoffski 16B but had fuel pick up problems. Then it was on to Rich Rogala’s 8R where he got involved in a front stretch accident that heavily damaged the right front…

Four-Cylinder rookie Clayton Koch is the son of former Brewerton racer Tim Koch. The ’81 AMC Spirit was the same car that Tim drove at the Demon from ’97-02. It was Clayton’s first time in a race car.

Tim noted, “I remember going off turn two back when this was the 25K and getting caught in a tree.”…

Late Models came out in surprisingly big numbers for this show at 19 cars were in the pits. In the house along with the Fulton regulars were Robbie Wilson, Eli Mayhew, Jim Johnson, T.J. Downs, Brian Knowles and Charlie Sandercock along with Kyle Sopaz…

Evan Wright, a Four-Cylinder driver, graduated the night before from Cicero-North Syracuse, and had his best run ever with close second to winner Ray Bechler…

There were a couple different Sportsman drivers in the house including Cody Clark, Addison Bowman and Brandon Blair along with Aaron Jacobs…

Chuck Powelczyk was running up front when a flat tire knocked him out of the Four-Cylinder main…

Dale Caswell put on one heck of a show in the LM main finishing 2.7 second ahead of Jason Parkhurst and 3.4 seconds ahead of third place Sandercock…

Sabrina Jeffries had her best ever 4Cyl finish with a fourth in the main as 17 cars were pit side…

Corey Barker and Chris Hulsizer had a great battle for the lead until, with eight laps to go, Barker got turned around to bring out the yellow and Hulsizer was sent to the rear for doing the turning thus giving the lead to Krause (similar situation to the previous week). He held off hard charging Amy Holland who was 1.4 seconds behind…

The rained out feature for the Sportsman saw Alan Fink, Tyler Thompson and Holland the top three.

Stephen Denton had a good night with a fourth and third…

For the second week features were forced to be moved. The STARS Mod Lites and the second Sportsman main will be scheduled at a later date as steady rain moved in. Check the Brewerton web page…

The bleacher crew has done an amazing job as it was a first thought it would take all season, but the rest of the new aluminum stands could be up this week…

That’s it for this time around as the notebook appears to be semi-cleaned out.

New, notes, comments etc. to foley395@hotmail.com