By DAVE SULLY
DELEVAN, NY- Max Blair continued his dominance in the United Late Model Series for Super Late Models at Freedom Motorsports Park on Friday, July 13th, before a large crowd, shrugging off an early race hiccup to dominate the 30 lap event and pocket $2500, plus $300 for setting fast time. Though there were only ten cars on hand, due in part to a rash of engine failures among ULMS drivers and other circumstances, the bright lights were there to shine and the brightest, Blair, from Centerville, PA, set the bar even higher as he scored his seventh Series win of the season in the 30 lap “Pete Loretto Memorial.”
Polesitter Greg Oakes took the early lead, with Mike Maresca immediately jumping into second.and Blair, who started sixth, daring into third. Following a caution on lap three, the dynamic changed, as, on the restart, there was some heavy contact involving several cars, resulting in Blair being shuffled back to seventh. He noted, “I got hit going into the corner and got shoved up the race track and then we got hit real hard coming off the corner and made me fall back, but it’s all part of racing,”
Oakes and Maresca continued to set the pace, with several drivers jockeying for position behind them. As Oakes drew out to a lead, the caution flew on lap 13 for a flat tire on the Dave Hess car. Under caution, the race took another turn, as leader Oakes suddenly lost power in turn one, with Maresca assuming the top spot. He was under immediate siege from Blair, who had clawed his way back to the front. The two raced side by side before Blair edged in front on lap 16.
Blair then went hammer down and opened a substantial lead, as Maresca gamely tried to keep him in sight. A final caution on lap 24, for a flat tire on the Mike Wonderling car, gave Maresca one more opportunity, but Blair, who set fast time this night and holds the track record, drove away over the final laps. Maresca settled for second, followed by Oakes, who was able to get his machine re-fired, Bryce Davis, and Hess to complete the top five.
Blair offered, “It was a little hairy there, for awhile, but it all worked out. We got back by those guys and we’re sitting here. It’s awesome. This year has just been unbelievable”
In the 20 lap Sportsman race, Brad Rouse, from St Catharines, Ontario, re-claimed his dominance after seeing his unbeaten streak broken by Josh Wilcox the previous week, scoring his fifth win by wiring the field from the pole. Two cautions, the second on lap 18, and a strong challenge from Kyle Inman kept the issue in doubt, but the veteran Rouse was able to handle all adversity to win going away. Inman took second, with Ray Bliss, Wilcox, and Tony Pangrazio completing the top five.
Rouse allowed, “No matter where we put the car, it was sticking. These guys worked hard and we got it back to where we usually have it.”
The 20 lap “Bixby Hill Shootout” for the Street Stocks, with $1,000 to win, produced a highly competitive race and saw two newcomers this season, former 360 standout Glen Whritenour and Curt Stebbins, duke it out for the win. After two early cautions, Whritenour took the lead from the outside pole and set a brisk pace, with Stebbins, who took second on a lap two caution, nipping at his heels.
Three subsequent cautions kept Stebbins in Whritenour’s rear view mirror, with Stebbins able to get alongside on a lap seven restart before Whritenour re-established his advantage in the entertaining race. At the line, it was Whritenour, from Jasper, and Stebbins close at the front, followed by track champion Bill Taylor, Andy Michael, and Pat Powers the top five.
NOTES: The large crowd on hand proved the drawing power of the Super Late Models, who will be making two more appearances at the tight Freedom oval, August 10th and September 15th……………..Next Friday, July 20th, the Outlaw 40, a Fulton Outlaw 200 qualifier with $2500 to win, should draw a good crowd, as well.
ULMS Super Late Models- (30 laps) – 1. Max Blair, 2. Mike Maresca, 3. Greg Oakes, 4. Bryce Davis, 5. Dave Hess Jr., 6. Mike Wonderling Jr., 7. Chris Hackett, 8. Nathan Hill, 9. Al Brewer, and 10. Jason Dobson. Heat winners were Blair and Oakes.
Sportsman: (20 laps) – 1. Brad Rouse, 2. Kyle Inman, 3. Ray Bliss, 4. Josh Wilcox, 5. Tony Pangrazio, 6. Austyn Fugle, 7. Alan Bratek, 8. Mark Harsch, 9. Tim Schram, 10. Nate Kosen, and 11. Cody Egner.. Heat winners were Bratek and Fugle.
Street Stocks: (20 laps) – 1. Glen Whritenour, 2. Curt Stebbins, 3. Bill Taylor, 4. Andy Michael, 5. Pat Powers, 6. Ryan Allen, 7. Joe Chamberlain 8. Dustin Goss, 9. Ted Mascho, 10. Dennis Cummings, and 11. Bill Demick. Heat winners were Powers and Stebbins.