KUTZTOWN, PA – Ohio’s Matt Westfall figured his luck would change (for the better) sooner or later, but he was having some doubts and feeling a little snakebit…until Wednesday, June 12, that is.
Westfall rebounded from a disappointing finish in Sunday night’s Flying Farmer 40 to win the USAC All Pro SpeedSTR main at Championship Energy Action Track USA on Wednesday. The victory occurred on Glick Fire Equipment First Responder Night presented by Belfor Property Restoration of Allentown, and Westfall was the first to respond in the quest for the checkered flag.
He was leading Sunday’s 40-lapper when a fuel line ruptured, sending him to the pits and ending his evening. There were no such issues on Wednesday, though, as “the Flying Buckeye” shot into the lead from his outside front-row starting spot and led all the way to register his second career SpeedSTR victory at the Berks County oval.
“Finally got some luck to go with our speed,” said Westfall in victory lane. “We’ve been fast; just had our share of bad luck. Hopefully this is the start of a streak of good luck. Hats off to Milt (Aquilini) and all the guys who work on this thing…it was really strong tonight.”
His assessment was understated. Westfall streaked out to big leads on several occasions, only to have a yellow flag interrupt his progress and bring him back to his pursuers. But the open wheel veteran simply mashed the accelerator and took off again each time the green reappeared.
Billy Pauch Jr. and Erick Rudolph (making his SpeedSTR debut) executed a double flip in turn four on lap one. Both were able to continue with Rudolph making a pit stop under yellow to facilitate some hasty repairs to his No. 17. Because the yellow was thrown for a stalled Tom Mayberry prior to the double roll-over in turn four, and because he did not make a pit stop, Pauch was permitted to get his spot back. Rudolph had to drop to the rear of the field for the restart.
Westfall mosied out to a big lead as the race went back to green. with TJ Mayberry and Steve Buckwalter battling for second. With Westfall riding off into the sunset, Mayberry and S. Buckwalter dueled for the runner-up position. When Steve dropped out, it was his cousin, Tim Buckwalter, who took up the pursuit of Mayberry. He and TJ threw some vicious sliders at one another until Tim Buckwalter claimed the spot at the halfway mark of the 25-lapper. When T. Buckwalter zipped past TJ Mayberry to stake a claim on the runner-up slot, he brought Billy Pauch Jr. with him.
A yellow with ten to go provided some extreme nervousness for the leader, as Casey Boone spun right in front of the leader in turn two. Westfall was able to avoid disaster and got around the No. 1c without any issues. On the restart, Pauch Jr. slipped under T. Buckwalter for second and set sail after Westfall. Terrific racing was happening behind the leaders, as TJ Mayberry, Briggs Danner (also involved in that skirmish with one lap complete), Mike Mahaney, and Rudolph were slugging it out for positions four through seven. Intense action among this group featured side by side and three-wide action with positions being swapped consistently. Unfortunately, Mayberry and Danner got together in turn four with two to go. Both flipped to bring out the red flag, ending fantastic runs by both wheel-twisters.
Westfall endured the yellows/reds, and he paced the final pair of trips around the lightning-fast clay oval to record the victory over a fast-closing Pauch Jr. Tim Buckwalter wound up third with Pat Bealer and Erick Rudolph completing the top five.
Rick Eckert (11.835-seconds) and Pat Bealer were quickest in the timed dashes and transferred directly to the 30-lap feature. Alex Bright, Westfall, and Steve Buckwalter were heat race winners and Ken Meisner won the B-Main.
Nash Ely’s first Action Track USA triumph could be summed up by the famous line in an old television commercial: “He did it the old fashioned way…he earned it.”
Ely, the Maryland teenager who races out of Sinking Spring, PA, captured his initial victory in the Hyper Racing EVO Injection 600 Sprints after a spirited scuffle with Tyler Lindsay and Jacob Severn. Lindsay led early as Ely and Severn slugged it out for the runner-up position. Ely eventually dispensed with Severn and set his sights on Lindsay, who was also bidding for his first win at the track that sits on the Kutztown Fairgrounds. After numerous sliders and nose-to-nose racing, Ely shoved the nose of his No. 22 ahead of Lindsay to (barely) lead lap 14.
Ely bolted away on a restart with ten to go, but Severn took over second and reeled in the leader as the laps clicked off in rapid fashion. Severn threw a slide job to temporarily sneak in front, but Ely charged back and reclaimed the top spot with two to go. Kenny Miller III, who notched one of the 600 Sprint wins on Sunday, suddenly came to life and blasted into the runner-up position as Severn bobbled in one and two. Miller dove to the bottom in three and four, nearly drawing even with the leader, but Ely’s momentum off the top of turn four was enough to propel him to the heart-pounding victory. Miller chased him to the checkered with Severn, Billy Koch, and Lindsay rounding out the top five.
Scott Neary started second but grabbed the lead on the opening tour of the All Star Slingshot 30-lap main. Justin Thompson motored to second in the early laps as Dave Carraghan battled one of his teammates, Tyler Hoch, for third. With Neary cruising out front, some hard-nosed racing took place behind him with Carraghan finally securing third, then wrestling second away from Thompson on the eighth revolution. Dylan Hoch, Carraghan’s other Hoch Motorsports teammate, steered into third at halfway. While Carraghan closed in on the leader when Neary was forced to deal with lapped traffic, he could not muster a serious challenge and Neary went on to score his first Action Track USA victory. Carraghan, D. Hoch, Jared Silfee, and Thompson completed the top five.
Tucker Cole led all the way to win the 15-lap Junior Slingshot feature. Kasey Hufcut muscled his way past Logan Bauman to move into second place on lap three. Eighth-starting Tyler Ulsh weaved his way to third on the fourth tour, and that is the way they finished, with Cole leading Hufcut, Ulsh, Bauman, and James Hendricks to the checkered flag.
USAC All-Pro SpeedSTRs (30 Laps) — 1. Matt Westfall 2. Billy Pauch Jr. 3. Tim Buckwalter 4. Pat Bealer 5. Erick Rudolph 6. Alex Yankowski 7. Mike Mahaney 8. Matt Janisch 9. Trevor Kobylarz 10. Rick Eckert 11. Stephen Nederostek 12. Ken Meisner 13. Kevin Graver 14. Chad Jones 15. Casey Boone 16. Briggs Danner 17. TJ Mayberry 18. Steve Buckwalter 19. Earl Paules 20. Brad Brightbill 21. Alex Bright 22. Tom Mayberry 23. Dan Leaper.
DNQ: Gary Wagner; Andy Haus.
Hyper Racing EVO Injection 600 Sprint Cars (25 Laps) — 1. Nash Ely 2. Kenny Miller 3. Jacob Severn 4. Billy Koch 5. Tyler Lindsay 6. Joe Kay 7. Colin White 8. Jesse Mauer 9. Richie Hartman 10. Jacob Balliet 11. Chad Sandt 12. Eddie Strada 13. Billy Pauch Jr. 14. Joe Nemeth 15. Tyler Brehm 16. Mike Mahaney 17. Doug Snyder 18. Scott Slater 19. Fred Heinly 20. Logan Rumsey 21. Brad Smith 22. Jared Lilly 23. James Morris 24. Mike Linderman 25. Tim Buckwalter 26. Joey Amantea 27. Jay Hartman. DNS: Alex Bright.
DNQ: Andy Ressler; Adrianna Delliponti; Don Colaluce.
All-Star Slingshot (30 Laps) — 1. Scott Neary 2. Dave Carraghan 3. Dylan Hoch 4. Jared Silfee 5. Justin Thompson 6. Kyle Herve 7. Dakota Kohler 8. Brett Bieber 9. Nick Vinciguerra 10. Tyler Hoch 11. Austin Daniels 12. Gavin Danner 13. Mark Mohr 14. Josh Patterson 15. Devin Whitmoyer 16. Ryan Davey 17. Justin Schenk 18. Tanner VanDoren 19. Matt Miller 20. Faith Turnbaugh 21. Bryce Smith 22. CJ Fritz 23. James Mohr.
Junior Slingshots (15 Laps) — 1. Tucker Cole 2. Kasey Hufcut 3. Tyler Ulsh 4. Logan Bauman 5. James Hendricks 6. Jacob Taylor 7. Payton Fasnacht 8. Aidan Donaldson 9. Joshua Allen 10. Aaron Dilner 11. Kylie Hendricks 12. Talan Carter 13. Paul Hartwig III 14. Jax Yohn 15. Joey Lyle 16. Wyatt Tashler.
Ankiewicz Enterprises/ Mayor Keith Gerhart 600 Sprint Mad Scramble (10 Laps) – 1.Chad Sandt (Transfer to Feature and $50 cash), 2.Mike Mahaney (Hoosier RR Tire), 3.Scott Slater (Vahlco Wheel), 4.Joe Nemeth (10 Gallons Methanol), 5.Jared Lilly (Precision Hydraulic Oil Change Kit), 6.Andy Ressler (RTS Gift Certificate), 7.Logan Rumsey (TSL Shocks Gift Certificate), 8.Adrianna Delliponti (Hyper Racing Gift Certificate), 9.Don Colaluce (FK Rod Ends), 10.Fred Heinly (Saldana Gift Certificate), 11.Brad Smith (Pyrotect Racing Cells Gift Certificate).