Bu JR KENNERUP
AFTON, NY – The new era started at the Afton Motorsports Park as the first race under track co – promoters Ron Ford and Leon Andrus took place on Friday night. Defending track Modified and American Racer Cup champion Andy Bachetti of Sheffield, MA won the Modified feature, while Claude Hutchings, Jr. won the Open Sportsman feature, youngster Matt Brewer claimed the Crate Sportsman feature, Doug Polhamus won the Street Stock feature, and Bob Crandall closed out the quick evening of racing by capturing the Four Cylinder Truck division.
Brett Tonkin and Andy Bachetti brought the ZMK Construction Modified field to green with Bachetti using the outside groove to grab the lead over Alan Barker, Tonkin, Nick Nye, and Darwin Greene.
With Bachetti racing comfortably in front a trio of drivers who started deep in the field garnered attention during the early portions of the 30 lap feature. Alex Tonkin ( brother of Brett ), Ken Titus, and Mitch Gibbs were all using the lower portions of the three groove track to work their way to the front. By lap ten Tonkin had worked his way to third with Gibbs in fourth and Titus in fifth.
The first yellow of the feature came out on lap 13 as the great run of Alex Tonkin ended against the outside retaining wall exiting turn two. On the double file restart Gibbs was the big mover as he made a high groove, low groove move with lap cars involved that saw him move into second and he immediately applied heavy pressure on Bachetti for the lead.
The final yellow of the event came out on lap 15 and a majority of the large gathering of racing fans figured that there was going to be one heck of a battle for the win between Bachetti and Gibbs, they were wrong.
When the green lights flashed on Bachetti rocketed out to a huge lead and showed everyone who was the boss on this night. It seemed that the tires sealed over on the car of Gibbs and he was left to try and protect his second place position.
At the checkers Bachetti in for the easy win over Gibbs who barely held off Titus for second, Barker held off a hard charging Rusty Smith for fourth.
Qualifying races for the Modifieds were won by Brett Tonkin, Bachetti, and Barker.
Skip Pickwick and Claude Hutchings, Jr. paced the 20 lap Scorpion Security Products Open Sportsman field to green with Hutchings grabbing the lead over Dennis Clapperton, Don Hart, Jr., Butch Klinger, and Dave Rosa.
Hutchings utilizing the ultra quick high groove opened up a big lead while Clapperton, Hart, Klinger, and Rosa used a multitude of racing grooves as they raced for second in a highly entertaining battle.
Rosa was able to move from fifth to third on lap five as he set up his own private race for second with Clapperton while Hart and Klinger were doing the same for fourth.
The first yellow of the race came out on lap 14 for a multi car incident in turn four and during this caution flag period the night for Rosa ended with a locked up rear end.
On the restart Hutchings once again jumped to the quick outside groove to regain his huge lead to capture the win over Clapperton, Hart, Klinger, and Craig Pope.
Qualifying races for the Open Sportsman were captured by Pickwick and Hutchings.
Cody Clark and Rob Loucks set the field for the 20 lap Ted’s Body Shop Crate Sportsman feature. Clark jumped out to the lead over defending track champion Harold Humphrey, Loucks, Bob Mills, and Matt Cole.
The big mover in the early portion of the feature was seventh place starter Matt Brewer. Brewer using the veteran knowledge and set up advice from Carl Nagel jumped to the extreme outside groove and quickly moved into third by lap three.
Brewer moved into second on lap six and he had fellow driver Allan Hodge right on his back bumper as he took third at the same time. AJ Digsby was also making some noise as he was glued to the bottom groove and he moved into fourth. The good run of Digsby ended on lap nine as he spun into the infield and resulting mechanical problems ended his night.
Up front Clark and Brewer were racing hard for the lead in a terrific side by side battle with no contact involved. Brewer staying in that extreme outside groove was able to grab the lead for good on lap 11 while AJ Miller now taking third.
The final laps saw Brewer maintain his lead to grab the win over Clark, Miller, Hodge, and Humphrey.
Qualifying races for the Crate Sportsman were on by Clark and Loucks.
Dustin Harris and Dave Cronk brought the Auto Plus Street Stocks to green in their 20 lap feature. Cronk took the lead over Harris, Doug Polhamus, Matt Bowman, and Doug Stack, Jr.
Teammates Polhamus and Bowman set up their own private race to the front with one using the bottom groove and the other using the top groove. Polhamus got to the front first as he took the lead on lap five.
Meanwhile Bowman had a tough time grabbing second from Cronk and after a few laps was able to do so on lap eight just as the yellow came out.
The double file restart saw Polhamus, showing who had the faster car on this night holding the lead over the final 12 laps for the win. Bowman, Stack, Jr., Harris, and Cronk rounded out the top five.
The qualifying race for the Street Stcoks was won by Harris.
Bob Crandall and Brandon Clapperton set the pace for the 15 lap Chambers & O’Hara Four Cylinder Truck feature. Crandall jumped out to the lead over Clapperton, Ralph Cuozzo, Jerry Lanfair, and Dustin Wilbur.
Cuozzo moved into second on lap two while Clapperton pitted with mechanical trouble on lap three in the non stop event.
Crandall easily held off Cuozzo over the final 13 laps for the win. Wilbur, Lanfair, and Pete Richardsen rounded out the top five.
The qualifying race for the Four Cylinder Trucks was captured by Crandall.
NEW ERA NOTES; when they took over, track co – promoters Ron Ford and Leon Andrus promised to start on time and finish by 10 pm. This was accomplished in their first night of promoting as the races ended at 9:52 pm Friday evening. Ron and Leon both would like to apologize for the long lines at the concession stand and that problem is being rectified as more kitchen staff will be hired for this week. The track surface was smooth with at least three good grooves available for racing and work will continue on minimizing the dust in the coming weeks. Many children signed up for the Joey Coulter C.A.R.S. Racing for a Cause, Inc. Kids Club with one lucky member winning a baseball glove on Friday night and in the coming weeks bicycles will be given away to lucky Kids Club Members.
This Friday night another action packed five division show at the Afton Motorsports Park will take place with gates opening at 4 pm, hot laps at 6:15 pm, and racing starting exactly at 7 pm.
For more information on the Afton Motorsports Park please check us out on the World Wide Web at www.aftonmotorsportspark.com or call us at 607 – 639 – DIRT.
Afton Motorsports Park… fun, fast and furious.
ZMK CONSTRUCTION MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH; Andy Bachetti, Mitch Gibbs, Ken Titus, Alan Barker, Rusty Smith, Nick Nye, Paul Jensen, Jeremy Smith, Brett Tonkin, JR Hurlburt, Darwin Greene, Kurt Decker, Jeff Sheeley, Matt Roberts, Brett Barrett, Steve Babicek, Mike Trautschold, Alex Tonkin, Jim Becker, Eddie Newell, Brandon Walters.
SCORPION SECURITY PRODUCTS OPEN SPORTSMAN FINISH; Claude Hutchings, Jr., Dennis Clapperton, Butch Klinger, Don Hart, Jr., Craig Pope, Aaron Shelton, Steve Anderson, Brandon Kuhn, Skip Pickwick, Lisa Williams, Dennis Greenier, Tyler Hart, Lucas Heintz, Craig Pritchard, Dave Rosa, Dwayne Jackson, Jim Gould.
TED’S BODY SHOP CRATE SPORTSMAN FINISH; Matt Brewer, Cody Clark, AJ Miller, Allan Hodge, Harold Humphrey, Bob Mills, Matt Cole, Duane Knapp, Rob Loucks, Tyler Lawrence, Colby Hendrickson, Travis Welch, Tim French, Jr., Matt Priscott, AJ Digsby, Craig Monroe.
AUTO PLUS STREET STOCK FINISH; Doug Polhamus, Matt Bowman, Doug Stack, Jr., Dustin Harris, Dave Cronk, Doug Stack, Sr., Chris Shultis, Damon Decker, Ralph Cuozzo, Fred Christ, Dan Rounds.
CHAMBERS & O’HARA FOUR CYLINDER TRUCK FINISH; Bob Crandall, Ralph Cuozzo, Dustin Wilbur, Jerry Lanfair, Pete Christensen, Ben Beecher, Wayne Van Dusen, Brandon Clapperton.