By BOBBY SWEENEY
FULTON, NY – Former Modified track champion Tom Sears Jr. held off hard charges from Jimmy Phelps and Larry Wight to score the win in front of a packed grandstand at the Fulton Speedway.
Tim Mayne and Adam Roberts made up the front row for the 35-lap feature event, with Roberts getting the best launch of the two to grab the lead. Roberts never had a chance to skate away early, as Tim Kerr brought out the yellow on the second lap with a full 360-degree spin on the backstretch. On the restart, Roberts pulled away, chased by Ryan Jordan and sixth starting Tom Sears Jr.
As the laps clicked off, the battle began to heat up at the front of the field. By halfway, the race inside of the top five was just short of a war, with Roberts leading, followed closely by Sears, Jimmy Phelps, Larry Wight, and Max McLaughlin. Through the middle stages of the race, Roberts held strong on the cushion, with the remainder of the top five utilizing every inch of Fulton’s racy surface.
On lap 28, Sears pulled the trigger and drove under Roberts for the lead. Roberts would not stay in second for long, as Phelps and Wight followed suit to knock Roberts back to fourth.
From there, Phelps and Wight battled side by side as they both closed in on Sears. As the white flag waived, Phelps had reached the rear bumper of Sears, but the pace was slowed by the yellow flag, as Jordan’s solid run came to an end in the third turn wall. The first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish was called back, as Pat Ward’s front end collapsed, collecting Matt Hulsizer.
Neither Phelps nor Wight could capitalize on the two late restarts, as Sears crossed the line just a car length in front of Phelps for his first win at the track this season. Wight claimed third, while Max McLaughlin and Chris Hile rounded out the top five.
“It was all pretty good until those yellows,” Sears said in victory lane. “I didn’t know where anyone was running, so picking a lane was like picking your own poison. I just had to keep the car wide.”
A total of 41 Sportsman entered on Saturday evening, which meant the division would run two full points, full purse features for the third time this season. In the first feature, Jeremy Dygert snatched the top spot from race long leader Chris Cunningham on lap 12 of 25 to score his first win of the season in the caution free race.
In the second Sportsman event, Todd Root ran away and hid from the field to score his second win of the season at the track, while Will Shields, Wade Chrisman, Bill Clark, Tyler Trump, and others battled ferociously for the second spot, with Shields ultimately coming out on top, albeit nearly half a track behind Root.
Chad Homan came out on top of an epic duel with Keven Cook in the Late Model feature. The pair swapped the lead back and forth a number of times in the final laps, with Homan barely edging Cook by half a car length at the finish. Homan’s win is his second of the year at Fulton, his previous coming during the Highbank Holdup weekend.
Ray Bechler ended up victorious in a wild 4-Cylinder event, as leader Chris Bonoffski had a right rear tire go flat on the last lap. Bechler split the ailing Bonoffski and eventual runner up Quinn Wallis exiting turn 4 to narrowly claim the win.
After inheriting the lead late due to a series of cautions, Kyle Perry captured another Novice Sportsman checkered. Steve Marshall joined him in victory lane, as he passed Tyler Rodgers on the last lap to grab his first win in the division.
(Tracey Road Equipment DIRTcar Modifieds 35 Laps) – TOM SEARS JR., Jimmy Phelps, Larry Wight, Max McLaughlin, Chris Hile, Adam Roberts, Billy Whittaker, Chad Phelps, Tim Kerr, Tim Sears Jr., Andrew Ferguson, Marc Johnson, Mike Bowman, Roy Bresnahan, Katelyn Hile, Joe August Jr., Andy Noto, Kody Graham, Tim Mayne, Pat Ward, Matt Hulsizer, Ryan Jordan, Jim Witko Jr., Tim Murphy.
(SUNY Canton DIRTcar Sportsman # 1 25 Laps) – JEREMY DYGERT, Nate Higgins, Chris Cunningham, Alan Fink, Jeremy Pitcher, Corey Barker, Matt Janczuk, Mike Button, Chris Mackey, Kyle DeMetro, Mike Stanton Jr., Willy Decker Jr., Jason Amidon, Brett Draper, Jim Spano, Kyle Fink, Joe Sobotka, Tyler Thompson, Chris Hulsizer, Mike Phelps, DNS-Ryan Hatherill.
(SUNY Canton DIRTcar Sportsman #2 25 Laps) – TODD ROOT, Will Shields, Wade Chrisman, Billy Clark Jr., Tyler Trump, Ron Davis III, Kyle Kiehn, AJ Miller, Jessica Power, Garett Rushlow, Joey Buonagurio, Brandon Carvey, Glenn Forward, Dorian Wahdan, Torrey Stoughtenger, Nick Krause, JJ Courcy, Patrick LaPage, Aron Backus.
(Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux RUSH Late Models 20 Laps) – CHAD HOMAN, Kevan Cook, Bret Belden, Jason Parkhurst, Jason Occhino, Sean Beardsley, Kyle Sopaz, Brandon Carvey, AJ Kingsley, Ron Davis III, Mike Kazmierczak, Dale Caswell, Alan Chapman, Steven Coit, Chris Fleming.
(E&V Energy Novice Sportsman #1 15 Laps) – KYLE PERRY, Kearra Backus, Ryan Gustin, Bill Sauve, Charlie Tibbitts, John Strickler, Robert Gage, Dan Dupra, DNS – Tom Mackey, Matthew Becker, Colby Herzog.
(E&V Energy Novice Sportsman #2 15 Laps) – STEVE MARSHALL, Tyler Rogers, Jimmy Moyer, Wesley Hayes, John Stowell, Jake Davis, Bill Megnin, Casey Cunningham, Matt Nolan, Tom Juno.
(JB Logging & Firewood 4-Cylinders 15 Laps) – RAY BECHLER, Quinn Wallis, Chris Bonoffski, Dakota Bechler, Joe Buske Jr., Jamie Radley, Skip DeGroff, Nate Powers, Colby Herzog, Stephanie Seeley, Ken Pitsley, Dylan Curcie, Cody Thompson, Mark Wallace.