Late Model Roundup: DTD Exclusive from Williams Grove and Winchester

By Ryan Lepre

The Super Late Models invaded the historic Williams Grove Speedway for their one and only appearance of the year at the half mile red clay oval.  Twenty four cars entered the event with heat race wins going to Dan Stone, Jerry Bard and Chris Cassner.  The feature came to the green with Brian Booze and Jason Covert making up the front row.  Covert shot to the lead in turn one on lap one with Bard and Booze close behind.  Gene Knaub was on the move from the start as he ran in the fifth spot just two laps into the 25 lap event.  Several mid race cautions slowed the pace as regional stars Scott Haus and Gary Stuhler both retired from the event.  Knaub continued to move forward taking fourth spot on lap seven then the third spot from Booze.  Knaub and 11th starter Dan Stone were both charging by running the outside of the slick speedway.  Stone broke into the top five on lap 11 and into the fourth spot just two circuits later.  Bard had run a steady pace in second but now Knaub was hounding him for the second spot.  Following a lap 15 caution period Knaub took the position.  Covert went on to take the flag to flag win over Knaub, Bard who held off Stone while 14th starter Tyler Hershey made a nice late race charge to edge Booze to finish fifth.

Jason Covert led the race wire to wire in the Barry Klinedinst owned No.43A to collect his fifth win at Williams Grove.

“Starting out front meant so much tonight but the car was pretty good all night.  I love being here this place just really fits my style. We won at Hagerstown last week and that always means a lot and so does this place.  Back when we started coming here with a Limited Late Model around 2000 we ran well.”

The track is a special place for Covert of York Haven,PA who wheeled the Hershey powered Rocket car to perfection on the abrasive track with his American Racer tires.

“Being at the Grove just means so much it wouldn’t matter if we won a race here in a Yugo its Williams Grove.  There are some good ghosts here it’s just one of my favorite places to race.  Being out front I was able to really look after my tires but the track did knaw on them a bit but we’ll take the wins as they come.”

Gene Knaub of Dover, PA started the feature from the tenth spot and in just two laps cracked the top five by using the outside line a place few ventured during the event.

“We were running the top pretty good just not good enough for Jason but finishing second to him is a good night anytime.  We run here a lot, this is our home track with the 358 Late Model I’m just glad we could run good for our hometown fans.  We only get to run the Super half a dozen times a year.”

Knaub builds the motors for his Superior Homes No.1 Rocket himself.

“It feels good to outrun some of those guys that have a lot more motor than we do.   Compared to the 358 the timing and braking is different and the cars are lighter it’s totally different but home turf does help.”

Jerry Bard of Shippensburg, PA in his Bard powered No.26 Rocket finished a solid third place.

“We were pretty happy with the car only getting to run here once a year it’s tough to get the car right.  I wish they’d run us a bit more I think the fans like it.  It was kind of tough out there when it rubbered up I just think we went a little soft on tires tonight.”

Dan Stone of Thompson, PA in the NEP Wireless No.21D Rocket may have had a shot at Covert if not for a bad redraw.
“I think if we started up front we would have been in good shape.  I had to use a lot of tire to get up there and we were a little soft on tires too.  It seemed it took a couple laps to get by every car. I just used a lot up getting there.  That last restart we had I just couldn’t get going again.  I think I just wore out the right front and couldn’t steer anymore.

Williams Grove Super Late Models Finish (25-laps): 1.Jason Covert 2.Gene Knaub 3.Jerry Bard 4.Dan Stone 5.Tyler Hershey 6.Brian Booze 7.Scott LeBarron 8.Mike Lupfer 9.Jim Yoder 10.Sam Schaeffer 11.Dylan Yoder 12.Derrick Casner 13.Chad Hollenbeck 14.Andy Haus 15.Ron Coleman 16.Danny Snyder 17.Duane Harbaugh 18.Gary Stuhler 19.Pancho Lawler 20.Chris Cassner 21.Scott Haus 22.Mike Mort.  DNS:Tim Wilson,Dave Zona

Saturday night at the Winchester Speedway in northern Virginia Gary Stuhler led flag to flag to score his 76th win at the 3/8 mile speedway.  Heat races for the 23 cars in attendance went to Jamie Lathroum and Gary Stuhler who led the field to the green flag for the 30 lap main event.  At the start Stuhler moved to the lead off turn two with Lathroum, Trever Feathers, Glenn Elliott and JT Spence in tow.  Stuhler started to pull away while the race was on for second between Lathroum, Feathers and Spence.  Spence worked his way to third on lap 13 and then moved to second just one lap later and began to cut into Stuhler’s lead.  A caution with ten to go bunched the field but Stuhler pulled away on the restart.  As the laps ticked down Spence reeled Stuhler back in and threw his ride hard into the final set of corners but came up just a few car lengths short.  Lathroum bested Feathers for third in a race long battle while Devin Freise completed the front five.

Gary Stuhler of Greencastle, PA picked up a much needed confidence boast on Saturday.

“We’ve been struggling for the last couple years.  We started our year out in these first three races and I was about ready to quit.  We worked on it all day today, we’ve been trying to keep our heads up this is a big win for us.  I’ve always liked racing this place but man I’ve struggled with all the new technology that has come into the sport.”

Stuhler’s crew made a step in the right direction with their Maple Grove Machining No.23 Mastersbuilt.

“I think we’ve found something with this car and hope we can just make it better yet.  I’m pretty sure what JT (Spence) had on for a tire and I thought maybe that caution helped because I was able to cool the tires off.  I can’t thank my owner Charles Phillips enough for all this equipment he’s given us and at least he says he’s having fun.”

Hometown racer JT Spence has a new team this year as he wheels Winchester Speedway owner Greg Gunter’s No.91 Hershey powered Rocket.

“When I was at my prime on the long green run, Gary (Stuhler) was at his worst. The caution came out and put the ball back in his court.  It just took me four or five laps to get going even on the initial start but when they said it was two to go I started reeling him back in.  I made up ground there at the end and got to his bumper if I had one more lap it would have been interesting.  Greg Gunter makes this all possible this is a brand new car and fresh engine we had to change engines last week and found a cracked spark plug the other night in this one but we couldn’t do this without Greg.  We’ve had a couple good nights here a fourth last week and a second tonight so we won a little money.”

Winchester Super Late Models (25-laps): 1.Gary Stuhler 2.JT Spence 3.Jamie Lathroum 4.Trever Feathers 5.Devin Friese 6.Kenny Moreland 7.Roy Deese Jr. 8.Glenn Elliott 9.Kenny Pettyjohn 10.DJ Myers 11.Tyler Hershey 12.Brad Omps 13.Kyle Hardy 14.Tommy Armel 15.Tony Crim 16.Greg Roberson 17.Chaz Walls 18.Matt Sponaugle 19.Pancho Lawler 20.Jason Miller 21.Justin Kann 22.Duane Harbaugh DNS:Denny Bonebrake