Kutztown, PA – A terrific night of competition opened the 2022 season at Championship Energy Action Track USA on Wednesday, May 18. The dirt track stadium on the Kutztown Fairgrounds hosted the Goldie & Elton Meitzler Memorial to begin its 10th season under track owners/promoters Rich Tobias and Doug Rose.
A wildly entertaining 35 lap SpeedSTR main event saw Alex Bright emerge victorious. It was the Collegeville, PA driver’s first ever SpeedSTR triumph, and it paid $3,000.
The Hyper Racing/ EVO Injection 600 Sprint feature, a 25 lapper paying $1,000 to the winner, fell to Christian Bruno of Deptford, NJ.
Mertztown, PA’s Tyler Hoch notched his first-ever Action Track USA victory in the 20 lap main for the All Star Slingshots. And Garrett Chillot, in just his third start—ever—registered the Junior Slingshot win.
The Meitzler Memorial produced fantastic car counts as 53 of the 600 Sprints took part in the racing program, while 20 Speedway Entertainment All Pro SpeedSTRs entered the event. The All Star Slingshots drew a full field of 24, and six Junior Slingshots signed in for competition on Wednesday..
Steve Buckwalter and Mike Bednar, who shared the front row for the start of the SpeedSTR main, battled tooth-and-nail for the top spot over the first four circuits before Buckwalter took control. Alex Bright, who started fourth, made his presence known after a lap five restart as he began his assault on runner-up Bednar. Bright eventually out dueled Bednar and initiated his pursuit of race leader S. Buckwalter.
The battle for the top spot developed into a torrid duel between Bright and Buckwalter until a lapped car altered the complexion of the race. As Buckwalter roared down the backstretch, the slower car remained in the racing groove. With Bright nipping at his heels, Buckwalter had no choice but to lay on his brakes and rap the slower car’s rear bumper. With his momentum gone and his path into turn three blocked, Buckwalter could only watch as Bright ducked low and zipped past him to take the lead.
Bright pulled away by a few car lengths, leaving Buckwalter to scuffle with Bednar for second. It was a B&B battle royal, as the duo traded numerous slide jobs and swapped the runner-up slot several times. Buckwalter, the 2020 point champ at Action Track USA, finally got the best of Bednar and started to run down the leader as Bright got hung up in heavy lapped traffic. A caution with one to go cleared the track for the leaders and set up a final, frantic, one lap dash to settle the issue.
Buckwalter stalked Bright on the restart, setting up for a gigantic slider in turns three and four. Steve squeezed up in front of Bright, but Alex was ready for the move and calmly crossed back under Buckwalter off of four. Bright dashed to the checkered ahead of Buckwalter by 0.233 seconds. Bednar was a close third, with defending SpeedSTR champ Briggs Danner finishing fourth and Tim Buckwalter completed the top five.
“I’ve got to thank the crew and car owner Ralph Rehrig,” said Bright in his victory lane interview. “I am pretty easy on them because I really don’t know what I’m doing in these cars; I haven’t run them all that much. So I really don’t suggest many changes during the night because I don’t know what to tell them to change,” smiled the winner before adding, “but I’m learning pretty quickly.”
A large contingent of Meitzler family members joined each of the winning drivers for victory lane photos, along with Ms. Motorsports, Morgan Rochelle-Bealer.
Billy Pauch Jr.. and Preston Lattomus diced for the lead at the outset of the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint feature. As they battled and swapped the number one position, eighth-starting Steven Snyder Jr. sliced forward and surprised the lead duo, powering around them on the front chute to snare the top spot.
With Snyder accelerating away to a big lead, Pauch Jr. and Lattomus waged a fierce dogfight for second. With the end of the race now in sight, contact between the two caused Pauch Jr. to flip in turn four, bringing about a red flag situation. During the stoppage, Snyder coasted to the infield with mechanical problems, handing the lead to Christian Bruno. The high school senior went on to score the win, his third career triumph at the Berks County oval. Lattomus settled for runner-up honors, with Connor Gross climbing from 13th on the start to finish third. The 2020 track champion, Colin White, drove from 16th to fourth, while Reese Nowotarski rounded out the top five.
Since he started his racing career about four years ago, Tyler Hoch had one goal – to win an All Star Slingshot main event at Action Track USA. On Wednesday night, the Mertztown driver realized his goal in a caution-plagued 20 lap feature.
Andrew Turpin fended off the advances of Hoch for six tours until his No. 56 broke, handing the lead to Hoch. Scott Neary and Tyler Ulsh took up the chase, but Hoch was too strong, winning by 1.224 seconds over Neary, Ulsh, Shelby McLaughlin, and Brett Bieber.
Making just his third start in any type of race car, Garrett Chillot blasted by early leader Weston Doklan with ten to go, then cruised to a dominating victory in the Junior Slingshot feature. Finishing second in the 15 lapper was Doklan, who was celebrating his 11th birthday at the speedway on Wednesday. Aubrey Romig placed third, with Hailey Burnaowski, Mason Lineman, and Brianna Snyder making up the rest of the finishing order.
Action Track USA returns on Wednesday, May 25, with the Ronnie Tobias Memorial, an annual event highlighted by Twin 20’s for the SpeedSTRs. The 600 Sprints, All Star and Junior Slingshots are also on the card. Warm-ups get underway at 6:15, with qualifying races following the hot lap sessions.
All Pro SpeedSTR Feature, 35 laps: 1. 1R, Alex Bright; 2. 56b, Steve Buckwalter; 3. 23b, Mike Bednar; 4. 78, Briggs Danner; 5. 52, Tim Buckwalter; 6. 17s, Dillon Steuer; 7.1c, Louden Reimert; 8. 5, Ryan Krachun; 9. 76, Andy Haus; 10. 7r, TJ Mayberry; 11.47, Gary Wagner; 12. 10, Andy Ressler; 13. 27r, Rich Rutski; 14. 5H, Scott Houdeshell; 15. 21, Dustin Morris; 16. 44, Nicolas Walker; 17. 2, Justin Thompson; 18. 17R, Tom Mayberry; 19. 7, Cale Zangli; 20. 27, Billy Pauch Jr.
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, 25 laps: 1. 5, Christian Bruno; 2. 23p, Preston Lattomus; 3. 14, Connor Gross; 4. 6, Colin White; 5. 10x, Reese Nowotarski; 6. z17, Michael Nolf; 7. 21s, Steven Snyder Jr.; 8. 3D, Dallas Damask; 9. 75, James Morris; 10. 7s, Nick Skias; 11. 12k, Joe Kay; 12. 2s, Garyt Smith; 13. 18t, JT Ferry; 14. 24w, Zack Weisenfluh; 15. z71, Chad Sandt; 16. 21, Mason Beinhower; 17. 21c, Zach Curtis; 18. 7, Aidan Borden; 19. 23b, Bradley Brown; 20. 76, Aidan Svanda; 21. 99, Briggs Danner; 22. m19, Jason Muldowney; 23.46, Tyler Lindsay; 24. r7, Billy Pauch Jr.; 25. 71, Tim Buckwalter; 26. 95, Jim Radney.
DNQ: z29, Evan Nolf; 15D, Matthew Donley; 88J, Joey Amantea; 75D, Trevor Dunn; 78, Aidan Donaldson; 65, Corey Colaluce; 80, Anthony Tramontana; 3, Danny Buccafusca; 7R, Teddy Reed; 22A, Adrianna Delliponti; M19, Pat Bealer; 32, Donny Smith; 15T, Maddie Boyd; 24, Sammy Martz Jr.; 25, Kenny Beinhower III; 10, Joe Nemeth; 19J, Jackson White; 22h, Fred Heinly; 83, Gabe Gerber; 65z, Jacob Fisher; 56, Eric Atherholt; 44, Olivia Haworth; 24j, Jared Kreider; 66, Billy Koch; 18, Jared Lilly; 9c, Sean Case; 5B, Ryan Boyd.
All Star Slingshots, 20 laps: 1. 50, Tyler Hoch; 2. 1, Scott Neary; 3. 1t, Tyler Ulsh; 4. 7, Shelby McLaughlin; 5. 32, Brett Bieber; 6. 67, Charlene Benz; 7. 75, James Hendricks; 8. 68, James Benz; 9. 36m, Mike Maguire; 10. 11, Colton Liineman; 11. 22k, Kylie Hendricks; 12. 56, Andrew Turpin; 13. 99m, Molly Struss; 14. 9G, Gavin Danner; 15. 55a, Amanda Angstadt; 16. 22, Tom Mawson; 17. m10, Taylor Mills; 18. 9x, Nate Freed; 19. 57, Logan Dontonville; 20. 27, John Redner; 21. r1, Chase Bixler; 22. rx1, Evan Bixler; 23. 14, Austin Kroboth; 24. 5, Lydia Navarro.
Junior Slingshots, 15 laps: 1. 349, Garrett Chillot; 2. 9w, Weston Doklan; 3. 35a, Aubrey Romig; 4. 86, Hailey Burnatowski; 5. usa1, Mason Lineman; 6. 12s, Brianna Snyder.