KUTZTOWN, PA – Tim Buckwalter thought his SpeedSTR season might be over before it ever really got started. His Earl Fellin-led team expired two engines in early season starts at Bloomsburg, leaving the Douglassville, PA wheel-twister (literally) without power. Thank to a Good Samaritan—who is also a competitor—Buckwalter is not only back in the game; he is, as the saying goes, “cooking with gas.”
The defending Action Track USA SpeedSTR point champ reeled off his first feature win of the season on Wednesday night, claiming bragging rights in the Ronnie Tobias Memorial presented by Belfor Property Restoration of Allentown, PA.
Joining Buckwalter in the winner’s circle were Connor Gross (600 Sprints), Brett Bieber (All Star Slingshots), and Chase Gular (Junior Slingshots). A brief rain shower lumbered over the speedway just as the first heat race was preparing to go green. Fortunately the rain did not last long, and the track’s co-owner Rich Tobias and his team soon had the surface back in tip-top racing condition.
“We absolutely would not be here if it wasn’t for Dustin Morris,” stated Tim Buckwalter after his SpeedSTR triumph. “He loaned us one of his motors after we lost two of them at Bloomsburg. I thought our season might be done at that point, but credit our car owner, Earl Fellin, for hangin’ in there and here we are,” smiled Buckwalter.
Doug Snyder bolted from his outside front row starting spot to take the early lead in the 30 lap Ronnie Tobias Memorial for the SpeedSTRs. With Snyder setting the pace, Buckwalter, who started sixth, engaged in a crowd pleasing slide-fest with Eddie Strada for the runner-up slot. After several laps and numerous haymakers by both jockeys, Buckwalter finally secured second and set his sights on the race leader.
Snyder put up quite the fight, but Buckwalter was too good on this night, powering to the front on lap 12 and immediately putting some distance between himself and the rest of the pack.
Mike Bednar was now the man on the move, slicing through talent-laden traffic from his tenth starting position. Bednar picked off Louden Reimert, Strada, and Snyder to snare second spot with a dozen circuits remaining. He tried a big slider on Buckwalter in turns three and four just after a late race restart, but Buckwalter cut back under Bednar to reclaim the top spot and that effectively ended any potential drama over the eventual victory.
Buckwalter gassed to the win, his 19th career SpeedSTR win at Action Track USA. Only Billy Pauch Jr. (24) has more SpeedSTR triumphs at the Berks County race place.
Bednar hung with Buckwalter over the final few revolutions but could not muster another challenge. He finished second after placing third in each of the season’s first two events. Pauch Jr. wound up third (he started 12th), Reimert was fourth, and Matt Janisch finished fifth.
Alex Bright set quick time during hot laps with a fast lap of 11.957 seconds. Heat race winners included Reimert, Strada, and Snyder. There were 20 entries (a season high for any SpeedSTR races in the region) for the Ronnie Tobias Memorial presented by Belfor Property Restoration.
Asbury, NJ’s Connor Gross recorded his second consecutive victory in the 25 lap feature for the Hyper Racing/ EVO Injection 600 Sprints. It was an incredibly fast, wild, and entertaining main that took just 7 minutes, 30.275 seconds to complete. After a quick yellow on the initial start, the race went clean and green for all 25 tours with Gross coming out on top.
Former Ms. Motorsports Morgan Rochelle Bealer started on the pole and led the first trio of trips around the lightning quick oval. Eddie Strada closed in and snatched the lead from Rochelle Bealer on lap four as ninth starting Connor Gross found the high groove, put his foot to the floor, and it seemed as though he never lifted until he saw the checkered flag.
Gross rocketed into the runner-up spot on the eighth circuit, then zipped past Strada just a couple tours later. He galloped out to a healthy advantage, but the activity from second on back was incredibly intense. Brian Carber rolled off in the eighth position, then, with most of the top runners ripping the lip, utilized the low line to thread his way forward. Carber moved into third on lap nine. He stalked Strada for a number of revolutions before making the move and wrestling second away from the Lake Ariel, PA hot shoe with five to go.
Carber was able to gain on Gross during the final stages of the 25 lapper as lapped traffic held up the leader, but Gross still enjoyed a significant bulge of 1.641 seconds at the finish.
Gross cashed in for his second straight Action Track USA 600 Sprint triumph with Carber a solid second. Strada notched his first podium finish of the young season, and a returning Kenny Miller III crossed the line in fourth after starting 11th. The story of the race, however, was Zack Weisenfluh from Taylor, PA. Weisenfluh had steering issues in his heat race, forcing him to run a C-Main where he finished second to barely transfer to the B-Main. In the B, he and his No. 24W fought tooth-and-nail for a qualifying spot but he came up one position short, finishing fourth. Weisenfluh then took a provisional, offered because of his position in points, for the feature. He started 27th and maneuvered his way through the field to end up fifth—without the benefit of a caution.
Morgan Rochelle Bealer won the Mad Scramble for non-qualifiers from the previous race. That victory locked her into Wednesday’s feature.
There were 50 entries in the 600 Sprint field on Wednesday. Five heats were run with victories going to Christian Bruno, Joe Kay, Gross, Mason Beinhower, and Preston Lattomus. Wayne Scott and Alex Ruppert won the C-Mains, and JT Bierman was impressive in winning the B-Main.
One of the best, most competitive All Star Slingshot features (in quite some time) was enjoyed by the large crowd on hand for the Ronnie Tobias Memorial. And it was a great mix of Slinger veterans, along with young chargers who recently graduated from the Junior Slingshot class, who clashed cleanly and put on one heckuva show.
Griffin Hendershot, one of those Junior Slingers who has moved up to the All Star ranks this year, was the early leader of the 20 lap affair. Another youthful pilot, Ryan Rochelle, muscled past Jax Yohn for the runner-up position on a lap two restart. Rochelle and Hendershot proceeded to fight for the lead with Rochelle sticking his nose in front as lap four was scored. Dylan Hahn soon captured second as Hendershot dropped to third.
The previous week’s winner, Brett Bieber, dashed from his 12th starting spot to run fourth as the fifth trip was recorded. Af the halfway point, Rochelle, Hahn, and Bieber went three-wide in a battle royal before a caution flag appeared. On the restart, Bieber hounded Rochelle without success until he blasted by the No. 4 on the homestretch with eight circuits remaining.
Bieber went on to win his second in a row at Berks County’s baddest bullring, with Hahn crossing the stripe about 1.5 seconds behind the Oley Jet. Dave Carraghan, who started ninth, finished third with Rochelle and Hendershot completing the top five.
A nice field of 23 All Star Slingshots entered Wednesday’s program. The three heat race victors were Tyler Ulsh, Andrew Turpin, and Tyler Hoch.
Three newcomers ended up in the top three positions in the 15 lap Junior Slingshot feature. Chase Gular, from Harleysville, PA, picked up the ride in Randy Smith’s S&S Speedways No. 55 and made the most of his opportunity. On the second lap, as they rumbled through turns three and four, Gular and Christopher Buffalino squeezed by early leader Matthew Laubach to run first and second.
Ocean City, Maryland’s Jack Jarvis passed Buffalino for the runner-up slot on lap four as Gular danced away to a big lead. Buffalino returned the favor on Jarvis with five to go, reclaiming second place. At the finish, it was Gular notching his first Junior Slingshot victory in his first Action Track USA start of the season. Buffalino, a regular at Spirit Speedway in Jersey, chased Gular to the checkered with Jarvis crossing the line in third. Jocelynn Darinsig was fourth and the May 17 winner, Darian Danyluk, finished fifth.
Gular made it a clean sweep by winning the lone heat race for the ten Junior Slingers who signed in for competition on Wednesday.
This week, May 31, is titled Dirt Circus Night at Championship Energy Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds. Qualifying races and features will be held under the big top for the Speedway Entertainment All Pro SpeedSTRs, the Hyper Racing/ EVO Injection 600 Sprints, along with the All Star and Junior Slingshots.
Pit gates open at 4 p.m. with grandstand gates swinging open at 5:00. Warm-ups are slated for 6:00 with opening ceremonies and heat race action immediately following the hot lap sessions. Adult general admission is $16, while Senior Citizens get in for $14. Youth between the ages of six and 12 are $5 and kids under the age of six are free.
Come get your midweek motorsports adrenaline rush where the superstars race…at Championship Energy Action Track USA!
Speedway Entertainment All Pro SpeedSTR Feature, 30 laps: 1.Tim Buckwalter, 2.Mike Bednar, 3.Billy Pauch Jr., 4.Louden Reimert, 5.Matt Janisch, 6.Alex Bright, 7.Eddie Strada, 8.Daniel Schumaker, 9.Shea Wills, 10.Mark Manieri, 11.Billy Pauch Sr., 12.Gary Wagner, 13.Cale Zangli, 14.Steve Young, 15.Dustin Morris, 16.Doug Snyder, 17.TJ Mayberry, 18.Jason Muldowney, 19.Josh Dalrymple. DNS: Kyle Herve.
Hyper Racing/EVO Injection 600 Sprints Feature, 25 laps: 1.Connor Gross, 2.Brian Carber, 3.Eddie Strada, 4.Kenny Miller III, 5.Zack Weisenfluh, 6.Tim Buckwalter, 7.Christian Bruno, 8.Gabe Gerber, 9.Steven Snyder Jr., 10.Pat Bealer, 11.Mason Beinhower, 12.Colin White, 13.Dominic Schmidt, 14.James Roselli, 15.Jacob Severn, 16.Alex Ruppert, 17.Michael Nolf, 18.Morgan Rochelle Bealer, 19.Preston Lattomus, 20.Shelby McLaughlin, 21.JT Bierman, 22.Joe Kay, 23.Jacob Fisher, 24.Evan Nolf, 25.Tyler Henry, 26.Fred Heinly, 27.Wayne Scott, 28.Zack Bealer.
DNQ: Cole Dewease, Aidan Svanda, Corey Colaluce, Connor Mirabelli, Patrick Chilmonik, Tyler Lindsay, Julian Rexrode, Nate Smith, Dan Leaper, Kaitlyn Swist, Lukas Kostic, Matt Smith, Kyle Herve, James Thomas, Jasper Zigafuse, Weston Doklan, Sean Case, Garth Rickards, Eric Ankiewicz, Gunnar Pio, Jason Ashfield, Joe Nemeth.
All Star Slingshot Feature, 20 laps: 1.Brett Bieber, 2.Dylan Hahn, 3.Dave Carraghan, 4.Ryan Rochelle, 5.Griffin Hendershot, 6.Tyler Ulsh, 7.Tyler Hoch, 8.Andrew Turpin, 9.Jax Yohn, 10.Luke McCloskey, 11.Shawn Dengler, 12.Mike Maguire, 13.Karter Adams, 14.Austin Kroboth, 15.John Redner, 16.Amanda Angstadt, 17.Brianna Snyder, 18.Tom Mawson, 19.Faith Turnbaugh, 20.Tyler Lilick, 21.Mason Lineman, 22.Colton Lineman, 23.James Hendricks.
Junior Slingshot Feature, 15 laps: 1.Chase Gular, 2.Christopher Buffalino, 3.Jack Jarvis, 4.Jocelynn Darinsig, 5.Darian Danyluk, 6.Brendan Lilick, 7.Carter Parsons, 8.Matthew Laubach, 9.Mason Noll, 10.Cody Williamson.
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints Mad Scramble, 8 laps (winner to A-Main): 1.Morgan Rochelle Bealer, 2.Joe Nemeth, 3.Corey Colaluce, 4.Jacob Fisher, 5.Connor Mirabelli, 6.Fred Heinly, 7.Kyle Herve, 8.Evan Nolf, 9.Lukas Kostic, 10.Kaitlyn Swist, 11.Dominic Schmidt, 12.Weston Doklan, 13.Kenny Miller III.