By Barry Angstadt
KUTZTOWN, PA— Mother Nature finally cooperated with the management and staff of Championship Energy Action Track USA on Friday, August 11, and a first time event was held during the 152nd Kutztown Fair.
After scheduling and attempting to run the 600 Sprints with wings on three or four dates over the years (every one of these shows was rained out), the 600 teams were able to bolt on the top and nose wings and let ‘em rip on Friday in a real crowd pleasing event won by non-wing regular Steven Snyder Jr.
The Rising Sun Maryland throttle-jockey started eighth and was up to second by the time lap eight was scored. Tyler Lindsay was setting the pace as race leader, but it wasn’t long before Snyder caught him and flashed by to take the top spot. Lindsay and Connor Gross diced for the runner-up slot and behind them an absolute war was taking place! From fourth on back, they were two, three, and four-wide, jostling for position and trading those spots constantly as the pack also (carefully) negotiated lapped traffic. Jason Swavely, Jayden Bowling, Randy West, Jarid Kunkle, Weisenfluh, Christian Bruno, and Hayden Wise were under a blanket as they traded spots while negotiating lapped traffic at the same time.
Up front, Lindsay remained within striking distance but Snyder was just too strong in hanging on to secure the victory by just under one second over Lindsay. Swavely recorded a third place finish, with Bowling notching a strong fourth. Christian Bruno completed the top five.
“We probably were not the fastest car here tonight, but the yellows played in my favor,” smiled the winner in victory lane. The track was great. I just didn’t want to junk it because we are running Path Valley tomorrow night.”
In a terrific 270cc Micro Sprint feature, Lebanon’s Brandon Heist prevailed in a hotly contested affair with 270cc veteran and all star Ross Perchak of Hazelton. This one may just go down as one of the best races of the year at Action Track USA.
Heist led early, but Perchak blasted into the lead on the fourth trip around the speedway. Heist did not give up, even after not feeling well earlier in the afternoon. He stayed with Perchak, then made his move on lap 14. Heist pulled to the inside of Perchak in one and two, nosing ahead as they throttled down the backstretch. Perchak crossed back under him, but Heist went top shelf in three and four and roared back into the lead with six to go after the duo battled furiously side by side for several tours. Perchak hung right with the new leader, but Heist had the momentum built on the high side of the race track, and he would pull Perchak off the corners.
Heist held on to narrowly defeat Perchak with Jason Swavely, who started 21st, rocketing his way to third at the end. Sean Stolz and Billy Logeman finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Boyertown’s Luke McCloskey was partly relieved and mostly overjoyed to finally win the first All Star Slingshot main of his career at Action Track USA on Friday.
In what just may be the best and most competitive feature races ever contested by the All Star Slingshots at the Kutztown Fairgrounds, McCloskey had to wrestle the lead from Nolan Layser, which was no easy feat. The duo danced side by side for many laps, trading the top spot on numerous occasions. Behind them, Chase Schott was threading his way forward. Schott rolled off eighth for the original start, but blazed a trail to third position by the fifth revolution.
On a restart with eight tours remaining, McCloskey cleared Layser’s No. 3L to secure the top spot. Tyler Hoch was on the move, too, as he drove into third place on lap 19. But it was Schott who had the fans screaming with delight, as he timed a restart perfectly with six laps to go. He flew to the inside in turns three and four as the green reappeared, passing both McCloskey and Layser to grab the lead. Just half a lap later, though, Schott had to use all of his car control skills after getting tagged on the backstretch and turning almost completely sideways. Miraculously, Schott was able to gather up his mount and soldier on, despite losing several positions in the fracas.
The jingle on the back chute handed the lead back to McCloskey adn he made the most of it, holding on to cross the line for his first win with Hoch finishing second and Layser producing an excellent third place effort. Schott rebounded to finish fourth and Brett Bieber, the Tuesday winner was fifth on Friday.
Matthew Laubach turned a “terrible Tuesday” into a “fun Friday” with a win in the Junior Slingshot 20 lap main.
Laubach went from fourth to first on the opening circuit, squeezing through a tiny bit of daylight along the front stretch wall and early leader Jocelynn Darinsig to snatch the top spot. He went on to win handily over Darinsig and Christopher Tittle. Hailey Eroh was fourth and Lily Barrett made up the rest of the top five at the finish.
On Saturday, August 12, Phil Levering bided his time and picked up positions as he could on the wet and sloppy track that is purposely prepared that way to keep the cars slipping and sliding in the early stages.
Jamie Naftzinger started on the pole and led early in the Enduro-style race named after his late father, Mark. It was the third running of the Mark Naftzinger Memorial/ Daniel Boone 153 Stock Car Race, but Jamie could not hold on to the lead as the four-cylinder cars stacked up (it was a 31 car starting field) on the bullring. As the track dried and speeds picked up, Mike Fiskaldo moved past Naftzinger in heavy traffic to take the lead. Naftzinger gained revenge and reclaimed the top spot a short time later, but Jamie was no match for Levering, who powered into the lead well before the halfway signal.
At one point, Levering had a two lap lead over runner-up Dave Bentley Jr. Bentley actually made up both laps under green but could not get close enough to challenge the leader when he was back on the lead lap.
Levering did have one very close call near the end of the event; a lapped car suddenly turned hard right in turn four—just when Levering, the leader, was beside him and trying to clear the slower car. There was some fairly hard contact, but it did not slow the No. 39 of Levering.
Levering went on to win by a little more than eight seconds over Bentley, who drove a great race and was definitely the fastest car on the track for the final one-third of the race. Eric Younker placed third, with Kevan Schaeffer and Brian Miller completing the top five.
Championship Energy Action Track USA opens its gates once again this Wednesday, August 16, on Pauch Trifecta Night at the speedway. For the first time anywhere, three generations of the Pauch family will be racing on the same night. Billy Sr. and Billy Jr. will be competing in the Speedway Entertainment All Pro SpeedSTR class, while Billy Pauch III takes to the track in the Junior Slingshot division. The trio will be pitted behind the grandstand so spectators can get an up-close and personal view of the Pauch cars and drivers. The family will also have special apparel on sale that highlights the rich racing heritage of the Pauch clan.
The SpeedSTRs and Junior Slingshots will be joined by the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints and the All Star Slingshots. Warm-ups begin at 6:15 with opening ceremonies and qualifying heats immediately following the hot lap sessions.
Friday, August 11 RESULTS:
Winged 600 Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Steven Snyder Jr., 2.Tyler Lindsay, 3.Jason Swavely, 4.Jayden Bowling, 5.Christian Bruno, 6.Randy West, 7.Zack Weisenfluh, 8.Hayden Wise, 9.Jarid Kunkle, 10.Jesse Maurer, 11.Shelby McLaughlin, 12.Richie Hartman, 13.Chase Schott, 14.Tyler Henry, 15.Brent Ely, 16.Taylor Troxel, 17.Fred Heinly, 18.Jared Lilly, 19.Cody West, 20.Rob Pajauis, 21.Parker Hendricks, 22.Weston Doklan, 23.Connor Gross, 24.Jace Marshall. DNS: Quinn Roberts.
DNQ: Zach Light, Ben Stolz, Zach Curtis, Shannon Slaughter, Amanda Onimus, Jacob Fisher, Jacob Dunn, Kris Thompson, John Hoffman, JT Ferry, Anthony Yerger, Aidan Svanda, Justin Yohn, James Roselli, Matt McAnally, Brian Kramer, Mason Peters, Brock Puterbaugh, Mark Miller, Dawson Landis.
270cc Micro Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Brandon Heist, 2.Ross Perchak, 3.Jason Swavely, 4.Sean Stolz, 5.Billy Logeman, 6.Pete Skias, 7.Brayden Spencer, 8.Richie Hartman, 9.Patrick Kirn, 10.Brent Bull, 11.Anthony Yerger, 12.Mike Skias, 13.Ryan McAndrew, 14.Matt Thompson, 15.Dylan Pence, 16.Colton McAndrew, 17.Jeff Haefke, 18.Luke Kroboth, 19.Matt Fernsler, 20.Ben Stolz, 21.Darren Schott, 22.Matt McAnally, 23.Mike Boyer, 24.Austin Mieczkewski, 25.Corey Schmuck Jr., 26.Tyler Puterbaugh.
DNQ: Clinton Hauser, Andrew Daugherty, William Mohring, Patrick Locascio, John Roberts, Jesse Snyder, Alex Reinsmith, Brandon Bomberger, Brandon Confer, Rob Swavely, Chason Hauck, Jack Redcay, Braeden Locascio, Jeffrey Confer, Dominic Pomponi, Josh Patterson, Adam Brubeck, Chase Walker, Dylan Kuronya, Pat Bealer, Cory Myers, Craig Myers, Chase Ziegenfuse, Dan Boyer, Courtney Kupp,, Danny Wright, Mark Kemp, Ryan Heckman, Josh Weiant, Tucker Byers, Cooper Schoenly.
All Star Slingshots Speedweek Feature, 25 laps: 1.Luke McCloskey, 2.Tyler Hoch, 3.Nolan Layser, 4.Chase Schott, 5.Brett Bieber, 6.Andrew Turpin, 7.Ryan Rochelle, 8.Jonathon Laureigh, 9.Austin Kroboth, 10.Garrett Chillot, 11.Darren Reppert, 12.Mason Lineman, 13.Shawn Dengler, 14.Chris Laureigh, 15.Kenny Harris, 16.Amanda Angstadt, 17.Colton Lineman, 18.Dave Carraghan, 19.Brian Leedy. DNS: Mike Maguire.
Junior Slingshots Speedweek Feature, 20 laps: 1.Matthew Laubach, 2.Jocelynn Darinsig, 3.Christopher Tittle, 4.Hailey Eroh, 5.Lily Barrett, 6.Aubrey Romig, 7.Daniel Betz, 8.Miles Zehner, 9.Mason Noll, 10.Lily Esterly, 11.Billy Pauch III, 12.Darian Danyluk, 13.Javon Garrison.
Saturday, August 12, RESULTS:
Mark Naftzinger Memorial/ Daniel Boone 153 Stock Car Race: 1.Phil Levering, 2.Dave Bentley, 3.Eric Younker, 4.Kevan Schaeffer, 5.Brian Miller, 6.Scott Lord, 7.Mike Fiskaldo, 8.Sven Olson, 9.Adam Kratzer, 10.Ryan Smith, 11.Russ Delp Jr., 12.Dylan Schatz, 13.Chuck Detweiler, 14.Ryan Berger, 15.Don Rogers, 16.Hannah Leibensberger, 17.Yong Yi, 18.Jame Price, 19.Stewart Smith, 20.Mike Berger, 21.Brian Moyer, 22.Fred Krajcic, 23.Carl Davis, 24.Jamie Naftzinger, 25.Julian Storms, 26.Bob Wink, 27.Mike Allar, 28.Chris Derr, 29.Jacob Oswald, 30.Adam Krause, 31.Trevor Rump.