Walters Wins Again at Afton

AFTON, NY – Brandon Walters in his Big Top Ice Cream sponsored (22), it seems only fitting that the driver known as the ‘Ice Cream Man’ is the first driver to double-dip in feature wins in the very competitive Modified division. In other action Fred Smith (119) became the fourth different feature winner in the Crate Sportsman in as many weeks. The Open Sportsman feature winner also saw the same fate as Bill Deckleman (90) became the fourth different winner in as many weeks. Butch Green (57) won his third of the year in the Street Stock division. IMCA Modified saw Beau Ballard (15) breakthrough for his first feature win of the year. Doug O’Hara (91) broke the three-race win streak of Ralph Cuozzo (00) to be the second feature winner in this division. The first visit of the Sling Shot division had a good showing with Jim Pollard (57) grabbing the gold in the Senior division and the Junior winner was Liam Jackson (82).

The ZMK Modified division feature saw the (S1) Steve Babicek and (89) Kurt Decker bring the starting field to head starter Scott Stevens green flag. Babicek was able to grab the lead as he first battled with Decker and a few are battling for third on back. Mitch Gibbs (2g) who once again was on the move on the top of the speedway as he did last week started pressuring Babicek for the top spot. At the one third part of the race, lap ten Gibbs was recorded as the leader. The first caution came out on lap 12 for a stopped car and the top five at this point is Gibbs, Babicek, Brandon Walters, Shaun Walker (57) and Kurt Decker. When they go back to green Gibbs starts to pull away and Walters starts pressuring Babicek for the runner-up spot and does get by as the Mirabito Energy Products lap counter reads twenty. Walker now pressures Babicek for third and Walters tries to run down Gibbs who has a quarter of a track lead. Gibbs high and Walters running the extreme bottom catches and overtakes Gibbs on lap twenty-eight and grabs win number two of the season. He was followed across the line by Gibbs, Walker, Decker and Ken Titus (9). Walker in victory lane spoke about the track and said it was the best track he has raced on in forever. He praised his crew and Gibbs as he figured he wouldn’t be able to run him down. The car just kept coming on and we caught him and it was great to be back in victory lane. Three heat races went to Darwin Greene (1), Travis Smith (33T) and Tim Mayne (8m).

The Rinker Insurance Agency Crate 602 Sportsman division started out with Fred Smith and Mike Grover (33G) on the front row with Smith breaking away at the drop of the green. On lap two the first caution came out and A.J. Digsby (99) last week’s winner and Mike Roth (1) both head to the pit area. The race is back under green and seventh starting Gary Smith (7up) is starting to use the high-side of the speedway to pick off cars one at a time. At lap ten the half-way point the top five is Smith, (23) Brandon Loucks, Gary Smith, Dustin Harris (96) and Blaine Klinger (9K). Lap thirteen sees Gary Smith go around Fred Smith for the lead and start stretching it out. At the same time Steve Andersen (73) is on the move and roars into fourth. They go the final seven-laps under green and the top five were Gary Smith, Fred Smith, Loucks, Andersen and Harris. After tech the top five became Fred Smith, Loucks, Andersen, Harris and Bobby Flood, as Gary Smith was found with the rev box set too high and had a subsequent disqualification handed down. Fred Smith a rookie at the track this season was happy to be in victory lane and talked about how good his car was tonight and the track having a ton of bite. The three Crate heats went to Allan Hodge (5H), Dustin Harris and A.J. Digsby.

The Camber’s & O’Hara Open Sportsman division feature had Bill Deckleman (90) and Tyler Hart (10x) bring the rest of the starting line-up to the green and Deckleman shot to the front where he was never headed throughout the entire event. Hart challenged him high and low but just couldn’t muster up enough to get by. Dave Rosa eventually got by Hart for second but just didn’t have enough time to run down the leader. Following Hart to complete the top five were Jim Rothwell (4) and Dennis Clapperton (D9). Other than the original start being called back the only caution was on lap eleven for last week’s winner Chris Jordan (22J) spinning in turn two. Deckleman mentioned in the Mirabito Energy Products Victory Lane how he has been struggling with the different suspension the crew has under him this season. Still could use a little more tweaking but it is starting to look better out there. Heat was winners were Deckleman and Hart.

Steve Polhamus (98P) and Jake Fowlston brought the field to green in The Pit Stop Auto 20-lap feature with Polhamus taking the early lead as eventual winner Butch Green from his fifth stating spot charged right to the front to overtake the top spot. The other feature winner, last week on the season Doug Polhamus (KP1) also was on the move and got to position two by the fifth circuit. On lap thirteen the yellow flew for Bob Crandall (1) slowing with a flat. The top two battled to the end but the positions stayed the same. Green and Doug Polhamus were the two heat race winners. Green in victory lane said that was good racing with Doug out there but it always feels good to stand here at the end. He thanked his crew, sponsors and car owner Jack Holcomb.

The Trophy Guy IMCA Modified feature had the (3g) J.T. Roe and (S/360) Mike Stoddard be the very first to seen the wave of the green to get the 20-lap feature underway.  Stoddard grabbed the lead in the early going. A few cautions slowed the pace of the event early with a few cars changing spots throughout the field.  After ten on the lap counter it was Tyler Stoddard (23) looking for his third- in-a-row, (613) Matt Roberts, (15) Beau Ballard, Brad Smith (76) and Jim Cummings (7). Ballard goes by Roberts on lap thirteen and then Roberts spins in turn one. Tyler Stoddard holds the lead for one more lap as Ballard gets by and goes on to see the checkers first. Following close behind were Tyler Stoddard, Matt Roberts coming back through for third, Cummings and Mike Stoddard. The two heats win went to Tyler Stoddard and Matt Roberts. Ballard mentioned it was nice to be back here and how good the track is. It is hard with these tires but what an improvement from last year.

The Four Cylinder Feature which is a combined truck and front wheel drive cars now has a sponsor from one of the truck drivers. Steve Condiloro stepping up with his Green Briar Farm now as the division sponsor. Thank you, Sir! Pete Christiansen (33) and Dylan Nichols (01) led the way for the 15-lap feature with Nichols taking the early lead. Ralph Cuozzo (00) the only winner in the division had a flat and went pit-side just before halfway. Doug O’Hara (91) went on to grab win number one of the seasons. Cuozzo who got to second but no time to even try to catch the leader. No heat on this night with the Sling Shots at the track. O’Hara was happy to win and thinks he and the team have the truck working good now. He was happy to win on Chenango County Law Enforcement Association Night.

The Sling Shots were on the card as they were scheduled for the first of every month and May’s was weathered out. Fourteen for the first time was a good number and now the promoter Ron Ford is thinking of finding a couple more dates for them. They ran two heats with the first being for the Junior division and the second for the Senior division. Tavin Blowers (44) won the Junior division heat and the Senior heat went to Brett Puttnum (6B). During the feature they have the Seniors start up front and the Juniors behind in a fifteen-lap-feature go. Jim Polland (57) got the Senior win and first time ever in one of these cars the Junior winner (82) Liam Jackson was very happy in victory lane. Pollard said he ran these for quite awhile and has done it up and down the coast.

Afton Notes; The nights racing activity and a busy one at that was presented by the Chenango County Law Enforcement Association. The had a good time in the VIP Tower and two of the folks Chad O’Hara and Ernie Cutting spoke with the fans during the fan appreciation ceremony for the Crate and Open Sportsman along with the Sling Shots. A lot of great stuff for kids during this with candy, toys driver cards, and many pictures being taken. I first spoke with Chad O’Hara asking him what brought them to the track. He mentioned just how family oriented it is and a great thing to do in Chenango County Everyone needs to help support the place as it is a great place to be. They wanted to give back and show we are the good guys and we do this for the love of the work and the pride. He then turned it over to Ernie Cutting who by the way was celebrating his fifty-fourth birthday at the track. Cutting mentioned how well Ronnie and his brother Mike was doing with the track and their crew and please support this fun family atmosphere here. Then he talked about just how bad it can be for all his folks in this day and age. Some of you can only imagine the things we see. They thanked us profusely and I reiterated the same back to them. They brought four bicycles to give away to the youngsters and for the adults five Nina’s gift certificates to be given away of the admission tickets. A note as I mentioned last week the Open Sportsman was back on the schedule for this week and the Fair week next week. Well only this week they are back on but not the Fair week, my apologies. The track once again was racy from bottom to top and if you have not caught a race here this season you need to ask yourself, what am I waiting for. On the schedule this Friday it will be a complete program plus a visit by the Wingless Sprints on a night be presented by ZMK Construction. The following week get there early and enjoy the Fair before and after the races and of course the huge fireworks display.

ZMK Modified Order of Finish 20 cars, 22 Brandon Walters, 2g Mitch Gibbs, 57 Shaun Walker, 89 Kurt Decker, 9 Ken Titus, 1 Darwin Greene, 34 Rusty Smith, 46 Jeremy Smith, 8m Tim Mayne, 15 Brett Tonkin, 84y Alex Yankowski, 33T Travis Smith, 6H JR Hurlburt, 38 Jeff Sheely, S1 Steve Babicek, 49 Kenny Sparks Jr. 1X Tyler Hart, 74D Chris VanBuren, 145 Alan Rudalavage, 12 Darren Smith

Rinker Insurance Agency Crate Sportsman Order of Finish 19 cars; 119 Fred Smith, 23 Brandon Loucks, 73A Steve Andersen, 96 Dustin Harris, 91 Bobby Flood, 9K Blaine Klinger, 60x Kinser Hill, 24 Ryan Macartney, 56k Kamdin Maby, 33G Mike Grover, 1m Gary Miller, 10 Lisa Williams, 13 Brandon Christ, 99 A.J. Digsby, 1 Mike Roth, 5H Allan Hodge, 63 Craig Monroe, 7up Gary Smith (DQ) 44 Brandon Daley (DNS)

Chamber’s & O’Hara Open Sportsman Order of Finish 14 cars; 90 Bill Deckleman, 61 Dave Rosa, 10x Tyler Hart, 4 Jim Rockwell, D9 Dennis Clapperton, 28 Jim Gould, 33 Rob Loucks, 22J Chris Jordan, 16 Brandon Kuhn, 57 Dan Burman, 42c Craig Pope, 5R Olin Renwick, 7up Danielle Smith 21F Zack Falciani

Pit Stop Auto Order of Finish 12 cars; 57 Butch Green KP1 Doug Polhamus, 98P Doug Polhamus, 66 Jake Fowlston, 16 Donald Briggs, 01 Dave Cronk, 27m Brad Smith, 160 Jonathan Fowlston, 74D Larry Miller, 1 Bob Crandall, 32 Shawn Stalker, 00 Ralph Cuozzo

The Trophy Guy IMCA Order of Finish 12 cars; 15 Beau Ballard, 23 Tyler Stoddard, 613 Matt Roberts, 7 Jim Cummings, S/360 Mike Stoddard, X Leonard Miller, 91 Donnie Alford, 96x Brandon Smith, 3G J.T. Roe, 76 Brad Smith, U2 Gary Roberts, 7s Eric Stumpf

Green Briar Farms Combined Four Cylinder Trucks and Cars Order of Finish 7 cars; 91 Doug O’Hara, 00 Ralph Cuozzo, 95 Brad Hurlburt, 22S Dane Hedlund, 86 Steve Condiloro, 01 Dylan Nichols, 33 Pete Christiansen

Sling Shot Order of Finish Senior division 7cars, 57 Jim Pollard, 6B Brett Putnam, 81 Bob Boughton, 63 Rodney Renwick, 65R Harold Renwick, 77w Melissa Wheelock, 27 Alex Boughton

Junior Sling Shot Order of Finish 7cars, 82 Liam Jackson, 44 Tavin Blowers, 7w Calvin Wheelock. 52x Gordon Smith, 5 Brock Pinkerest, 20 Julia Renwick 52 Matthew Backus