By LEON ANDRUS
AFTON, NY – Friday night July 12 at the Afton Motorsports Park (A.M.P.) the racing action was as their motto states, Fun Fast and Furious. Feature winners on this night were Rusty Smith (34) in his Blue Ox Energy capturing the Modified division, Open Sportsman saw Bill Deckleman (90) in his Sullivan County Engines sponsored machine setting in the Mirabito Energy Products victory lane. The Crate Sportsman saw Dustin Harris (96) Buzzy’s Blue Stone grab career win number one in this division. The Four Cylinder Truck division saw Ralph Cuozzo (00) My Home Gym grab number seven of the season. The invading Capital Region Sprint Agency (CRSA) 305 Sprint cars saw Jeff Trombley aboard the Warren’s Auto Body (3A) capture that feature.
The ZMK Modified feature saw Kailee Dimorier (14) Cortland Used Cars and Tim Mayne (8m) Ted’s Body Shop machines pacing the field to Scott Stevens green flag. Dimorier jumped out to the early lead where she would be when the first yellow flew for two in the center of turn one and two. Travis Smith (33T) spun and was collected by Mike Colsten (51). Neither were able to continue. Before the caution there was a fierce battle going on behind Dimorier, between Rusty Smith, Darwin Greene (1), and Brandon Walters (22). The restart saw Dimorier back to the front until lap eleven when Rusty Smith grabbed the top spot on the high-side going into turn one. Smith from there opened up a sizeable lead with now Brandon Walters and the (6H) of JR Hurlburt having a see-saw battle for two and three. Walters on the low-side and Hurlburt running the high line. On lap twenty-four fifth place running Kenny Titus (9) had a right rear tire go down bringing out the final caution flag of the night. The top five are now Smith, Walters, Hurlburt, Brett Tonkin (15) and newcomer Justin Holland (280).
Smith charged back out front and was never challenged the final six-laps as he went on to his second win on the season at A.M.P. The top five were Smith, Walters, Tonkin, Shawn Walker (21) and Hurlburt. The two heats were captured by Darwin Greene and Rusty Smith. Smith in victory lane said the car was great tonight and when I asked about the final restart, he said he wasn’t too worried as the car was working so well. If they were going to get by, they were going to have to do it on his outside.
In the Rinker Insurance Agency Crate 602 Sportsman division the front row at the start of the feature saw Fred Smith (119) Eagle Diesel Power and Dustin Harris (96). Smith took off for the lead but two cars hooked on the back-stretch made for a complete restart. Take two saw Smith once again take the top spot followed by Harris. Caution back out on lap three for Kinser Hill (60x) spinning in turn four. Back to green with Smith still holding the lead with another yellow on lap seven as Tyler Ward (44) gets turned in turn three by newcomer (627) Mike Mondak with last week’s winner Allan Hodge (5H) also getting involved. Hodge got towed in ending his night and the other two restarting now at the back of the pack. Smith jumps back out front where he would remain until Harris overtakes him for the lead just after the half-way mark. Ryan Macartney was the new challenger for Harris to battle and he was up to the test as he rolled into victory lane for the first time in this new division for him. Following him across the line was Macartney, Brandon Loucks (23) Blaine Klinger (9k) and (99) A.J. Digsby. Harris in victory lane mentioned it has been a struggle figuring these cars out after his years in a Street Stock. He also mentioned that it is a pleasure to drive this Hig-Fab chassis and knew he was ok once he got to the front.
In the Chamber & O’Hara Open Sportsman division at the start of their 20-lap feature saw Dan Burman aboard his Ken Brewer Construction (57) jump to the lead from his pole starting position. Chris Jordan (22j) Tricolla Farms who started on the outside of the front row slipped up a bit and third place starter Bill Deckleman slid into second. On lap two he took the lead away from Burman that he would never relinquish. The only caution of the event came out on lap nine for the (42c) Craig Pope spinning and not able to keep going. The restart had the front row know of Deckleman and Brandon Kuhn the South New Berlin hot shoe now with a serious shot at the top spot. Deckleman got the top with Kuhn dogging him to the finish. Following the top two across the line for the top five were (D9) Dennis Clapperton, Chris Jordan and (61) Dave Rosa. The two heat winners were Brandon Kuhn Chris Jordan. Deckleman mentioned they have been fooling with springs and shocks and believe they got what they want now. He thanked all the work his crew puts in on this car and a huge thanks to Ron Ford and crew as the track was awesome.
The Green Briar Farms Combined Four Cylinder Car and Truck division saw Dylan Nichols (01) and Jeff Young (17m) occupying the front row at the start. Young grabs the lead and holds until Ralph Cuozzo ran him down and got the top spot. From there he just opened a lead and after the one caution on lap eleven for Young getting spun by Mark Steeves (29). When the went back to green it was all Cuozzo to get the i5-lap feature for the win. No heats for the Trucks as the run there feature right after all the heats in the other division are complete. Cuozzo said in victory lane that the truck is just going so well, and the crew does all the work and they deserve the credit. I told him that it was his seventh win and he said he wasn’t sure if he could beat his record from last year of nine.
The traveling CRSA 305 Sprint Cars were in for the night and the feature was captured by the (3a) of Jeff Trombley. He mentioned that he watched the Modified winner get to the front working the high-side so he figured that is what he had to do and he did. At one point his giant right rear gumball tire was right up to the wall coming out of the turns. There PR person will do their full results.
A.M.P. Notes; The racing was Fast as they started on time and ran the nine heats and the Truck feature and they were completed by 7:45. After the truck winner interview there was a bike given away as is the norm every week. The sponsor on this night Wagner Nineveh had many things to toss to the fans in the stands which adds to the fun in the evening. While all this happens the track maintenance crew is out preparing the racing surface for the final features of the night. When they got back to racing the Open Sportsman then the Modified feature run and then combined victory lanes at this point. The winning 50/50 numbers are drawn. First is for the money, second ticket for a Race Report DVD courtesy of Ron Hills from the Race Report who do all our videography. CRSA Sprints and the Crate Sportsman feature and the final checkered flag waved at 9:23pm. Coming up this week is a great week for the youngsters as the track will be holding Kiddie Rides before the start of the race program. Bring them early and let them get a life-long memory as they take a ride with one of the drivers themselves.
The Modified division saw Paul Jensen return to the seat of his (57) machine and Shaun Walker who has been subbing bring his (21) to the track tonight. Mike Colsten (51) made his first trip of the season and Justin Holland (280) made his first start in what I believe might be around four years.
ZMK Construction Modified Order of Finish, 16 cars, 34 Rusty Smith, 22 Brandon Walters, 15 Brett Tonkin, 21 Shaun Walker, 6H JR Hurlburt, 280 Justin Holland, 14 Kailee Dimorier, 1 Darwin Greene, 57 Paul Jensen, 9 Ken Titus, 8m Tim Mayne, 38 Jeff Sheeley, 49 Ken Sparks Jr. S1 Steve Babicek, 33T Travis Smith, 51 Mike Colsten
Chamber’s & O’Hara Open Sportsman Order of Finish 13 cars, 90 Bill Deckleman, 16 Brandon Kuhn, D9 Dennis Clapperton, 22J Chris Jordan, 61 Dave Rosa, 28 Jim Gould, 4 Jim Rothwell, 57 Dan Burman, 7up Danielle Smith, 32y Danny Yankowski, 189 Leah Decker, 42c Craig Pope, 33 Michael Roach
Rinker Insurance Agency Crate 602 Sportsman 18 cars, 96 Dustin Harris, 24 Ryan Macartney, 23 Brandon Loucks, 9K Blaine Klinger, 99 AJ Digsby, 91 Bobby Flood, 61 Dave Rosa, 119 Fred Smith, 73A Steve Andersen, 44 Tyler Ward, 60x Kinser Hill, 1* Gene Beadle 7up Gary Smith, 1 Mike Roth, 627 Mike Mondak, 1m Gary Miller, 10 Lisa Williams, 5H Allan Hodge
Green Briar Farms Four Cylinder Trucks 7 trucks, 00 Ralph Cuozzo, 22S Dane Hedlund, 33 Pete Christiansen, 01 Dylan Nichols, 17M Jeff Young, 29 Mark Steeves, 58 Dustin Wilber