By LEON ANDRUS
AFTON, NY – Friday night August 23 saw eight features contested at the Afton Motorsports Park (A.M.P.) with one being a career first, one being the first ever at A.M.P. and three being first time this year. The other two winners are the winningest drivers at the track this season. The total there is seven but the Street Stock along with the Modified divisions had two events with the Street Stock seeing the same guy winning both. The two make up features were from August 2 which was part of the Chenango County Law Enforcement Association night and then on to the rest of the huge night.
August 2 make-up ZMK Construction Modified feature saw twenty of the scheduled twenty-one cars come to Scott Stevens green with Kailee Demorier (14) and Tim Mayne (8m) occupying the front row. Demorier led lap number one and the first caution comes out for Jeremy Smith (46) spinning all alone coming out of turn two. He was able to restart in the back. When the field got back to racing Demorier charged back out front and then Darwin Greene (1) gets by for the short-lived lead as on lap five he breaks. Before going back to green Demorier and Paul Jensen (57) went pit-side with only Demorier returning. Brett Tonkin (15) inherits the lead but Tim Mayne breaks and goes pit-side making for another restart on lap five. Tonkin on this restart opens up a substantial lead with Rusty Smith (34) slowly closing in on Tonkin as the race goes on. Lap fifteen see JR Hurlburt (6H) spin to the infield bringing out the next to last caution. On this restart Tonkin open up a little but could not shake Smith until on lap twenty-one Tonkin became the caution as down the front stretch a puff of smoke and then slows to a stop. Rusty Smith becomes the new leader with a big three car battle behind him with the (280) of Justin Holland running the high-side of the speedway getting bye Brandon Walters (22) and Shaun Walker (21) on the same lap. On lap twenty-eight Holland caught and got by Smith to go on to win his first of the year here at A.M.P. after returning to racing just over one month ago after a four-year hiatus. Following Holland across the line was Rusty Smith, Brandon Walters, Shaun Walker and Nick Nye (6nn) rounding out the top five. Tim Mayne, Kailee Demorier and Brett Tonkin were the three heat winners back on August 2. Holland says it feels good to be back in victory lane and loves being here as they do it right and move the show along. He said I really wanted to be on top as not only do I like it up there the car was stuck up there great. Also mentioned how hard everyone worked to get it back together after a rough week last week when we went elsewhere as we were silent. He said that was fun and hope the crowd enjoyed it.
Dave Cronk (01) and Steve Polhamus (98P) brought the make-up Pit Stop Auto Street Stock division to the twenty-lap feature green flag. Cronk grabs the early lead and records lap one but before lap two shows on the Mirabito Energy Products lap counter Jake Fowlston (160) gets loose and goes around in turn four collecting Butch Green (57) and Tyler Yeagle (33) with Yeagle going to the pits as Green kept moving. The right front fender was just scraping the tire but it was no issue as he held the lead to the finish. Early challenger for him was Damon Decker (3k) but on lap seven as Bob Crandall (1) spun to the infield Decker also went to infield as the track officials saw the car flare up. After checking under the hood as it put itself out, he retired to the pits. The rest of the way had two brief cautions for a spin and a flat with the second winningest driver in the division Doug Polhamus (KP1) following Green across the line. Completing the top five were Cronk, Travis Brockner (151), and Steve Polhamus. The two heats from August 2 were won by Damon Decker and Jerry Lobdell Jr. (16). Green mentioned in victory lane that the early hit threw the handling of the car off but I was able to fight threw it. He went on to thank his owner, sponsors and his great crew and mention how well the track was.
The ZMK Modified feature on this night found Darwin Greene and Paul Jensen bring the twenty-three-car starting field to the start of the thirty-lap event. Paul Jensen bolted to the lead from his outside front row starting spot but a caution came out before they could reach the backstretch for a skirmish in turn one. Nick Nye pitted and was able to return to action and when they got back to racing the two men on the move working that outside line was Jeremy Smith and Brett Tonkin working the bottom. Tonkin and Smith both got by Jensen as he eventually went pit-side. Smith took the lead on lap seven and he and Tonkin were in a bru-ha-ha working two different lines on the speedway. Action slowed on lap thirteen as someone punted an implement tire out to the backstretch wall. On this restart the outside line didn’t get going and Alan Barker (77) got caught up in the jingle and went to the pits. From there the race stayed green with Tonkin staying close and Shaun Walker with a solid run coming in third, Justin Holland from twenty-second starting spot to finish in fourth and Alex Tonkin (37) completing the top five. The heat winners were Jeremy Smith, Brett Tonkin and Shaun Walker. In victory lane Smith said I wasn’t sure I was going to get here this year as I have had three seconds. My crew chief said he was going to try something new and I am glad he did. He thanked the entire crew and all the fans for coming out and the track crew.
The start of the Rinker Insurance Agency Crate 602 Sportsman had the front row being occupied by a pair of Gary’s. Smith (7up) on the inside and Miller (1m) on the outside. Smith led lap one with Miller close behind. Steve Andersen (73A) starts challenging the top two and does work to the lead on lap four. Miller also slips by to stay in second and Tyler Ward (44) and Bobby Flood (91) start battling hard and get by Smith. On lap eight Dave Rosa (61) goes around after small contact with the (7up). Two more caution fell for cars in getting stuck on the inside of the track. The top five across the line were Andersen for the win followed by Miller, Ward, Flood and Allan Hodge (5H). Andersen verified in victory lane that it was his first career win as I believed and of course he went rooftop to celebrate. He thanked his crew fans and all his great sponsors for all the help along the way emphasizing Chad Cook for turning him on to this car.
The Chamber’s & O’Hara Open Sportsman division saw Marshall Hurd (24) and Brandon Kuhn (16) bring the field to the green with Kuhn firing to the top spot and lead lap one. Hurd stays close and overtakes Kuhn on lap four and Kuhn back to the top spot on lap eight. On lap nine the only caution flies for the (11X) of Pete Nowicki Jr slowing on the speedway. At the restart as those two battle Craig Pope (42c) starts working the top shelf of the speedway and takes the lead in the late going from Kuhn to capture his first of the year. The top five consisted of Kuhn, Danny Yankowski (32y), Jim Rothwell, and Jim Gould (28). Hear winners were (7up) Danielle Smith, Marshall Hurd and Kuhn. Pope mentioned that it felt good and the car felt really good tonight. Thanked the folks that told him to run the top tonight and his family friends and sponsors.
The Pit Stop Auto Street Stop Street Stock feature saw Bob Crandall (1) and Damon Decker the two racers bringing the field to the green. Damon Decker raced to the front at the start and stayed there onto (KP1) Doug Polhamus went by on lap nine. Polhamus opened a large lead and appeared to be the easy winner. Butch Green got to second but had nothing for the leader. Lap nineteen disaster struck Polhamus as he tried to go underneath lap traffic in turn two and caught the tire ending his impressive ride. Green went on for the win and told the pit steward he didn’t want to go to victory lane as it was Doug’s race and it was understandable as the two are good friends. Following Green across the line was Jerry Lobdell Jr (16) just nipping Damon Decker (3k) on final lap, Steve Polhamus (98P) and Travis Brockner (151). Heat winners were Damon Cronk (01) and Decker.
In the Green Briar Farms Combined Four Cylinder Truck and Car feature saw Jeff Young (17m) and (33) Pete Christiansen start on the front row. On this night there were five trucks and four cars which was the most cars of the year. Once Ralph Cuozzo got out front the fans know it is over unless he breaks. I was down getting the back pack give-away started so I have no idea what was said in victory lane. The division does not run a heat race.
The visiting wingless sprints were on hand from the 607Wash Pros Wingless Racer’s Alliance with Dana Wagner (25w) the heat winner on the pole with second place in the heat Eric Jennings outside the front row. Wagner got the lead and held on to it until Jennings got by as the two battled to the end with Jennings collecting his first ever win at this speedway. In victory lane he was telling about if he won tonight, he was going to ask his girlfriend to marry him. He was handed the microphone and she said yes. Good stuff right there!
A.M.P. Notes; During intermission another bike was given away and also seventy-six back packs with supplies were given away to, many happy youngsters. It got a little hectic with all to give away with such a short time but it all worked out and speedway announcer Leon Andrus thanked them all for their patience. Andrus who organized the night went on to thank the many race teams, fans, track employees for their generosity for the youngsters. You all deserve a huge round of applause and a big THANK YOU! Representatives from Speed Sport Showcase, the huge racecar show, in the Scranton, Pa. area were on hand to hand out a $100.00 hard charger award to the driver advancing the most positions from their scheduled starting spot. The winner was Justin Holland (280) who started twenty-second and advanced to fourth. Brian Chase the representative for said that he put on a great couple of races and was one of the best races he has seen this year. He also mentioned how well run the show is here and other promoters should take notice. Holland thanked them and was happy but wished he made the handicap so he would have started up closer as I was good all night. All the racing was concluded by 11:15 after starting on time of 7:00 but after first caution in Modified make-up feature, they waited around ten minutes for the sun to set as it was rough on drivers between three and four. Extra few minutes for the back pack give-away and the running of twelve heats and nine features, and victory lanes. Championships for the IMCA, Street Stocks and the Combined Trucks and Cars, with the final three the following week.
ZMK Construction Modified order of finish from August 2, 20 cars; 280 Justin Holland, 34 Rusty Smith, 22 Brandon Walters, 21 Shaun Walker, 6nn Nick Nye, 39 Jeff Sheely 37 Alex Tonkin, 6H JR Hurlburt, 9 Ken Titus, 49 Ken Sparks Jr, 16 Aaron Jacobs, 15 Brett Tonkin, 8m Tim Mayne, 46 Jeremy Smith, 14 Kailee Demorier, 3D Steve Babicek, 7 Chad O’Hara, 1 Darwin Greene, 57 Paul Jensen, 33T Travis Smith
ZMK Construction Modified August 23, 34 cars; 46 Jeremy Smith, 15 Brent Tonkin, 21 Shaun Walker, 280 Justin Holland, 37 Alex Tonkin, 6nn Nick Nye, 34 Rusty Smith, 9 Ken Titus, 22 Brandon Walters, 2G Mitch Gibbs, 6H JR Hurlburt, 1 Darwin Greene, 7c Don Cogdill III, 49 Ken Sparks Jr, 33T Travis Smith, 7 Chad O’Hara, 38 Jeff Sheely, 14 Kailee Demorier, 57 Paul Jensen, 119 Brian Malcolm, 3D Steve Babicek, 16 Aaron Jacobs, 77 Alan Barker, 8m Tim Mayne (DNS)
Rinker Insurance Agency 602 Crate Sportsman Aug. 23, 20 cars; 73A Steve Andersen, 1m Gary Miller, 44 Tyler Ward, 91 Bobby Flood, 5H Allan Hodge, 96 Dustin Harris, 9k Blaine Klinger, 24 Ryan Macartney, 23 Brandon Loucks, 99 AJ Digsby, 61 Dave Rosa, 13 Brandon Christ, 119 Fred Smith, 10 Lisa Williams, 63 Craig Monroe, 77c Fred Christ, 7up Gary Smith, 56K Kamdin Maby, 71Steve Cummings, 19 Jason Feinberg (DNS)
Chamber’s 7 O’Hara Open Sportsman Aug.23, 19cars; 42c Craig Pope, 16 Brandon Kuhn, 32y Danny Yankowski, 4 Jim Rothwell, 28 Jim Gould, 61 Dave Rosa, 9K Blain Klinger, 24 Marshall Hurd, 90 Bill Deckleman, D9 Dennis Clapperton, 22J Chris Jordan, 7up Danielle Smith, 189 Leah Decker, 219 Shawn Davis, 21F Zack Falciani, 57 Dan Burman, 11x Pete Nowicki, 24J James Christ, 33 Gary Roberts (DNS)
Pit Stop Auto Street Stock Aug, 2 Make-up Feature 14 cars; 57 Butch Green, KP1 Doug Polhamus, 01 Dave Cronk, 151 Travis Brockner, 98P Steve Polhamus, 160 Jake Fowlston, 00 Ralph Cuozzo, 1 Bob Crandall, 3K Damon Decker, 32 Shawn Stalker, 16 Jerry Lobdell Jr, 33 Tyler Yeagle, 17Lukas Mills and 74D Larry Miller did not return
Pit Stop Auto August 23, 15 cars; 57 Butch Green, 16 Jerry Lobdell Jr, 3K Damon Decker, 98P Steve Polhamus, 151 Travis Brockner, 01 Dave Cronk, 1 Bob Crandall, 36 Dan Force, 55S Kyle Stark, KP1 Doug Polhamus, 00 Ralph Cuozzo, 109D Rich Green, 160 Jonathan Fowlston (DNS), 33 Tyler Yeagle (DNS), 32 Shawn Stalker (DNS)
Green Briar Farms Combined Four Cylinder Trucks and Cars Aug 23 9 entries; 00 Ralph Cuozzo, 33s Dane Hedlund, N2 Nick Kennedy, 17m Jeff Young, 27 Tyler Vaughn, 354 Andy Bolles. 7F David Fox Jr, 86 Steve Condiloro, 33 Pete Christiansen
607 Wash Pro Wingless Racer’s Alliance 7 cars; 14 Eric Jennings, 7 Johnny Smith, 25w Dana Wagner, 4 Mike Traver, 16 Charles Weslowsky, 44 Gary Huston, XX Brandon Clapperton