By LEON ANDRUS
AFTON, NY – Friday night August 30 saw Paul Jensen (57) and Ken Sparks Jr (49) occupying the front row for the start of the ZMK Construction Modified division. Jensen takes off to the lead and has JR Hulburt (6H) following underneath Sparks to grab second on lap two. The first caution flag flies on lap five for a slowing Mitch Gibbs (2g) with a flat. Jensen goes back out front on the restart for a lap as another yellow shows for four cars in the back of the pack getting together on the front straight-away. On the restart, Hurlburt is able to grab the top spot as the field comes around to put lap seven up on the Mirabito Energy Products lap counter. Hurlburt starts to open a large lead but on lap eleven another yellow flies for the (280) of Justin Holland hits the wall in turns one and two. As the caution fly’s newcomer Dan Vauter (85) rides the front-stretch wall and rides it around into the pits. Holland was toed in and neither were able to return to action. The top five on lap twenty were Hurlburt, Nick Nye (6NN), Brandon Walters (22), Rusty Smith (34) and Jensen. Lap twenty-one sees Brett Tonkin (15) going around in turn three and as a result the (21) of Shaun Walker also goes to the rear for the contact on Tonkin. On this restart Walters starts to get a big run on the top shelf of the speedway and is able to get by Hurlburt for the top spot on lap twenty-five. The final five laps see a great battle with Walters and Hurlburt with Walters never relinquishing the lead back and Nye sticking his nose in with the top two a few times. Walters with the win takes over the top spot in the battle for the championship which will be determined this coming Friday night. Following Walters across the line was Hurlburt, Nye, Rusty Smith and newcomer Ryan Jordan (R21). The three qualifying heats for the twenty-eight Modified cars signed in were taken down by Brandon Walters, Rusty Smith and Nick Nye. Walters in victory lane said that they decided to use a harder tire tonight and it was great in turns one and two but not as good in three and four. Always good to be here in victory lane and thanked his many sponsors, crews and fans.
The very first event of the night was the last make-up race from back on August 2nd and it was the Rinker Insurance Agency Crate Sportsman feature with the front row of Gary Miller (1m) and Blaine Klinger (9K). Head starter Scott Stevens dropped the green for the start of this race right at seven o’clock and sees Klinger from his outside starting spot grab the lead position. Klinger led the entire distance and was able to hold off all challengers and the two restarts during the race. The first yellow came on lap eight for a spin for the previous week winner Steve Andersen (73A). The second yellow was for the cars of Fred Smith (119) and Ryan Macartney (24) getting together and hooked with Smith not returning and Macartney able to after a quick pit stop. Late in the race Bobby Flood makes a serious challenge to Klinger but Klinger is able to hold off the point leader. Following those two across the line were Miller, AJ Digsby (99) and Dave Rosa (61). The three heat winners back on the 2nd were Brandon Loucks (23), Rosa and Klinger. In victory lane the youngster thanked his Mom and Dad for the great opportunity and his entire crew. He said he talked to his Dad before the race and knowing he was up front was to concentrate and hit your marks. It really feels good to be back in victory lane and a night with two features to gain valuable points.
The originally scheduled Rinker Insurance Agency Crate Sportsman feature saw Brandon Christ (13) and Fred Christ (77c) on the front row as the twenty-two of the twenty-three scheduled starters come to the green. The youngster Brandon Christ jumps out to the lead and records lap one as the leader. Fourth place starter Dustin Harris (96) takes the top spot just out of turn two to come around as the new leader on lap two. Lap four saw the first yellow fly for the (10) of Lisa Williams slowing with a flat tire. Another caution comes back out on lap six for Dave Rosa (61) going around coming out of turn four and he goes to the pits. The final yellow appears on lap fifteen for three cars going around in turn three and all were able to keep going. The top five at this point is Harris, Gary Smith (7up), AJ Digsby (99), Bobby Flood (91) and Steve Andersen (73A). The final five laps see Smith work Harris for the top spot but to no avail as Harris gets the win with the top five just as it was on lap fifteen. The three heat wins were captured by Harris, Dustin Jordan (24j) and Flood. Harris in victory lane said it was fun racing with the Christ’s at the start of the race and talked about how well the car was working. Thanked his crew sponsors and fans and a special shout out to the track crew for a job well done.
In the Chamber’s and O’Hara Open Sportsman feature eighteen competitors came to the start of the race with Danielle Smith (7up) and Dave Rosa (61) leading the way. When the green flies Rosa grabs the lead as Smith slides back a little with Chris Jordan (22j) and Jim Gould (28) able to get by Smith. The first yellow comes out on lap eight for Craig Pope (43c) spinning and newcomer (19) Bailey Boyd spinning to avoid Pope. Top five at this point is Rosa, Jordan, Gould, Jim Rothwell (4) and Brandon Kuhn (16). Jordan catches the front-stretch wall and makes it to the pits with the race able to continue. Lap twelve the final caution flies for three cars spinning in turn three and they all continue. Back to green and Rosa stays in front and holds off a late run by Rothwell. The top five across the line behind the top two were Bill Deckleman (90), Dennis Clapperton (D9) and Gould. The three heat winners were Rothwell, Danielle Smith and Kuhn. Rosa stated in the Mirabito Energy Products victory lane about how they have been having some motor issues and they been tinkering with them but boy does this feel good.
The Pit Stop Auto Street Stock feature saw a new name grace victory lane this season as Damon Decker (3K) raced to the front at the drop of the green from the outside of the front row. Bob Crandall (1) occupied the inside row at the start but spun and collected a few cars before the first lap could be recorded. Now on the second try Decker takes the lead and was able to hold off all comers to the finish. Two more cautions slowed the race, one on lap seven for Dave Cronk (01) who had a broken front wheel and some other damage and stop right under the starter’s stand. Lap fourteen also for debris on the speedway. Late in the race second place running Butch Green (57) slowed drastically but could continue but way off the pace. Green had a large enough lead going into the night of racing that as long as he started, he was going to be the track champion. The top five across the line behind Decker were Doug Polhamus (KP1), Rich Green (109d), Shane Wolf (81) and Steve Polhamus (98P). The two heat winners were Damon Decker and Butch Green. Decker in victory lane said it was nice to be back where he is having fun and feel comfortable racing. I want to thank the owners Rich and Casey for giving me this opportunity as I wouldn’t be here without them. I almost forgot how to get here to victory lane but it is nice.
The Trophy Guy IMCA Modified division also ran two features on this night. The first one was the second race of the night and it was the only race lost on August 9th. Beau Ballard (15) was able to capture this event and the final race of the night for his first ever two feature wins in one night. The first feature saw many cautions and he didn’t believe it would ever end. I have been in two features before because of make-ups but first ever time to win both. Championship for the division took place and Tyler Stoddard (23) who had a fourteen-point lead going into the night had ten cars show up and in IMCA racing only one point for position can be made up. Stoddard ran third in the make-up and second in the final to lock down the championship. In the regular night of IMCA racing Butch Green ran the (S/360) of Mike Stoddard to give that division a try. The heat winners from back on the ninth were Gary Roberts (U2) and Leonard Miller (X). The regular night of racing saw the two heats taken down by Trey Palmer (12) and Butch Green.
In the Green Briar Farm Combined Truck and Car feature which just saw the trucks tonight and they run their feature right after the heats. Ralph Cuozzo (00) put an exclamation mark on his championship as he captured the feature too. Cuozzo spoke about how nice the year was for him and thanked his crew and family, along with his sponsors. He also found humor all season long on heckling all the fans that don’t want to see him win.
A.M.P. Notes Coming up this Friday night is championships for the Modified, and both divisions of Sportsman and no division is locked up. Come on out and see the next to final event of the season and bring a friend. The racing has been as the moniker states Fun, Fast and Furious. The final event is on Friday and Saturday October 11 and 12 for the Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Halmar International North Series Fueled by Sunoco Short Track Super Series weekend. The race is the return of the Short Track Super Nationals to Afton Motorsports Park after a one-year hiatus. The event is drawing much interest from competitors and fans alike. On this night of racing saw a few drivers coming in to check out the track and make some notes for the Super Nationals.
Afton Motorsports Park results for Friday August 30th.
Rinker Insurance Crate Sportsman makeup feature from Aug. 2nd.
Blaine Klinger, Bobby Flood, Gary Miller, AJ Digsby, Dave Rosa, Brandon Loucks, Dustin Jordan, Gary Smith, Allan Hodge, Dustin Harris, Mike Roth, Steve Andersen, Ryan Macartney, John Williams, Brandon Christ, Craig Monroe, Fred Christ, Fred Smith, Lisa Williams, Kamdin Maby DNS, Jason Feinberg DNS, Matt Meade DNS.
The Trophy Guy IMCA makeup from Aug. 9th.
Beau Ballard, Matt Roberts, Tyler Stoddard, Leonard Miller, Aaron Jacobs, JT Roe, Jim Cummings, Gary Roberts, Trey Palmer, Mike Stoddard.
ZMK Construction Modifieds.
Brandon Walters, JR Hurlburt, Nick Nye, Rusty Smith, Ryan Jordan, Alan Barker, Paul Jensen, Ken Sparks Jr., Brian Mady, Brett Tonkin, Darwin Greene, Ken Titus, Chad O’Hara, Travis Smith, Jeff Sheeley, Kailee Demorier, Dan Creeden, Jim Becker, Connor Sellars, Brian Malcolm, Alex Tonkin, Shaun Walker, Mitch Gibbs, Aaron Jacobs, Justin Holland, Dan Vauter, Bobby Firorth, Tim Mayne DNS.
Rinker Insurance Crate Sportsman.
Dustin Harris, Gary Smith, AJ Digsby, Bobby Flood, Steve Andersen, Matt Brewer, Dustin Jordan, Blaine Klinger, Brad Alger, Gary Miller, Brandon Loucks, Mike Roth, Dave Rosa, Ryan Macartney, Fred Christ, Brandon Christ, Todd Titus, Allan Hodge, John Williams, Ryan Stone, Lisa Williams, Craig Monroe, Fred Smith DNS.
Chambers and O’Hara Open Sportsman.
Dave Rosa, Jim Rothwell, Bill Deckleman, Dennis Clapperton, Jim Gould, Brandon Kuhn, Danny Yankowski, Danielle Smith, Blaine Klinger, Dan Burman, Leah Decker, Bailey Boyd, Marshall Hurd, Craig Pope, Michael Roach, Zack Falciani, James Christ, Chris Jordan.
Pit Stop Auto Street Stocks (Championship)
Damon Decker, Doug Polhamus, Rich Green, Shane Wolf Jr., Steve Polhamus, Dan Force, Dusty Decker, Larry Miller, Ralph Cuozzo, Bob Crandall, Butch Green, Dave Cronk, George Miller.
Track Champion: Butch Green.
The Trophy Guy IMCA (Championship)
Beau Ballard, Tyler Stoddard, Matt Roberts, Gary Roberts, Butch Green, Aaron Jacobs, JT Roe, Leonard Miller, Jim Cummings, Trey Palmer.
Track Champion: Tyler Stoddard.
Green Briar Farm Combined 4 Cyl. (Championship)
Ralph Cuozzo, Jeff Young, Pete Christiansen, Steve Condiloro, Mark Steves, Dane Hedlund DQ.
Track Champion: Ralph Cuozzo.