Nick Nye Opens Afton Season With Victory

AFTON, NY – Opening night saw all divisions in competition and the Slingshots had a special event as it was Slingshots by Tobias Empire All-Star Slingshots. Feature winners were ZMK Modified Nick Nye (6nn), Ted’s Body Shop Crate Sportsman Brett Tonkin (27k) Rinker Insurance Agency Open Sportsman Dave Rosa (61) Chamber O’Hara Sales Service and Rentals Street Stocks Lanson Albanese(14a), Factory Stocks Bob Mills (24) and Slingshots All-Stars Brett Putnam (6B) and Jr division Trevor Houghton (10).

ZMK Construction Modified; Rusty Smith (34) and Ken Titus (9) occupied row one at the drop of Scott Stevens green flag with Smith grabbing the top spot and remains the leader as the yellow appears on lap eight for car slowing on back straight. The top five at this point is Smith, Titus, Paul Jensen (57), Brett Tonkin (9B) and Nick Nye (6nn). The phrase cautions breed cautions work’s here as lap nine ten and twelve all saw cautions for minor incidents before running many consecutive green laps. The couple guys starting to move to the front after the lap twelve caution were Tonkin and Nye as the three ran really tight until Tonkin wrestled the lead from Smith on lap fourteen. One lap later Nye slides by Smith and as the two come to the stripe for lap fifteen Nye leads by about an inch. The two continue to extend their lead on the rest of the competition. Lap traffic becomes an issue later on but a masterful performance negotiating it was seen by Nye. Alan Barker (77) who started sixteenth on the grid was hustling threw the field to capture a fine third at the checkers. The top five at the line saw Rusty Smith fourth and fifth went to Paul Jensen. Nye in the Gotta Go Mirabito Victory Lane attributed the win to his crew and the switch to the new Bicknell chassis. It went wherever I pointed it. The three heat races were won by Brett Tonkin, Justin Holland (280) and Kailee Dimorier (14)

Ted’s Body Shop Crate 602 Sportsman; Dustin Harris (96) and Tyler Ward (28b) led the twenty-one-car starting field to the green. It took a couple of tries to get it going as it has been a long time since a full night of action has been done at the speedway and many had itchy trigger fingers. Harris does get the start at the green and on lap two the yellow flies for a couple of cars together in turn four. Rookie driver Dylan Nichols (01) had his front-end break and caught another car as I am not sure if it just broke or if it got ran over or he might have caught an implement tire. The ensuing restart saw an incident on top of turn two when leader Harris and Blain Klinger (9K) attempting to pass on the high side and they touched with Klinger going around and relegating him to the back on the restart. The race continues on, and on lap six the yellow reappears for Steve Andersen (73a) slowing on backstretch and coasts into the infield. The top five at this point is Harris, Brett Tonkin (27k), Ward, AJ Digsby (10a) and Gary Smith (7up). Tonkin took over the top spot as they crossed the line on lap eight and was able to cruise on to be the first Crate Sportsman winner of the new season. Lap twelve saw the final caution for a minor incident and the top five at the finish of the twenty-five-lap affair were Tonkin, Harris Smith, Ward and Dave Rosa (61). Tonkin in victory lane gave great credit to his crew and car owner. Tonkin mentioned how great it felt to be back at the Afton Motorsports Park. The three heat winners were Tonkin, Harris and Rosa.

Rinker Insurance Agency Open Sportsman; Dave Rosa (61) and Jim Rothwell (4) front row starting spot turn out well for them as they raced one two the entire distance with Rosa coming out on top. The division saw just one caution on lap two for Blaine Klinger going around on top of turn two after slight contact with another car sending him pit side. The top five at the finish were Rosa, Rothwell, Bill Deckleman (90), Joshua Akshar (4) and Jim Cummings (7). James Gould (28) who started last after breaking in his heat had a great run to come home sixth. Rosa mentioned in victory lane that the track was in great shape after all the racing and we ran last. Thanked his crew and family and fans that support him. He said he knew the car was great after his heat win. Two heats were contested with Rothwell and Rosa picking those up.

Chamber’s O’Hara Sales Service, & Rentals Street Stocks; Jerry Lobdell Jr. (2L) and Kurt Decker (89) brought the twelve-car starting field to the green. Unfortunately, it took until the fourth try to get going after the third restart made for a single file original start. Lobdel and Decker ran side by side for a couple of laps and then third starting Lanson Albanese (14a) overtook Decker and set his sights on Lobdel. The first yellow after those original restarts come out on lap six for Doug Stack Jr (four1s) sets broken. After the restart Albanese pressures Lobdell and wrestles the top spot from him on lap eight and stays there until the black and white silks fly at the end of the twenty-lap feature. Following the top two across the line for the top five were Doug Polhamus ((KP1), Kurt Decker and Dusty Decker (20jr). Two heats were contested as the three Factory Stocks on hand joined the Street Stocks to give both divisions a chance to run for more money. When there are twelve cars or more the purse increases so it was a win-win for them. The heats were won by Kurt Decker and Jerry Lobdell Jr. Albanese said in victory lane it was a good run and fun to race along-side folks like Lobdell as you can trust what they will do. Thank his crew and sponsors.

The Slingshots by Tobias Empire Tour; Turnout was strong enough that the All-Stars and the Junior Slingshots ran separate feature on this night instead of just one which is the norm. Andrew Turpin (56) and Rusty Smith (52) started on the front. Rusty Smith and Turpin battled for a couple of laps until Turpin took the top spot. Third running Brett Putnam (6b) and fourth running Gordan Smith (44) were in hot pursuit of the top two. First Putnam gets by Rusty Smith for second and Rusty’s Son Gordon also slides by his Dad for third. Putnam takes command on lap six and goes on for the win after just a couple of starts at the speedway. The only serious incident happened on lap one bringing a red to the track as Harold Renwick (63) flipped in turned two. He was ok after climbing out but the car had to much damage to go on. The top five at the end of the fifteen-lap affair was Putnam, Turpin, Gordon Smith, Rusty Smith and Joe Rando ((R4). Putnam mentioned to me in the Gotta Go Mirabito victory lane it was he thought his third time there. It was fun to be out there racing and how his sponsors crew and family keep him going as he couldn’t do it without all that. Two heats were run and taken down by Adam Fusco (771) and Brett Putnam.

The nine-car Junior Slingshots were brought to Scott Stevens green flag with the front row being occupied by Lucas Duncan (771) and Sloan Cherco (10) A red flag halted this feature on lap eight also by a flip after running the top of the front-stretch wall a short time by Aiden Goodier(56). He too was ok but car had some serious suspension damage. The strong running Trevor Houghton (10T) who started fourth took the lead on the completion of lap one and never looked back in his dominating performance. Top five were Houghton, Duncan, Brock Pinkerous (5), Joshua Landers (33), and Chad Pierce (74j). Sloan Cherco won the lone feature. Houghton was happy in victory lane and thanked his family and sponsors. I knew he has been there before as he rattled off the sponsors well. He mentioned he was fast all over the track but high was good for him.

A.M.P. After Thoughts; It was great to be back at the track and able to have fans attending to enjoy the sport we all love. A nice size crowd was on hand with bright sunshine brightening the spirit. There a few drivers doing double duty and racing in two divisions and that makes it get hard not to put the division back to back causing a slight delay in next event. Rusty Smith was racing Modified and Slingshots. Blaine Klinger and Dave Rosa were both driving Open and Crate Sportsman. Brent Tonkin doubles in Modified and Crate Sportsman also. I was unable to give away my Texas Roadhouse dinner for two gift certificates so I am doubling up this week and giving away ten. The great sponsor also has given me some kids meal certificates that I will hand out during intermission at the Modified and Street Stock meet and greet. Hope to see you all next week and thanks for coming to the Afton Motorsports Park

Friday May 14 2021 Official order of Finish; ZMK Construction Modifieds: Nick Nye, Brett Tonkin, Alan Barker, Rusty Smith, Paul Jensen, J.R. Hurlburt, Nicholas Mady Jr, Justin Holland, Bobby Flood, Jimmy Becker, Ken Titus, Todd Titus, Dennis Clapperton, Jeff Sheely, Leah Decker, Mitch Gibbs, Darren Smith, Kailee Dimorier, Jeremy Smith, Dan Vauter (DNS), Richie Price (DNS).

Ted’s Body Shop 602 Crate Sportsman: Brett Tonkin, Dustin Harris, Gary Smith, Tyler Ward, Dave Rosa, Blaine Klinger, Fred Smith, Brandon Loucks, AJ Digsby, Eric Jensen, Allan Hodge, Russell Benke, Blake Sarpriacone, Rosalyn Trautschold, Jon White, Jason Feinberg, Mike Roth, David Dickey, Steve Andersen, Mike Grover, Dylan Nichols, Ryan Zelesko (DNS).

Rinker Insurance Agency Open Sportsman: Dave Rosa, Jim Rothwell, Bill Decklemen, Joshua Akshar, Jim Cummings, James Gould, Duane Knapp, Craig Pope, Dwayne Jackson, Ava Coons, Michael Roach, Olin Renwick, Danielle Smith, Blaine Klinger, Zach Falciani.

Chambers O’Hara Sales Service & Rentals Street Stocks: Lanson Albanese, Jerry Lobdell Jr., Douglas Polhamus, Kurt Decker, Dusty Decker, Bob Crandall, Leonard Miller, Doug Stack Jr, Damon Decker.
Factory Stock: Bob Mills, Alecia Towner, Brad Hurlburt.

Slingshot by Tobias Empire Tour All-Star Slingshots: Brett Putnam, Andrew Turpin, Gordon Smith, Rusty Smith, Joe Rando, Tavien Blowers, Tucker Jones, Mike Wheelock, Julia Renwick, Calvin Wheelock, Carson Rothwell, Bob Boughton, Hayden Coons, Alex Boughton, Adam Fusco, Harold Renwick, Jim Pollard (DNS).

Slingshot by Tobias Empire Tour Junior Slingshots: Trevor Houghton, Lucas Duncan, Brock Pinkerous, Joshua Landers, Chad Pierce, Brayden Ohara, Sloan Cherko, Avery Decker, Aiden Goodier.