Eddie Strada Bags First SpeedSTR win at Bloomsburg


BLOOMSBURG, PA – When Opening Night took place last Thursday at Bloomsburg Fair Raceway the question was how the newly revamped surface put together by promoter Rich Tobias would be and the answer was all positive with competitive racing among all classes in an efficiently run program. And, evidently the word got out as week two produced more cars from around the tri-state area and equally good racing to boot.

In the All-Pro SpeedSTRs Lake Ariel’s Eddie Strada battled with cousins Tim and Steve Buckwalter for his career first class and track win. The 602 Crate Modifieds saw 12-year old Paulie Hartwig III of Galloway, NJ fend off seasoned veteran Mike Schane and earn his first win on dirt. The FWD 4-Cylinder main was a barnburner when “Mr. Lucky” Nick McDaniel of Littlestown swept past Tim Campbell on the last lap en route to scoring a thrilling victory. In the Slingshots Andrew Turpin of Saylorsburg collected his second straight verdict.

When the SpeedSTR race commenced outside front row starter Tim Buckwalter got the jump on Cale Zangli with Strada, his teammate Doug Snyder and week one winner Steve Buckwalter in tow.

Strada moved up to second by lap two and was in close pursuit of T. Buckwalter. Three laps later a caution waved when Snyder spun in the second turn.

It would be on that restart that Strada powered into the lead thanks to a smooth inside pass on T. Buckwalter as the field came around to take the green from starter Warren Alston.

With Strada now in front he was having to keep at bay both Buckwalter’s as Steve motored up to third by halfway. And it was quite the dogfight going on between the cousins as they battled back and forth for second spot while maintaining a close gap on Strada.

Yet notwithstanding a few additional cautions that pulled everyone together for restarts, Strada never wavered as each time his Good Sheppard Rehabilitation Hospital Motorsports No. 42E pulled ahead just enough and let the Buckwalter clan duel for second as he drove on to the popular win.

“Honestly we had a really good car and that just made my job easier. My boys have been working really hard in the shop and this is a great team that gives me a great car and man we’re going to celebrate this one tonight,” said Strada who is now SpeedSTR co-point leader with S. Buckwalter.

“We were pretty good on the bottom early on and I was able to get by a couple guys but like I said this car was just so hooked up and it fit my driving style.”

T. Buckwalter had a hard fought battle in taking second spot and it was a redemption too after failing to make the race last week due to an engine woe.

“It was good racing between us three but he (Strada) had the better car and showed it. He just out drove us all,” said T. Buckwalter.

“We blew up here last week but hats off to (car owner) Earl Fellin who stuck with me and Dustin Morris who lent me this motor and without those guys we wouldn’t have even been here tonight.”

Snyder redounded from his earlier spin and was fourth while pole sitter Zangli completed the top five.

Paulie Hartwig III has won features and championships in pavement Modifieds and 4-Cylinder Stocks and all by the age of 11. In the past year this rising talent began to make inroads in dirt Modifieds while also keeping up with his asphalt activities.

And he has shown of late that not only can he handle himself well with an asphalt car but his performance on Thursday evening was quite noteworthy on all accounts as the now 12-year old can add a dirt Modified win to his growing list of accomplishments. He did come within a half lap of winning at Big Diamond Speedway the previous Friday.

Hartwig started fourth and by lap three was behind leader Mike Loney. A caution on lap seven would then line Hartwig up on the inside of Loney for the restart and when the race got back underway he was able to throttle down and grab the top spot soon after.

Loney was able to keep close to Hartwig but in the waning laps Schane took over second on lap 11 and Kreg Crooker moved to third. Schane was then putting his years of experience to work as he was heavily applying pressure on Hartwig.

It appeared at one point that the effort was going to pay off for Shane when on a restart with 10 laps to go he ran side-by-side with Hartwig then edged ahead as they raced down the back straight. However, the young lion was not giving in and by the time they reached the third corner he pulled ahead and there was no looking back from there.

“This car was really hooked up and it wouldn’t be if it weren’t for Bobby Geiger who works so hard all week in the shop and I could not have been able to do all this without him, all my great sponsors and of course my mom and dad,” said Hartwig.

He also reflected on his hard line stance when Schane attempted to overtake him during the late race restart.

“I felt he (Schane) was right on me so I just kept running my line and stayed focused on finishing first. I just like to run the bottom, it works for me,” noted Hartwig.

As Schane raced to second he also had to be on his toes as Crooker was all over his rear bumper during the final circuits.

“He (Hartwig) was definetley good and I thought maybe I can get him on that restart and I got a good run coming off (turns) one and two and we had him going down the back straight and he kind of surprised me when he held his line and got back by me in (turns) three and four and then took off so hats off to those guys,” explained Schane.

“The track is getting better and better every week. We had a fourth last week and a second tonight and we’ll take it.”

To say the least the 4-Cylinder feature was a thriller from start to finish as the battle at the front was ongoing with each passing lap.

Tim Campbell grabbed the early lead but was under constant tension from Opening Night winner Adam Campbell and McDaniel.

The trio would continue to run in tight formation and with five laps to go A. Campbell went to the front and with McDaniel hot on his trail. And just as it seemed like win number two was in sight misfortune struck when the front axle broke on the leader’s car and he brushed the wall in turn two. McDaniel was quite to duck low and move to the lead and remain there to the checkers albeit very closely over T. Campbell and A. Campbell who limped home third.

If anyone has Bloomsburg figured out thus far it’s Andrew Turpin as for the second time in as many weeks he led every lap and made it two for two with the Slingshots.

First time starter Tyler Ulsh did a fine job of keeping pace and was second.

SpeedSTR feature finish (25 laps): 1. Eddie Strada, 2. Tim Buckwalter, 3. Steve Buckwalter, 4. Doug Snyder, 5. Cale Zangli, 6. Sammy Martz Jr., 7. Kevin raver Jr., 8. Briggs Danner, 9. Dustin Morris, 10. Mark Manieri, 11. Scott Houdeshell, 13. Shannon Mausteller, 14. Louden Reimert

602 Crate Modified feature finish (20 laps): 1. Paulie Hartwig III, 2. Mike Schane, 3. Kreg Crooker, 4. Carter Crooker, 5. Ben Feldman, 6. Mike Loney, 7. Tyler Peet, 8. Kevin Olenick, 9. Brandon Oleski, 10. Greg Crooker, 12. Kolyn Schane, 13. Matt Yoder, 14. Mia Guy, 15. Nathan Mohr, 16. Marc Benson, 17. Bryce Bashore, 18. Craig Whitmoyer, 19. Travis Green, 20. Ralph Mele, 21. Joe Wilgus

FWD 4-Cylinder Stock feature finish (15 laps): 1. Nick McDaniel, 2. Tim Campbell, 3. Adam Campbell, 4. Luke Hoffner, 5. Kevin Doud, 6. Tim Raup, 7. Allen Robinson, 8. Zakery Kline, 9. Chris Small

Slingshots feature finish (15 laps): 1. Andrew Turpin, 2. Tyler Ulsh, 3. Austin Kroboth, 4. John Herberling, 5. Brianna Snyder, 6. Chase Schott