Makin’ Tracks – Five Mile Point Experience – DTD Exclusive

By BILL FOLEY

It was 1973 when I last walked into Five Mile Point Speedway, but Sunday night the Super DIRTcar Series was in the house and it was time to return.

The compact quarter mile is a bit unique and its surface is quite different from many other race tracks I’ve attended.

However, it was an equal playing field which provided plenty of action in the 67 lap Super Dirt Series race.

You can read elsewhere on DTD about winner Matt Sheppard along with second and third place Brett Hearn and Jimmy Phelps, but there was a lot going on.




I really wasn’t sure what the field would look like at FMP runs big and small-blocks with American Racers. So I didn’t anticipate many locals in the field.

All of the regular touring drivers made the haul, but toss in Alan Barker, Jeff Crambo, Rusty Smith, Cass Bennett, Brad Szulewski, Russell Morseman, Danny Creeden, Tyler Siri, Brett Tonkin, Ryan Watt and Bobby Varin and it was a pretty varied 31 car field (in which 30 cars started the main).

What made for a very difficult night was obvious in the pre race period as the public address system just didn’t have the get up and go. It was quiet and with 36 GRIT Sportsman, 24 Excel 600’s and 24 Four-Cylinders if you were a non-regular (which I am sure many were) you simply could not hear any names. I’ve experienced working without a sound system, but this is the first time I sat in the stands for it. It definitely makes for less enjoyment. (and to top matters off I had left my phone home so I couldn’t get the names off Race Monitor).

Mad Max McLaughlin was fast time overall while Mike Mahaney, Larry Wight and Billy Decker were others who were quickest in their groups. However, the draw didn’t go Max’s way as he drew 12.

Runs From Back

Tires, tires and tires are thoughts of many big block modified drivers at Five Mile and in the feature more than one successful driver ended prematurely with flats.

Either tires or spins cost many early and forced them to eat up their tires coming from the back.

On lap three Mike Maresca spun and got hit by (who I could see) Creeden and at the same time Alan Johnson was sustained left rear end damage.

On the 31st lap Mike Mahaney, Peter Brittan, Tim Fuller and Larry Wight all pitted for a new tire and went to the rear.

Action was so good that you really had to decide where you wanted to watch. Was it going to be for second place or mid pack?

Stewart Friesen, who was right up there in the first half headed for a new shoe on the 47th and on the 54th Billy Decker went from the top five to the pits for rubber. Top ten runner Ryan Watt lost his good finish with a flat with three laps to go and Siri (also top 10) went flat with three laps left.

In the end Max McLaughlin finished fourth, Maresca sixth, Wight tenth and Fuller 12th as there were some good runs.

Five Mile Pit Stops

On a quarter of a mile traffic makes the race and every time that Matt Sheppard would hit traffic and Siri, Friesen, Hearn, and Decker would close in the yellows flew thus giving the leader a clear race track…

Mike Mahaney was having a busy weekend at on Saturday night he was at Lebanon Valley in the Buzz Chew car. LV is close to the shop and the car is one that will be used at Oswego for Super Dirt Week. He said, “Ran good, no leaks and it ran the way it was supposed to” The 67 lapper wasn’t good to Mike…

A logo on back of an Excel 600 said, “Wish my wife was as dirty as my car.”…

Cass Bennett brought out the only yellow of hot laps when he stopped high in turn one…

Delaware Water Gap driver, Kyle Rohner is one hot shoe in winning the GRIT main…

Friesen worked his rear end off in his heat as he started sixth and finished third, but the story is that he was challenged throughout as Mahaney finished in front and Watt behind him…

Gary Tomkins and Creeden had a side by side battled in the third heat and at the end the 84 edged Creeden for the fifth and final qualifying spot…

Pat Ward struggled in his heat and actually slowed down at the end. He and Bobby Varin were the lone DNQ’s. Pat rallied for a solid consi run from eighth to third and drove a solid 67 laps coming home as the hard charger of the night in moving from 23rd to eighth…

Not many CNY cars headed down as Tyler Thompson and Dave Marcuccillli had a tough time. Thompson got in via second in a consi (and they only took two cars). Dave got in a jingle early went to the back. They both survived and finished, but not where they had hoped…

600 Excels are crazy. That’s all that needs to be said…

Found a new race track food delicacy …. Funnel cake fries. These are strips of funnel cake batter with powered sugar…

Impressed by prices as a bottle of water was one dollar…yes….one dollar…

Wish the sound system working properly would have helped, but stuff happens…

Good to see Shane Andrews hasn’t totally disappeared. Still miss working with him for all those years at Fulton and Brewerton…

Okay, dust can’t be ignored. It was dusty. Modified feature was pretty darn good, just couldn’t really see it. Track crew did what they could as they kept spritzing the track…

As it turned out due to the late hour the four cylinder main was put off until July.

Fulton and Brewerton winner Chris Bonnofski was in the house and finished fourth in his heat.

Here are just a couple constructive suggestions. Sunday night show. Time trials were supposed to start at 7 p.m., but track work resulted in 7:15 p.m. GRIT feature was first followed by Excel’s and then Mods. I’m retired so getting finished after 11:30 p.m. wasn’t a big deal, but for anyone that had to work the next day it was late. Why not start time trials at 6:30 p.m. as in the end that extra half hour would have been helpful and move up the Modified feature to maybe second and put travelers (of which there were many) on the road by 10:30 or so. Getting home at 2 a.m. and being forced to take a shower meant that bed wasn’t targeted until 2:30 a.m.

Send along comments and news to foley395@hotmail.com