KIRKWOOD, NY – Kevin Bates raced to his third Modified feature victory of the season on Saturday in the 53rd Heath Memorial at Five Mile Point Speedway. The victory in the 40 lap event was worth $2,000 and was the first ever Heath Memorial victory for Bates.
Twenty-six Modified drivers took the green in the 53rd Heath Memorial. Mike Colsten raced out to the race lead at the drop of the green and Glenn Knapp remained within striking distance. The two drivers have more laps logged together at Five Mile Point Speedway then likely any other duo in the speedway’s 67 year history of the speedway. The two quickly checked out from third place starter Tyler Siri and Jesse Kline. Bates pulled in to third place on lap 10 as the first caution of the race flew on lap 11.
On the restart Colsten continued to lead as Knapp and Bates had a great side by side battle for second. Bates made his way past Knapp on lap 14 and now had his sights set on Colsten for the race lead. At this point Anthony Perrego had worked his way up to fourth place from his tenth place starting position. Colsten and Bates ran side by side for several laps with Bates working past with an inside move on lap 21. Colsten tried to rally back but Bates quickly moved up to his favored high line and began to pull away. Several three wide battles took place throughout the field as the race continued under green until lap 29. On lap 29 Steve Davis slammed the turn 1 wall but was able to drive away as he hit the foam blocks in place. He did however pull pit side.
When racing resumed Bates continued his fast pace on the high side of the quarter mile oval. Colsten continued to run in second as the lapped car of Dom Roselli was running strong on the outside of the speedway. Knapp and Perrego continued their great battle for third often three wide with Roselli keeping his line on the top. The final caution of the race flew on lap 36 as Nick Rochinski slowed with a flat tire. He was able to return on the lead lap. The final restart saw Colsten staying within striking distance of Bates for the race lead. Bates continued to remain committed to the high side of the speedway as Colsten continued to operate on the bottom of the quarter mile. At the finish Bates was able to win by three car lengths over Colsten. Knapp had his best finish of the season for third with Perrego and Mike Butler rounding out the top five. Dan Creeden, Brett Tonkin, Siri, Danny Tyler and Brian Malcolm completed the top ten.
The evening was filled with two extra special events as the speedway held the annual “Little Mike’s Race to Win” for IMCA style Modifieds. The race always pays $1,000 to win but this year the Stoddard Racing team added $230 throughout the field making the winners share worth $1,111. The race honors the memory of Mike Stolarcyk, III and the extra $111 added to the winners share was symbolic of his car number III. Beau Ballard raced out to the early race lead in the 20 lap special event. Ballard had a big win last fall to close out the season at the speedway and was looking to springboard from that effort. Ballard led the first three circuits with Keith Jack Lamphere powering to the outside to take over the point on lap 4. Lamphere went virtually unchallenged the balance of the race. Great battles took place throughout the field allowing Lamphere to check out in the lead. Lamphere would go on for the popular victory with Ballard finishing in second. Tyler Stoddard wound up third with James Cornell and Jake Maynard completing the top five. Cornell was in the Gary Smith car after he blew the motor in his car bearing a Chuck Akulis “Pink Panther” paint scheme during warmups. The race was slowed by two cautions.
For the second straight Saturday the Crate Sportsman 20 lap feature event was a bit wild as the race was slowed eight caution flag periods. Joe Guastella took the lead at the drop of the green but Randy Fox quickly advanced from his third starting spot to take over the point on lap 2. Kyle Rohner was in different ride from his usual self owned 1R but looked as impressive. Rohner started twelfth and took over second place on lap 7. On a lap 9 restart Rohner over drove in to turn 1 and made contact with Fox to take over the race lead. The caution flew on lap 10 for a slowing Leo McGurrin and Fox would get the race lead back after a spot penalty was enforced on Rohner. On the restart Fox utilized the high side of the speedway to maintain his race lead. Rohner stayed in second as Kyle Pierce became a threat after starting back in eleventh. Pierce began to challenge Rohner as the laps wound down and Brad Cicio was waiting for any error. Fox was able to extend his lead over the final five laps as Rohner began to battle a right rear tire going down from the earlier contact with the race leader. At the finish it would be Fox picking up the victory. Rohner was able to hold off Pierce for second with Cicio finishing fourth. Devon Zona wounded up fifth.
The 20 lap Street Stock main event was a thriller ultimately decided on the final lap. Ricky Davis Sr. raced out to the early lead but Doug Stack, Jr. took over on lap 3. Stack looked to have things his own way as a multi-car battle took place for second through seventh. Doug Polhamus pulled in to second on lap 7 as positions three, four and five would change every lap with a two and three wide battle. As the laps wound down Polhamus began to chase down Stack for the race lead as now Wolf tried his expertise on the high side of the battle for the race lead. On lap 18 Polhamus dove under Stack for the race lead as Wolf tried to go three wide on the outside. Stack dove in to turn three underneath Polhamus and retook the race lead on the same lap. On the final circuit Stack tried to protect the bottom as Polhamus attempted to rally back by as Wolf tried to go around both on the outside. At the finish Stack hung on over Polhamus. Earl Zimmer dove under Wolf to edge him out for third at the finish with Don Russell taking fifth.
Buck Mills, Sr. raced past Charlie Towner on lap 4 to take the race lead and ultimately the win in the 15 lap Factory Stock feature event. Mills led the balance of the feature to record the win. Tom Groover rebounded from an earlier flat tire to take second with Towner, George Brown and Jason Neyra rounding out the top five.
The Lightning Cat Expert feature went caution free as Jimmy DiFulvio led wire to wire for his first victory in the Expert division. DiFulvio was the 2016 Lightning Cat Novice Track Champion. Adam Gilbert finished second followed by Dave Simms, Trevor Williams and Casey McPherson.
Brian Salmini won the Lightning Cat Novice feature for the second consecutive Saturday. He took the lead on lap 8 from eventual runner-up Walter Decker. John Maynard, Mike Stark and Randy Lane completed the top five.
Aaron Bowes was the winner of the Xcel 600 Modified North Regional Tour event.
COUNTER POINTS…The 53rd Heath Memorial Modified field was certainly stacked with talent as almost half of the starting grid had tallied a feature win in 2017…Brian Weaver broke while leading his heat race knocking him out for the evening…Thirty-one Modifieds attempted to qualify…The race which honors the memory of track founders Irving and Anna Heath is always the most special event of the season…Many former racer’s from the past returned to the speedway and were recognized during the evening…They enjoyed the racing from the VIP suites…The speedway staff had a tribute board made in honor of legendary Five Mile Point Speedway Dave Kneisel that will be placed on the turn 3 wall of honor…
53RD HEATH MEMORIAL MODIFIED OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (40): KEVIN BATES ($2,000), Mike Colsten, Glenn Knapp, Anthony Perrego, Mike Butler, Dan Creeden, Brett Tonkin, Tyler Siri, Danny Tyler, Brian Malcolm, Brandon Grosso, Brad Szulewski, Jerry Higbie, Jesse Kline, J.R. Fulpher, Randy Green, Bob Trapper, Nick Rochinski, Aleia Geisler, Alan Kellogg, Dom Roselli, Mike Dougherty Jr., Steve Davis, Joey Colsten, Alan Barker, P.J. Goodwin. OPEN SPORTSMAN BONUS: Brad Szulewski ($150), J.R. Fulpher ($125). World’s Best Snack Shop Sullivan, PA Hard Charger: Brad Szulewski ($100) Glenn Stevens Trucking Bonus: Mike Colsten ($50).
Modified DNQ – Brian Weaver, Brad Shafer, Matt Solomon, Dave Calaman, Rich Devia.
LITTLE MIKE’S RACE TO WIN OFFICIAL FETURE FINISH (20): KEITH JACK LAMPHERE ($1,111), Beau Ballard, Tyler Stoddard, James Cornell, Jake Maynard, Gary Roberts, Bumps Scutt, Bob Maynard, Keith Lamphere, Will Ward, Mike Stoddard, Aaron Shelton, Matt Cole. DNS – Gary Smith.
CRATE SPORTSMAN OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (20): RANDY FOX, Kyle Rohner, Kyle Pierce, Brad Cicio, Devon Zona, Todd Titus, Gregg Turner, Lem Atkins, Darren Smith, Rich Coons, Matt Cole, Leo McGurrin, Bryce Martin, Marty Bunker, Tanner Harpell, John Criscione, Joe Guastella, Tom Hampton, Mike Senecal, Tim Howell, Del Howell, Carl Bittenbender, Tom Princlotta. Big Dog Winners Bonus: Randy Fox ($100), Tonarlo’s Restaurant Bonus: Darren Smith ($100).
STREET STOCK OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (20): DOUG STACK JR, Doug Polhamus, Earl Zimmer, Shane Wolf, Don Russell, Ricky Davis Sr., Lanson Albanese, Doug Stack Sr., Dan Mazzarese, Ray Lindquist, Bob Mills, Dan Force, Matt Bowman, Kyle Stark.
FACTORY STOCK OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (20): BUCK MILLS SR., Tom Groover, Charlie Towner, George Brown, Jason Neyra, Lou Fox, Phil Clapper, Alan Komar, Matt Millard.
LIGHTNING CAT EXPERT OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (15): JIMMY DIFULVIO, Adam Gilbert, Dave Simms, Trevor Williams Casey McPherson, Kenny Underwood, Mat Mather, Josh Wilder, Dave Bainbridge, Jason Colwell Sr., Sheldon Whitman, Rich Wagner, Mike Wilmot Jr., Nick Kennedy.
LIGHTNING CAT NOVICE OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (12): BRIAN SALMINI, Walter Decker, John Maynard, Mike Stark, Randy Lane, Cory Brown, Jason Colwell Jr., Ashley Slater, 14b.
XCEL 600 MODIFIED NORTH REGION TOUR (20): AARON BOWES – full finish not provided…
Lap 5 Feature Leader Bonuses (all classes): Mike Colsten, Randy Fox, Doug Stack Jr., Aaron Bowes, Walter Decker, Jimmy DiFulvio, Buck Mills Sr., Keith Lamphere.