KIRKWOOD, NY – Joey Colsten officially opened the 68th season at Five Mile Point Speedway with a win in the 30 lap Modified feature. For Colsten, the $1,500 victory was his first on opening day and gives him his first ever point lead in the standings. One hundred and twenty-nine race teams flooded the pit area along with a large crowd on hand for the official lid lifter. The quarter mile oval is idle this weekend but roars back to life on Saturday, May 19th with the annual “Pack the Track Night” at the speedway.
Colten and Rusty Smith led Modified field to the green flag for the 30 lap main event on Saturday. Both drivers have historic racing roots at the speedway. Joey is the son of Southern Tier legend and Dirt Hall of Fame member Mike Colsten. Rusty Smith’s grandfather is one of the original 50 Greatest Driver’s at Five Mile Point Speedway and his father also had a storied asphalt racing career.
The start of the Modified feature got off to a rough start as back to back cautions were thrown before a lap was scored in the record books. The first caution occurred when cars at the front of the field slowed causing a chain reaction tangle on the homestretch. The wreck eliminated last year’s point runner-up Tyler Siri. On the restart Dan Solomon lost the handle in turn 3 collecting Dom Roselli and Barry White. Roselli retired pit side as Solomon and White regrouped at the back of the field.
Things didn’t get much better in the early going as four cautions flew during the first four laps. Once the opening night jitters settled down the racing was excellent. Colsten and Smith put on a great display at the lead of the field as the battled side by side for the race lead for numerous laps. On lap 7 defending track champion Kevin Bates slowed brining out the yellow flag and headed to the pits. Bates did return without losing a lap.
Upfront the great racing between Colsten and Smith continued as several battles among the top drivers occurred. Shaun Walker, Randy Green, Brad Szulewski, Brian Weaver and Nick Rochinski all raced for position up front as the leaders opened up their command on the field. On lap 11 Glenn Knapp wound up spun in turn two and retired for the night. The action throughout the field was intense as the competition this season is like no other year in recent memory. Colsten continued his fast lap times and Smith tried to maintain his second slot.
On lap 17 Smith made a strong low side bid for the race lead as Colsten ran his line in the middle of the speedway. On the next circuit the yellow flew twice with Colsten just edging out Smith to maintain his race lead. The second yellow came on the restart when fourth place runner Green had electrical issues causing his motor to shut down. This triggered a multi-car tangle that ended the night for Green, Weaver, Brian Puckett and Mike Colsten.
On the restart the shape of the race took a different look. Walker got a great restart and darted past Smith for second place as the large crowd expected the two-time Modified champion to make a bid for the lead. Colsten was up to the challenge as Walker got close over the remaining ten laps but could never make a serious bid for the race lead. Colsten went on for his first opening day victory at the speedway. Walker made it known that he is back to contend for his third title with the runner-up finish. Smith ended up third with Szulewski (2016 Summer Slam Champion) followed by Rochinski (last year’s Summer Slam Champion). Mike Butler quietly advanced from his fifteenth starting spot to finish sixth. Brian Malcolm rallied from the lap 1 caution that found him restarting twenty-third to finish seventh. Bates charged late after pitting to finish eighth. Tyler Boniface looked strong with his ninth place finish and Barry White also had a strong comeback from the earlier race caution to finish tenth.
Tommy Collins needed all twenty laps to record his third consecutive Crate Sportsman victory on Saturday night in a wild finish. Tanner Harpell and Brad Cicio started on the front row of the twenty lapper. Harpell charged out to the race lead at the drop of the green. Todd Titus immediately took second place at the green as Collins began chase. Collins wasted no time in taking over the second slot on lap 2 from Titus as the battle for the lead immediately commenced. The caution flew on lap 10 for the final time. Cicio had driveline problems throughout the race and went to the pits during this caution. Harpell and Collins continued to set the pace out front. Both were running the low side of the speedway lap after lap. Harpell kept his lead and was able to lock the car down in turns three and four.
In turns one and two he left enough room for Collins to make multiple bids for the race lead. Harpell was up to the challenge as he continued to set the pace. On lap 19 Harpell again left a half of lane open in turn one and Collins went for the lead. Collins made contact with the race leader and eventually took the lead as Pat Jordan charged to try and pass both. The contact between the leaders slowed their momentum and Jordan may have won the race if he stayed on the high side. Instead he went to fill the gap up front and drove into the side of Harpell as well. This allowed Collins to pull ahead and Harpell managed to hang on for second. Jordan’s contact broke his own ride as he dropped several spots on the last lap. Matt Cole charged for third at the wire with Titus and Randy Fox rounding out the top five. Jordan ultimately ended up eighth, the same spot he started. Fox had started ninth for his top five finish. Rookie Blaine Klinger was impressive with his sixth place finish and last year’s “Rookie of the Year” Leo McGurrin was seventh. Tim Howell and Greg McCloskey rounded out the top ten.
Defending Street Stock Track Champion Doug Polhamus picked up where he left off with the victory in the 20 lap feature event. Polhamus took the lead on lap 1 and never looked back leading wire to wire. Defending Factory Stock Track Champion Eric Beach rallied from a lap one caution and charged from the back for the runner-up finish. Ray Lindquist had a great run to finish third after starting in tenth place. Doug Stack, Jr. and Tyler Yeagle rounded out the very competitive top five.
The Xcel 600 Modified division made their weekly return to the speedway on Saturday and it was Bailey Boyd dominating the action. Boyd took the lead on lap two from race leader Damon Henry and led the balance of the 20 lap feature. Korey Inglin finished second and was able to close the gap over the final laps but not able to make a serious challenge for the win. Will Eastman, Hunter Diehl and Kevin VanValenburg rounded out the top five.
Veteran racer Charlie Gilbert returned to the weekly racing wars in the Factory Stock division on Saturday. Gilbert showed that he still knows how to get around the quarter mile by winning the 15 lap feature event. Gilbert took the lead from Gregg Turner on lap 4 and led the balance. Turner ended up second with Cyrus Homer, Charlie Towner and Kevin McDonald completing the top five.
Defending Lightning Cat Expert Track Champion Nick Kennedy made it three in a row on Saturday in a wild three wide finish for the win. Jimmy DiFulvio took the lead from Kennedy on lap 8 and looked to be on his way for the win when the car slowed exiting turn four on the final lap. This allowed both Kennedy and a hard charging Bob Kress to ultimately split DiFulvio at the finish line. Kennedy had just enough to edge out DiFulvio for the win with Kress finishing third. The three were only separated by a foot at the finish. Jake Maynard rebounded from a lap 1 caution to finish third with Dave Simms taking fifth after starting eighth.
Ivan Cuerra raced to his first ever Five Mile Point Speedway in the Lightning Cat Novice division feature. Cuerra took the lead from “Downtown Cory Brown” on lap 6 and led the rest of the 12 lap feature. Brown finished second with John Maynard, Mike Stark and Randy Lane finishing fifth.
COUNTER PONTS…Five Mile Point Speedway opened for the 68th consecutive year on Saturday with a huge field of race teams and large and enthusiastic crowd on hand…The foam blocks got a work out in multiple hard impacts in turns one and two on Saturday…Fortunately they did their job and all of the drivers walked away…A very scary moment for rookie Xcel 600 driver Chelsey Beebe as she went full throttle in to the turn 1 foam blocks in her qualifying event…Beebe was shaken but exited the car under her own power in what could have been a very bad incident without the foam blocks in place…Again the new clay surface held the text with the first full night of racing…The ultra-smooth and racy quarter mile oval provided multiple lanes of racing with zero tire wear again…Joey Colsten won the Modified feature event with nearly 100 laps of racing already on his tires…Brian Malcolm also raced from the rear of the field to seventh on tires that had similar laps on them with no wear…Dave VanBuren took advantage of his alternate position in the Modified division, started last and drove to a fourteenth place finish…Brian White returned to FMP after several Open Sportsman Track Championships…White looked good in his heat race qualifying for the re-draw…Unfortunately White scratched the car prior the feature with motor issues…
MODIFIED OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (30): JOEY COLSTEN ($1,500), Shaun Walker, Rusty Smith, Brad Szulewski, Nick Rochinski, Mike Butler, Brian Malcolm, Kevin Bates, Tyler Boniface, Barry White, P.J. Goodwin, Donnie Elliott, Eric Bonham, Dave VanBuren, Randy Green, Brian Weaver, Brian Puckett, Aleia Geisler, Mike Colsten, Glenn Knapp, Dan Solomon, Travis Smith, Dom Roselli, Tyler Siri. DNS – Brian White, Brian Franko, David Doig Jr., Brad Weaver.
CRATE SPORTSMAN OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (20): TOMMY COLLINS, Tanner Harpell, Matt Cole, Todd Titus, Randy Fox, Blaine Klinger, Leo McGurrin, Pat Jordan, Tim Howell, Greg McCloskey, Devon Zona, Kyle Pierce, Russell Benke, Jeremy Williams, Brandon Fritsch, Philip Clapper, Aaron Shelton, Brad Cicio, Arthur Bray, Matt Brewer, Tyler Peet. DNS – Tom Hampton, Jonathon French.
STREET STOCK OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (20): DOUG POLHAMUS, Eric Beach, Ray Lindquist, Doug Stack Jr., Tyler Yeagle, Matt Bowman, James Sykes, Jeff Manuel, Doug Stack Sr., Fred Christ, Kevin Garland, Brett Relyea.
XCEL 600 MODIFIED OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (20): BAILEY BOYD, Korey Inglin, Will Eastman, Hunter Deihl, Kevin VanValkenburg, Rich Christman, Mike Wilcha, Tyler Smith, Adam Mudge, Shawna Schibilia, Keith Inglin, Dakota Anderson, Damon Henry, Eric Boyd, Geoffery Sutton. DNS – Chelsey Beebe.
LIGHTNING CAT EXPERT OFFICIAL FEATURE (15): NICK KENNEDY, Jimmy DiFulvio, Bob Kress, Jake Maynard, Dave Simms, Josh Wilder, Mat Mather, Kevin Whitman, Brian Salmini, Kenny Underwood, David Bainbridge, Rick Lunn, Jack Jones, Adam Gilbert, Jason Colwell Sr., Caleb Lacy, Frank Smith, Andy Bolles.
FACTORY STOCK OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (20): CHARLIE GILBERT, Gregg Turner, Cyrus Homer, Charlie Towner, Kevin McDonald, Chuck Culbertson, Matt Millard, Dick Shaddock, Sheldon Whitman, Brent Shaddock, Andy Brigham, Nate Shay. DQ – Josh Wilbur.
LIGHTNING CAT NOVICE OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (12): IVAN CUERRA, Cory Brown, John Maynard, Michael Stark, Randy Lane, Bryant Beach, Edwin King Jr., Jason Colwell Jr., Bethany Bertman, Marisol Torrens, Ashley Slater, Walter Decker. DNS – Noah Seidel.