By DAVE SULLY
DELEVAN, NY – Billy Van Pelt, Kyle Inman, and Pat Powers each scored their first Freedom Motorsports Park wins of the season before a good crowd on Friday, June 16th on an uncharacteristically beautiful night in the Western Southern Tier. Van Pelt bested young Phil Vigneri III in a sometimes torrid duel in the Modifieds, while Inman wired the field in the Sportsman, and Pat Powers grabbed the second annual Bixby Hill Shootout for the Street Stocks to the tune of $750 on Barnacle Brothers Reclaimed Lumber Night.
Van Pelt, from Westfield, PA, took the lead from polesitter and long time foe, Ron Cartwright Jr., on the second lap and proceeded to set a blistering pace in the 30 lap Modified headliner. A caution on lap eight eliminated point leader Shayne Pierce, who had slapped the wall earlier. Young Vigneri took over second from Cartwright on the restart and began pressuring Van Pelt. He eased past Van Pelt on lap 11, but Van Pelt didn’t go away, keeping the heat on the young driver.
Following a lap 14 restart, Van Pelt began a withering attack on Vigneri on the outside, ultimately retaking the top spot on lap 17. From there he pulled away over the remaining laps, easily weathering a late caution in the process. Vigneri held on for second over a fast closing Randy Chrysler, with Cartwright and first time Freedom competitor, Mike Bowman, another of the Canadian invaders, who had a nice run from twelfth to round out the top five.
Van Pelt offered, “Vigneri’s an awesome driver. He gave me just a little bit of room. He did try to block, but he gave me just a little bit of room. I appreciate that a lot from those guys.”
Inman’s win in the Sportsman wasn’t quite as stressful, as he started on the pole and led all 25 laps, with only one caution slowing things on the 20th circuit. The rest of the field battled for position, with Cody McPherson subbing for Adam Leslie able to challenge Inman at the end, but having to settle for second, while Adam Ashcroft, James Friesen, and point leader Brad Rouse completed the top five.
Inman, from Darien, allowed, “I was really happy to start up front. The track was really good tonight, with a couple grooves of racing. Coming to white I saw the 15 down on the bottom, and I shot back back down. That was pretty awesome. It was a hard fought victory, just driving so hard in the car.”
Powers, from Genesee, made his first Street Stock appearance of the year a winning one, as he out-dueled Ted Mascho at the start. The two went hammer and tong for the first eight laps, often side by side before he was able to claim the top spot on lap eight from the outside pole sitter. Then he survived a late raced challenge from defending track champion, Al Brewer, who clawed his way to second after starting tenth.
Powers noted, “If you take that left front and stick it on the guard rail, there’s some bite there. You could go high if you needed to, but this car was working tight on that guard rail.”
Runner-up Brewer said, “I had a head of steam there once I found a better groove, but he’d already got out on me a little and I was too late.”
Finally, Matt Mowery, from Olean, came from far back to catch Ryan Allen and made the pass for the win in the Mini Stock Feature, saying, “My car was better on the bottom, and I was able to catch him.”
June 16 Results- Barnacle Brothers Reclaimed Lumber Night.
Modifieds: (30 laps) – 1. Billy Van Pelt, 2. Phil Vigneri III, 3. Randy Chrysler, 4. Ron Cartwright Jr., 5. Mike Bowman, 6. James Sweeting, 7. John Venuto, 8. Adam Hilton, 9. Patrick Emerling, 10. Chris Ostrowsky, 11. Tony Pangrazio, 12. Ray Bliss, and Shayne Pierce. Heat winners were Bliss and Van Pelt.
Sportsman: (25 laps) – 1. Kyle Inman, 2. Cody McPherson, 3. Adam Ashcroft, 4. James Friesen, 5. Brad Rouse, 6. Ray Bliss, 7. Tom Richau, 8. Mark Chiddy, 9. Brian Bellinger, 10. Alan Bratek, 11. Cody Egner, 12. John Sekoll, and 13. Tim Schram. DNS: Mike Eastman. Heat winners were Bliss and McPherson.
Street Stocks: (20 laps) – 1. Pat Powers, 2. Al Brewer, 3. Dennis Cummings, 4. Ted Mascho, 5. Joe Chamberlain, 6. Rob Stromecki, 7. Bill Demick, 8. Glen Vancise, 9. Bruno Mowery, 10. Mike Jackson, 11. Bill Taylor, 12. Jake Masco, 13. Jim Claypool, 14. Terry Gaylor, 15. Steve Sklar, 16. Dustin Goss, 17. Dana Maybee, and 18. Frank Neamon. DNS: Jack Warrior. Heat winners were Mowery, Stromecki, and Powers.
Mini Stocks: (12 laps) – 1. Matt Mowery, 2. Ryan Allen, 3. Tom Childs, 4. Holden Heineman and Chris Benz. Heat winner was Heineman.