By DAVE SULLY
DELEVAN, NY – Two veterans, Billy Van Pelt, from Westfield, PA, and Mat Williamson, from St Catharines, Ontario, went at it hammer and tong in the 30 lap Outlaw Modified Feature at Freedom Motorsports Park on Friday, June 8th, and when it was all over, Van Pelt added to his career win total of over 200 by edging a persistent Williamson, who had won the first two Modified events at the facility. Van Pelt started on the pole, while Williamson went off sixth. He didn’t stay there long, as the former Lernerville big Block champion knifed his way into second on the first lap and began closing on Van Pelt.
Williamson stuck with Van Pelt until losing ground in lap traffic, but got it back when the caution flew on lap 15. He was able to hang tough after that, creeping in to challenge several times, and even getting a tire under Van Pelt on lap 23, but Van Pelt, with numerous laps at Freedom was able to fend off every challenge to score the win. Following Williamson over the line were Dylan Groover, defending track champ Adam Hilton, and Phil Vigneri III.
A tired Van Pelt allowed, “It’s a good thing it was only 30 laps and we had a break in the middle (the lap 15 caution). I got a cramp like crazy in my left arm.” Adding, “I figured Mat would try to pressure me in lap traffic. It was a little tough getting by the lap cars. I saw Mat there at the last corner. I see he poked his nose under there. I should have rolled the corner a little harder. Mat’s a go-getter, and I love racing with him.”
Brad Rouse, from St Catharines, Ontario, continued his mastery of the Sportsman division, claiming his third win in three tries in the 20 lapper.. His task was made a little easier when one of his chief competitors, fellow Canadian, Adam Leslie, scheduled to start outside on the front row, couldn’t make the call due to a broken drive shaft, which elevated him to Leslie’s spot on the grid. He then wired the filed to win by a substantial margin over Brian Bellinger, Kyle Inman, Austin Fugle, and Tim Schram.
The 20 lap Street Stock Feature went to Ted Mascho, from Hinsdale, who survived a withering attack by Andy Eastman for most of the race, surviving three restarts along the way. Mascho ended up leading every lap, with Joe Chamberlain claiming second from Eastman on a lap 19 restart.
The 20 lap Mini Stock Feature was a high buck affair, as the generous posted winner’s purse of $500 was raised to a gaudy $700 after Cummings Trucking and Weller’s Garage each kicked in an additional $100. The race drew 19 cars, highest of the year, and produced a dandy race, with the principals, Brad Shepard and Dante Mancuso providing most, but not all, of the excitement. Shepard, the defending champion, from LeRoy, took the top spot on lap two and was joined at the front by Mancuso on a lap four restart. As they duked it out, Bobby Dickinson, who started at the rear, slashed his way to the front, and actually took the lead on lap nine, but that was short-lived, as he was forced to the pits for repairs during a lap 10 caution.
When the race resumed, the Shepard/Mancuso war returned, with Shepard barely hanging on to claim the win and the nice pay check over the dogged Mancuso.
Modifieds (30 laps) – 1. Billy Van Pelt, 2. Mat Williamson, 3 Dylan Groover, 4. Adam Hilton, 5. Phil Vigneri III, 6. Shayne Pierce, 7. Jimmy Holden, 8. Brad Rapp, 9. Patrick Hoopes, 10. Tom Holden, 11. Ray Bliss, 12. Patrick Emerling, 13. John Venuto, and 14. Ray Bliss Jr. Heat winners were Williamson and Venuto.
Sportsman: (20 laps) – 1. Brad Rouse, 2. Brian Bellinger, 3. Kyle Inman, 4. Austin Fugle, 5. Tim Schram, 6. John Sekoll, 7. Ben Dover, 8. Alan Bratek,.9. Tony Pangrazio, 10.. Cody Egner, and 11. Josh Wilcox. DNS- Adam Leslie. Heat winners were Inman and Rouse.
Street Stocks: (20 laps) – 1. Ted Mascho, 2. Andy Eastman, 3. Dennis Cummings, 4. Joe Chamberlain, 5. Bill Taylor, 6. Bill Demick, 7. Ryan Allen, 8. Ron Richter, 9. Randy Taylor, and 10. Dana Maybee. Heat winners were Chamberlain and Mascho.
Mini Stocks: (20 laps) – 1. Brad Shepard, 2. Dante Mancuso, 3. Matt Mowery, 4. Chris Leone, 5. Chad Dickinson, 6. Duane Powers, 7. Chris Horton, 8. Bobby Dickinson, 9. Bill Weller, 10. Tyler Walters, 11. Andrew Kramer, 12. Bradley Steffenhagen, 13. Holden Heineman, 14. Jeff Ganoung Jr., 15. Tyler Oakes, 16. David Warrier, 17. Tom Childs, 18. Billy Williams, and 19. Dylan Strade. Heat winners were Mancuso, Shepard, and Leone.