KUTZTOWN, PA – For the first time in the six year history of the Ronnie Tobias Memorial, one driver swept both ends of the Twin 20’s contested by the USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs. And it was not a name you might expect, such as a Pauch or a Buckwalter, who pulled off the extremely difficult double; rather it was a teen from Allentown named Briggs Danner who smiled in victory lane after each of the SpeedSTR mains on Wednesday night at Championship Energy Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds.
It was a Buckwalter, however, who won both 17-lap features for the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, as Tim Buckwalter repeated his Ronnie Tobias Memorial feat from the 2016 season. The victories were Buckwalter’s first two 600 Sprint wins of the current Action Track USA campaign.
Mertztown, PA’s Dylan Hoch notched his second All Star Slingshot triumph of the year in that division’s 40-lap feature, which served as a tune-up before next Wednesday’s Kutztown Komet 100 – a victory that is not yet listed on Hoch’s resume`.
The July 25 menu of high speed adventure, in addition to the 100-lapper for the Slingshots, will include the USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs, the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, and the Junior Slingshots. There will also be a Big Wheel Race for the youngsters at intermission, and it all gets underway with warm-ups at 6 p.m. Pit gates open at 4:00 and grandstand gates swing open at 5:00.
On July 18, the first 20-lap feature for the SpeedSTRs began with Ed Kenderdine shooting into the lead on the opening tour, but Kenderdine then skated up the banking in turn one as Tim Iulg and Jeff Hartman flew by him.
Point leaders Billy Pauch Jr. and Matt Westfall were involved in a four-car skirmish, along with Kenderdine and Brad Brightbill, with three circuits in the books. All four restarted at the back of the pack.
Iulg continued to set the pace through the early and middle stages of the race while Hartman, Kevin Graver Jr., ninth-starter Briggs Danner, and Andy Haus slugged it out for positions two through five. Danner blasted into the runner-up spot with four to go, setting his sights on the leader. Briggs used the turn two banking to get a big run down the backchute with two laps remainig and, when Iulg burped the throttle to set his car for turn three, Danner’s No. 78 made slight contact with his rear bumper – just enough to send Iulg spinning into the corner. Danner was able to get around him but, as Iulg attempted to gas his No. 56SR and continue, he tapped Graver – whose No. 78K spun, then flipped down the third turn banking.
When the race resumed, Danner was the new leader and Haus found himself in second, with Tim Buckwalter third. That’s the way they finished, with Danner picking up his second win of the season. For Andy Haus, the runner-up effort was his best in two seasons of SpeedSTR competition, while Tim Buckwalter completed the podium. TJ Mayberry made his way from 16th on the starting grid to finish fourth, and Brad Brightbill rebounded nicely from the early tangle to earn fifth place pay.
“I had a run, and I got into him…that’s totally on me,” said Danner as he described the incident with Iulg. “I hate that it happened, but that’s racing. It’s happened to me already, too, so we’ll take the win and move on.”
In the second SpeedSTR main, pole sitter TJ Mayberry and Tim Buckwalter battled for the lead with Mayberry on the bottom and Buckwalter rolling the top. The fierce duel raged for eight trips around the clay before Buckwalter shoved the nose of his Business Link Print.com No. 52 in front of Mayberry as they crossed the stripe to complete lap nine.
Danner was third, watching the battle for the lead unfold in front of him, and he went to the whip when Buckwalter took the lead. Just as he made the move to get by Mayberry for second, Mike Mahaney flipped on the backstretch with ten circuits complete.
As the race went back to green, Andy Haus made his presence known in the top three, and on lap 13, Haus blasted by Buckwalter to snatch the lead. The yellow flag waved on the same lap and, during the caution period, Buckwalter suddenly headed for the pits. The top four at that point were Haus, TJ Mayberry, Brad Brightbill, and Danner, with point leader Billy Pauch Jr. in fifth. Close quarters racing among the top five ensued until, on a restart with six to go, Danner threaded the needle, slipping between Mayberry and Brightbill on the backstretch to claim the runner-up position. When Haus appeared to get tight as he navigated the inside lane in turn two, Danner shot to the outside of the leader and edged ahead as lap 16 was scored. Danner went on to win by three-quarters of a second over Haus, who recorded another runner-up finish. TJ Mayberry wound up third, his fourth consecutive top-six finish at Action Track USA. Matt Westfall rumbled from 19th starting position to take home fourth-place money, and Brightbill settled for fifth.
“We’re going good now; I am going to write down all of our set up notes from tonight,” said Danner with a smile, after he became the first driver to sweep both SpeedSTR mains in the Ronnie Tobias Memorial event. Danner has won three of the last four SpeedSTR features at the Berks County speedway.
“This feels like two wins for us,” noted Andy Haus of Hamburg, PA. “With the way we’ve struggled here, ever since we started running the SpeedSTR, this is great. I will take two second-place finishes.” Haus gave credit to Billy Pauch Jr. for helping him with set up advice during the days leading up to the event. When it was pointed out to him that the suggestions he used enabled him to beat Pauch in both of the Twin 20’s, Haus grinned and said, “well, I guess that’s the last advice we will get from him.”
While Tim Buckwalter had an up-and-down night in the SpeedSTR, he re-discovered his groove in the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints. The Douglassville, PA throttle-jockey diced with Nash Ely, Jacob Severn, and Jay Hartman in a four-car shootout for the lead in the early laps of the first 17-lap main for the 600’s. Buckwalter’s No. 71 was working incredibly well in the low groove, and he grabbed the lead on the fourth revolution over Severn, Hartman, and a charging Colin White. White was “rippin’ the lip”, flying around the high side at both ends of the speedway, and he eventually wrestled second away from Severn. White then made a few assaults on the leader, but Buckwalter drove away from him (and the rest of the field) in the final laps. At the checkered it was Buckwalter, White, Jay Hartman, point leader Billy Pauch Jr., and Kenny Miller III.
With Pauch on the pole for race number two, it was Jay Hartman darting into the top spot and Buckwalter scooting past Pauch for second as lap one was recorded. Buckwalter again utilized the low lane as he and Hartman went tooth-and-nail, side by side for the race lead over the initial eight trips around the oval. When Hartman got a bit twitchy in turn four, Buckwalter motored in front, securing the lead on lap ten. His advantage was short-lived, though, as Colin White was comin’ on like gangbusters. White rocketed around the top while Buckwalter remained committed to the bottom, and White had a nose in front when they passed by the flagstand to complete lap 12. Buckwalter was not about to give up, however, and he gunned his Greth Racing/ Hyper No. 71 back in front as the laps dwindled, hanging on for a narrow victory (0.114-seconds) over White, who was happy but not satisfied with his second straight runner-up effort. Pauch Jr. wound up third ahead of Jay Hartman and Kenny Miller III was fifth again. The top five drivers were the same in both 600 Sprint features, with Pauch and Hartman switching third and fourth place in the two races.
The 40-lap Slingshot main was a good one, with Nick Vinciguerra setting the pace in the early going over Joe Toth. Austin Daniels moved up to challenge Toth for second, passing the No. 9 before Toth reclaimed the spot a few laps later. Brett Bieber rambled from his 11th starting position to run third with 11 tours complete and then, on the 14th revolution, Toth slipped past Vinciguerra to snare the lead and Bieber followed him into second place. The middle portion of the race featured a nose-to-tail, nip-tuck battle among Toth, Bieber, and 14th starter Dylan Hoch. Right behind the lead trio, it was three-wide for fourth position between Dave Carraghan, Daniels, and the previous week’s winner Jared Silfee.
With just ten trips remaining, Hoch muscled past Bieber for second. He stalked Toth for the next seven circuits before Toth slipped up the banking just enough to open the inside lane, permitting Hoch to dash past him for the lead. Hoch went on to win his second of the year at the Kutztown Fairgounds track, with Toth registering his best finish of the season by placing second. Brett Bieber rounded out the podium, with Silfee and Dakota Kohler completing the top five.
Action Track Sidebites:
Solid car counts at the Ronnie Tobias Memorial, with 28 SpeedSTRs, 30 Hyper Racing 600’s, and 28 All Star Slingshots making up the field. That’s a total of 86 race cars taking part in the racing program that was run in front of another large and enthusiastic crowd.
The pair of 600 Sprint wins pushed Tim Buckwalter’s all-time, division leading total to 14, twice as many as Alex Bright and Billy Pauch Jr., who have seven victories each since the facility became known as Action Track USA in 2013.
Hoch’s triumph was his ninth career Slingshot win at the Kutztown dirt track, keeping him atop the all-time winner’s list in that division. He has three more victories than Brett Bieber, who is tied for second on the all-time list with Mark Sensenig.
Tim Buckwalter will return to Action Track USA competition in two weeks, as he plans to spend (approximately) the next ten days in the Midwest while taking part in Indiana Sprint Week. Buckwalter, in Paul Lotier’s wingless Sprinter, will take on the best of the USAC AMS-OIL National Sprint Car division on their home turf.
USAC All Pro SpeedSTR Feature 1 (20 Laps) — 1. Briggs Danner 2. Andy Haus 3. Tim Buckwalter 4. TJ Mayberry 5. Brad Brightbill 6. Mike Bender 7. Tyler Ross 8. Alex Yankowski 9. Earl Paules 10. Tom Mayberry 11. Mike Mahaney 12. Tim Iulg 13. Kevin Graver 14. Ed Kenderdine 15. Pat Bealer 16. Joe Vaccaro 17. Steven Nederostek 18. Billy Pauch Jr. 19. Steve Buckwalter 20. Matt Westfall 21. Jeff Hartman 22. Jason Rochelle 23. Dylan Hoch 24. Matt Janisch.
USAC All Pro SpeedSTR Feature 2 (20 Laps) — 1. Briggs Danner 2. Andy Haus 3. TJ Mayberry 4. Matt Westfall 5. Brad Brightbill 6. Billy Pauch Jr. 7. Tim Iulg 8. Tyler Ross 9. Alex Yankowski 10. Earl Paules 11. Matt Janisch 12. Josh Dalrymple 13. Mike Bender 14. Joe Vaccaro 15. Pat Bealer 16. Jason Rochelle 17. Jeff Hartman 18. Tom Mayberry 19. Tim Buckwalter 20. Steven Nederostek 21. Mike Mahaney 22. Kevin Graver 23. Dylan Hoch. DNS: Ed Kenderdine, Steve Buckwalter.
DNQ: Tommy Kunsman, Sabrina Blanchet, Jesse Maurer.
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints Feature 1 (17 Laps) — 1. Tim Buckwalter 2. Colin White 3. Jay Hartman 4. Billy Pauch Jr. 5. Kenny Miller 6. Jacob Severn 7. Danny Buccafusca 8. Robbie Hocker 9. Nash Ely 10. Andrew Layser 11. Lavar Scott 12. Matt Roselli 13. Austin Quick 14. Kyle Spence 15. Joey Amantea 16. Zach Fisher 17. Joe Kay 18. Brian Carber 19. Wayne Scott 20. Alex Bright 21. Jim Rodney 22. Jesse Maurer 23. Joey Jarowicz 24. Tomas Partington.
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints Feature 2 (17 Laps) — 1. Tim Buckwalter 2. Colin White 3. Billy Pauch Jr. 4. Jay Hartman 5. Kenny Miller 6. Danny Buccafusca 7. Austin Quick 8. Andrew Layser 9. Brian Carber 10. Alex Bright 11. Kyle Spence 12. Jacob Severn 13. Nash Ely 14. Jim Rodney 15. Robbie Hocker 16. Jesse Maurer 17. Joey Jarowicz 18. Lavar Scott 19. Joe Kay 20. Tomas Partington 21. Joey Amantea 22. Zach Fisher 23. Wayne Scott 24. Matt Roselli.
DNQ: Tyler Lindsay, Jacob Balliet, Jared Lilly, Jason Muldowney, Tyler Kehs, Tom Scott Jr.
All Star Slingshot Feature (40 Laps) — 1. Dylan Hoch 2. Joe Toth 3. Brett Bieber 4. Jared Silfee 5. Dakota Kohler 6. Travis Bieber 7. Scott Nerey 8. Dave Carraghan 9. Austin Daniels 10. Kyle Smith 11. Anthony Raisner 12. Joey Vaccaro 13. Austin Stufflet 14. Justin Thompson 15. Mike Taylor 16. Andrew Turpin 17. Decker Swinehart 18. Lee Schantzenbach 19. Mason Pittenger 20. Kyle Herve 21. Tanner VanDoren 22. Nick Vinciguerra 23. Ryan Davey 24. Cody Kline 25. Matt Miller 26. Jonathan Swift 27. Gavin Danner 28. Tyler Langenderfer.
EG Mayor 600 Sprint Mad Scramble (10 Laps) – 1.Austin Quick (transfers to Feature), 2.Jacob Severn (Hoosier RR Tire), 3.Matt Roselli (Vahlco Wheel), 4.Wayne Scott (10 gallons Methanol from Roadrunner Race Fuel/VP Racing Fuel), 5.Joey Amantea (RTS Gift Certificate), 6.Tyler Kehs (Hyper Gift Certificate), 7.Jared Lilly (4 FK Rod Ends), 8.Jason Muldowney (TSL Shocks Gift Certificate), 9.Jacob Balliet (Saldana Racing Products Gift Certificate), 10.Tom Scott Jr. (Free Action Track USA Car Registration).