By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – A timely maneuver and getting back to basics propelled John Ferrier to a convincing victory last Saturday night in the Modified 30-lap feature at the Orange County Fair Speedway on Dana Distributors Night.
Ferrier, who has experimented with different set ups early this season, sat in third place behind leader Tom Hindley and Gary Edwards Jr. for several restarts early in the race. He noticed that Hindley’s car drifted high when racing resumed and said he was waiting for an opportunity to surge ahead.
That moment came following a 12th-lap restart as Ferrier dove down low entering the first turn, and surged ahead of both Hindley and Edwards. It was full speed ahead from that moment on as Ferrier opened a commanding lead and then went on to grab his fourth career win at the track.
“The door opened on the bottom and I was able to drive under Hindley and Edwards,’’ said Ferrier. “I knew Hindley’s car was too tight because he kept pushing up after each restart. I was just waiting for the right opportunity, but I knew I had to be quick.
“We opened the books during the week and just went back to our basic set up. We’ve tried different things during the season, but have been struggling. We just couldn’t seem to find the right combination. So we just went back to square one and the car was just awesome. It was really dialed in and I couldn’t be happier.’’
Hindley inherited the pole for the feature because Billy VanInwegen had to scratch his car. VanInwegen drove to an impressive win in the first qualifying heat, but his car burst into flames after the race and he couldn’t continue for the remainder of the evening.
Hindley took advantage of the pole to lead in the early going. But he nearly lost first place on two occasions to Edwards following restarts. However, the rash of early caution periods kept Hindley oin front of the 26-car field until Ferrier pulled off his race winning move.
Tim Hindley, meanwhile, took advantage of the cautions to break into the top five by the fifth lap and stood second behind Ferrier by the 12th circuit. Tim Hindley was able to cut into Ferrier’s cushion as the race progressed, but never challenged for the lead.
Edwards also passed Tom Hindley en route to a third-place effort with Tom Hindley, Jerry Higbie, Stan Frankenfield Jr., Anthony Perrego, Matt Janiak, Kirk Horton and Chris Shultz rounding out the top 10.
Second-generation driver Matt Shultz made his father Chris proud as he picked up the first Sportsman victory of his young racing career in the 20-lap main event.
Matt Shultz blasted ahead of Billy Eggers Jr. following a fourth-lap restart and never looked back as he finished ahead of Roger Henion Jr., Joe Conklin, Eggers and Joe Bonetti.
“This is a very special win for me,’’ said the 15-year-old Shultz. “I’ve won here in the Rookie class, but that can’t come close to this win. This car has been fast all season and I had a second place finish with it two weeks ago at Accord Speedway.’’
Dylan Smith picked up his first career victory in the Rookie Sportsman 15-lap feature as he finished ahead of Bobby Flood, Roddy Watts, Jake Bedell and Chris Raser.
Smith, who led the entire event, had his winning drive red-flagged after four laps were completed when Jeff Higham flipped his car in the first turn. Higham wasn’t injured in the crash.
Tommy Pickles joined the crowd of first-time winners in the Street Stock 15-lap main event as he earned his initial career win ahead of Charlie Donald, Joel Murns Jr., Mike Vigiletti and Emerson Cargain Sr.
Modified Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. John Ferrier, 2. Tim Hindley, 3. Gary Edwards Jr., 4. Tom Hindley, 5. Jerry Higbie, 6. Stan Frankenfield, 7. Anthony Perrego, 8. Matt Janiak, 9. Kirk Horton, 10. Chris Shultz, 11. Steve Dodd, 12. Chris Whitehead, 13. Jimmy Horton, 14. Jeff Heotzler Sr., 15. Tommy Meier, 16. Brendan Finley, 17. Richie Eurich, 18. Mike Ruggiero, 19. Danny Cronk, 20. Mike Horton, 21. Rob Rowe, 22. Bob McGannon, 23. Matt Hitchcock, 24. Craig Mitchell, 25. Mike Kolka, 26. C.G. Morey. Scratched: Billy VanInwegen. Did Not Qualify: Patrick Reiser, Tyler Jashembowski, Joey Falanga, John Leiby.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Matt Shultz, 2. Roger Henion Jr., 3. Joe Conklin, 4. Billy Eggers Jr., 5. Joe Bonetti, 6. Connor Otten, 7. Dan Morgiewicz, 8. Anthony Falanga, 9. Jesse Leiby, 10. Jimmy Johnson, 11. Greg Sleight, 12. Cody Hunt, 13. Tommy Vigh Jr., 14. Howie Finch, 15. Joey Bruning, 16. R.J. Smith, 17. Danny Carlough, 18. Patrick Murphy, 19. Tommy Zwart, 20. Chris Curtis, 21. Mel Schrufer, 22. Jared LaBagh, 23. Jeff Hulseapple, 24. Leo Fotopoulos. Did Not Qualify: Brad Horton, Austin Smith, Bob Wosyluk, Brian Coulter, Chris Grispin, Troy Arnold, Richard Smith, George Begg, Anthony Horton, Rich Ryder.
Rookie Sportsman Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Dylan Smith, 2. Bobby Flood, 3. Roddy Watts, 4. Jake Bedell, 5. Chris Raser, 6. Richie VanOrden, 7. John Farissier, 8. Erin Paulison, 9. Michael Bull, 10. Mike Orlando, 11. Bob Jashembowski, 12. Russell Crotty, 13. Jimmy Leiby, 14. Chet Doolan, 15. Ashley Rogosich, 16. Ken Ryder, 17. Jeff Higham, 18. Taylor Hurban, 19. Jamie Doolan, 20. Mark Connoly, 21. Rich Eggers. Did Not Qualify: Mike Talmadge, Bob Hallabeck, Jake Granacker.
Street Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Tommy Pickles, 2. Charlie Donald, 3. Joel Murns Jr., 4. Mike Vigiletti, 5. Emerson Cargain Sr., 6. Jim Hajkowski, 7. Wayne Taylor, 8. Kevin Schlossareck, 9. Peter Van Nloordt, 10. Pete Wiegand, 11. Terry McNamara, 12. Rob Taylor, 13. Michael O’Sullivan, 14. Steve Larsen, `15. Ryan Modiano. Disqualified: Joe Scheffold.