By MIKE MALLETT
MIDDLETOWN, NY – Lucas Wolfe was the final 360 Sprint Car to arrive at the Orange County Fair Speedway on Thursday night. As the Biblical saying goes, “the last shall be first.” That was exactly what transpired as Wolfe kept Davie Franek at bay to pick up the $3,000 A-Main win
“I’ve had the opportunity to come up here a few times over the years,” commented Wolfe. “I certainly really enjoy coming up here. I’m fortunate to be able to come up here and squeeze in an extra race at the end of the season. I appreciate them having the Sprint Cars up here with such a big Modified weekend. I’m happy to come away with a good result.”
Joe Kata and Franek made up the front row for the start of the feature. Franek earned the lead heading into turn one but that was negated as Scott Flammer spun collecting Matt Tanner. Both drivers flipped while also collecting Scott Goodrich. Everyone walked away unharmed.
On the next start, Franek won the race into the first corner while Wolfe, who started fifth but restarted third, immediately got into the second spot in line behind Franek. Franek worked the outside lane with Wolfe working the bottom of the racing surface looking for an opportunity.
The open door came on the second circuit. Wolfe went to the bottom of turns one and two before sliding up in front of Franek off the second turn exit. Wolfe then began to open the gap on the field.
The top two remained unchanged as slower traffic came into Wolfe’s sites by the 10th lap. Two laps later he was solidly in traffic. This gave Franek a chance to make up some ground, which he did.
As the race reached the final third, Franek was within striking distance. Wolfe started getting a little too patient in traffic allowing Franek to pull to back bumper. With five to go he was looking for a way around the leader.
Franek dove to the inside of Wolfe with three laps to go in turns three and four, but he couldn’t make it stick. That kept Wolfe at the front. Wolfe went on to the keep the top spot over the final two circuits for the win.
“It was getting a little bit tricky in traffic,” said Wolfe. “I was trying to manage the tire the best I could when I was out on my own. It was hard to gauge what else might be out there off the bottom. I spent too much time behind the lapped cars. I got up in three and four and was able to clear him and finish out a good night for us.”
Franek wound up in second while Billy VanInwegen finished in third. Justin Barger came home in the fourth position with Coleman Gulick driving the wheels off his No. 14 to advance from 16th to finish in fifth.
There were 17 Sprint Cars pit-side for the 360 Sprints with Franek and Barger winning the heats…
Coleman Gulick had issues to start the night forcing him to miss the heat race. He drove up through the field without a caution to get fifth.
ORANGE COUNTY FAIR SPEEDWAY 10/18/18
360 SPRINT CAR OPEN FINISH (25-LAPS): 1 Lucas Wolfe 2 Davie Franek 3 Billy VanInwegen 4 Justin Barger 5 Coleman Gulick 6 Joe Kata 7 Kyle Smith 8 Tyler Jashembowski 9 Thomas Radivoy 10 Mike Walter 11 Eric Jennings 12 Geoff Quakenbush 13 Bill Unglert 14 Floyd Billington 15 Scott Flammer 16 Matt Tanner 17 Scott Goodrich