By KYLE YOUNG
CENTER LISLE, NY – Another beautiful summer night graced the Thunder Mountain Speedway and all of its competitors for a full card of racing on Saturday, August 8th.
The Open Modified feature was led early on by Rick Wilk from the outside pole. A few early cautions kept the pace of the race slow, but a solid green flag run developed throughout the middle of the race. Wilk held on to the lead for a while until 14th place starter Chris Stull made his way to the front of the field. Stull was Wilk’s strongest battle and proved to be too tough for Wilk to handle as Stull moved around him for the race lead. Once Stull was clear, he drove away from the field. He would make his way into lapped traffic, but they played nice and he was able to get through them without too many challenges. The familiar faces of Billy Decker and Shaun Walker worked their way to the front of the field and was ever so slowly closing the gap to Stull in the lead, but it was too much to overcome and Stull would take the victory. Decker and Walker crossed the line in second and third with Jeremy Smith and Alan Barker completing the top five.
Pure domination was the theme for the DIRTcar 358 Modified feature. Willy Decker and Tom Eiklor started on the front row and traded the lead a couple times in the opening laps. The battle would eventually be won by Decker and he rocketed away from the field once he did. His lead grew to over a full straightaway at one point during the race, but some late cautions erased that lead and gave the field the opportunity to steal it away from him. Not only was Decker good on the long run, he was also good on the restarts. Decker got the launches he needed to keep the field away from his lead and took the win convincingly over Tom Eiklor, Shayne Spoonhower, Lance Willix, and Darren Smith.
Will Shields and Stacy Jackson led the 29 car field to the green in the DIRTcar Crate Sportsman feature. A handful of cautions filled the opening laps of the race, but there was enough racing early on for Stacy Jackson to take the lead from Will Shields. Throughout the early restarts, Hunter Lapp was able to quietly work his way up to Jackson’s back bumper from his seventh place starting spot. Lapp had the opportunity to start next to Jackson on a restart and made the most of it. He took the lead away from Jackson and drove away from the field once he did. Lapp claimed the victory over Jackson who finally ended his streak of misfortune and posted a finish deserving of the runs he’s been having. Addison Bowman, Will Shields, and Mike Austin were the remainder of the top five.
With an increase in field size this week, the Wheeler’s Excavating Street Stock feature was another highly contested race. The early stages of the race saw a fierce battle between Gene Sharpstein and Lanson Albanese at the front of the field. Sharpstein led Albanese with a tightly packed field of cars behind them looking to insert themselves into the battle. The battle between the top two came to an end when Albanese got into turn three too hot and made contact with Sharpstein’s left rear quarter panel. Sharpstein spun around and Albanese was sent to the rear of the field for the contact. That put Earl Zimmer in the lead. Zimmer was given a great fight from Doug Stack Jr. throughout the second half of the race, but Zimmer slowly spaced himself out in the final laps to win his first race of the 2020 season.
The most exciting finish of the night came in the 600cc Modified feature. Tommy Paige started on the pole for the 20 lap race and found himself a comfortable place in the front of the field. The race stayed green for just about the entire way, which brought lapped traffic into play. Once Paige caught the back of the field, his competition behind him closed in. The top seven cars were all over each other in the closing laps before the first caution came out for a spinning Doug Windhausen. That eliminated the lapped traffic, but it did not eliminate the fight for the win. Justin LaDue found something on the top of the track that he liked and was making passes to close in on Paige at the front of the field. He got to the outside of Paige in turns three and four on the final lap and had a great run coming to the checkered flag. Paige slid up the track just a little bit, making slight contact with LaDue’s car to keep him at bay in a photo finish for the win. The victory ended a slew of mechanical issues for that team over the past few weeks.
In the Pop’s Automotive Factory Stocks, Shawn Sabo and Buck Mills Jr. brought the field to the green flag. Sabo handed the lead over to Mills Jr. and fourth place starter Mike Morse rocketed around the top to move into second. A couple early restarts created a battle between Mills Jr. and Morse for the race lead, eventually being won by Morse. As the laps clicked off, Tommy Groover slowly crept in on Morse. Groover was able to stick with Morse once he got to Morse, but he couldn’t find enough speed to make the pass. A late restart gave Groover a great opportunity to end the streak of Mike Morse victories, but he couldn’t pull it off and Morse went back to Victory Lane.
The twelve lap Rookie Sportsman feature was led off the start by Bryan Pospisil. The race’s first caution came out on lap two, and in that short green flag run, Michael Roach was able to jump up a position from third to second. Roach got a great restart and took the lead away from Pospisil. Roach looked strong out front, but as the race progressed, points leader and last week’s winner Jonathan Fowlston was closing in. The race would finish with a one lap sprint to the checkered. Fowlston tried his best to throw his car into the top side of turn three to get around Roach, but he couldn’t make it stick and Roach took his third checkered flag in the last four weeks.
The Rookie 600cc Modified field was made up of just Logan LaDue this week. Instead of running his race alone, he tagged onto the back of the second 600cc Modified heat race. This gave Logan an opportunity to learn some valuable information and share the track with more cars than he ever has before. He also got to share the track with his Dad and his uncle, which he very much enjoyed.
The originally scheduled two-day show for next weekend for the Mike “Mr. Ford” Colsten Memorial Race has been postponed until fans are allowed to participate. Next weekend’s show will be a regular eight division show instead. As we get closer to the end of the season, points will continue to mean more and more with every race. Some of the points battles took a much more exciting turn after this week’s racing, which will only make the racing moving forward that much better.
Finish for August 8, 2020
Modified – Chris Stull, Billy Decker, Shaun Walker, Jeremy Smith, Alan Barker, Ken Hammond, Eric Leet, Jerry Higbie, Brandon Walters, Rick Wilk, Chris Jordan, Jeff Sheely, Travis Smith, John Morse, Rich Christman, Jesse Velez, Landon Cummings, Greg Morgan, Joe August, Rusty Smith, Nick Nye, Bailey Boyd, Pat Jordan, Kevin Jordan, P.J. Goodwin, Marc Goodwin, Arthur Bray, Joey Buonagurio, Dustin Jordan, Kevin Jordan
DIRTcar 358 Modified – Willy Decker, Tom Eiklor, Shayne Spoonhower, Lance Willix, Darren Smith, Marshall Hurd, Brandon Walters, Matt Williamson, Devin Willis, Jeff Taylor, Michael Stanton, Ronnie Davis, Colton Wilson, Chris Curtis, Corey Cormier, Jordan McCreadie, Daniel Morgiewicz, Glenn Forward, Lucas Heintz, Kirk Reynolds, Gordy Button, Nick Krause
DIRTcar Sportsman – Hunter Lapp, Stacy Jackson, Addison Bowman, Will Shields, Mike Austin, Tommy Collins, Alan Fink, Mike Button, Brandon Carvey, Isaiah Forward, Willy Decker Jr., Cody Jackson, Tim Guild, Troy Arnold, Rocco Leone, Leah Decker, Daryl Krebs, Matt Meade, Rich Talada, Tom Velez, Colby Herzog, Sean Beardsley, Tyler Keener, Will Eastman, Kevan Cook, Matt Richardson, Lem Atkins, Todd Hayward, A.J. Miller
Wheeler Excavation Street Stocks – Earl Zimmer, Doug Stack Jr., Jerry Lobdell Jr., Damon Decker, Doug Polhamus, Doug Stack Sr., Mike Wilbur, Steven Deinhardt, Rich Sharpsteen, Lanson Albanese, Jake Fowlston, Cody Baker, Chris Cunningham, Eric Boynton, Don Reeves, Cameron Searles, Shane Wolff Jr., Rich Fife, Gene Sharpsteen, John McAdam, Bobby Wagner, Craig Kranz, Don Russell
600cc Modifieds – Tommy Paige, Justin LaDue, Jake Waibel, Chad Mason, Brett Gray, Tom Donahue, Ali Scutt, Mark Golden, Tom Shiner, Tracy Smith, Chace Scutt, Ryan Hurlbut, Nolan Smith, Ayden Morgen, Doug Windhausen, Taylor Wilk, Devon Green, Chris Jordan, Damon Henry, DNS Brenton Miller, Butch Green
Pop’s Automotive Factory Stocks – Mike Morse, Tom Groover, Bob Mills, Nick Stark, Luke Mills, Norm Whiettemore, Levi Frink, Will Jones, T.J. Fitzgibbons, Tim Parker, Buck Mills Jr., Shawn Sabo, Phil Burnes, Josh Towner, DNS Buck Mills Sr.
Rookie Sportsman – Michael Roach, Jonathan Fowlston, Bryan Pospisil, James Costlow, Jared Green, Coleby Felber, Jamie Kamrowski, Bryan Bartos, Billy Fiske, Randy Bushnell, Derek Ducan, Blake Sarpiacone, DNS Dane Hedlund
Rookie 600cc Modifieds – Logan LaDue