GASTON AND MCMILLEN EXTEND POINT LEADS WITH WINS; SMEAL SNAPS MARTZ’S WIN STREAK; JOINER TAKES SECOND FEATURE WIN; FIRST OF THE SEASON FOR HARTZFELD AT THUNDER MOUNTAIN SPEEDWAY
August 15, 200
With the 2008 racing season winding down, Matt Gaston (Steel Block Late Models) and Bill McMillen (RWD 4 Cylinders) picked up wins to add to their point leads while Jason Joiner (Thunderbolt Enduros) racked up his second win of the year. Dan Smeal (Super Stocks) picked up his first win, snapping Rusty Martz’s 6 winning streak at 6 races and taking home the $100 bounty. Bruce Hartzfeld (Pure Stocks) grabbed his first feature win of the season.
Punxsutawney, PA’s Matt Gaston tallied up win #5 on the season after taking the lead from John Chesnalavich on lap 5. “I knew Chris (Ferrell) was there, I heard him up there.” acknowledged Gaston beside his #47 in Horizon Homes Victory Lane. “Something’s wrong with my motor, it’s down a cylinder. I just stood on it coming out of the turns, used everything it had.”
Ferrell and Chesnalavich brought the 12 car field to green with Chesnalavich taking the lead in his #812. 4th starting Gaston moved to 2nd with Farrell dropping to 3rd after the first lap was in the books. Bob Smith brought out the first caution on lap 3 with a spin in turn 2. Chesnalavich lead the restart, but Gaston drove around the leader in turn 2 to take the top spot. Chesnalavich got his mount sideways in turn 2 on lap 5, but corrected it with no yellow. In the meantime, Ferrell, Rick Maxim, Chuck Kennedy and Dwayne Tanneyhill all slipped by Chesnalavich.
Out front, Gaston was opening a marginal lead over first time visitor Ferrell and Maxim’s battle for 2nd. Behind the top 3, Kennedy and Tanneyhill were locked in a battle for 4th. Tanneyhill took the spot on lap 9 as Gaston was pulling away from the field. At the half way mark, Gaston had a half straight stretch lead over Ferrell who had the same cushion between himself and Maxim. Tanneyhill took 3rd from Maxim a lap later as Gaston was entering heavy lapped traffic. Chesnalavich spun in turn 2 bringing out a caution with 5 laps to go .
With action back underway, Gaston went back to work leading Ferrell as Tanneyhill tried to take the spot in turn 2. Ferrell held off the challenge as the top 3 cars were all together. Maxim joined the battle from 4th with 2 laps to go. The battle ended as Tanneyhill and Maxim spun in turn 2 for the final caution of the race.
The ensuing restart proved interesting as Farrell made a last ditch effort in turn 3 by running the extreme high line. Gaston had his mount glued to the bottom and held off Farrell at the finish. Kennedy, Maxim, and Brian Smith made up the top 5 with Chesnalavich, Tanneyhill, Cory Wilson, Bill Davis, and Dan Stormer rounding out the top 10. Maxim and Tanneyhill were heat race winners.
After nearly picking up a win on July 25 when Rusty Martz took the lead on turn 4 of the final lap, Houtzdale, PA’s Dan Smeal returned with a vengeance by taking the lead on lap 2 and never looking back en route to his first Super Stock win of the season. “I wasn’t too sure in the heat race. I made some mistakes, haven’t run here much and it took me a little while to get the hang of this track again.” stated Smeal after victory lane pictures with his #44. “Smeal graciously continued “I didn’t come here for the bounty on Rusty, I came to race with some good drivers. Rusty deserves a lot of credit, winning 6 features in a row is quite a feat.”
After a random invert only left the heat race winners inverted, Chad Rougeux and Fuzzy Fields made up row #1 with fellow heat winner Smeal starting 3rd beside Mike Desch. Rougeux took the lead into turn 1 as Smeal took 2nd from Fields entering turn 3. A caution for Brandon Connor’s stopped machine brought out a caution, requiring a complete restart.
The restart was a mirror of the initial start with Rougeux leading lap 1. Rougeux lost the handle on his car in turn 2 allowing Smeal, Fields, and Jamie Barber into the top 3 spots. After lap 2 was completed, 12th starter Rusty Martz was up to 4th and closing on the top 3 cars. Smeal started to open a lead on Fields who was facing pressure from Barber as Martz did the same on Barber. A lap 5 caution for Tom Greeley halted the action briefly.
Back under green, Smeal maintained his lead over Fields as Martz took 3rd from Barber on lap 8. At the halfway mark, the top 3 cars were all within striking distance of leading before trouble erupted a lap later. While driving under Fields for 2nd in turn 3, Martz and Fields made slight contact resulting in a spin for Fields. Martz was also sent to the tail for the restart.
Smeal was alone in front for the restart as Barber, Steve Cook, Rougeux and Tim Bish made up the top 5 heading into turn 1. While Smeal was pulling away from the field, Cook and Barber began a battle for the runner up spot which Cook snared with 2 laps to go as Martz climbed back to 6th. On the white flag lap, Cook spun his car losing 5 spots heading down the back stretch. Smeal easily won over Barber, Rougeux, Bish, and Martz. Jim Bloom, Cook, Fields, Johnny Lindenpitz, and Mike Dempsey rounded out the top 10. Smeal, Fields, and Rougeux won heats over the 18 car field.
After coming close several times this season, Stump Creek, PA’s Bruce Hartzfeld broke into the win column in Pure Stock competition. Hartzfeld commented “It’s good to be back standing here again. It took a lot of help, thanks to all my crew and sponsors.”
Alan Trunzo and Mike Donahue lead the 10 car field to the start with Donahue taking the lead. 3rd starter Brian Rhed took the lead on lap 2 before Donahue spun in turn 3 for a yellow. Donahue brought out another caution with a turn 4 spin after Hartzfeld took the lead from Rhed. Newcomer Jim Gullace Jr took 2nd from Rhed on lap 5 and tried to close on Hartzfeld before going up in smoke. Fire erupted under the hood of the #00 as he entered the pits resulting in a red flag.
Hartzfeld was in front for the restart as Kyle Shannon took 2nd from Rhed at the halfway mark and chased down the leader. Shannon pulled alongside the leader as the white flag waved, but Hartzfeld had a strong run in turns 1 and 2 to hold onto his lead heading into the last half lap. His lead was enough as he beat Shannon by a car length at the finish. Rhed, Nathan Yeaney, and Todd English made up the top 5 ahead of Trunzo, Guy Coder, Steve Barnes, Gullace and Donahue. Rhed and Donahue were heat race victors.
“Wild” Bill McMillen added to his point lead after his 6th RWD 4 Cylinder feature win and 96th of his career. The St Mary’s, PA veteran broke the news of his upcoming retirement at the close of the season. “I have a couple more weeks to go, then I’m hanging it up.” stated McMillen by his #51 after winning the caution plagued feature.
Aaron Henry and Paul Metz lead the 9 car field to green with Henry leading the first 3 laps. Tim Bailey took the top spot on lap 4 and lead until 2 laps to go when McMillen made a bit for the lead. Bailey and McMillen made contact with both cars going to the rear of the field. Brandon Weidow inherited the lead, but McMillen lined up second after 2 cars exited to the pits and Bailey was black flagged. Weidow lead at the white flag and appeared to be closing on his first feature win. The savvy veteran McMillen had other plans as he took the lead down the back stretch and went on to win over Weidow and Jason Young. Heading up the list of DNF’s were Ken Erskine, Metz, Don Henry, Aaron Henry, Joe Malobicky Jr, and Bailey. Bailey picked up the heat race win.
Brookville, PA’s Jason Joiner picked up his 2nd Thunderbolt Enduro feature win in his #1B. Joiner commented “It’s about time I get back here again. I’ve been trying different things, some works some doesn’t. I hope it’s not the driver.”
Brent Fields took the lead on lap 1 before Joiner went by on lap 2. Fields had his hands full with Jamey and Brent Lee the entire distance as the three cars swapped the second spot several times. Point leader Chad Greeley came from 12th to join the battle while in 5th as he and Brent Lee fought for 4th. Joiner worked lapped traffic flawlessly and went on to win over Jamey lee, Fields, Brent Lee, and Greeley. Shawn Lindemuth, Barry Myers, Aaron Hill, Randy Holliday, and Randy Rickard rounded out the top 10. 24 cars were on hand as heat wins went to Fields, Joiner, and Steve Cook.
The upcoming weekend will feature Fan Appreciation/Autograph Night at Thunder Mountain Speedway in support of a regular 5 division program. Hooters Cup ace Benny Gordon will be on hand with his Samuel metal’s #66 car and hauler, as well as every car in the pits heading track side during intermission. Drivers will be giving away autographs and gifts to fans who make their way onto the track. The postponed Powder Puff races for Enduros and Pure Stocks has been rescheduled for August 29th. Gates open at 5:00 with racing at 7:30. Both nights will have a regular admission of $10 for stands with pit passes remaining $20. For the latest information, visit the track’s web site at www.thundermountainspeedway.net.
STEEL BLOCK LATE MODELS: (13 Cars)
1. MATT GASTON, 2. Chris Farrell, 3. Chuck Kennedy, 4. Rick Maxim, 5. Brian Smith, 6. John Chesnalavich, 7. Dwayne Tanneyhill, 8. Cory Wilson, 9. Bill Davis, 10. Dan Stormer, 11. Larry Wingard -DNF, 12. Bob Smith -DNF, 13. Ed Connor -DNS.
HEAT WINNERS: Tanneyhill, Maxim
SUPER STOCKS: (19 Cars)
1. DAN SMEAL, 2. Jamie Barber, 3. Chad Rougeux, 4. Tim Bish, 5. Rusty Martz, 6. Jim Bloom, 7. Steve Cook, 8. Fuzzy Fields, 9. Johnny Lindenpitz, 10. Mike Dempsey, 11. Jay Kelichner, 12. Dale Yeaney, 13. Jim Handyside Jr -DNF, 14. Skip Lindemuth -DNF, 15. Mike Desch -DNF, 16. Tom Greeley -DNF, 17. Greg Kent -DNF, 18. Brandon Connor -DNF, 19. Chad Obrien -DNS.
HEAT WINNERS: Smeal, Fields, Rougeux.
PURE STOCKS: (10 Cars)
1. BRUCE HARTZFELD, 2. Kyle Shannon, 3. Brian Rhed, 4. Nathan Yeaney, 5. Todd English, 6. Alan Trunzo, 7. Guy Coder, 8. Steve Barnes, 9. Jim Gullace Jr -DNF, 10. Mike Donahue -DNF.
HEAT WINNERS: Rhed, Donahue.
RWD 4 Cylinders: (9 Cars)
1. BILL MCMILLEN, 2. Brandon Weidow, 3. Jason Young, 4. Ken Erskine -DNF, 5. Paul Metz Jr -DNF, 6. Don Henry -DNF, 7. Aaron Henry -DNF, 8. Joe Malobicky Jr, 9. Tim Bailey -DNF.
HEAT WINNER: Bailey.
THUNDERBOLT ENDUROS: (24 Cars)
1. JASON JOINER, 2. Jamey Lee, 3. Brent Fields, 4. Brent Lee, 5. Chad Greeley, 6. Shawn Lindemuth, 7. Barry Myers, 8. Aaron Hill, 9. Randy Holliday, 10. Randy Rickard, 11. Cory Silvis, 12. Richie Snell, 13. Shawn Dinger, 14. Michael Fields, 15. Devin Dempsey, 16. John Miller, 17. Rusty Murray, 18. Sam Orf Jr, 19. Steve Cook -DNF, 20. Ryan Kemmer -DNF, 21. Roswell Babcock -DNF, 22. Wayne Terwillinger, 23. Tony DeBoey -DNF, 24. Scott Brocious -DNF.
HEAT WINNERS: Fields, Joiner, Cook.