MARTZ, GASTON, MCMILLEN, GREELEY ALL RETURN TO VICTORY LANE; SHANNON FIRST TIME WINNER
June 6, 2008
The packed stands and pits were welcomed to Thunder Mountain Speedway to what was the first summer-feeling weekend of the season. Rusty Martz broke a points tie and took sole possession of the lead with his 3rd Super Stock win while Matt Gaston extended his lead with his 3rd Steel Block Late Model victory. “Wild” Bill McMillen took home his track high 4th checkered flag in the RWD 4 Cylinder division and padded his points lead with Chad Greeley doing the same by taking his 2nd Enduro win. Kyle Shannon claimed his first Pure Stock win in his 2nd start at Thunder Mountain.
Brookville, PA’s Rusty Martz took his turn in Victory Lane after starting 2nd in the Super Stock feature. While Martz was slated to start 4th, outside pole sitter Jay Blum was unable to make the call, moving Martz up a row to the #2 slot. “It’s all in the starting spot anymore. Fuzzy (Fields) and I either start up front or in the back.” commented Martz. Thunder Mountain’s line up system puts the previous week’s feature winner in 12th starting position with the remainder of the field subject to a random invert.
Chad Rougeux and Martz lead the field to green with Martz immediately taking the lead with Rougeux and Mike Desch in tow. Desch brought out the first caution with a spin in turn 2 on lap 1 after Fields was moving to 7th. Martz and Rougeux pulled ahead of 3rd runner Jamie Barber on the restart as Fields cracked the top 5. 10th starter Steve Cook put his #27 into 3rd the following lap with Fields moving into 4th, sending Barber to 5th. Cook then passed Rougeux for 2nd on lap 3.
With 5 laps scored, Martz was opening a lead on Cook and Rougeux while Rougeux began to feel pressure from Fields. Fields finally took the spot on lap 7, but Rougeux battled back and regained 3rd on lap 11. While the battle for 3rd was on, Martz was stretching his lead by each lap. Fields had his run end as his car came to a halt in turn 4 on lap 15 bringing out the 2nd and final yellow.
With 5 laps to go, Martz took the restart and lead into turn 1, but Cook was right on the back bumper of the leader. Cook tried the low line, but Martz held off the charge with a strong high line around turns 3 and 4 to put some breathing room between himself and Cook with 2 laps to go. With the white flag waving, Martz had a ½ straight lead as Desch came back through the field and challenged Chad Obrien for 4th. Martz cruised to the win ahead of Cook and Rougeux. Desch nipped Obrien at the line for 4th sending Obrien to 5th at the pay window. Completing the top 10 were Dale Yeaney, Johnny Lindenpitz, Jim Handyside Jr,, newcomer Travis Shauf, and Fields. Martz and Desch were heat winners.
Punxsutawney, PA’s Matt Gaston had to earn his 3rd Late Model feature win the hard way. After starting 12th, last week’s winner virtually had the entire field lined up ahead of him on the grid. Gaston not only came to the front to lead once, he was forced to come from the back a second time after being involved in a caution. “I’m worn out. I don’t have anything left, I was glad to see the checker” joked Gaston in victory lane.
Bill Krause and Jason Witherite made up the front row of the feature with Witherite taking the lead at the start over Krause, Rick Maxim and Chuck Kennedy. As Kennedy got sideways in turn 3, several cars behind had to take evasive measures to avoid the #51. Kennedy was able to straighten his car and race on, but Gaston, John Chesnalavich, Ed Connor, and Dwayne Tanneyhill weren’t as fortunate as they were stopped on the track as the yellow waved.
With a complete restart in order, Witherite again took the lead over Krause, who spun on lap 2 bringing out another caution. The next restart saw Witherite lined up ahead of Kennedy and Gaston who already moved to 3rd from the back of the field. Witherite’s lead was short lived as his #24M coasted down the backstretch bringing out a caution on lap 3.
Kennedy inherited the lead for the restart, but Gaston made a charge in turn 2 taking the top spot down the backstretch. Heading into turn 3, Kennedy got into the back of Gaston spinning the leader. With both cars going to the rear, Jerry Redden found his #5R leading the next restart ahead of Dwayne Brooks and Connor.
Gaston was putting on a show from the back once again as he was picking off cars each lap, moving into 3rd on lap 8. Gaston began challenging Brooks for 2nd as Redden was checking out in the lead. Gaston took the spot on lap 13 before a lap 14 caution for Josh Watt collected Brooks who went hard into the turn 2 wall ending his fine run.
With Gaston lining up 2nd for the restart, Redden took the lead into turn 1. Gaston put his nose under the leader in each turn on lap 17. Once in front, Gaston went on to take the win over Connor, Tanneyhill, Redden who faded to 4th at the end, and Kennedy. The balance of the top 10 were Maxim, Cory Wilson, Chesnalavich, Larry Wingard, and Krause. Redden and Maxim took home heat race wins.
When the Pure Stock feature rolled to the track, fans knew 12th starter and last week’s winner Jason Bainey would have a hard fight to remain undefeated. With heat winners Dan Kennedy and Brian Rhed starting 4th and 5th respectively, 3rd starter Kyle Shannon was possibly overlooked. Shannon held off the hard chargers for his first Thunder Mountain feature win. “I love this track. It’s fast and my car is always good here. I won’t be here every week, but I’ll be back again for sure.” commented the Brockway, PA driver in victory lane.
Pole sitter Mike Donahue took the early lead before heading to the pits at the halfway mark. Shannon was running 2nd at the time and found himself leading the restart. Shannon held off season long feature winners Rhed and Bainey for the popular win. Kennedy and first time visitor Ray Reed were 4th and 5th. Rounding out the top 10 were Adam Brink, Bruce Hartzfeld, Ron Richter, Chuck Rittenhouse, and Steve Barnes.
“Wild” Bill McMillen was smiling after his 4th RWD 4 Cylinder feature win. “That was a race, everyone was there. Those front wheel drive Neons (Ray Randy Reed and Scot Umbaugh) are tough, but I’m glad to see them here with us.” stated the St Mary’s, PA veteran. With a season high 10 cars on hand, McMillen started last in lieu of his previous week’s feature win while Reed and newcomer George Bailey made up the front row. Reed and 4th starter Orin Taylor swapped the lead early in the race before McMillen grabbed the top spot on lap 4. Just after the halfway mark, 2nd running Don Henry got sideways in turn 4 leaving Reed nowhere to go. Reed made contact and lost fluid ending his night. McMillen went on to win over team mate Joe Malobicky Jr who made a last turn pass on Umbaugh. Don Henry and Brandon Weidow completed the front five. 6th through 10th went to Bailey, Reed, Aaron Henry, Taylor, and Cooter Wolfe. Taylor and Don Henry took heat race honors.
Chad Greeley became the first repeat winner in Enduro action. “I used a high gear and stuck to the high line, so I can’t run the low groove at all. I shouldn’t have said that, now everyone might try that. Jamey (Lee) is a tough driver, hard to pass” commented Brookville, PA’s Greeley in victory lane.
Jamey Lee and Ben Smith lead the 28 car field to green with Greeley starting 3rd. Lee lead the first 8 laps before Greely got around the #44J for the lead and eventual win over Jason Joiner, Aaron Hill, Lee, and Shawn Lindemuth. Randy Rickard crossed the line 6th before having his car go up in flames on the cool down lap. Rickard escaped uninjured. Smith, Chris Woodel, Randy Holliday, and Shawn Dinger rounded out the top 10. Joiner, Greeley, and Smith were heat winners.
Thunder Mountain Speedway will return to action next week with a regular show of Steel Block Late Models, Super Stocks, Pure Stocks, RWD 4 Cylinders, and Enduros. Gates open at 5:30 with racing at 7:30.
Details for the Mike Eberl Memorial Night have been announced for June 27. Late Models will be racing for $2,000 to win with extra money on the line for Super Stocks and Enduros. Pure Stocks and RWD 4 Cylinders will not be in action. The late models will feature open engine rules (aluminum engines allowed), but with the track weight of 2400lbs in effect.
For the first time ever, the powerful and lightning fast 410 sprint cars will make an appearance at Thunder Mountain Speedway on July 25. Stay tuned to the track’s website at www.thundermountainspeedway.net as details will be available in the upcoming weeks.
TOTAL CAR COUNT: 78
RUSTY MARTZ, Steve Cook, Chad Rougeux, Mike Desch, Chad Obrien, Dale Yeaney, Johnny Lindenpitz, Jim Handyside Jr, Travis Shauf, Fuzzy Fields (DNF), Jamie Barber (DNF), Jay Blum (DNS), Jesse Bish (DNS)
HEAT WINNERS: Martz, Desch
KYLE SHANNON, Brian Rhed, Jason Bainey, Dan Kennedy, Ray Reed, Adam Brink, Bruce Hartzfeld, Ron Richter, Chuck Rittenhouse, Steve Barnes, Nathan Yeaney, Mike VanZandt (DNF), Mike Donahue (DNF)
HEAT WINNERS: Rhed, Kennedy
STEEL BLOCK LATE MODELS: MATT GASTON, Ed Connor, Dwayne Tanneyhill, Jerry Redden, Chuck Kennedy, Rick Maxim, John Chesnalavich Jr., Larry Wingard, Bill Krause (DNF), Dwayne Brooks (DNF), Josh Watt (DNF), Corey Ruffo (DNF), Jason Witherite (DNF)
HEAT WINNERS: Redden, Maxim
RWD 4 CYLINDERS: BILL MCMILLEN, Joe Malobicky Jr., Scot Umbaugh, Don Henry, Brandon Weidow, George Bailey, Randy Reed (DNF), Aaron Henry (DNF), Orin Taylor (DNF), Cooter Wolfe (DNS)
HEAT WINNERS: Taylor, D. Henry
ENDUROS: CHAD GREELEY, Jason Joiner, Aaron Hill, Jamey Lee, Shawn Lindemuth, Randy Rickard, Ben Smith, Chris Woodel, Randy Holliday, Shawn Dinger, Sam Orf Jr., Michael Fields, Barry Myers, George Frondek Sr., Matt Krause, Wayne Terwillinger, Scott Brocious, Devin Dempsey, Richie Snell (DNF), Brent Lee (DNF), Randall Bouch (DNF), Ryan Kemmer (DNF), Mike Calhoun (DNF), Cory Silvis (DNF), Brittany Bouch (DNS), Steve Cook (DNS), Mike Guthrie (DNS), Joe Powell (DNS)
HEAT WINNERS: Joiner, Greeley, Smith