SOME NEW AND SOME FAMILIAR FACES IN VICTORY LANE AS MARTZ, MCMILLEN, ALCORN, AND LEE GRAB OPENING NIGHT FEATURE WINS AT THUNDER MOUNTAIN SPEEDWAY
May 15, 2009
Thunder Mountain Speedway finally snared a nice night from Mother Nature and got the 2009 Season Opener under way. Rusty Martz picked up where he left off in 2008 by dominating the Super Stock feature while Jamey Lee continued his 2009 hot streak by taking the Thunderbolt Enduro checkered flag. Bobby McMillen took home his first Steel Block Late Model trophy as Bob Alcorn made his first visit to Victory Lane after a Pure Stock win.
Defending Super Stock Champion Rusty Martz started 5th and quickly came to the front in his #16M Faster Chassis mount. The Brookville, PA ace commented “It feels good to be back here. We put a lot of work in this car over the winter. It might not look like it, but we did.” Martz set the bar high with his statement, “It’s a lot faster now.” while standing with his trophy from Race 1 Speedway.
Skip Lindemuth and Jamie price lead the 18 car field to starter Tom Mott’s green flag with Lindemuth taking the top spot with price in tow. Brandon Connor was 3rd with Martz taking 4th from Tim Bish in turn 1. Martz got by Connor at the end of lap 1, then took 2nd from Price a lap later. Martz closed on the back bumper of Lindemuth on lap 3 before taking the lead on lap 4.
Once out front, Martz started to pull away from the field and quickly encountered lapped traffic. Connor got around Price for 3rd and reeled in Lindemuth on lap 9. The first yellow flew for a slowing car on the front stretch. Dom Surra was the culprit and made his way to the pits, ending his night. Connor would continue challenging Lindemuth for 2nd until a lap 15 and final caution for a spinning Jay Kelichner.
Martz pulled away from the runner up battle on the restart which Connor used to make an inside charge on Lindemuth and grabbed the 2nd place position on lap 16. Bish was next to challenge Lindemuth as Connor set out to make up ground on Martz. With the white flag waving, Connor cut into Martz’s lead as Bish took 3rd from Lindemuth. Martz had too big of a lead for anyone to catch as he clicked off the final lap with ease, taking his first win of the season. Connor was a solid 2nd with Bish, Lindemuth, and Price making up the front five. Eric Baun, Jim Handyside Jr, Steve Cook, Denny Draisma, and Scott Hollopeter rounded out the top 10. Martz and Bish were heat race winners to start off the program.
St. Mary’s, PA veteran Bobby McMillen got the monkey off his back by taking his first Steel Block Late Model checkers at Thunder Mountain. “It helps to start up front, but we finally won. It’s nice to even finish a race. The car felt good and it handled well. It started to pop at the end. Thanks to all my crew, sponsors and family, we hope to be here more” stated the happy driver of the #50 Mastersbilt next to Miss Thunder Mountain Speedway, Brittany Bouch.
McMillen and “Fast” Eddie Connor lead the field to green with the 8th spot open in honor of former champion Shawn “Sheetz” McGarvey. Connor took the lead at the drop of the green, but a caution for Denny Fenton negated the start. McMillen and Connor were side by side at the flag stand and into turn 1 after the complete restart before McMillen took command of the lead exiting turn 2 with 6th starter Luke Hoffner moving to 3rd. With 1 lap in the books, John Reed spun in turn 2 for the event’s second yellow.
The top 3 cars of McMillen, Connor and Hoffner waged a battle for the lead with all 3 drivers having a shot at the spot. McMillen edged in front of Connor and Hoffner as they started a battle for 2nd as racing resumed after a pair of brief cautions for debris. McMillen started to distance himself from Connor and Hoffner who raced side by side for several laps. Bill Krause was sitting in 4th spot watching the pair battle and waiting for a chance to move up in the running order. Jake Shady and Chuck Kennedy were swapping the 5th spot for a half dozen laps before Shady stopped on the front stretch and brought out a yellow on lap 18.
When green replaced yellow, Connor looked under McMillen in turn 4 as Hoffner set up the leaders on the outside. McMillen had a strong run down the front stretch and solidified his lead while Hoffner was along side Connor for 2nd. With 5 laps to go, the top 3 were all close enough to lead the race at any point. The final laps were completed quickly as wily veteran McMillen held off the gang for his first win. Connor had to settle for 2nd with Hoffner in 3rd. Krause and Kennedy were 4th and 5th. The bottom half of the top 10 went to Rick Maxim, John Chesnalavich Jr, Dwayne Brooks, Jim Parson Jr, and Denny Fenton. Shady and Kennedy took heat race wins over the 17 car field.
St. Petersburg, PA’s Bob Alcorn turned a rare appearance at Thunder Mountain into his first Pure Stock win at the track. Alcorn parked his #22 in victory lane and said “I’ll be back here. Thanks to my sponsor, the Shippen Inn. This is a nice trophy”.
2008 champion Brian Rhed and Kyle Shannon brought the 18 car field to the start with Shannon taking the lead. Alcorn went from 4th to 2nd on lap 1 as the first caution flew for a pile up involving Mike Donahue, Alan Trunzo, and Bruce Hartzfeld on the back stretch. Josh Fields spun and brought out the 2nd yellow in as many laps. Alcorn took the lead from Shannon on the following restart before Steve Cook spun in turn 4 for a caution.
Once lap 5 was started, the race stayed green as Shannon was hounding Alcorn for the lead at the halfway mark. John Barley climbed to 4th behind Nathan Yeaney before Yeaney’s #21 slowed and headed to the pits. Hartzfeld came from the back to take 4th from Barley with 2 laps to go. Rhed, who fell to 6th, had a nice run out of turn 2 and vaulted past Barley and Hartzfeld into 3rd as the white flag waved for Alcorn and Shannon, who had heavy traffic in front of them.
Alcorn proved too strong for Shannon as the checkered flag was waving as they entered turn 3. Alcorn dispatched a lapped car and went on to cross the line ahead of Shannon, Rhed, Hartzfeld, and Trunzo. Todd English, Barley, Zach Gustafson, Jason Young, and Jim Challingsworth completed the top 10. Yeaney and Alcorn picked up the heat wins.
Fairmont City, PA’s Jamey Lee won the last Thunderbolt Enduro race of 2008 and the first in 2009 at Thunder Mountain. Lee has been hot at other tracks in his Tom Elliot Insurance #44J Dodge Neon and continued his roll as he cruised to the feature win to close out the night.
Cory Silvis and Mike Guthrie paced the 25 car field to the green as the front 3 rows went 6 wide down the front stretch. The wild start was wiped out with a caution for Wayne Terwillinger. The complete restart was a mirror of the initial start as the 6 cars once again fought for the lead. Lee used his 3rd starting spot to his advantage and had a solid line into turn 1 where he snared the lead from Jason Joiner, Guthrie and Silvis.
After 2 lap 5 cautions for spins, Lee and Joiner pulled away from the pack while battling for the top spot. Lee kept Joiner’s #619 at his rear bumper as the duo worked through lapped traffic. The race was slowed for the final time with a Shawn Lindemuth caution. Lee pulled away from Joiner on the restart as Chad Greeley worked his way into 4th. With 2 laps to go, Lee continued to stretch his lead while Guthrie and Chuck White began to close on Joiner with Greely slipping to 5th. White flag in the air, White and Guthrie battled for 3rd, allowing Joiner to open some breathing room ahead of the 3rd and 4th place cars.
Lee sailed to the checkered flag ahead of Joiner, Guthrie, White, and Greeley. Aaron Hill, Silvis, Chuck Himes, Randy Rickard, and Sam Orf Jr rounded out the top 10. Greeley, Joiner and Lee captured heat race honors.
On May 22, Thunder Mountain Speedway will honor Michael Tully, a local resident who lost his life fighting in the war on terror, along with all of America’s troops. The racing portion of the night will include a regular show of Steel Block late Models, Super Stocks, Pure Stocks, and Thunderbolt Enduros. The following week’s program will feature the first of 3 appearances of the wildly popular and tremendously fast 410 sprint cars with trophies sponsored by Marcy Reiter. All news and information can be found at the track’s website, www.thundermountainspeedway.net
SUPER STOCKS: (18 Cars)
1. RUSTY MARTZ, 2. Brandon Connor, 3. Tim Bish, 4. Skip Lindemuth, 5. Jamie Price, 6. Eric Baun, 7. Jim Handyside Jr., 8. Steve Cook, 9. Denny Draisma, 10. Scott Hollopeter, 11. Jay Kelichner, 12. Steve Barnes, 13. Mike Hummel, 14. Fuzzy Fields (DNF), 15. Gary Luzier (DNF), 16. Dom Surra (DNF), 17. Bob Connor (DNF), 18. Josh Jacoby (DNS)
HEAT WINNERS: Martz, Bish
STEEL BLOCK LATE MODELS: (17 Cars)
1. BOB MCMILLEN, 2. Ed Connor, 3. Luke Hoffner, 4. Bill Krause, 5. Chuck Kennedy, 6. Rick Maxim, 7. John Chesnalavich Jr., 8. Dwayne Brooks, 9. Jim Parson Jr., 10. Denny Fenton, 11. Bill Davis, 12. Bruce Raybuck, 13. Josh Watt, 14. Jake Shady (DNF), 15. Doug Updyke (DNF), 16. Paul Kot (DNF), 17. John Reed (DNF)
HEAT WINNERS: Shady, Kennedy
PURE STOCKS: (18 Cars)
1. BOB ALCORN, 2. Kyle Shannon, 3. Brian Rhed, 4. Bruce Hartzfeld, 5. Alan Trunzo, 6. Todd English, 7. John Barley, 8. Zach Gustafson, 9. Jason Young, 10. Jim Challingsworth, 11. Nathan Yeaney, 12. Mike Calhoun, 13. Mike Donahue, 14. Josh Fields (DNF), 15. Steve Cook (DNF), 16. Shawn Hadden (DNF), 17. Vaughn Kougher (DNF), 18. Ryan Jons (DNS)
HEAT WINNERS: Yeaney, Alcorn
THUNDERBOLT ENDUROS: (25 Cars)
1. JAMEY LEE, 2. Jason Joiner, 3. Mike Guthrie, 4. Chuck White, 5. Chad Greeley, 6. Aaron Hill, 7. Cory Silvis, 8. Chuck Himes, 9. Randy Rickard, 10. Sam Orf Jr., 11. Randy Holliday, 12. Michael Fields, 13. Randy Coombs, 14. Barry Myers, 15. Rusty Murray, 16. (29H), 17. Shawn Lindemuth, 18. Wayne Terwillinger (DNF), 19. Jacob Kline (DNF), 20. Scott Brocious (DNF), 21. Roswell Babcock (DNF), 22. Matt Krause (DNF), 23. (61M) (DNF), 24. (18R) (DNS), 25. Ryan Kemmer (DNS).
HEAT WINNERS: Greeley, Joiner, Lee