HOFFNER, RHED, AND HICKOK NEW FACES IN VICTORY LANE; FIELDS AND MCMILLEN REPEAT WINNERS AT THUNDER MOUNTAIN SPEEDWAY
May 9, 2008
While many other PA dirt tracks have struggled with rain outs, Thunder Mountain Speedway is now 3 for 3 in the fight with Mother Nature ahead of Mother’s Day. Luke Hoffner posted his first win of the season with a dominating performance in Steel Block Late Model action, as did Brian Rhed in the Pure Stocks. Chris Hickok made his first appearance at the speedway a memorable one as he took home the Enduro honors. Fuzzy Fields (Super Stocks) and Bill McMillen (RWD 4 Cylinders) picked up where they left off one week ago, both claiming their 2nd wins of the season .
“I hope we can get some more cars soon” stated St. Mary’s, PA veteran Bill McMillen in Victory Lane after his 91st career win. “It looks good starting last and winning, too bad there weren’t more out there tonight. I’ll take any win though.” continued McMillen.
The Rear Wheel Drive 4 Cylinders had their turn in the lead off position as they hit the track for the first feature of the evening. Brandon Weidow and Jason Young paced the 6 car field to Tom Mott’s green flag with Weidow taking command into turn 1. Joe Malobicky Jr passed Young for 2nd and challenged Weidow in turn 3 while last place starter McMillen moved his #51 into 3rd. McMillen challenged Malobicky on lap 3 before almost looping his mount in turn 2. As McMillen straightened his car back out and passed Malobicky for 2nd, Cooter Wolfe moved alongside McMillen and the fight was on as the field crossed off lap 4. Wolfe’s challenged came to an end as he spun in turn 2 bringing out the first yellow of the evening.
While under yellow, Weidow took his #55 to the pits, handing the lead over to McMillen. McMillen lead the field at the restart as Wolfe quickly moved back to 2nd and set chase after McMillen. At the halfway mark, McMillen was starting to stretch his lead as the field began to string itself out. With the 2 to go flags being displayed for McMillen, Don Henry started to challenge Malobicky for 3rd. The battle continued as the white flag waved and Henry finally made the pass stick in turn 3. McMillen crossed the line first with Wolfe solidly in 2nd. Henry and Malobicky were next in 3rd and 4th. Weidow and Young were credited with 5th and 6th. McMillen won the heat race earlier.
Brockport, PA’s Fuzzy Fields also turned in his last row starting spot for a feature win. “We’ve had some trouble with this car, but things went good for us tonight. It worked out good for us out there. Thanks to Marcie Reiter for the trophies tonight, they’re what we’re here for.” commented Fields next to his #28F in Victory Lane.
Newcomer Tom Williams Jr and Steve Cook led the 12 car Super Stock feature to the green with Cook taking the lead in turn 2 and fellow Tyrone, PA driver Mike Desch moving into 2nd with Cook in 3rd. Jamie Barber got his car sideways in turn 3 in front of Tim Bish who tapped Barber, completing his spin. Eric Baun had nowhere to go and was collected with Barber. Baun headed to the pits while Barber was towed to his trailer for repairs. Baun did not return, but barber made it back out for a complete restart.
This time Williams took command of the start, but was found jumping the green and the start was waved off. Trying again, the field saw the green flag as Cook took the lead over Williams and Desch. 3rd starter Dale Yeaney passed Desch and Williams taking over 2nd in turn 3. All eyes were on Fuzzy Fields who was already up to 5th at the completion of lap #1. Fields wasn’t done there as he took 4th from Williams on lap 2 and had a big run on Desch going into turn 1. Fields actually ran into the back of the #59 but was hard on the binders and saved both cars from spinning. Fields made the pass on Desch for 3rd on lap 3 and took 2nd from Yeaney on lap 4.
Lap 5 showed Cook leading Fields and Yeaney with Desch and Chad Obrien making up the top 5. Last place starter and opening night winner Rusty Martz began making his presence known as he was up to 6th. Fields closed on Cook on lap 6 as Martz moved into 5th. Cook held off the challenge from Fields until lap 9 as Fields took the lead in turn 3 before the halfway mark. Martz continued his march towards the front as he was up to 3rd as Bish slowed on the backstretch with a flat right rear tire bringing out a yellow. Obrien headed to the pits giving up his 5th spot, but quickly returned without losing a lap. While the field paced under caution, Barber’s #13 stopped in turn 3 with flames coming from the hood. While the flames were growing, Barber safely exited his mount as the Knoxdale Fire Crew quickly extinguished the blaze. Bish brought his #1B back onto the track once yellow replaced red.
Fields used the open track ahead of him to his advantage on the restart and jumped out to a sizeable lead while Martz battled Cook for 2nd. Cook got very sideways in turn 3 in front of the field, but Martz checked up saving another pile up. Fields continued to open his advantage over Cook and Martz with 5 laps to go. Martz tried high and low before finally moving into 2nd on lap 16, but was nearly a full straight stretch behind Fields. As the final laps clicked off, Fields stretched his lead and easily went on for the win over Martz and Cook, who barely nipped Desch at the line while Yeaney crossed the stripe in 5th. Obrien, Bish, Jim Handyside Jr., Johnny Lindenpitz, and Williams rounded out the top 10. Yeaney and Martz claimed the preliminaries.
With the field of 10 Steel Block Late Models heading trackside, fans wondered if previous feature winners matt Gaston and Chuck Kennedy could keep the last-to-first string going. Turbotville, PA’s Luke Hoffner had other plans as he parked his #15 in Victory Lane in his best run of the season. “We’ve had problems with the throttle all year, sometimes it sticks so I’ve been just trying to hold on to it.” exclaimed Hoffner. “We’ll get it figured out, but I might leave it alone now” joked the “Hoffinator”.
Former Super Stock driver Cory Wilson made his late model debut at Thunder Mountain starting on pole with Hoffner alongside. Hoffner immediately jumped into the lead with Bobby McMillen taking 2nd from Wilson with Dwayne Tanneyhill in 4th. Tanneyhill took 3rd from Wilson at the line as Gaston spun in turn 2 bringing out the first caution. Hoffner led the restart with McMillen still in tow. Tanneyhill got loose in turn 2 allowing Wilson back around and having his hands full with Rodney Phillips who moved into 5th. Hoffner had a ½ straight lead on McMillen at lap 5 while Phillips took 4th from Tanneyhill. Gaston spun again on lap 8 bringing out the 2nd caution. While under yellow, Chuck Kennedy headed to the pits and did not return.
The restart saw Hoffner once again opening a major advantage over McMillen while Wilson had pressure from Phillips for 3rd. Wilson held his line into turn 1, but Phillips took the spot exiting turn 2 of lap 10. The pass was negated after another spin by Gaston halted the action. Hoffner was strong again on the restart, but McMillen lost 2nd to Wilson and 3rd to Phillips. Tanneyhill and Gaston both got around McMillen before his #50 settled in 6th after a dismal restart.
Hoffner was on his way to opening another big lead at the half way mark and had a half leap lead over Wilson and Phillips on lap 12. Tanneyhill got a nice run and moved into 2nd as Gaston followed to 3rd, sending Phillips and Wilson to 4th and 5th. With 2 laps to 50, Hoffner was cruising out front while Gaston was pressuring Tanneyhill. With the white flag in the air, Hoffner entered lapped traffic which he made short work of and coasted to the win over Tanneyhill and Gaston. Phillips and Wilson were 4th and 5th respectively. The balance of the top 10 were Dwayne Brooks, McMillen, John Chesnalavich Jr., Josh Watt, and Kennedy. Tanneyhill and Gaston, who made a thrilling last turn pass took heat race honors.
Chris Hickok made his first visit to Thunder Mountain count as he took Marcie Reiter’s trophy home to Commodore, PA in Thunderbolt Enduro action. “I like this track. It’s longer than what I’m used to, but I might be back here more now.” stated a smiling Hickok next to his #84 in Victory Lane. Hickok held off a field of 26 cars en route to his victory.
A straight-up start saw heat race winners Aaron Hill, Ray Hickok, and Brent Lee occupying the top 3 spots with Chris Hickok in 4th. Ray Hickock took the lead at the start over Hill and Chris Hickok with Jamey Lee, Brent Lee, and Shawn Lindemuth battling 3 wide for 4th out of turn 2. Brent Lee took the spot into turn 3 while Chris Hickok moved to 2nd, sending Hill to 3rd. Devin Dempsey stopped on the back stretch on lap 2 bringing out the yellow banner. Hill’s bad luck continued as he exited the track under yellow.
Ray Hickok powered his #48 out front for the restart as Brent Lee took 2nd from Chris Hickok on lap 3 as caution flew for Lindemuth who stopped in turn 4. Ray Hickok again took his lead on the restart into turn 1, but slowed in turn 2 before pulling into the infield on the back stretch. Chris Hickok assumed the top spot while Jamey Lee took 2nd from Brent Lee with Chad Greeley and last week’s winner Chris Woodel making up the front 5.
Chris Hickok had a comfortable lead until the halfway mark where he found himself pinned behind a lapped car, allowing Jamey Lee to put his #44 beside the leader exiting turn 3. Hickok fended off the charge by Jamey Lee as Greeley had a nice run out of turn 2 moving to 3rd. Greeley’s momentum continued as he was all over the back bumper of Jamey Lee before a caution for the spinning cars of Shawn Dinger and Randy Holliday slowed the pace.
Chris Hickok had a great restart and put some breathing room between himself and Jamey Lee, who wasn’t as fortunate and had Greeley knocking on his door once again. Heading to the 2 laps to go signal, Greeley looked under Jamey Lee to no avail. Jamey Lee surged ahead of Greeley and pulled back beside the leader as the white flag was waving. The pair battled door to door through turns 1 and 2 and into turn 3. Jamey Lee went very high in turn 4 allowing Chris Hickok to pull ahead and take the win. Jamey Lee settled for 2nd with Greeley, Brent Lee, and Woodel filling in the top 5. 6th through 10th went to Randy Rickard, Barry Myers, Richie Snell, Jason Joiner, and Jody Frantz.
Brian Rhed broke into the win column after taking the Pure Stock feature win in his #69R mount. “The 8 (Mike Donahue) and 101 (Bruce Hartzfeld) were tough tonight. We’ve had some bad luck this year, so it’s nice to be standing here” commented Rhed.
With the absence of Jason Bainey, who owns the prior 2 weeks feature wins, the 7 car field headed to the track with the promise of a new winner. Steve Barnes and Paul Trunzo made up the front row heading to the start as Trunzo took the lead into turn 1. Hartzfeld took the lead out of turn 2 with Donahue moving into 2nd. Donahue took the lead from Hartzfeld a lap later and Rhed moved into 3rd. First time visitor Cory Roman brought out a caution with a spin in turn 4.
Donahue took command of the restart as the top 3 began pulling away from the rest of the field. Rhed took 2nd from Hartzfeld on lap 5 and closed on Donahue who was slowing with a soft right rear tire. Rhed took the lead at the completion of lap 6 as a caution for debris was called. Donahue headed to the pits to change his flat tire handing 2nd to Hartzfeld.
Rhed lead the field to the final restart with Hartzfeld, Trunzo, and Barnes in tow. Rhed and Hartzfeld pulled away from the ensuing battle for 3rd with 5 laps to go. Barnes made a pass on Trunzo to take 3rd with 2 laps to go as Hartzfeld tried to close on Rhed to no avail. Rhed led the final 2 laps with ease as he crossed the line ahead of Hartzfeld, Barnes, Trunzo, and Nathan Yeaney. Roman and Donahue rounded out the field in 6th and 7th. Rhed also picked up the heat race win.
Next up at Thunder Mountain is a regular show on May 16th, which will also have the added attraction of Powder Puff races for the Pure Stocks and wild Thunderbolt Enduros. Pit gates open at 4:00PM with grandstands opening at 5:30PM. Heat races begin at 7:30PM with regular admission prices in order.
Thunder Mountain Speedway will give the fans a chance to see the cars and drivers up close at the first annual race car show on Saturday, May 24th from 11:00AM-3:00PM. The show will be held on Main Street in Reynoldsville, PA. Registration will begin at 10:00AM with no entry fee required. Awards will be given to the top 3 as voted on by the track’s judging panel.
The Mike Eberl Memorial was originally scheduled for May 23rd, but will be postponed until a July date to be announced. Visit the track’s website at www.thundermountainspeedway.net for additional details when available.
TOTAL CAR COUNT: 64
REAR WHEEL DRIVE 4 CYLINDERS: (6 cars)
1: Bill McMillen (St. Mary‘s, PA), 2: Cooter Wolfe (St. Mary’s, PA), 3: Don Henry (Brockway, PA), 4: Joe Malobicky, Jr. (St. Mary’s, PA), 5: Brandon Weidow -DNF (Byrnedale, PA), 6: Jason Young -DNF (St. Mary’s, PA).
HEAT WINNER: McMILLEN
SUPER STOCKS: (12 cars)
1: Fuzzy Fields (Brockport, PA), 2: Rusty Martz (Brookville, PA), 3: Steve Cook (Sykesville, PA), 4: Mike Desch (Tyrone, PA), 5; Dale Yeaney (Corsica, PA), 6: Chad Obrien (Corsica, PA), 7: Tim Bish (Ringold, PA), 8: Jim Handyside Jr. (Punxsutawney, PA), 9: Johnny Lindenpitz (Knoxdale, PA), 10: Tom Williams Jr. -DNF (Tyrone, PA), 11:Jamie Barber -DNF (Grampian, PA), 12: Eric Baun -DNF (Rossiter, PA).
HEAT WINNERS: YEANEY, MARTZ
STEEL BLOCK LATE MODELS: (12 cars)
1: Luke Hoffner (Turbotville, PA), 2: Dwayne Tanneyhill (Bellwood, PA), 3: Matt Gaston (Punxsutawney, PA), 4: Rodney Phillips (Punxsutawney, PA), 5: Cory Wilson (Reynoldsville, PA), 6: Dwayne Brooks (Falls Creek, PA), 7: Bobby McMillen (St. Mary’s, PA), 8: John Chesnalavich Jr. (Reynoldsville, PA), 9: Josh Watt (DuBois, PA), 10: Chuck Kennedy -DNF (Brockway, PA), 11: Bruce Raybuck -DNS (Falls Creek, PA), 12: Larry Wingard -DNS (Punxsutawney, PA).
HEAT WINNERS: TANNEYHILL, GASTON
ENDUROS: (26 cars)
1: Chris Hickok (Commodore, PA), 2: Jamey Lee (Fairmont City, PA), 3: Chad Greeley (Brookville, PA), 4: Brent Lee (Fairmont City, PA), 5: Chris Woodel (Brockway, PA), 6: Randy Rickard (Summerville, PA), 7: Barry Myers (Brookville, PA), 8: Richie Snell (Brookville, PA), 9: Jason Joiner (Brookville, PA), 10: Jody Frantz (Luthersburg, PA), 11: Mike Guthrie (Brookville, PA), 12: Sam Orf Jr. (Hawthorn, PA), 13: Mike Calhoun (Brockway, PA), 14: Cory Silvis (Brookville, PA), 15: Michael Fields (Brookville, PA), 16: John Macormack Jr. (Knox, PA), 17: Wayne Terwillinger (Brookville, PA), 18: Shawn Lindemuth (Brookville, PA), 19: Shawn Dinger -DNF (Brookville, PA), 20: Ray Hickok -DNF (Commodore, PA), 21: Randy Holliday -DNF (Brookville, PA), 22: Rusty Murray -DNF (Mayport, PA), 23: Aaron Hill -DNF (Brookville, PA), 24: Devin Dempsey -DNF (Brookville, PA), 25: Scott Brocious -DNF (Brookville, PA), 26: Ryan Kemmer -DNF (Strattanville, PA).
HEAT WINNERS: HILL, R. HICKOK, B. LEE