MARTZ, MCMILLEN, RHED PUT EXCLAIMATION MARKS ON THEIR CHAMPIONSHIP SEASONS WITH FEATURE WINS; FARRELL TAKES FIRST LATE MODEL WIN WHILE GASTON CLAIMS CHAMPIONSHIP; LEE CLOSES OUT SEASON WITH 3RD ENDURO WIN AS GREELEY HONORED CHAMPION AS THUNDER MOUNTAIN SPEEDWAY WRAPS UP ITS 4TH SEASON
September 5, 2008
After only the 2nd rain out of the year, Thunder Mountain Speedway was back in action as the final checkered flag waved for the successful 2008 season and the 3rd full points season. 2 repeat champions were honored while 3 new crowns were awarded. Rusty Martz (Super Stocks), Brian Rhed (Pure Stocks), and Bill McMillen (RWD 4 Cylinders) capped off their championship seasons with feature wins. Chris Farrell shook off heat race problems with a dominating Late Model feature win while Matt Gaston’s 3rd place finish enough to earn the fan favorite a hard fought track championship. Jamey Lee came on strong the second half of the season as he picked up his 3rd Enduro win, but too late to derail Chad Greeley’s championship quest. Jessica Greeley (Enduros) and Yvonne Micheck (Pure Stocks) closed out the show with powder puff wins.
Rusty Martz concluded his dominating season with his track high 11th Super Stock win en route to his 2nd track championship in as many seasons. "It seemed like a pretty good season. I looked back at the last few years and I’ve gotten better. Starting position helped a lot this year. We might not race every week next year, we’ll see." admitted the Brookville, PA ace.
Martz lined up on the pole by virtue of a heads up points line up with Mike Desch alongside. Martz took command at the drop of the green with Desch, Tim Bish, and Fuzzy Fields in pursuit. Bish and Fields passed Desch on lap 1 before the lone yellow flew for debris on lap 2, erasing Martz’s half straightaway lead. Fields took 2nd from Bish on the ensuing restart as the top three of Martz, Fields and Bish pulled away from 4th running Desch and 5th place Chad Obrien. Jamie Barber joined the battle for 4th with Desch and Obrien before Desch got loose in turn 2 of lap 7 as Obrien and Barber both slipped by.
At the halfway mark, Martz was cruising away from Fields and Bish as the leader entered lapped traffic. The slower cars were no problem for Martz as he actually stretched his lead in the process of lapping the back markers. With 5 laps to go, Martz was again behind a fresh batch of lapped traffic. On lap 17, Martz was pinned behind the fading Desch allowing Fields to close slightly. As the two-to-go flags were displayed, Martz had his lead chopped to a quarter straight over Fields and Bish. Clearing the heavy traffic down the backstretch, Martz came to the white flag with clear track ahead. From there it was smooth sailing for Martz as he went on to win over Fields and Bish. Obrien and Barber finished their battle in 4th and 5th. Steve Cook, Johnny Lindenpitz, Skip Lindemuth, Brandon Connor, and Dale Yeaney rounded out the top 10. Martz and Connor won heats over the 16 car field.
With Matt Gaston holding a 41-point lead over 2 time defending Steel Block Late Model champion Dwayne Tanneyhill, the title was up for grabs as the duo lined up on the front row. Clearfield, PA’s Chris Farrell was up to playing the spoiler role as he came from last to take his first feature win. "Tonight started real bad. I had a broken ball joint earlier, got to thank the good lord for getting me here." stated Farrell next to his #53 in victory lane. "It seems like the last couple years, I got the high line down pretty good. I was hoping to see two to go, just something to get this race over with before someone got to me" confessed Farrell.
After a multi car snafu on the initial start, Gaston and Tanneyhill took the 2nd complete start side by side at the line before Gaston took the lead out of turn 2 with Tanneyhill and John Chesnalavich in tow. Chesnalavich took 2nd from Tanneyhill at the completion of lap 1 while Brian Smith sent Tanneyhill to 4th. Tanneyhill fought back and regained 3rd in turn 3 of lap 2, but went high in turn 2 of lap 3 to allow Smith back around. While Tanneyhill tried to keep Gaston in his sights to keep his title hopes alive, Gaston was opening a lead over Chesnalavich. Gaston had the first bout of bad luck of the two title contenders strike as he lost a tire in turn 2 of lap 4, bringing out a caution. The #47 crew was waiting in the work area to make repairs which they did allowing Gaston to return before action resumed.
Chesnalavich inherited the lead for the restart, which was wiped out with a Dan Stormer/Mike Davis spin in turn 4. The second attempt went smoother as Chesnalavich lead Smith, Tanneyhill and Jason Witherite. Ed Connor went from 6th to 4th on lap 6 as a 3 car battle for 5th was shaping up. Farrell made his presence known as he joined Witherite and Jerry Redden in the top 5 fight. The trio went 3 wide before the drivers ran out of room resulting in a Witherite spin and caution. Chesnalavich was still out front for the consequent restart with Smith and Connor behind the leader. On lap 9, Tanneyhill slowed off the pace as several cars including Gaston made their way by. A lap later, Gaston moved to 5th while Redden and Tanneyhill both slowed down the front stretch trying to make it to the pits. Chesnalavich crossed the line for lap 11 as yellow flew for the stopped cars at the pit entrance. As Chesnalavich entered turn 1, misfortune struck as his car lost a right rear spring bringing his #812 to a halt on the backstretch. Chesnalavich had his fine run come to an end as he was towed to the pits under yellow.
Smith found his #22S at the point for the latest restart ahead of Connor and Farrell, who took a spot from Gaston before the prior yellow. Farrell vaulted past Connor and Smith on lap 13 to take the lead while Witherite charged back to 2nd leaving Smith, Gaston, and Connor to battle for 3rd. Farrell was sprinting to a huge lead over the field, but Witherite started to close the gap. Gaston moved into 3rd on lap 17, but was a full straight stretch behind Farrell and Witherite. With 5 laps to go, Witherite trimmed Farrell’s lead to half a straight while Gaston started to reel in the top two cars. Connor took 4th from Smith as Farrell started to open his lead once again.
Farrell entered lapped traffic with the two to go signal he was waiting for and quickly dispatched the slower cars. The final 2 laps clicked off as Farrell took the win over Witherite, Gaston, Connor, and Brian Smith. 6th through 10th went to Bill Davis, Bob Smith, Stormer, Josh Watt, and Chesnalavich. With 16 cars on hand, Gaston and Witherite won preliminaries. Gaston’s championship run concluded with a division tying high of 5 feature wins, an honor he shared with semi-regular Luke Hoffner.
Being only one of two Pure Stock drivers with perfect attendance in 2008, Brian Rhed garnered his 4th feature win while having clinched his 2nd consecutive championship prior to the evening. Jason Bainey lead the division with 5 wins while Kyle Shannon tied Rhed with 4. Both Bainey and Shannon missed several events and were not a factor in the final tally for the championship stake.
With a season high of 20 cars on hand, Rhed and Steve Barnes lead the field to green. Rhed jumped out to the lead over Bruce Hartzfeld and Barnes. Tony DeBoey looped his mount in turn 2 negating the initial start. After a complete restart, Rhed once again lead Hartzfeld, but Kyle Shannon took 3rd this time with 11th starter Jim Gullace Jr charging into 4th. Shannon started to pressure Hartzfeld for 2nd as Alan Trunzo spun in turn 2 for a lap 2 yellow.
Rhed took command of the following restart leading Hartzfeld and Shannon. Mike Donahue took 4th from Gullace before Gullace had his #00 slow on lap 4. He was able to make it to the pits with no yellow, giving Adam Brink the 5th spot. Rhed closed on lapped traffic by the fifth lap while Shannon took 2nd from Hartzfeld and chased down the leader. At the halfway mark, Rhed had a 1-car advantage over Shannon. Shannon drove under Rhed in turn 1, but Rhed held the lead out of turn 2. Shannon then tried the outside in turn 3 before diving low in 4. Shannon was beside Rhed at the line completing lap 9, then took the lead exiting turn 2. With 5 laps to go, Shannon stretched his lead over Rhed, Hartzfeld, Sam McAdams, and Tim Schreckengost. Shannon had his lead disappear as he entered heavy lapped traffic on lap 11. Rhed closed on Shannon and retook the lead out of turn 2. Shannon was visibly off the pace heading down the backstretch before the #97 showed a flat right rear tire on the front stretch. Shannon continued, but lost 2nd to Hartzfeld at the 2 to go point.
Rhed took a big lead heading to the white flag and coasted to the win over Hartzfeld. McAdams and Schreckengost were 3rd and 4th while Shannon lurched to the line 5th. Brink, Trunzo, Guy Coder, Zach Gustafson, and Paul Douglas rounded out the top 10. Donahue, Hartzfeld, and Shannon won heat events.
After finishing the past 2 seasons in the runner up spot, Brookville, PA’s Chad Greeley finally captured the elusive Enduro championship with 5 wins along the way. Greeley had a strong start to the season while Fairmount City, PA’s Jamey Lee closed the season equally as strong picking up his 3rd feature win. "Good thing for the front row start. I saw some cars from the back coming through, glad to be here" stated Lee next to his #44J in Horizon Homes victory lane.
Greeley and Lee made up row #1 for the start as Lee took the lead, but the start was annulled due to a multi car skirmish in turn 2. The second start was clean as Greely and Lee were side by side at the line. Looking for a leader into turn 1, Lee exited turn 2 in the top spot with Greeley and Brent Fields tracking the leader. Fields took 2nd from Greeley on lap 2 as Jason Joiner came to a halt in turn 4 for the first caution of the event.
Lee led the restart with Fields following. 25th starter Ray Hickok moved to 6th on lap 3, then 5th on lap 5. Shawn Lindemuth stopped in turn 2 for a caution the same lap. Lee once again took command when green replaced yellow with Fields and Greeley in pursuit. Hickok took 4th from Aaron Hill at the halfway mark as Lee was opening ground between himself and Fields. A lap 8 yellow for Sam Orf Jr was the only thing between Lee and his 3rd feature win as the final laps clicked off. Lee crossed the line ahead of Fields, Greeley, Hickok, and Hill. The balance of the top 10 were Bob Pease from 27th, Randy Rickard, Barry Myers, John Miller, and Richie Snell. Joiner, Fields, and Pease topped the 30-car field in heat race action.
"Wild" Bill McMillen was one of the 3 cars who competed weekly since the addition of the RWD 4 Cylinder division was announced at the start of the season. With his division leading 7th feature win, McMillen was also crowned champion as he announced his retirement after 97 career wins in 34 years of competition. "(Don) Henry had me beat tonight, he had a much better car. That’s the luck of racing though, it’s happened to me before too. The car should have held his line. I feel bad for Don, he was fast." stated the St. Mary’s, PA veteran. "What a way to end my career. I love this track, fans and competitors. It’s gonna be hard to quit, but it’s something I have to do" expressed McMillen.
McMillen and Henry jockeyed for the lead at the drop of the green with Henry taking the spot ahead of McMillen and Brandon Weidow. Joe Malobicky Jr took 3rd from Weidow before spinning on lap 1 for a caution. Henry opened a sizable advantage after the restart, which was wiped out with a caution for Frank Wilson who spun in turn 2. Back under green, Henry was again in front of McMillen and pulling away. Cooter Wolfe and Weidow were locked in a battle for 4th with Weidow taking the spot at the half way mark. Henry was in front all by himself as he closed on the lapped car of Devon Lewis. As Lewis was shown the layover flag, he suddenly pulled to the inside of the front stretch where Henry was running. The two made contact with Lewis spinning to the infield and Henry losing 3 spots.
McMillen was now in front of Wolfe who put Weidow back to 3rd. Henry took the 3rd spot from Weidow on lap 10 and closed on Wolfe while McMillen took the white flag. Henry made a pass for 2nd, but was unable to mount a challenge on McMillen as the final lap came to an end. McMillen won over Henry, Wolfe, Weidow, and John Bowser. Kyle Parsons, Tim Bailey, Malobicky, Paul Metz Jr., and Ken Erskine completed the top 10. A season high 13 cars signed in with Henry and Wolfe capturing heat race wins.
With the curtains closing on the 2008 season, Thunder Mountain Speedway will be set to honor and reward its drivers during the annual Awards Banquet to be held at the Reynoldsville Fire Hall on Saturday, October 18. More information, along with ticket information will be available soon on the track web site at www.thundermountainspeedway.com. Thunder Mountain Speedway thanks all the fans, drivers, sponsors, and crew for making the 2008 season successful.
SUPER STOCKS: (16 Cars)
1. RUSTY MARTZ, 2. Fuzzy Fields, 3. Tim Bish, 4. Chad Obrien, 5. Jamie Barber, 6. Steve Cook, 7. Johnny Lindenpitz, 8. Skip Lindemuth, 9. Brandon Connor, 10. Dale Yeaney, 11. Mike Desch, 12. Tom Greeley, 13. Tom Williams Jr., 14. Denny Draisma –DNF, 15. Chad Rougeux –DNS, Brent Lee –DNS.
HEAT WINNERS: Martz, Connor
CHAMPION: RUSTY MARTZ
STEEL BLOCK LATE MODELS: (16 Cars)
1. CHRIS FARRELL, 2. Jason Witherite, 3. Matt Gaston, 4. Ed Connor, 5. Brian Smith, 6. Bill Davis, 7. Bob Smith, 8. Dan Stormer, 9. Josh Watt, 10. John Chesnalavich –DNF, 11. Dwayne Tanneyhill –DNF, 12. Jerry Redden –DNF, 13. Rick Maxim –DNF, 14. Chuck Kennedy –DNF, 15. Larry Wingard –DNF, 16. Leo Bomboy –DNS.
HEAT WINNERS: Gaston, Witherite.
CHAMPION: MATT GASTON
PURE STOCKS: (20 Cars)
1. BRIAN RHED, 2. Bruce Hartzfeld, 3. Sam McAdams, 4. Tim Schreckengost, 5. Kyle Shannon, 6. Adam Brink, 7. Alan Trunzo, 8. Guy Coder, 9. Zach Gustafson, 10. Paul Douglas, 11. Steve Barnes, 12. Scott Hollopeter, 13. Shawn Facchine, 14. Tony DeBoey, 15. Chuck Rittenhouse –DNF, 16. Nathan Yeaney –DNF, 17. Mike Donahue –DNF, 18. Billy Mumau –DNF, 19. Jim Gullace Jr –DNF, 20. Travis Brady –DNS.
HEAT WINNERS: Donahue, Hartzfeld, Shannon.
CHAMPION: BRIAN RHED
THUNDERBOLT ENDUROS: (30 Cars)
1. JAMEY LEE, 2. Brent Fields, 3. Chad Greeley, 4. Ray Hickok, 5. Aaron Hill, 6. Bob Pease, 7. Randy Rickard, 8. Barry Myers, 9. John Miller, 10. Richie Snell, 11. Cory Silvis, 12. Randy Holliday, 13. Bryan Warren, 14. Amber Brown, 15. Michael Fields, 16. Mike Calhoun, 17. George Frondek Sr, 18. Devin Dempsey, 19. Bill Fuchs –DNF, 20. Roswell Babcock –DNF, 21. Jacob Kline, 22. Wayne Terwillinger –DNF, 23. Shawn Lindemuth –DNF, 24. Ryan Kemmer –DNF, 25. Jason Joiner –DNF, 26. Steve Cook –DNF, 27. Rusty Murray –DNF, 28. Sam Orf Jr –DNF, 29. Shawn Dinger –DNS, 30. Chris Hickok –DNS.
HEAT WINNERS: Joiner, Fields, Pease.
CHAMPION: CHAD GREELEY
REAR WHEEL DRIVE 4 CYLINDERS: (13 Cars)
1. BILL MCMILLEN, 2. Don Henry, 3. Cooter Wolfe, 4. Brandon Weidow, 5. John Bowser, 6. Kyle Parsons, 7. Tim Bailey, 8. Joe Malobicky Jr, 9. Paul Metz Jr, 10. Ken Erskine, 11. Frank Wilson, 12. Jason Young, 13. Devon Lewis –DNF.
HEAT WINNERS: Henry, Wolfe.
CHAMPION: BILL MCMILLEN