|Date: 10/13/2014 7:52:30 PM|
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SpeedSTR Race Results from Five Mile Point Speedway, KIrkwood, NY on October 11, 2014:
Father Knows Best At FMP; It's Pauch Over Pauch In Last Lap SpeedSTR Thriller
Kirkwood, NY - Billy Pauch Sr., from Frenchtown, NJ, patiently played a tire management game to perfection on Saturday night at Five Mile Point Speedway. And his strategy - which was aided by a late caution period - paid off with a thrilling victory in the 30-lap main event for the USAC Championship SpeedSTR's at the Kirkwood, NY oval's American Racer Cup Weekend event.
The triumph was noteworthy because it came with a last lap pass of a family member, and because it was the very first win at Five Mile Point for Pauch Sr., who owns more than 700 victories in various divisions during his storied career.
Wayne Weaver grabbed the early lead over polesitter Jeff Strunk as the 24-car field took the green flag. Tim Buckwalter (started sixth) and Billy Pauch Jr. (started tenth) were on the move in the first few trips around the wide quarter-mile, slicing their way into third and fourth, respectively, by the time three circuits had been scored.
During the second yellow flag slow-down, with three laps completed, Weaver handed the top spot to Strunk when he headed to the pits. Buckwalter, Pauch Jr., and Canadian invader Maxime Plante lined up second through fourth for the restart, and the top four ran nose to tail for many laps when the race went green once again. Pauch Jr. was nipping at the heels of leader Strunk, repeatedly diving under the No. 88 at both ends of the speedway, but the savvy veteran from Bechtelsville was able to repel each challenge.
Pauch Jr. then tried a different approach, wheeling to the outside of Strunk on the 13th tour. The Wayne Subaru No. 1 pulled even with Strunk on the back chute, then edged ahead as they gassed their mounts through turns three and four.
Buckwalter moved to the runner-up spot at the halfway point and offered up a couple of assaults on the leader, but Pauch Jr. fended off each attack. As the race entered its final stages, the center of everyone's focus became a red car, as the Bob Hilbert Sportswear/ Fat Catt No. 9 of Pauch Sr., who started 13th, moved into the top five.
The elder Pauch, who would later finish third in the Modified finale of American Racer Cup Weekend, slipped past Brad Brightbill for fifth with 11 circuits remaining. He then wrestled fourth from Plante, the 2012 National SpeedSTR Champion, just before a caution with seven to go.
After passing Strunk to take over third position, Pauch Sr. dashed by Buckwalter to become the runner-up on lap 28. The yellow appeared again before the white flag waved, setting up a green-white-checkered situation with Pauch Jr. in front of his dad.
Junior led through the white flag, but Senior saved his best for last, pulling to the outside of his son in turn two, running side by side down the backstretch, then nosing ahead in three as Junior got sideways due to a quickly deflating right-rear tire.
Pauch Sr. flew to the checkered as the winner, with Buckwalter and Plante getting by Pauch Jr. for second and third. While Junior was able to straighten his car and continue, he lost out in a three-wide battle at the stripe to Frank Yankowski and Strunk. Yankowski came on strong for his fourth place finish after starting 16th.
Five Mile Point Notebook:
The top five consisted of Pauch Sr., Buckwalter, Plante, F. Yankowski, and Strunk, with Pauch Jr.,. Kenny Brightbill, Brad Brightbill, Sebastian Gougeon, and Simon Egan rounding out the top ten. Many of those top ten finishers second-guessed themselves on tire choice while gazing at right-rear tires that were worn to the cords. Pauch Jr. actually had a hole worn into his right-rear sneaker...while his dad still had enough tire to make the winning pass on the final lap!
Heat race winners on Saturday included Tim Buckwalter, Anthony Perrego, and Billy Pauch Jr. There was no consolation, as FMP officials decided to start all 26 cars in the main event.
Nice to see two huge stacker-trailers pull in just prior to warm-ups at Five Mile Point on Saturday. Inside were seven SpeedSTR machines from Canada, although only five of them entered the competition. Former National SpeedSTR champ Maxime Plante, from St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, looked right at home on the FMP surface, finishing a strong third and running up front for the entire 30-lap distance.
Buckwalter picked up the ride in the No. 5 at the last minute, as Frank Cozze, the car's regular driver in 2014, was called home to Wind Gap, Pa. because his father was rushed to the hospital.
"Liquid Lou" Cicconi was a nice addition to the field, finishing 11th in the Kyle Weiss No. 4 in his SpeedSTR debut. Sportsman Modified campaigner Craig Whitmoyer also made his first start in a SpeedSTR, gassing the Weiss No. 14 as a teammate to Cicconi.
Next up for the USAC SpeedSTR Tour is the year's second visit to Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton, Pa. on Sunday, October 26. In their first playday on the Mahoning asphalt on June 28, Kris Graver was victorious in a close finish over Earl Paules and Billy Pauch Jr.
USAC SpeedSTR Feature, 30 laps: 1.Billy Pauch Sr., 2.Tim Buckwalter, 3.Maxime Plante, 4.Frank Yankowski, 5.Jeff Strunk, 6.Billy Pauch Jr., 7.Kenny Brightbill, 8.Brad Brightbill, 9.Sebastian Gougeon, 10.Simon Egan, 11.Lou Cicconi, 12.Earl Paules, 13.Craig Whitmoyer, 14.Dan Yankowski, 15.Brandon Grosso, 16.Patrick Rheaume, 17.Dominic Beauchesne, 18.Mike Vermuelen, 19.Gary Huber, 20.Anthony Perrego, 21.Rick Kirkendall, 22.Wayne Weaver, 23.Francis Methot, 24.Rich Tobias.
DNS: Dale Planck, Steve Yankowski.
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