Date: 9/5/2010 1:46:36 PM

BETHEL, NY – While a weather system moving through the area may have caused a brief rain delay at Bethel Motor Speedway this past Saturday, it was no match for the determination of the drivers who were able to get the track surface dried to run an action-packed feature event program.

One driver who was undoubtedly happy to see the program run was Alcaro & Alcaro Plating Sportsman division competitor Dan Conklin, who is the defending division champion. When the checkered flag flew, Conklin collected his seventh feature event win of 2010, further padding his point lead as the weeks wind down in the season. Greg Morgan, who headed into the event second in the standings, had a rough night and suffered mechanical failure in his car, forcing him to compete in a borrowed car. Morgan’s night was considerably less successful than Conklin’s.

Roy Crespo and Don Smith III started the feature on the front row, but Crespo had Conklin directly behind him in third. Conklin shot out to the lead on the initial lap. Crespo was able to hold on to the second spot for several laps, but Jerry Curry overtook him prior to the halfway point of the event. Curry then began to chase Conklin. The final laps of the event were a duel between the two veteran drivers, culminating in a last-lap drag race off of turn four to the checkered flag. Conklin held on for the win, and Curry had to be content with a runner-up finish. Rich Coons crossed the line third. Bryanna Hurban and Crespo rounded out the top five. Morgan was seventh in the final rundown.

In the Sam’s Towing Pro Stock division, John Hager ended up celebrating his anniversary to his wife, Lillian, in Victory Lane. It was Hager’s second win of the season. Hager started the event from the seventh spot, but he quickly worked his way toward the front while Jim Helt was leading the early laps. At the halfway mark, Hager worked his way past Helt for the top spot. Ken Atkins inherited the second spot after Helt went around one lap later. Teenage driver Gene Morton was able to hold third over most of the second half of the race, but point leader Bobby Policastro wrestled the spot from Morton with just four laps remaining, as Hager built up a tremendous lead over the rest of the field. Hager led Atkins and Policastro across the finish line.

In the Legends division, Thomas Hartensveld Jr. came from deep in the field to claim his third win of the year. Pole sitter Richie Coy got out to the early lead while the rest of the field diced it out for position behind him. Andrew Stotler and Chris Young both took turns holding second as Hartensveld was working his way up from the 13th starting spot. Hartensveld took over the runner-up position just before the halfway point. He spent several laps chasing Coy before grabbing the race lead on lap 12. Coy, who won the race the previous week, was shuffled back to second, and then had to contend with Johnny Demarmels. With five laps to go, Demarmels took second.  Demarmels ran out of time to catch Hartensveld, however, and Hartensveld went home with the win. Demarmels was second, and Coy held on for third.

Eight-year-old Max Evans continued to make history in the JTR Enterprises Bandolero race, as the youngest known competitor in the history of the track grabbed his third consecutive win. Evans was slated to start the event tenth, but an incident on the initial start resulted in him taking off from fifth. Jared Palmer paced the field for the first four laps before Evans worked his way past on the outside to take the lead. Mikey Policastro put up a fight from second over the last half of the race, but Evans was able to hold him off to collect the win. Defending division champion Joseph Graf Jr. recovered from an early-race incident to finish third.

The Shakelton Auto & Truck Centers Street Stock division ran two features, but the only driver to visit Victory Lane was Kevin Skelly, as he won both the holdover race and the night’s regular feature.

Rookie Jonathan McGibbon took off from the outside pole to lead the early laps of the holdover event. Rich Wheeler gave chase for the first three laps, before Skelly came to second. Skelly then wasted little time getting out front, as he took over the race lead just one lap later. McGibbon ran second behind Skelly for several laps, but point leader Charlie Houghtaling wrestled the spot from him just past the scheduled halfway point. With two laps remaining in the event, rain began to fall on the speedway during a caution period, and the race was deemed complete. Skelly grabbed the win, followed by Houghtaling and McGibbon.

In the night’s regular feature, McGibbon also spent some time out front as he took off from the pole and paced the field for the first six laps. Houghtaling and Skelly were working their way up from the ninth and tenth starting spots, respectively. Houghtaling was the first to reach McGibbon, and he put his car out front on lap seven. One lap later, Skelly took second from McGibbon, and then Houghtaling and Skelly entertained the fans with a side-by-side battle for the lead. With just two laps to go, Skelly nosed out front and he went on to grab his second win of the night and tenth of the season. Houghtaling was second, and Glenn Pallom came across the line third.

History was made in the BMS Modified division, as Charlie Howe Sr. took the #75 car to Victory Lane for the 75th time in the car’s history at the speedway. Howe Sr. started the race on the outside of rookie Gary VanOrden Jr., and he got out front on the initial lap. John Cote followed from the fourth starting spot to take second, and Steve Conklin came to third. As the laps wore on, Howe Sr.’s car began to emit some smoke, but he maintained his position on the speedway. Cote looked for a way past Howe Sr., but the running order at the front of the field remained unchanged over the distance of the race, which was caution-free. Howe Sr. crossed the line ahead of Cote and Conklin. It was Howe Sr.’s second win of the season, as his first win came just two weeks earlier when the Modifieds last took to the track at Bethel.

In 2009, Jeff Bank 4 Cylinder driver Russell Sniffen had to wait until the final week of competition to get his first win, but he accomplished that feat much earlier in 2009, leaving him the opportunity to make a repeat visit, which he did this past Saturday. Sniffen started the event fourth and he made his way to second by lap three, but he then had to contend with pole sitter and early race leader Patty Falkena. By lap five, Sniffen had put his car out front. Holding the spot was no easy task, as Falkena and then four-time 2010 feature winner Tim Curry pursued him. T. Curry had the top two point contenders – Paul Curry and Eddie Lindstadt – directly behind him. Sniffen was determined to stay ahead of the field, and he was the first under the checkered flag.  T. Curry and P. Curry were second and third, respectively.

In the Jeff Bank 4 Cylinder Junior division, three different drivers took turns in the lead over the first half of the race as Amber VanOrden, Joe Smith, and Don Kuhn all spent time out front. Rookie competitor Vinny Lovric, who has only been competing in the class since July, however, dominated the second half of the race. Lovric started the event sixth, but kept his car in the top five over the first half of the race before inheriting the lead as a result of an incident involving the race leaders at the halfway point of the race. Behind him, drivers continued to dice for position, with numerous changes in the running order. When the checkered flag waved, Lovric notched his second win of 2010. He was followed by Amber McGibbon and point leader Steven Schmitz.

Next Saturday, September 11th, Bethel Motor Speedway will celebrate its 50th anniversary season with “Nostalgia Night”, which will include autograph sessions with some of the speedway’s former champions. The night’s racing events will include the Alcaro & Alcaro Plating Sportsman, Sam’s Towing Pro Stock, JTR Enterprises Bandolero, Shakelton Auto & Truck Centers Street Stock, BMS Modified, and Jeff Bank 4 Cylinder divisions. Gates open at 3:30 pm, with hot laps at 5:30 pm, and racing slated to begin at 7 pm. Grandstand admission is just $5. Visit for a complete schedule, or call (845) 319-7908 for more information.

SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Dan Conklin, 2. Jerry Curry, 3. Rich Coons, 4. Bryanna Hurban, 5. Roy Crespo, 6. Jim Halpin, 7. Greg Morgan, 8. Don Smith III, 9. John Cook. DNS – Don Smith Jr., Mike Houghtaling.

PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. John Hager, 2. Ken Atkins, 3. Bobby Policastro, 4. Ed Butler, 5. Norman Barnes, 6. Ken Hopkins Jr., 7. Gene Morton, 8. Ron Lane, 9. Jim Helt, 10. Bill VanAiken, 11. Wayne Kmiegzak, 12. Ken Hopkins Jr., 13. Willie Nickerson, 14. Gene Palmer.

LEGENDS FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Thomas Hartensveld Jr., 2. Johnny Demarmels, 3. Richie Coy, 4. Malcolm Campbell, 5. Andrew Stotler, 6. Todd McCollum, 7. JD Abrahams, 8. Brandon Michael, 9. Luke Marzano, 10. Raven Schrantz, 11. Joe Graf, 12. Andrew Bickford, 13. Joe DeGracia, 14. Jimmy Sylvester, 15. Joe Fresco, 16. Matt Evans, 17. Bill Johnston, 18. Barry Schrantz, 19. Carl Jones, 20. Chris Young, 21. Stephen Hershey. DNS – Rich Sennett.

BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Max Evans, 2. Mikey Policastro, 3. Joseph Graf Jr., 4. Rudy Roth IV, 5. Christina Policastro, 6. Troy Houghtaling, 7. Jared Palmer, 8. Taylor Hurban, 9. Alex McCollum, 10. Courtney Lefcourt. DNS – Christian Eckes, Matt Forsythe.

HOLDOVER STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (13 laps)” 1. Kevin Skelly, 2. Charlie Houghtaling, 3. Jonathan McGibbon, 4. Glenn Pallom, 5. Gary VanOrden Jr., 6. Rich Wheeler, 7. Larry O’Donnell, 8. Brent Shaddock. DNS – Dan Curry.

STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Kevin Skelly, 2. Charlie Houghtaling, 3. Glenn Pallom, 4. Gary VanOrden Jr., 5. Jonathan McGibbon, 6. Jason Chevalier, 7. Vinny Stanton Sr., 8. Rich Wheeler, 9. Larry O’Donnell, 10. Brent Shaddock, 11. Robert Halstead, 12. Ed Galligan.

BMS MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Charlie Howe Sr., 2. John Cote, 3. Steve Conklin, 4. Skip LaPolt, 5. Gary VanOrden Sr., 6. Jeff Miller.

4 CYLINDER SENIOR FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Russell Sniffen, 2. Tim Curry, 3. Paul Curry, 4. Eddie Lindstadt, 5. Rich Winters, 6. Patty Falkena, 7. George Zeininger, 8. Enio Lovric, 9. Jim VanAiken, 10. George VanAiken.

4 CYLINDER JUNIOR FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Vinny Lovric, 2. Amber McGibbon, 3. Steven Schmitz, 4. Josh Mendez, 5. Robert Beach, 6. Kyle Welsch, 7. Don Kuhn, 8. Joe Smith, 9. Justin Mapes, 10. Josh Wilbur, 11. Ivan Guerra, 12. Paige LaPolt, 13. Tasha Curry, 14. Lea Houghtaling, 15. Brittany Curry, 16. Amber VanOrden, 17. Jamie Elliott, 18. David Beach, 19. Gary Magie.

Return-to-Bethel Motor Speedway