PLENTY OF NOSTALGIA NIGHT ACTION AT BETHEL MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Date: 9/12/2010 11:26:36 PM

BETHEL, NY - This past Saturday at Bethel Motor Speedway, “Nostalgia Night” proved to be a success, as many former champions, drivers, and fans showed up to take part in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of asphalt racing at the speedway. The current drivers put on an exciting show that consisted of nine feature events, keeping the packed house of fans on the edge of their seats all night long.

Alcaro & Alcaro Plating Sportsman division driver Mike Houghtaling may be a rookie in the class, but he has plenty of laps under his belt on the ¼-mile surface at Bethel, including several championships in other divisions. He took full advantage of those laps of experience this past Saturday, as he grabbed his first win in the class, in spite of having to hold off Greg McCloskey to accomplish the feat. Houghtaling started on the pole, but outside pole sitter Roy Crespo took the early lead, and Houghtaling was shuffled back to third as Crespo and Rich Coons battled it out at the front of the field. At the halfway point, though, Houghtaling worked his way past Coons and then set his sights on Crespo. McCloskey, who had started the race from the 14th spot and worked his way through the field, was hot on Houghtaling’s heels. Houghtaling wrestled the lead from Crespo on lap 12, and McCloskey followed to take second one lap later. Over the remainder of the race, McCloskey chased Houghtaling, but was unable to make a successful pass for the lead. Houghtaling collected his first-ever win in the class, followed by McCloskey and Crespo. Defending division champion Dan Conklin and Rich Coons rounded out the top five.

It was a busy night for the drivers in the Sam’s Towing Pro Stock division, as they ran both a holdover feature resulting from a July rainout, as well as their regular feature event. When the dust settled, the wins were split by Ed Butler and Jim Helt.

Butler started 6th in the holdover race, and he was working his way through the pack during the early laps as outside pole sitter Glenn Aumick paced the field. Aumick was passed by Jim Helt for the top spot on lap six. Butler followed Helt to take over the second spot. It appeared that Helt was on his way to his third feature win of the season as the laps clicked off, but Butler had other plans. With just three laps to go, in the midst of a three-way battle for the lead between Butler, Helt, and Mike Skelly, Helt and Skelly got together, bringing out the caution and resulting in both drivers having to restart at the rear of the field. Butler sat on the pole for the restart, and crossed the line ahead of Norman Barnes and current division point leader Bobby Policastro. It was Butler’s third 2010 win.

Jim Helt headed into the night’s regular feature determined to make up for his earlier disappointment, and he did just that as he led every lap of the race to capture his third win of the season. Helt started the race in third, but wasted little time getting out front, as he passed both cars that started on the front row on the initial lap. On an early race restart, another competitor got into the back of Helt’s car, lifting the back of the leader’s car, but even that did not slow Helt as he corrected himself without losing any positions and continued to pace the field. Ken Atkins ran second for the first half of the race before Butler got to Helt’s bumper in his quest to sweep both of the night’s races. Helt, Butler, and Mark Sylvester waged an intense fight for the lead over the closing laps of the race, but Butler fell off the pace late in the event, and Sylvester ran out of time to make a move on Helt. At the finish, Helt was awarded his third 2010 feature win, with Sylvester second and Skelly third.

The Legends race featured a three-way battle for the lead between sophomore Legends competitor Johnny Demarmels and division veterans Thomas Hartensveld Jr. and Mark Tischler that lasted almost the entire length of the event and ultimately resulted in Hartensveld Jr. taking home his fourth trophy from Bethel this season. Demarmels shot from the third starting spot to the lead on the initial lap, but Hartensveld Jr. started directly behind Demarmels and was in second by lap two. Tischler came to third just one lap later. Just before the halfway point of the race, Tischler took second, but only held the spot for a short period before Hartensveld Jr.reclaimed it and then went to work on Demarmels. Demarmels was able to hold Hartensveld Jr. off until lap 15. Over the final laps of the race, as Hartensveld Jr. led, Demarmels and Tischler swapped the second spot while Kenny VanWickle sat quietly in fourth. VanWickle was not content with that, however, and was able to get past Tischler on the final lap. When the checkered flag flew, Hartensveld Jr. was the first to cross the line, with Demarmels and VanWickle in tow.

A record field of 16 young drivers took to the track for the JTR Enterprises Bandolero feature, but Connecticut driver Jordan Lamothe proved that he was going to make the long haul worth his while as he notched his seventh Bethel feature win of the season. Lamothe started the event tenth. Rookie driver Courtney Lefcourt grabbed the early lead, but was passed by multi-time feature winner and current point leader Mikey Policastro. Lamothe, however, grabbed the lead from Policastro on lap four and Anthony Riforgiato came to third just two laps later. From that point on, the top four cars – Lamothe, Policastro, Riforgiato, and Max Evans – ran in close quarters, weaving their way through lapped traffic. There were several position swaps over the closing laps of the race, and Lamothe crossed the line ahead of Riforgiato and Evans.

The Shakelton Auto & Truck Centers Street Stock race was undoubtedly one of the most exciting of the night, as it came down to a last-lap drag race to the finish line to determine the winner. By a nose, Charlie Houghtaling grabbed his seventh feature win of the year and further padded his point lead in the process. Houghtaling came from the sixth starting spot to take the lead from Glenn Pallom on lap three. Skelly came to second four laps later and immediately went to work on reeling in Houghtaling. Once he made his way to Houghtaling’s bumper, Skelly began to search for a way around Houghtaling, trying both the inside and outside lines to no avail. Skelly eventually was able to pull fully alongside of Houghtaling, and the two swapped the lead at the line several times over the second half of the race. Skelly got solidly out front as the laps wound down, but Houghtaling was not about to give up. The final lap was a drag race around the track, and as the pair approached lapped traffic, Houghtaling took advantage of it to cross the line just ahead of Skelly in the caution-free event. Pallom held on for third.

Last week, Charlie Howe Sr. recorded the 75th win on the Blackman brothers-owned #75 BMS Modified. This week, he sent notice that he was not content with just 75 wins in the car’s history, as he took down his second consecutive win. Howe Sr. started fourth, but he overtook Skip LaPolt for the lead with just two laps in the books. The battle of the race then became the one for second between John Cote and LaPolt, who headed into the race sitting first and second in season points, respectively. Cote was able to wrestle the spot from LaPolt just prior to the halfway point. At the checkers, Howe Sr. got the win, followed by Cote and LaPolt.

In the Jeff Bank 4 Cylinder Senior division, Russell Sniffen rode the momentum of his win last week to take down his second consecutive win and third for the season. Sniffen took off from the outside pole to grab the lead at the drop of the green and led every lap of the event, but it was no easy task as he faced strong challenges from current point leader Eddie Lindstadt over the entire length of the event. The race was caution-free, and Sniffen had his hands full of Lindstadt for the duration, as Sniffen held the low line and Lindstadt seemed to be struggling to make his car handle well enough in the high line to get alongside of the leader. Behind them in the field, Paul Curry worked his way to third with five laps to go, but he ran out of time to mount a substantial challenge to the leaders. At the stripe, Sniffen was trailed by Lindstadt and Curry.

The “young guns” of the Jeff Bank 4 Cylinder Junior division took to the track 17 cars strong, and when the smoke cleared, point leader Steven Schmitz had added to his point lead by grabbing his fifth feature win of the season. Pole sitter Amber VanOrden took the lead early, but Schmitz had worked his way from 15th to pass her for the spot on lap four. Joe Smith came to second just one lap later, and the pair began to pull away from the rest of the field. Third swapped hands several times, with VanOrden, Josh Mendez, and Shawn Maloney all taking turns holding the spot. Schmitz proved to be unstoppable, however, as he drove on to the win. In the final rundown following post-race tech, Mendez was awarded second, and third went to Gary Magie.

Next Saturday, September 18, Bethel Motor Speedway will once again feature an action-packed night of racing excitement. On the schedule are the Sportsman, Pro Stock, Legends, Bandolero, Street Stock, BMS Modified, and 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 www.bethelmotorspeedway.com for a full schedule, or call (845) 319-7908 for more information.

SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Mike Houghtaling, 2. Greg McCloskey, 3. Roy Crespo, 4. Dan Conklin,  5. Rich Coons, 6. Don Smith Jr., 7. Jerry Curry, 8. Milton Mann, 9. Pat Murphy, 10. John Cook, 11. Bryanna Hurban, 12. Don Smith III, 13. Jim Halpin, 14. Greg Morgan.

HOLDOVER PRO STOCK RACE (20 laps): 1. Ed Butler, 2. Norman Barnes, 3. Bobby Policastro, 4. Ken Atkins, 5. Jim Helt, 6. Gene Palmer, 7. Mike Skelly, 8. Glenn Aumick, 9. Gene Morton.

PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Jim Helt, 2. Mark Sylvester, 3. Mike Skelly, 4. John Hager, 5. Norman Barnes, 6. Ed Butler, 7. Ken Atkins, 8. Joe Barnes, 9. Glenn Aumick, 10. Gene Palmer, 11. Gene Morton, 12. Bobby Policastro, 13. Bill VanAiken, 14. Ken Hopkins Jr., 15. Wayne Kmieczak, 16. Chris Green, 17. Willie Nickerson.

LEGENDS FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Thomas Hartensveld Jr., 2. Johnny Demarmels, 3. Kenny VanWickle, 4. Mark Tischler, 5. Matt Evans, 6. Joe DeGracia, 7. Andrew Bickford, 8. Brian Spencer, 9. Raven Schrantz, 10. Joe Fresco, 11. Steve West, 12. Barry Schrantz.

BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Jordan Lamothe, 2. Anthony Riforgiato, 3. Max Evans, 4. Mikey Policastro, 5. Joe Ternullo, 6. Rudy Roth IV, 7. Joseph Graf Jr., 8. Troy Houghtaling, 9. Alex McCollum, 10. Christina Policastro, 11. Christian Eckes, 12. Jared Palmer, 13. Taylor Hurban, 14. Courtney Lefcourt, 15. Cole Fratesi, 16. Matt Forsythe.

STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Charlie Houghtaling, 2. Kevin Skelly, 3. Glenn Pallom, 4. Jonathan McGibbon, 5. Gary VanOrden Jr., 6. Chris Chirico, 7. Rich Wheeler, 8. Brent Shaddock, 9. Robert Halstead, 10. Jason Chevalier.

BMS MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Charlie Howe Sr., 2. John Cote, 3. Skip LaPolt, 4. Steve Conklin, 5. Dick Shaddock, 6. Gary VanOrden Sr.  DNS – Jim Hoffman.

4 CYLINDER SENIOR FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Russell Sniffen, 2. Eddie Lindstadt, 3. Paul Curry, 4. George VanAiken, 5. George Zeininger, 6. Tim Curry, 7. Patty Falkena. DNS – Enio Lovric, B.J. Jenkins.

4 CYLINDER JUNIOR FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Steven Schmitz, 2. Josh Mendez, 3. Gary Magie, 4. Kyle Welsch, 5. Amber McGibbon, 6. Mike Travis, 7. Vinny Lovric, 8. Paige LaPolt, 9. Amber VanOrden, 10. Tasha Curry, 11. Don Kuhn, 12. Brittany Curry, 13. Justin Mapes, 14. Ivan Guerra, 15. Robert Beach. DQ – Joe Smith, Shawn Maloney.



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