Jeff Strunk Rockets His Way To 5 G's In Accord Speedway King Of The Catskills Triumph

Date: 9/19/2015 5:02:15 AM

Accord, NY- Jeff Strunk Rockets His Way To 5 G's In Accord Speedway King Of The Catskills Triumph
By: Steve Pados, Accord Speedway Media
The Ulster County weather was perfect, the Accord Speedway was in top form and a great roster of drivers and a standing room only crowd proved to be spectacular for Promoters Gary and Donna Palmer to host their annual King of the Catskills event at the speedway. Working right up until race time, Gary Palmer had the pristine quarter mile clay speedplant in impeccable condition that enabled the stout field of Modified and Sportsman competitors to race wall to wall throughout the evening of racing. The evening of speed was headlined by sponsor Bruce Insinger and his Insinger Fuel Team.
When all was said and done, Modified short track specialist "The Bechtelsville Bullet" Jeff Strunk used patience and a big right foot to hustle his way from 21st starting position to take over the lead on lap-45 and dominate the action the remainder of the way to capture his first ever King of the Catskills victory and the $5,000.00 prize that went along with it. In the combination Open Sportsman/Spec Sportsman 30-lap shootout, 2015 Accord Speedway Spec Sportsman Champion Robbie Knipe traded the lead back and forth with Dave Werber for four laps before seizing command of the event on lap five and go on to lead the remainder of the event to capture the win and the $1,500.00 pay day that awaited him in the Lucas Oil Products Victory Lane. In the Nightcap for the Four Cylinder Enduro Bombers, George Zeininger continued his mastery over the rest of the Enduro field to go on and win his second consecutive Enduro event of the season and with it adding $2,000.00 to his yearly winnings.
Twenty-four of some of the finest Modifieds on the East Coast today took off in a run for the roses with "DC" Danny Creeden blasting out into the lead. Creeden wasted no time in running into daylight as he opened up a huge advantage on the field. The 2015 Accord Modified Champion Jeff Heotzler Sr was running in second with a pack of topflight racing stars behind him all vying for the valuable track real estate. Richard Smith, Anthony Perrego, Danny Johnson, Andy Bachetti and Mike Mahaney all showed the ability to pass and contend in the event with all of the driving stars running great races. Restarts slowed the action a bit as the attrition began to mount up.
Creeden was still leading at the 1/3 mark of the event but all eyes were focused on the Zubi's Racing machine of Jeff Strunk. Strunk was methodical in disposing of those in front of him and moved into the third place slot five laps later. On lap-29, the fine run from Creeden came to a stop on turn two. The restart found Heotzler and Strunk side by side and Heotzler moved into the lead with Strunk running close behind. Strunk once again began applying pressure and worked his way past Heotzler in lap-45 to take over the point. Once in front, Strunk went into cruise control and he worked his way through slower traffic the remainder of the way to drive on to his first King of the Catskills victory. Strunk, who finished fourth in last year's event aboard a Jerry Higbie owned racer, was very thankful to his sponsors, crew, the fans and to Jerry Higbie in the victory lane celebration as his conversations with Higbie during the week helped set up the car for the win.
Jeff Heotzler Sr was second in a very stout run with "Prime Time" Scott Ferrier working his way from 18th starting spot to finish third. Mike Mahaney was solid all evening to earn fourth place while "The Doctor" Danny Johnson came back through the field after pitting at the midway point to round out the top five. The second five included Andy Bachetti, Richard Smith, Joe Judge, Craig Mitchell and Robbie Green.
Robbie Knipe and Dave Werber made up the front row for the Sportsman main event. Knipe in a Crate motored racer and Werber in an Open Sportsman machine set up the classic dual in what was about to follow. Werber led the first lap while Knipe slipped past him to lead lap two. Werber regained the lead in laps three and four and it Knipe going to the top of the raceway between turns one and two to once again seize command of the race. Just as Knipe opened up a small advantage, coming up to challenge the leaders was the "Riegelsville Rocket" Jimmy Housworth. Housworth began in seventh place and was working the channels of the speedway to perfection as he made it a three way battle for the lead.
The front three remained close past the halfway point and Knipe gained a bit of an advantage as Werber had to play a bit of defense against the hard charging Housworth. Knipe would race to victory with Werber solid in the runner-up slot and Housworth giving it all he had to gain a podium finish. "Jammin" Jimmy Wells hustled hard from 14th starting spot to finish fourth while Greg McCloskey rounded out the top five. The second five included Chris Stevens, Randy Green, Phil Johnson, Ken Boniface and Shane Jablonka.
The veteran campaigner George Zeininger wasted no time in charging to the front in the 100-lap Enduro excursion. Zeininger, who captured the first Enduro event in July, paced himself throughout the event and passed cars at will sometimes passing three and four cars at a shot in a dazzling driving exhibition. It would be Zeininger capturing the $2,000.00 prize with Chicky Bruntfield in the runner-up role and Drew Boniface rounding out the podium finish.
The showcased event of the season at Accord for the Palmer Family was another spectacular event for the successful promotional team now in their 15th season at operating their Ulster County facility. The racing was superb as every Modified and Sportsman heat resembled a mini feature event. The standing room only crowd came from far and wide with as many as twelve states representing the statewide support of the tremendous racing activity. Parking was at a premium and the grounds were abuzz with excitement for the long awaited evening of racing at the "Gem in the Catskills". The turnstiles of fans filled the concession areas all night long as they devoured the great cuisine offered up by the the speedway concessions.
Forty Modifieds made their way to the pit area along with forty sportsman and 33 Four Cylinder Bombers. Five heats were needed for the Modifieds with Jimmy Horton, Danny Johnson, Andy Bachetti, Jeff Heotzler Sr and Anthony Perrego scoring wins. Jimmy Horton was light on the scales so he suffered a DQ giving the win to Danny Tyler. Sportsman cars also ran five heats with Robbie Knipe, Dave Werber, Jesse Marks, Brad Szulewski and Jimmy Johnson claiming the wins. Two B-Mains were needed for the Modifieds with Jeff Strunk and Shaun Walker claiming the wins. The two Sportsman B-Mains were won by Corey Pike and Shane Jablonka.
New faces were in abundance on this evening with Craig Mitchell, Brett and Alex Tonkin, Andy Bachetti, Danny Johnson, Matt Janiak, Mike Mahaney, Nick Rochinski, Dan Humes, Shaun Walker, Jimmy Horton, Bobby Hentschel, Jeff Strunk, and Tyler McKee all putting in their first appearances. Chris Lynch, Chris Stevens, Jim Housworth, Joe Conklin, Mike Travers, Ryan Stortini, Jake Grannaker, Brian White and Tyler Johnston all made their first Sportsman starts.
Tim Adams rejoined the speedway last evening after losing a few weeks due to some health issues. Great to have him back.
Former Lake Mocatek Speedway Assistant Announcer Justin Beltrame was on board last evening to help with the announcing chores. Regular announcer Steve Pados and Beltrame worked together at Mocatek for four years and still do events together, namely the Dirt Track Heroes Show with Bob Miller in Phillipsburg, New Jersey in March of 2016. Beltrame also fills in at Hamlin Speedway when Pados cannot attend.
Grandma Annies Pies were back in victory lane last evening courtesy of Liggan Insurance, Wright's Farm Market, Rosendale Farmers Market and Cousin Pete Donohue.
A happy 59th birthday is extended to Kevin Moyer.
Many thanks go out to all of those who helped sponsor laps for the event. Included in the roster are: Northeast Racing Videos, Marty at Upstate Auto, Frank Guido's Little Italy, Krom Racing, Mariner's Harbor, Scott Demorest Welding, Rick Ryder, Clayton Racing, Halmar RacingTeam, Quality Seal Coat, Sanford Racing, GA Motorsports, Fotopolous Family Racing, DeLeon Racing, Houghtaling Racing, Accord Speedway, Jonathan Arturi, Babis Family, Stone Ridge Tire, Lutes Family Racing, Ginnie and Jim Douglas, CG Racing, Pearseco Properties, LaBagh Motorsports, Knoth Racing, Mirabito Energy Products, Armbruster Racing Photos and The Ricci Family
United Pump and Tank Modifieds: (60 laps $5,000.00) Jeff Strunk, Jeff Heotzler Sr, Scott Ferrier, Mike Mahaney, Danny Johnson, Andy Bachetti, Richard Smith, Joe Judge, Craig Mitchell, Robbie Green, Corey Lowitt, Nick Rochinski, Jimmy Wells, Dave Hinsch, Danny Creeden, Anthony Perrego, Matt Janiak, Tommy Meier, Danny Tyler, Shaun Walker, Dan Humes, Tim Hindley, Chuck McKee, Mike Ricci
Escape RV Sportsman/Healey Brothers Spec Sportsman: (30 Laps $1,500.00) Robbie Knipe, Dave Werber, Jim Housworth, Jimmy Wells, Greg McCloskey, Chris Stevens, Randy Green, Phil Johnson, Ken Boniface, Shane Jablonka, Jeff Hulseapple, Joey Bruning, Brad Szulewski, Joe Conklin, Zach Mead, Rafael Carson, Brandon McGill, Ryan Stortini, Jesse Marks, Jimmy Johnson, Nick Johnson, Corey Pike, Mike Barrett, Rich Ricci III
Four Cylinder Enduro Bombers: George Zeininger, Chicky Bruntfield, Drew Boniface
Racing every Friday night from April through September.
Saturday, October 3rd finds the speedway swinging back into action for the Full Fendered Finale spectacular at the speedway sponsored by the Liggin's Insurance Agency. More information regarding the event will follow.
For more information regarding the great racing action found at the Accord Speedway, call the speedway hotline at: 845 626 3478 or log-on to their newly designed and well documented website at: We are easy to find at 299 Whitfield Road, two miles off Route 209. At the Accord Speedway..................................
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