Pit Strategy Helps Guide Rusty Smith To $3500 Sundance Victory

Date: 5/10/2009 12:33:38 PM

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Gene Ostrowski gjtost@verizon.net  (570) 752-7193      

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Pit Strategy Helps Guide Rusty Smith To $3500 Sundance Victory
By Gene Ostrowski
May 9, 2009
Rusty Smith of Oxford, NY pitted for tires halfway through Saturday’s 100-lap modified event at Sundance Vacations Speedway and then made his way to the front to claim the $3500 prize over Eric Beers. Jerry Hildebrand bested the field of late models to score the victory and Mike Moyer, Jr. visited victory lane for the third consecutive time, as did Chris Deritis in the TQ Midgets.
The top six modifieds qualifiers redrew for starting positions, which put Billy Weichert on the pole for the 100-lap Modified main event, which was presented by Global Risk Management and D&B Towing.
Matt Hirschman started second and quickly took the race lead over Weichert, Jimmy Zacharias, Rusty Smith and Brian DeFebo. A quick lap five yellow flag was thrown when Nick Pecko received a right front flat tire. Green flag racing resumed and within two laps, Smith powered into the second spot.
Fan favorite, Eric Beers, cracked the top five and then drove by Weichert to take fourth on lap nine.
Several of the top running drivers pitted for tires under yellow flag conditions early on, including Kyle Ebersole on lap 31 and both DeFebo and Smith stopped in for service on lap 47. Hirschman continued to lead at that point in time over Beers, Weichert, Todd Baer and Larry Fisher.
Smith rejoined the field after pitting and wasted no time driving toward the front. On lap 59 he overtook Baer for fourth and began to pressure Weichert for third.
Beers gave up his second place running position when he hit the pits during a lap 67 yellow flag. The change of events moved Smith into second behind Hirschman. Baer moved into third with Ebersole and Fisher in the top five.
Green flag racing resumed and Smith battled with Hirschman for the lead, which he finally gained with 29 laps remaining. DeFebo worked through traffic and overtook Hirschman for second a couple of circuits later and Beers and Ebersole rejoined the mix for the win.
The caution flew again, this time with 22 laps remaining and Hirschman headed pit side for rubber.
Smith continued to lead after the restart as Beers moved into second. It appeared that Beers might have had something for the race leader during the closing laps, but the Northampton, PA native had to settle with a second place effort.
Ebersole finished third, followed by Hirschman and DeFebo.
“I think that if Eric (Beers) would have come closer that I had something for him. “It’s ironic, I was just telling the guys on the radio with fifteen to go that I was preparing my victory lane speech and then I looked in the mirror and seen him (Beers) coming and thought that I better concentrate on what I’m doing”, said Smith of Beers’ late race surge into second.   
“We came in here today with a game plan to pit around lap 50 and put two rights (tires) on and the caution came out on lap 47, that’s when it was time to go”, said Smith when he spoke of his race winning pit strategy.
The win is Smith’s 16th of his career at the speedway.
Matt Hirschman, Kyle Ebersole and Brian DeFebo were heat race winners.
Justin Onderko sat on the pole position for the 30-lap Late Model feature and was overtaken by Mike Sweeney after the green flag dropped. Onderko slipped into second, followed by Jerry Hildebrand, Joe Hoffman and Travis Fisher.
A few quick cautions occurred, including one on lap eight, when Fisher made contact with Hildebrand while battling for the third spot. Both drivers were forced to restart from the tail end of the field.
Both Hoffman, who pitted with car problems earlier in the event and Hildebrand, who restarted deep in the field, began to claw their way toward the leaders. Hoffman climbed to second and raced with Sweeney for the lead. Hildebrand patiently watched the duo battle and then made his move to the outside lane of the track and took the race lead with five laps remaining.
Hildebrand drover off over the remaining laps and scored his first win at the track since 1998.
Sweeny settled for second, followed by Hoffman, Fisher and Paul Monkoski.
Heat race wins went to Jerry Hildebrand and Mike Sweeney.
Kevin Makarewicz led the first lap of the 20-lap Factory Stock main before Jay Gould overtook him.
Looking for his third consecutive win at the track, Mike Moyer, Jr. moved into the lead on the second lap. Paul Morgan, Jr. moved into third, followed by Bob Wink.
Morgan was able to dispose of Gould and grab second shortly after, as did Wink for third.
Moyer drove off to his second straight this season and third consecutive win at the track over Morgan, Wink, Gould and Makarewicz.
After winning their heat races, Chris Deritis and Paul Lotier, Jr. shared the front row for the start of the 25-lap TQ Midget main event.
Deritis got off to a great start and Lotier settled in to second. Ian Cummins held fourth, followed by Bing Metz.
Lotier was forced to retire from the event when his car stalled on the speedway during a lap eight restart. Green flag racing resumed and Frank Fischer worked his way into second. Tim Behmer, Metz and Lou Cicconi followed close behind.
Despite several attempts from Fischer, Deritis held on and notched his second straight win this season. He also won the season ending “King of the Mountain” in 2008, making it three straight at the track.
Fischer finished second, followed by Behmer, Metz and Cicconi.
Modifieds (100-laps) 1. RUSTY SMITH 2. Eric Beers 3. Kyle Ebersole 4. Matt Hirshman 5. Brian Defebo 6. Jim Zacharias 7. Bobby Jones 8. Todd Baer 9. Larry Fisher 10. Billy Weichert 11. Nick Pecko 12. Lewis Hallock 13. David Schneider 14. Adam Horwith 15. Harry Buchman 16. Barry Callavini 17.Allan Creveling 18. Jerry Woody
Late Models (30-laps) 1.JERRY HILDEBRAND 2. Mike Sweeney 3. Joe Hoffman 4. Travis Fisher 5. Paul Monkoski 6. Justin Onderko 7. Joseph Burns 8. Jennifer Kutz 9. William Schneider
Factory Stock (20-laps) 1. MIKE MOYER, JR 2. Paul Morgan Jr 3. Bob Wink 4. Jason Gould 5. Kevin Makarewicz 6. Keith Emmons 7. Kendal Faulk 8. Mike O'Byrne
TQ Midgets (25-laps) 1. CHRIS DERITIS 2. Frank Fischer 3. Tim Behmer 4. Bing Metz 5. Lou Cicconi 6. Matt Janish 7. Donnie Adams 8. Mike Tidaback 9. Alison Cummens 10. Austin Fehr 11. Matthew Roselli 12. Robin Johnston 13. Ian Cummens 14. Jeff Kot 15. Jason Hendritch 16. Paul Lotier Jr 17.Mark Janisch

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