|Date: 11/12/2012 12:40:13 AM|
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PLANTE WINS SPEEDSTR RACE & TITLE; EGAN & BIEBER SHARE SLINGSHOT HONORS
by Barry Angstadt
Spring Run, Pa. - November 11 - A beautiful Sunday afternoon in November was especially pleasing to three drivers who compete in the divisions created by Speedway Entertainment mastermind Rich Tobias.
At the conclusion of the Fall Jamboree, held at Path Valley Speedway Park in Spring Run, Pa., two National Champions were crowned and another chauffeur went home with a pocket full of cash after winning a pair of Slingshot mains.
The trip back to Canada probably didn't seem quite as long for Maxime Plante, as the youthful charger claimed the 2012 National SpeedSTR point title by winning Sunday's 30-lap feature. The National SpeedSTR Championship is worth a cool $5,000 to the resident of St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada.
Plante entered the weekend with a slim lead over Brandon Rahmer; when Sunday's action began, Rahmer had to win the race in order to win the point crown. Plante made sure that wouldn't happen by taking the victory in a hard fought battle with Dale Planck.
While Simon Egan, Stroudsburg, Pa., captured his second triumph of the weekend in the All Star Slingshot feature, Oley's Brett Bieber became the first driver - ever - to win the National Slingshot Championship twice. Making the feat even more impressive was the fact that it's the second straight title for Bieber, as he backed up his 2011 Championship with the 2012 crown after a fifth-place finish on Sunday.
Frank Gordon won the main event for the Four-Cylinder Stock Cars.
In the feature race for the SpeedSTRs, Maxime Plante accelerated from his outside, front row starting spot into the lead at the drop of the green. He outgunned his father, Rejean, to grab the top spot as Dale Planck sliced his way from fourth to second and Saturday's winner, Rick Eckert, blasted from sixth to third on the opening circuit.
The first yellow flew with ten laps scored, and it led to several additional caution periods as the event unfolded. Those double-file restarts, however, produced and maintained an outstanding duel for the lead between Plante and Planck. On the initial restart, Planck bolted from the outside of row one to grab the point.
Another quick yellow, with eleven laps complete, allowed Plante to reclaim the lead, but Planck held his ground in the low groove and the duo raced side-by-side for three trips around the banked oval before Plante took control.
When the yellow waved again with 18 down, Plante chose the outside as his starting position. Planck again battled fiercely from the bottom lane, but the Canadian, who does not speak English, eased back in front after a couple of wheel-to-wheel revolutions on the quarter-mile. Behind the lead pair, a pretty darn good battle was ensuing between Eckert, Jeff Strunk, and the elder Plante as the diced for third and fourth.
A restart with nine to go set up a tremendous side-by-side duel for the top spot as Maxime Plante and Dale Planck fought for the win. As the laps wound down, Eckert and R. Plante slipped past Strunk for third and fourth.
Three yellow flags prevented the final lap from being completed. With the restart rule calling for single file formation with five (or fewer) laps remaining, M. Plante was able to keep Planck behind him. Plante crossed the finish line with a margin of 0.297-seconds over Planck.
Eckert, Rejean Plante, and Strunk completed the top five.
Planck was quickest in the Timed Dash for the SpeedSTR competitors. Strunk and Freddie Rahmer won the heat races.
Simon Egan took the green in the All Star Slingshot feature from the inside of row one, and he held that position for every one of the 20 laps that comprised the race. While Egan pretty much cruised out front, the action behind him was hot and heavy.
A three-wide tussle for the runner-up spot sorted out with Travis Bieber moving into second ahead of John Bockhorn and Henry Anderson. On a restart with four circuits in the books, Travis Bieber went around as the field came off turn four to take the green. He collected Cody Kline and Kyle Gruber, putting a serious crimp in Kline's plan to win the National Championship. Coming into the event on Sunday, Kline had to win the race in order to win the title. If Kline won the race, it wouldn't matter where current point leader Brett Bieber finished; Kline would win his second National Championship (the first occurred in 2009).
With Egan firmly in control of the 20-lapper, Kline methodically weaved his way from the back of the pack. B. Bieber settled into fifth, and Kline rallied to finish eleventh. His fifth place effort netted Bieber his second (consecutive) National title - a feat that seemed a bit precarious after engine troubles relegated him to a DNF in Saturday's feature.
Egan cruised to the win, even though Bockhorn was able to stay within a few car lengths during the final laps. Justin Thompson finished third (as he did on Saturday), with Anderson and B. Bieber finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Travis Bieber (Brett's older brother) was fastest in the Slinger's Timed Dash. Heat wins went to Bockhorn and Egan.
In the wingless 600cc Micro-Sprint main, Tyler Walton jumped away on top from his pole starting spot. Battling for the runner-up position with one lap complete, Shane Lewis and Rob Vivona tangled. Lewis rebounded quickly, snatching the lead from Walton (who won Saturday's winged feature) in just four laps. A couple of late race yellows kept things interesting, but Lewis had more than enough strength to hang on to the lead.
Lewis, from Honeybrook, Pa., was driving Rich Glosser's No. 70G, and he gave his car owner another victory (Glosser also owns the Hyper that propelled Walton to victory on Saturday). The Honeybrook Hustler rocketed to the win, beating Chandler Leiby, Walton, and Donovan Felker to the stripe.
Lewis was also quickest in the Timed Dash, while Walton beat him in the heat race.
The wingless 270cc feature may have had only four cars, but it was entertaining.
Brent Bull and Broc Lawrence swapped the lead several times during the first seven tours before Bull caught one of the large tires that separate the infield from the race track. Bull was knocked out of the race after he flipped as a result of the contact.
Lawrence and Saturday's winged winner Robbie Watson then waged a furious battle for the lead during the middle and latter portions of the 20-lapper. As Lawrence buzzed away from his pursuers, Watson moved into second and set his sights on the leader. Watson caught Lawrence and passed him for the lead with two to go, but he lost the handle and turned sideways in corner number four on the final lap. Watson's miscue cost him the lead and the win, as Lawrence took advantage of the opportunity to dive under Watson, then went on to notch the victory.
Watson was the quickest in the 270cc Timed Dash, and Bull won the heat race.
Frank Gordon led all the way in the Four-Cylinder Stock Car feature. Gordon, who also won on Saturday, made it a clean sweep by winning the lone heat race for the Four-Cylinders as well.
SpeedSTR Finish, 30 laps: 1.Maxime Plante, 2.Dale Planck, 3.Rick Eckert, 4.Rejean Plante, 5.Jeff Strunk, 6.Brandon Rahmer, 7.Pierre Hebert, 8.Paul Lotier, 9.Josiannen Plante, 10.Mitch Lacombe, 11.Mikell McGee, 12.Carl Labonte, 13.Sebastian Couture, 14.Al Arrisher, 15.Scott Donaldson, 16.Jean C. Casavant, 17.Brittany Wixon, 18.Mike Vermeullen, 10.Freddie Rahmer, 11.Gary Huber.
All Star Slingshots Finish, 20 laps: 1.Simon Egan, 2.John Bockhorn, 3.Justin Thompson, 4.Henry Anderson, 5.Brett Bieber, 6.Kurt Bettler, 7.Danny Buccafusca, 8.Matt Mertz, 9.Shannon Smith, 10.Louden Reimert, 11.Cody Kline, 12.Tyler Ulrich, 13.Kyle Gruber, 14.Keven Hebert, 15.John Rooks Jr., 16.Ryan Raidline, 17.Reggie Primus, 18.Travis Bieber.
Wingless 600cc Micro-Sprint Finish, 20 laps: 1.Shane Lewis, 2.Chandler Leiby, 3.Donovan Felker, 4.Tyler Walton, 5.Rob Vivona, 6.Lance Yeager.
Wingless 270cc Micro-Sprint Finish, 20 laps: 1.Broc Lawrence, 2.Robbie Watson, 3.Adam Warner, 4.Brent Bull.
Four-Cylinder Stock Car Finish, 12 laps: 1.Frank Gordon, 2.Sam Barge.
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