|Date: 7/27/2007 12:14:34 AM|
THREE FIRST-TIME VICTORS; STOLZ WINS THIRD AT KUTZTOWN
Kutztown, PA - Twin 15-lap features for the 600cc Micro-Sprints brought a pair of first-time victors to the winner's circle, and a new face also graced victory lane after the Slingshot main event. In 270cc Micro-Sprint action, however, a familiar face smiled for the cameras when the night ended on Wednesday at the Fairgrounds in Kutztown.
The pair of 15-lappers for the 600's, sponsored by RTS Chassis, fell to Mark Sokol and Gary Berkenstock. Sinking Spring, PA chauffeur Rich Sachetta captured the first Slingshot triumph of his career in that division's 20-lap feature, and Bloomsburg's Sean Stolz raced to his third victory of the current campaign, and second in two weeks, in the main event for the 270cc Micro-Sprints.
In the first feature for the 600's, Sokol jumped into the early lead from the pole, then fought off a determined Brent Marks, Myerstown, to secure his first Kutztown Fairgrounds triumph. On numerous occasions during the race, Marks tried to dive under the leader at both ends of the oval. Sokol never wavered, keeping his RS Signs No. 21A on the bottom and out front, taking the checkered over Marks, Ryan Frable, Alex Bright, and Brian Carber.
The 600cc nightcap was eerily similar to the first one, with polesitter Gary Berkenstock, now in his second year of Micro-Sprint competition after racing Slingshots, leading every one of the 15 circuits. Brett Smith, Gilbert, PA, hounded the Harleysville resident, but Berkenstock was up to the challenge, pulling away to win by a couple of car-lengths. Last week's victor, Shane Lewis, finished third with Charles Cooley and Sammy Hemhauser rounding out the top five.
600cc heat wins went to Sokol, point leader Jason Van Doren, and Mike Freed. Berkenstock won the consolation. Twenty-six drivers signed in for competition on Wednesday.
Stolz started third in the 20-lapper for the 270cc Micros. Discovering some running room on the inside lane as the initial green appeared, Stolz zipped under Aaron Rinehimer and polesitter Darin Bartholomew to grab the point by the time they hit the backstretch.
Just as he did in winning the first 15-lap feature eight days earlier, Stolz expertly maneuvered in and out of lapped traffic on Wednesday, motoring away to a comfortable margin over runner-up Jeff Hartman (the 270cc point leader at the Fairgrounds). At the finish, it was Stolz, Jeff Hartman, Jay Hartman, Bartholomew, and Terry Schaeffer. Bartholomew and Schaeffer waged an entertaining side-by-side battle for several laps before Bartholomew claimed the fourth position for good.
With 26 cars competing, Pat Bealer, Jeff Hartman, and Schaeffer won the 270cc heats. Rob Pajavis snared the consolation victory.
While Rich Sachetta experienced the thrill of victory in the Slingshot main, young Austin Berk felt the agony of defeat. Berk paced the first 15 trips around the clay, then waited out a red flag period after Joe Malson executed a nasty looking flip on the backchute. As the drivers were given the signal to fire up and move out, Berk's No. 72B would not start; he was the victim of a dead battery. Since the Slingshots operate with a centrifugal clutch, there was no hope of push-starting his car, and Berk was forced to retire.
Sachetta inherited the lead at that point, and he raced to the first win of his career over Kutztown's own Jordan Henn. "I just bought the car this year," relayed Sachetta afterward. "So this," he grinned as he held the envelope containing the winner's purse, "is GREAT!"
Shannon Smith, who picked up her first Fairgrounds victory one week earlier, took the checkered in third. Pete Knappenberger and the Bushkill Bullet, Kyle Rohner, completed the first five when it was over.
Heats for the 24 Slingshots went to Malson, Steve Hicks, and Shannon Smith.
Racing action returns to Kutztown next Wednesday, August 1, with a starting time of 7 p.m. Gates open at 4:00, with warm-ups at 6:30. Twenty-lap features are scheduled for the 600cc and 270cc Micro-Sprints as well as the Slingshots.
Fairgrounds Fall-Out...Malson was shaken after his tumble in the Slingshot main. He complained of some back pain, so extreme care was taken in removing him from his No. 54. He was transported to a local hospital for further examination. Malson phoned race organizer Danny Sammons on Thursday morning with the good news that he was released after being examined and was feeling fine.
On July 17, when she won the Slingshot feature, Shannon Smith interrupted a vacation at the Jersey shore. This week, she left a high school soccer camp to take part in the event at Kutztown, where her third-place finish vaulted her into the point lead.
First-time competitors Gary and Kyle Heiber entered the Slingshot portion of Wednesday's card. The sons of former dirt modified wheel-twister Gary Heiber had mixed results, with Kyle authoring a fine drive from 21st to sixth. Gary, Jr. started 19th and finished 15th.
Delmarva Motorsports Park hotshoe Cameron Merriman made his first Fairgrounds start of the year and did quite well. Merriman finished second in his 270cc heat race, then loaded up after a strong seventh-place effort in the feature.
Jeff Hartman maintained his lead in the 270cc point standings, and Jason Van Doren's pair of top-ten finishes in the 600cc mains kept him atop the points in that class.
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature No. 1 (15 Laps): 1.Mark Sokol 2.Brent Marks 3.Ryan Frable 4.Alex Bright 5.Brian Carber 6.Jason Van Doren 7.Sammy Hemhauser 8.Ryan Shupp 9.Shane Lewis 10.Brett Smith 11.Charles Cooley 12.Gary Berkenstock 13.Keith McIntyre 14.Bill Hahn 15.Jimmy Cammock 16.Mike Freed 17.Kenny Miller 18.Ryan Wilson 19.Dale Thomas 20.Jarrett Seng 21.Ben Davis 22.Tom Kohler 23.Chad Leiper 24.Dan Jackson.
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature No. 2 (15 Laps): 1.Gary Berkenstock 2.Brett Smith 3.Shane Lewis 4.Charles Cooley 5.Sammy Hemhauser 6.Brian Carber 7.Jason Van Doren 8.Brent Marks 9.Alex Bright 10.Ryan Frable 11.Keith McIntyre 12.Tom Kohler 13.Jarrett Seng 14.Ryan Shupp 15.Jimmy Cammock 16.Kenny Miller 17.Mike Freed 18.Brett Avenengo 19.Bill Hahn 20.Amanda Quinones
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature (20 Laps): 1.Sean Stolz 2.Jeff Hartman 3.Jay Hartman 4.Darin Bartholomew 5.Terry Schaeffer 6.Pat Bealer 7.Cameron Merriman 8.Jesse Hartman 9.Ross Perchak 10.Marty Reinsmith 11.Keith Wetzel 12.Aaron Rinehimer 13.John Hagen 14.Shelby Harper 15.Chad Owens 16.Scott Dech 17.Ryan Smith 18.Jonathan Kumernitsky 19.Mike Esposito 20.Mark Janisch 21.Rob Pajavis 22.Jeremy Raifsnider 23.Brett Arndt 24.Kevin Snyder.
Slingshot Feature (20 Laps): 1.Rich Sachetta 2.Jordan Henn 3.Shannon Smith 4.Pete Knappenberger 5.Kyle Rohner 6.Kyle Heiber 7.Steve Hicks 8.Nate Christman 9.Bill Weaver 10.Rob Marino 11.Anthony Perrego 12.Drew Damiani 13.Travis Bieber 14.Justin Hughes 15.Gary Heiber 16.Damon Bower 17.Keith Snyder 18.Steve Yeager 19.Tiffany Wambold 20.Andrew Damiani 21.Austin Berk 22.Joe Malson 23.Trevor Kobylarz 24.T.J. Mayberry
Submitted by: Barry Angstadt, Interim Kutztown Announcer & P.R. (filling in for Brett Deyo)
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