|Date: 10/5/2009 11:16:15 PM|
Smith Tames the Avenger
It was a great day for racing and with New Jersey Motorsports Park personnel watching intently,the first ever road course race in the 10 year history of the Slingshots took place when the initial green flag fell at 3:07 PM.
With 12 teams looking to find their way around the .48 twisting road course,Rich Tobias offered the drivers a chance to take a quick tour with him on the 4 wheeler before they had to strap in for the real action.
The first 20 minute session saw quite a few drivers head pitward after just 3 or 4 laps on the race track to make anything from a gear change to some major overhauls.
The initial practice saw 4 cars really dominate the speed charts with Randy Smith,Gary and Kyle Hieber and Matt Dealaman finding the quick way around in a matter of minutes as other teams used that first session to take notes for the timed practice that would soon follow.
With the top 6 being inverted for the 8 lap heats it was apparent that these drivers were getting very serious about the upcoming qualifiers.
The first heat saw Dave McCullough bring the field to the green and before they made it to the first turn area Matt Dealaman had the 07 to the front and not having to worry about the field behind him for a few laps.Randy Smith ,in the Hamlin Speedway 5S,methodically worked his way to the 2nd spot after only getting 1 lap of qualifying in due to some mechanical problems and within 4 laps was tapping on the rear bumper of Dealaman challenging for the heat win.Dealaman withstood the Smith onslaught and now inherited the pole position for the Taming the Avenger 20 with his heat win.
The 2nd 8 lap heat found the $ of Dillon Emmons in charge and the field scrambled 3 wide into a turn only capable of being a 2 wide race track,as all drivers held ground but Gary Hieber,who earlier had set fast time with an average speed of over 41MPH,now had to worry about his brother Kyle who also wanted a front row starting spot.The 2 swapped the lead on a few occasions with Gary putting the Langhorne Motorsports 56 across the finish line first.
The field was now set for the Taming the Avenger 20 with Dealaman and Hieber both knowing it was who got to turn 1 first would have some clear sailing until the inner loop and chicane separated the men from the boys.
On lap 2 it was the inner loop that claimed it's first casualty,as the S12 of Simon Whitnell had problems and was forced pitside with the Hiebers having another race between themselves.Paul Lotier,Jr who was called upon to do the wheeltwisting in the Bob Emmons owned # 7 also ended up coasting to a stop just prior to the inner loop and being clear of the racing surface,the race remained green.
Dealaman was awaiting a slip-up by Gary or Kyle,but it was soon time for lapped traffic to play an important part of the outcome as all 3 of these drivers were searching the best part of the course to make their moves,Randy Smith was now finding the smoothest way around the whole complex and was quickly making this a 4 car race.
As lap 7 was being scored Dave McCullough realized the County Roofers 7X was without brakes and as he tried to spin safely off the speedway he caught the edge of the racing surface shooting him to the outside barrier and coming to rest out of harm's way.
The 1/2 way sign also changed the whole complexion of the race as slower traffic was racing among themselves but the faster cars also needed their racing room and with one quick move Randy Smith went from 4th to 1st and was hoping it would stay green from there.
The racing gremlins were picking and choosing their victims as early leader and race contender Gary Hieber coasted to a stop with Fred Cannock who was gaining momentum with each completed lap losing his exhaust right after the 1/2 way sign.
Kyle Hieber in the Bucks County International 66 made a nice move around Smith in the chicane area,but Randy regained the lead with a powerslide off the final turn and never looked back for the Taming the Avenger 20 win.
With Smith,Hieber and Dealaman riding out the remaining laps,the purple and gold $ of teenager Dillon Emmons was in the record books as having the most improved time of the event as the "Flemington Flash" will be credited with a well run 4th place finish in his first attempt at road course racing.
Greg Zellman looked strong during most of the 20 lap event but 1 slight mistake in the inner loop found the field on him quickly as he tried to stay on the lead lap,but could still lay claim to a 5th place run.Matt Burke took the S&S Speedways 551 to a 6th place run with Johnny Mann,who earlier had limited track time due to a brake failure,still saw the checkered in 7th.
The management was so impressed with the professionalism and the friendliness of the drivers,crews and families that they have been invited back in 2010 for a 2 race date with the Avenger being 1 of the events and the 1/5 mile tri-oval being the other.
Everyone in attendance is looking forward to future dates at the Millville, NJ speedplant.
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