|Date: 11/9/2011 8:05:16 PM|
Bieber, Johnston Take Slingshot Top Honors
The 2011 Slingshot by Tobias racing season began with the Herr's Snack Bowl 25 for the All Star teams and after the checkered was thrown on winner Mike Butler,it was apparent that the season would see one of the most competitive point races in all regions and national events.
Oley,PA's Brett Bieber's AC season opener was at best,an attempt, as his 24th place finish,would hopefully not continue on after he headed out of New Jersey.Next up on the national tour schedule was Brett's hometrack,the Cordier Family operated Shellhammers Speedway in Leesport,PA.Brett was the 2010 champion and the Marlin Bieber prepared,Tim Long Insurance # 32 was awaiting all comers for the 2nd Annual Spring Spectacular that has the highest payout of any single event on the weekly or touring schedule.With $2000 awaiting the winner,the best of the best head to the 1/8th mile high banked oval in hopes of heading home with the top prize.
Brett's prelim run at Shellhammers the night before found him in victory lane and the setup was there for him to take the lion's share of the purse as well as the 150 points for a Super National win.From this race forward it was a matter of survival,patience,maintenance and driver know-how.Making an early season statement was Boyertown's Branden Clauss,who returned to PA from Florida to get the added races that are here in the northeast.The green 67 of JR Fulper,seems to be the silent surprise in many races as the Jim Fulper owned race car can be counted on for top 10 runs ,no matter the track size or number of race entries.
Staying within challenging status was Shannon Smith in the Hamlin Speedways 23,Simon Egan in the S&S Speedways 55,Michael Glass aboard the Nicholas Racing 3N and Matt Carman who garnered a ride in the Slinger Warehouse # 7.
The night of August 8th will be one remembered by the Rick Nicholas Racing Team as driver Michael Glass battled with Kyle Rohner and Matt Carman as the trio had a race for the ages as the Reading Nostalgia National wasn't decided until the final lap with Glass just edging Carman with Rohner in the Bill Weaver owned Slingshot getting 3rd.Bill Weaver completed the 40 lap main in 4th with 3 time winner Marc Daniels wheeling into a 5th in the S&S Speedways 5S.
The Kutztown Fair Speedway saw a dramatic increase in weekly competition and it produced some great weekly racing ,but the August 8th Dutch Classic would find over 30 teams hoping to be sitting in victory lane when the 30 lap main was completed.Taking the win was Gary Hieber in the Scrappy' Auto Service 56 as Brett Bieber tried every trick in the book to get by and actually had the lead ,but a yellow reversed the front runners and Hieber,who also claimed the Kutztown weekly point championship was not to be denied.Joining Hieber and Bieber on the top 3 podium was Matt Carman,who was now really in the point chase.
Caroga Creek held their Pit Stop Challenge on August 27th and with Hurricane Irene's aftermath wreaking havoc in the northeast,travel was held to a minimum as Cody Clark took the checker with Tyler Dippel 2nd and making the 5 hour haul for 3rd Matt Mertz.
The night of August 29th would see more than 40 Slingshots signed in for the prestigeous running of the West End Fair Super National and with Lindas Speedway announcer Mike Batz getting the crowd riled the racing on the speedway was one of the most spirited of the season as the yellow 55 of Simon Egan got the honors with Kyle Rohner and Kyle Hieber awaiting a mistake that would never happen,as these 3 would be the big 3 at race's end.Strong runs by Joe Bodenschatz and Matt Mertz were now letting some teams know the remaining season national events could have a few surprises.
Reed Miller and Al Wilcox's Penn Can Speedway welcomed the Slingshot teams with open arms and the Slingers did not disappoint,as all teams that entered would be feature competitors in the a race that saw 2008 National champion Ben Whitaker firmly plant himself into Elite 11 status with his continued battle with Simon Egan as the pair ran wheel to wheel in the late stages of the 25 lap main with Egan getting another victory to his credit,Whitaker 2nd and Shannon Smith slotting in for her best national finish of 2011 with a fast closing 3rd.Adding to the excitement of the Battle by the Border was two of the top 3 national contenders Brett Bieber and Matt Carman bringing home the Slinger Warehouse team cars 4th and 5th.The Penn Can event was labeled by many as the favorite race of 2011 with thanks and total respect to track management allowing all teams the chance to race all events.
The season closer at Hamlin would find another 30+ cars signed in for the Pit Stop Challenge and one of Hamlin's strongest teams of 2011 would find victory lane as Katonah,NY's Charlie Lawrence who made the switch from Oakland Valley to Hamlin payoff as his win would add his name to the impressive list of national event winners in the 2011 All Star Elite 11 National Tour.Giving chase to Lawrence was Kyle Rode who was a winner at Hamlin in 2011,with one of the youngest All Star drivers Danny Buccafusca getting 3rd in the David Buccafusca wrenched 43.The Hamlin race now would find Buccafusca firmly in the season long point battle.Simon Egan continued his run on picking up points to drop Bieber from the top spot with a 4th place finish and Robbie Hocker was also quietly moving into contention with a 5th place showing.
With the season winding down it was becoming most important to make every remaining race on the schedule with the Lebanon Valley 50 at Lindas Speedway the next challenge for the Slingshot teams.26 teams made the September 24th outing and in the end it was the S&S 55 of Simon Egan triumphant with a lot of credit going to his tire changer Ryan Smith who got the 9th place car to the checkpoint first and his run to the finish would not be challenged.Post race inspection found the 55 in violation of the rules and moved the 2nd place running Brett Bieber into the top spot.Gary Hieber was awarded 2nd and this moved Gary into the top 5 of the Elite 11 standings.Michael Glass' return to Lindas was a profitable one as he got 3rd place money.2009 National champion Cody Kline was 4th as Bill Weaver,who has a history of bad luck at Lindas getting 5th.
Geneva,NY's ,Paradise Speedway,for many ,the favorite stop on the tour did not let anyone down as the big smooth oval,saw some of the fastest racing of the season with laps turned in excess of 60 MPH.Wiring the field in the 71C was Caroga Creek regular Cody Clark,but a post race engine claim denial,caused a DQ of the finish and the win was given to Cody Kline with team mate and car owner Bill Weaver getting runnerup points.Ben Whitaker,who in his pick and choose Slingshot schedule,continued to impress as he logged the 25 laps in 3rd.Gary Hieber and Simon Egan were credited with 4th & 5th.
Borgers presentation of the Roy Smith Memorial attracted a record setting 32 cars in 2010,but when 40 cars were pitside for this year's running,the promotional team of Heckman / Raidline were very thankful for all teams in attendance and wanted nothing but the best of track surfaces and a solidly run racing program.They succeeded in all accounts and benefitting from this would be Flemington,NJ's Matt Carman who took the Slinger Warehouse # 7 under the checkers first,followed by Gary Hieber right behind him.The 3rd place run by Brett Bieber,would now make it virtually impossible to be passed for the 2011 crown but one final Pit Stop Challenge event at New Egypt Speedway would delay the crowning efforts of the Bieber # 32 Racing Team.Kurt Bettler had the Scott Miller 66 sailing and his 4th place showing would be his best of the season with Matt Mertz continuing to do what was needed of him to stay on as a contender.
The Fall Jamboree at New Egypt had many pre-race questions regarding speed,track size,abilty to pass and accident damage.Well after the show was completed the following became fact.Speeds were in excess of 80 MPH,Travis Bieber and Carl Labonte passed 9 cars during the course of the program,size of the speedway added to the excitement and there was not 1 single yellow flag thrown for any Slingshot qualifier or feature.The benefactor of the best pit stop of the day was Justin Thompson,who was 6th at the break,getting a quick legal tire change from his father Mike and was not to be denied his first national win.In what was one of the strongest drives of the season,it was Travis Bieber,putting the Buccafusca 43 into the runner-up spot,giving the 43 team the required points to make the Elite 11,due to NJ State minimum driver age laws.Kyle Hieber,who sat out much of the 2011 season finished 3rd in the Langhorne Motorsports 47 with Brett Bieber locking up the title in 4th and 2011 Hamlin Super Class champion Henry Anderson,Jr. wheeling and dealing his 99 for 5th
The 2011 All Star Elite 11 Championship run saw 156 teams take part in at least 1 event.The Regional tours,Speedweeks mini-series and the weekly point standings all figured in for the bonus points added to crown an overall National Champion,as Brett Bieber used his MA Silver bonus points for the title run.Brett will be getting the Red Carpet treatment at the 2011 Speedway Entertainment Awards Banquet on Saturday January 7th,2012 at the AACA Museum on Rt 39 in Hershey,PA.$1200 will await the Bieber Racing Team along with a new chassis and body.The total point fund has been upped $200 per spot for the All Stars with 11th getting $500.
Many of the younger racers in the Slingshot by Tobias,have the talent to become competitive as they move up the racing ladder.These drivers ranging in age from 8 to 14 have no trouble in giving the race fans the show they pay their hard earned money to see and the 2011 Great 8 Junior National Tour left nothing to be denied.After Tyler Dippel's 2010 championship run,it was decided to move Tyler to the All Stars and even into the more powerful sportmans modifieds.The playing field was wide open and the interest and intensity was there right from the 1st race on the tour schedule.
June 11th saw the Juniors head to Shellhammers ,but after dual heat qualifying and 1 lap completed in the A Main,Mother Nature took another one of her checkers this year and according to the Slingshot rules if a race is not official or cannot be made up,the dual heat lineup will be used for the finish and Jared Zionkowski was the benficiary of claiming the opening event of 2011.Taking 2nd was "the Midget" Chris Kurtz,with Tyler Johnston awarded 3rd.Rounding out the top 5 were Brandon McGill and Kyle Gruber.
Next stop was the June 25th Wyalusing Valley Motorsports Park 1/5 mile in Wysox.PA and in convincing fashion the blue 5 of Tyler Johsnton would start his quest for a title run.Keeping pace with Johnston was Jared Zionkowski who now had 2 top 2 runs,as Leo McGurrin went under the checker in 3rd.Dylan Martin,had the Mark Gray 33 in for 4th with a new young talent Abbey Price showing the world that the 9A would be a strong runner.
The All Star / Junior National combo show at Borgers Speedway on July 22nd,gave the Juniors a chance to showcase their machines in front of a good size crowd.It didn't take long for Dylan Martin to put his car out front and eventually into victory lane as Chris Kurtz tried every trick in his young career's playbook,but Martin did not waiver.These 2 best of friends rubbed some rails and had a few bumper taps,but they raced hard and clean and this was a real crowd pleaser.Kyle Gruber had a bird's eye view and if anything would've happened,he was there for the taking.Abbey Price claimed another top 5 run with a 4th and Tyler Johsnton would have the worst finish of the 2011 Junior National season with a stout running 5th.
Reading's Junior Nostalgia National again produced one that had the fans buzzing for days.Tyler Johnston,Jared Zionkowski and Chris Kurtz were racing under a blanket,respect for equipment was shown and a great race resulted as Johsnton would share the winner's photos with his 2 challengers.Kyle Gruber again with another top 5 was 4th and new fan favorite Abbey Price grabbed 5th.After this race it was wide open for the title chase,but Jared Zionkowski who was 3rd in points at the time sat out the remaining Junior Nationals and the Great 8 was anyone's after Reading.
A previously rained out Junior National at Kutztown saw the rescheduled date as part of Fair Week and with a full grandstand,these drivers saw time trials used for their starting spots.The best field of drivers from Accord,Hamlin,Oakland Valley,Wyalusing Valley and Shellhammers all converged on the PA Dutch college town for the 5th race on the tour.2 familiar names were going to surface again at the head of the pack as Tyler Johnston took win # 3 in the 5 races run and Chris Kurtz got his 3rd runner-up finish.These young racers ran 16 straight green flag laps and were awrded with a standing ovation by some of the Kutztown faithful and the track officials.Chasing the "Dynamic Duo" was Abbey Price who got a fast closing 3rd with
Dylan Martin and 2011 WVMP champion Alex Shaffer rounding out the top 5.
Hamlin Speedway's September 17th affair can only be described as "all out".This was a no-holds barred event right from the start as 20110 Hamlin Junior champion Dylan Martin had something to prove on his territory,but it was Jacob Dunn,who makes the 3 hour haul from Mohnton,PA,putting his 74 into the Speedway Entertainment and Hamlin record books as the winner of the final race of the 2011 Hamlin season.Tyler Johnston chased him to the finish with Martin joining the top 2 on the podium.Chris Kurtz continued a stellar season earning 4th place points and the Kevin Gruber maintained Universal Repair 76 with Kyle Gruber at the wheel 5th.
Rain which was not a favorite word in racing this year struck the Accord Junior National not once,not twice,but 3 times and with the Juniors on the schedule as part of the King of the Catskills weekend,the fan base at Accord would have a chance to witness these younger drivers in action.19 teams took to the big 1/4 mile and for a few this would be the biggest track in many of their young careers.Michelle Cmapbell brought the field to the green,but Chris Kurtz would headed to the front in the early going.The X5 was on a mission to possibly take the Junior National Great 8 championship at the last race.Kurtz took the win with Tyler Johnston having enough luck to just finish 2nd as the chain would break 20 feet past the checkered.Dylan Martin would be the 3rd place recipient as Brandon McGill and Cole Hentschel would get their best runs of the season with a 4th and 5th.
34 Juniors participated in the tour this season,up from 26 last year.For his winning efforts the 2011 Junior National Champion Tyler Johnston,who hails from Napanoch,NY will receive $400 and a new 2011 Slingshot body.Rich Tobias is adding the new body to the top 3 in the Junior Nationals with Chris Kurtz and Dylan Martin added to the list.
2011 All Star Elite 11 National Points
1.721 Brett Bieber Oley,PA
2.678 Simon Egan Kunkletown,PA
3.670 Matt Carman Flemington,NJ
4.669 Gary Hieber Langhorne,PA
5.648 Cody Kline Bangor,PA
6.620 Shannon Smith Kunkletown,PA
7.599 Michael Glass Myerstown,PA
8.597 Bill Weaver Bangor,PA
9.586 Matt Mertz Slatington,PA
10.530 JR Fulper Milford,NJ
11.529 Danny Buccafusca Montague,NJ
2011 Great 8 Junior National Points
1.892 Tyler Johnston Napanoch,NY
2.865 Chris Kurtz Saylorsburg,PA
3.785 Dylan Martin Stroudsburg,PA
4.745 Kyle Gruber Jonestown,PA
5.637 Alex Shaffer Wyalusing,PA
6.633 Kevin Predmore,Jr. Middletown,NY
7.626 Brandon McGill Plattekill,NY
8.618 Abbey Price Phillipsburg,NJ
The Speedway Entertainment Point Fund for the Slingshots rivals many big track and big car payouts,continuing to make the Slingshots,one of the most affordable and profitable forms of motorsports today.
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