Buckwalter Wins at Starrcade

Starrcade 2016 started off with a bang. Tim Buckwalter made a big mid-race restart move to go around Billy Pauch on his way to his second Linda’s Speedway Speedstr win. Pauch showed the way early with defending national champion Mike Bednar in second. Bednar challenged before Pauch pulled away to a comfortable lead. A lap 11 caution flag would change everything and give him Buckwalter the opportunity to start on the front row with Pauch. Buckwalter stayed behind Pauch the whole time under the yellow flag and when the green was thrown Buckwalter took advantage of his outside starting spot to power into the race lead. Once out front Buckwalter had to make some big moves in lap traffic but held on for the win. Pauch came home second followed by an impressive run by Jeff Hartman. Hartman is a former 600 Micro Sprint Speedweek champion and this was his first run in the family owned 026 Speedstr. Phil Meisner ran strong inside the top five for the whole 30 lap event while Doug Manmiller came from his 19th starting position to finish inside the top five. Steven Nederostek was sixth followed by Matt Janisch, James Morris, Frank Yankowski, and Jason Miller. Heat races for the Speedstrs were won by Steve Drevicki, James Morris, and Billy Pauch Sr. with CJ Faison winning the B-Main. This was the first event for the Speedstrs in the 2016 racing season.

In a wingless 600 Micro Sprint feature race that took just under six minutes and went from green to checkered, Jason Swavely ended Tommy Kunsman’s winning streak to claim his first victory of 2016. Tim Buckwalter jumped out to the early race lead while Kunsman and Swavely battled for the runner up spot. Swavely secured spot two on lap six before beginning his charge to Buckwalter rear bumper. Buckwalter got in lap traffic and Swavely saw his opportunity. Although Swavely ran the inside line for much of the race his winning pass came on the outside line of the speedway as he crossed Buckwalter over for the top spot. Swavely cut through traffic on his way to the win over Buckwalter, Kunsman, Steve Whary, and Kyle Lick. Jay Hartman started 13th and drove to finish sixth. Robbie Hocker, James Morris, Jesse Maurer, and Jack Conover rounded out the top ten. Heat races for the Wingless 600 Micro Sprints were won by Jason Swavely, Tim Buckwalter, and Tommy Kunsman.

The start of the Charger feature on Thursday night left the track open for Eric Hollenbach to jump into the front when the green flag was thrown. Chris Cunnane and Brian Derr started on the front row but a green flag incidents moved Troy Hostetter to the pole and Eric Hollenbach to second. “I watched Billy Pauch earlier tonight and he got stuck on the bottom on that one restart and it cost him the race. So my eyes lite up when I got the outside for the start,” said Hollenbach in victory lane after the race. Once Hollenbach got to the top spot he cruised away for the win. Hostetter chased him the whole time but settled for second. Josh Michael made a triumphant return from a heat race fire just to start the event. He then came from his 15th starting spot to finish in third. Chris Smith and Chuckie Kimmel rounded out the top five. Shjon Dove, Paul Lambert, Jeff Albert, Josh Demmy, and John Barcynski rounded out the top ten finishers. Chris Cunnane and Brian Derr were heat race winners for the Chargers.

There were three different leaders in the Slingshots main event during Starrcade but none were more determined than Sam Scicchitano. Dylan Hoch was the early race leader as he and Travis Bieber mixed it up for the top spot. Bieber actually wrestled the race lead away from Hoch on a restart. Hoch then took it back while Scicchitano worked his way to the front battle. Scicchitano had a few chances to try to make the pass for the lead but bought his time until lap nine when he bolted by Hoch and took spot number one. Scicchitano showed the rest of the way over Hoch, “We were going to win this thing one way or another,” said Scicchitano in victory lane. He broke a race ago and didn’t get to compete in the feature. Dawson Landis came from eighth to finish third with Bieber and Mike Glass rounding out the top five. Alex Yankowski was sixth followed by Brett Bieber, Anthony Raisner, Chuck Whary, and Scott Gray. Heat race wins went to Dylan Hoch, Travis Bieber, and Alex Schmidel.

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