Buckwalter Wins SpeedSTR & 600 Sprint Mains; Ken Miller Is 270cc Winner; Hoch Nips Bieber In Slingshots
Jonestown, PA - Why win just one feature per night when you can double your pleasure and go home with a pair of first-place pay envelopes?
That seems to be Tim Buckwalter's philosophy, as the Pottstown, Pa. wheel-twister cranked out two wins (again) in the final Action Track USA Takeover Night at Linda's Speedway on Friday, September 23rd.
Buckwalter drove to the USAC All Pro SpeedSTR victory in the 30-lap Lebanon Valley Classic, then came right back to score his second triumph of the evening in the 25-lap Wingless 600 Sprint main. It was the second time this year that Buckwalter "did the double" at Linda's in those two divisions. He also captured the SpeedSTR and Wingless 600 Sprint victories on opening night at Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds.
Ken Miller prevailed in an exciting 270cc Micro-Sprint feature, holding off the persistent challenges of 2016 Linda's Speedway point champ Devin Harron to score the win.
Dylan Hoch's magical season continued as the Mertztown, Pa. throttle-jockey passed Brett Bieber on the white flag lap to win the 20-lap main event for the All Star Slingshots. The win was extra special for Hoch because it happened on his mom's birthday.
The Lebanon Valley Classic for the USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs was highlighted by great racing and red flags, as four cars overturned in separate incidents during the 30-lap event. The worst flip, a vicious series of snap-rolls in mid-air followed by a hard landing in turn two, was taken by Delaware racer CJ Faison. Faison, while alert and communicating with the safety crew, was carefully removed from his battered racecar and transported to Penn State Hershey Medical Center for further evaluation. Kenny Brightbill, Steven Nederostek, and Frank Yankowski also flipped during the race.
Earl Paules set the pace on the first two trips around the quarter-mile before he got completely sideways in turns three and four. Paules gathered his mount and continued, but not before he fell back to sixth and Jay Hartman scooted into the lead with Tim Buckwalter following into the runner-up spot. Faison's mishap occurred with three circuits complete and Hartman held serve on the restart, pulling away from Buckwalter by a few car lengths.
Brightbill's flip was part of a nine-car melee in turn three with five laps in the books. While the dirt Modified legend was unhurt, his No. 19 was done for the night.
Jay Hartman maintained the lead on the ensuing restart, just as he did for several additional restarts but, as the race went on, Buckwalter was able to stay right on the leader's rear bumper. Matt Janisch and 14-year-old Briggs Danner swapped the third position a few times before Janisch claimed it for good, and the fifth-place duel was a dandy between Tim Iulg and Paules, with Steve Drevicki and Louden Reimert in the mix as well.
As the race neared its conclusion, Buckwalter began to nip at the leader's heels, diving under Jay Hartman as they charged off turn four and again as the duo navigated the first corner. On the final tour, Buckwalter ran deep into turn one then slid up in front of Hartman, who couldn't find the room or bite to cross over and get back under Buckwalter. With Hartman's car sputtering a bit on the backstretch and again off turn four, Buckwalter pulled ahead, crossing the stripe with a margin of 1.170-seconds over Hartman. Janisch wound up third with Danner an impressive fourth and Iulg edging Paules for fifth.
With 29 SpeedSTRs in attendance, Buckwalter and Jay Hartman were quickest in the Timed Dashes. Heat race victories went to Matt Janisch, Earl Paules, and Steve Drevicki. CJ Faison won the B-Main.
Just two caution periods slowed the Wingless 600cc Sprint feature, as Brandon Heist grabbed the top spot on the second revolution and appeared to have the car to beat for much of the 25-lapper.
Tim Buckwalter and Tommy Kunsman, both previous winners on Action Track Takeover Nights at Linda's Speedway, fought for the runner-up position with Buckwalter securing the spot on lap ten. Buckwalter, in Barry and Cheryl Greth's Hyper No. 71, stalked Heist for the next four circuits before making his move. He slipped past Heist in one and two on the 14th trip around the oval, taking a lead that he would not relinquish.
Kunsman faded to fourth in the mid-stages of the race before rebounding and climbing to the runner-up position with four laps remaining. The second and final caution period occurred just after Kunsman was scored as the runner-up, giving him a shot to unseat Buckwalter from the top spot. While he hung with the leader over the final tours, Kunsman had to settle for second place pay as Buckwalter visited victory lane once more.
Tyler Brehm gave Steve Reccione's No. 21R a good ride, finishing third, with Sam Kravitsky and Kenny Harris III completing the top five.
A very nice field of 30 signed in for Wingless 600 Sprint competition on Friday. Heat wins went to Colin White, Harris, and Steve Whary. Robbie Hocker won the B-Main.
In a non-stop, green to checkered 270cc Micro-Sprint feature, Ken Miller wrestled the lead from pole-sitter Devin Harron on the first trip around the clay. Miller motored away and opened a big lead while Harron, Tommy Kunsman, and Josh Stoyer battled for second. Harron's car got better as the laps clicked off and he reclaimed the runner-up position, then tracked down the leader. Miller got hung up behind a pack of cars he was trying to put one lap down and Harron pulled right up to his tail tank. Harron repeatedly ducked under Miller's No. 74f but the Birdsboro driver repelled each challenge. Harron actually shoved the nose of his No. 9D out front on a couple occasions, but Miller gassed his mount back in front time and time again. On the final revolution, Miller dived under a slower car in three and four to take away the only chance Harron had to get under him, and that proved to be the winning move as Miller crossed the stripe by three-tenths of a second over Harron, Kunsman, Stoyer, and Collin Ginther. The time of the race was 5:35.409.
Harron and Miller won heat races for the 16-car field of 270cc Micros.
The 20-lap main for the All Star Slingshots quickly evolved into a battle between two of the marquee names in this division. Brett Bieber, the four-time and defending National Slingshot Champion, out-gunned Lindsey Garl to snatch the lead as the green flag waved to begin the event. It wasn't long before 2014 National Champ Dylan Hoch, who is carving out a sensational season for his Coldwell Bankers/ Werts Beverage team, moved into second and began his pursuit of Bieber.
Hoch rode in Bieber's tire tracks for 16 circuits, occasionally peeking to the inside and taking stabs at the leader, but without success. As they headed for the white flag, Hoch mashed the throttle and pulled alongside Bieber on the homestretch. He squeezed up in front of the No. 32 in turn one and Bieber was unable to muster an attack of his own. Hoch flew to the checkered flag in 5:09.428, beating Bieber to the line by a few car lengths and presenting his mom, Michele, with a nice win on her birthday.
Linda's newly crowned Slingshot point champion Sam Scicchitano was third with Garl a strong running fourth and Alex Schmiedel ending up fifth.
With 24 Slingshots in the pit area, the three heat winners included Bieber, Mike Glass, and Dave McCullough.