|Ohio's Fun Place to Race!!|
2018 Race Season
|April 15, 2017|
|The 64th opening night at "Thunder In The Valley" is in the books. The racing, the crowd and atmosphere was just as good as the weather. The second and third generation drivers were the headline of the night, although a pair of seasoned veterans found some magic as well. Fifty four cars and trucks took to the 3/10 mile oval under sunny skies and 78 degrees.|
The first feature to take to the track was the 15 lap Canton Auto Salvage Compact's with the #7 of Travis Riddle and the #20 of Larry Ennis Jr on the front row. As the green flag dropped over the field, Dan Buckey in the #69 shot into the race lead from the 3rd starting position with Ennis Jr right behind. The first caution waved after the completion of the opening circuit because of debris in turn one. After the restart, Buckey continued to lead as Zack Cogar in the #58 battled with Ennis Jr for 2nd. The machine on the move was the #21 of Gage Jaberg, who's Late Model isn't quite done, so he brought his Compact out of the corner of the garage to play on opening night. That would prove to be a wise decision, as he was finally able to wrestle the lead away from Buckey and take over the top spot on lap 12 after a good dual that lasted several laps. Brandon France in the #38 was in the mix in the 3rd spot as fastest qualifier Kyle Rector in the #22 and defending points champion Britt Vanmeter in the #27 were trying to make their way up from deep in the field. The second and final caution flew on lap 12 as the #18 of Tim Frederick slowed due to a flat tire. Under the caution, Clayton Oliver in the #19 was forced pit side with a flat of his own while running 5th. On the restart, Rector was able to get around Buckey and started applying pressure to Jaberg for the lead. As the final couple laps wound down, Jaberg was able to hang on and take the checkered flag. Rounding out the top 5 behind the New Philadelphia OH driver in the Michael Taylor Allstate Insurance, Rt. 39 Auto Salvage, Naak Tuning, Fox Auto Salvage and Parts, Keith's Cars and WFO Vinyl's sponsored #21 was Rector, Buckey, Vanmeter and France.
The 30 lap McIntosh Oil Company Late Model feature had Dave Martin in the #3 and Alex Rosenberry in the #2 leading the field to Chief Starter Terry Colletti's green flag. Rosenberry shot out to the lead from the outside lane. Ryan Tedesco in the #701 used the same lane to dispose of Martin to put himself right behind Rosenberry. At the end of last season, the roles were reversed with Tedesco being able to hold off the #2 and Rosenberry was looking for redemption. As the early laps flew by, Rosenberry's machine looked to be handling much better than it had all day. The problem with that was, it was too good. The caution flew on lap #7 as Rosenberry ran two laps under his qualifying time, sending him to the tail. That put fastest qualifier Tom Stankiewicz along side for the restart. After a two lap battle, Tedesco prevailed in the bottom lane, but Stankiewicz was all over the rear deck lid of the #701. Those two would slowly draw away from the brothers Smith who battled for 3rd and 4th. Bob Schneider Jr in his new #17 would close up to make it a three way battle for the 3rd position. Stankiewicz continued to hound Tedesco as the laps clicked away. The second and final caution flew on lap 28 as Stankiewicz spun in turn one after developing an overheating issue. That set up a green - white - checkered finish between Tedesco and Bryant Smith. Bryant tried to hang on to Tedesco in the outside lane and win on opening night for his mom, but Tedesco was just too strong. Tedesco who sports a 34% win percentage over the last ten or so seasons, added to that stat with another feature victory in an incredible career at Midvale. Following the New Philadelphia OH driver in the Sugar Valley Meats, Walnut Creek Glass, Van Meter's Auto, Lee's Famous Recipe and Tedesco Racing Graphics sponsored #701 was Bryant, last seasons point champion Bubba, Rosenberry and Schneider Jr.
Next up was the 20 lap JD Byrider Street Stock feature with the #75 of Bob Passwaters Sr and the #77 of Josh Moss bringing the field to the line. Moss was able to prevail through turns three and four via the top side and Larry Smith in the #44 was able to move to second. On lap 2, Smith got in deep into turn three and made slight contact with Moss, sending him around to bring out the races first caution. That put Passwaters Sr on the outside and after a lap and a half battle, Moss was able to take control of the top spot once again. The #31 of veteran Tom Earley was able to take over the second spot on lap 4, placing him in the tire tracks of Moss. The #11 of Mike Martin and the #7 of last seasons point champion and fastest qualifier Gabe Pringle were on the march behind the leading trio. They were both able to get around Passwaters and then Pringle was able to complete the pass of Martin on lap 9. After getting around Martin, Pringle did a crossover move on Earley, putting himself right behind Moss. Pringle almost had Earley cleared a couple of times but Earley had the #7 boxed in behind Moss. Earley vaulted his way past Pringle and Moss to the top spot on lap 12 by getting deep into turns one and three. Pringle would get by Moss on the outside and started to work on the #31. Pringle had a couple runs off the corner and appeared to have the stronger car, but Tom closed the door early before they got to the next corner. As Pringle continued to try to find a way around the leader, Passwaters would spin in turn three coming to the white flag, setting up another green - white - checkered finish. As the front two came through turn three coming to the restart, Earley and Pringle made some contact, but both cars maintained control and came off turn four side by side. Earley kept the Pringle machine stuck way up the race track, stalling his momentum. That would allow the long time veteran to pick up his first feature win in almost 33 years!!! Following the Canton OH driver in the Earley Racing #31 was Pringle, Martin, Smith and Gary Hoopingarner.
The 25 lap Summit Racing Economy Modified feature was up next and the #99 of Jason Grewell and the #10 of Shawn Kaufman started on the front row. Grewell would clear Kaufman into turn three and take over the race lead on the opening circuit. Kaufman would not go quietly, as he battled back to the outside. That opened up the bottom for the #0 of Lucas Ripley. Ripley, who already has a couple races under his belt this season, disposed of Kaufman and started looking to the outside of Grewell. The first caution flew moments later as Lee McCreery in the #2 got sideways in turn one. Ripley would shoot to the lead on the restart but McCreery spun for a second time in turn three, slowing the field once again. Ripley was able to get to the point, but it wasn't nearly as easy as the first time. "The Rooster" Brandon Bailey in the #55, who was the top qualifier, was able to get around Grewell a few laps later, bringing Kevin McClintock in the #38 with him. The final caution flew on lap 16 for Bill Shimko in the #13, who spun off turn four. That gave Rooster an oppertunity to pick up his first career feature win, but Ripley had other ideas. Ripley nailed the final restart and brought McClintock and his throwback Bill Bitticker paint scheme with him. As the final laps wound down, Ripley inched away to pick up the victory. Following the Uhrichsville OH driver in the LTR Industries, Brindley Trucking, Ridgco Pallet, D&B Machine and TVU Graphics sponsored #0 was McClintock, Bailey, Kaufman and Shawn Marder.
The 15 lap Finish Line Motor's Mini Truck feature was next to hit the Speedway with #14 of Chad Smith and the #87 of Andrew Fishburn bringing the field down for the start. Fishburn would jump out to the lead with the #4 of Tim Scott close behind. Scott would look to the outside and in the process, stalled the momentum of the #118 of last seasons point champion Colt Locker. That allowed the bottom to open up for top qualifier Rich Schweitzer in the #84. "Mr. Smooth" would weave and dart his way through the the crowd to take over the lead on lap 3. Locker was able to get around Scott and Fishburn as the front two would set sail. On lap 9, Fishburn grenaded a motor on the front straightaway and Smith spun in the aftermath, halting the action for a lengthy cleanup. On the restart, Locker got loose in the oil dry, which allowed Schweitzer to put some distance on the field. Locker closed back in and knew his only shot was to put the #84 in the high lane. Coming off turn four on lap 12, Locker tried to get to the inside but misjudged it by a little bit, spinning Schweitzer and bringing out the yellow. On the restart, Scott got in the speedy dry and looped it, bringing out the final caution. The #95 of Michael Varnes had his opportunity at Schweitzer but the #84 lived up to his nickname and went on to pick up the win. Completing the top five behind the New Philadelphia OH driver in the Van Meter's Auto, Allen's Muffler, Federated Auto Parts and Alicia Manly MD sponsored #84 was Locker, Varnes, Scott and Smith.
The final race of the evening was the second 15 lapper for the Canton Auto Salvage Compact's. Scott Espenchied in the #41 and Derek Johns in the #181 led the field to green. The pack immediately went three and four wide in turns one and two, with Tyler Nign in the #55, who is trying his hand at asphalt racing and Korey Herron in the #30 coming out in front. Josh Beall in the #86 was running 3rd until he experienced mechanical issues and had to pull to the infield. Herron was able to make the pass for the lead on lap 3 and it appeared that he would cruise to victory. But Allen Clark in the #0 was on the charge. Clark got to second on lap 8 and brought the #64 of Trevor Kohl with him. Those two began to run down Herron. All three drivers were looking for their first career feature victories. Clark caught Herron with 3 laps to go. He would try the high side and few times, but the outside lane just wasn't there after the blown engine in the Mini Truck feature the race before. That would allow the youngster who is newly married with a little one on the way, to pick up his first career win. Rounding out the top 5 behind the New Philadelphia OH driver in the Pensos Pizza of Strasburg, Bylers Dutch Cupboard Marathon, Wallicks Scrap Metal, Skyline Mobile Homes and Budweiser sponsored #30 was Clark, Kohl, Nign and Ryan Shreffler.
Thank you to EVERYONE for making opening night another huge success. Thank you to American Racer for donating a FREE tire to the winner of the top 4 Divisions in honor of Sue Smith. We also want to thank everyone that donated to one of our tow truck driver's Walt Howe, who lost his daughter last week.
Coming up this Saturday night April 22 is Pepsi / American Racer and Autism Awareness Night, everyone is encouraged to wear BLUE in support of Autism Awareness!!
McIntosh Oil Company Late Model's
Fast Time: Tom Stankiewicz 13.849
Heat: Alex Rosenberry, Ryan Tedesco, Tom Stankiewicz, Bryant Smith, Bubba Smith, Bob Schneider Jr, Dave Martin
Feature: Tedesco, Bryant, Bubba, Rosenberry, Schneider Jr, Martin, Stankiewicz
Summit Racing Economy Modified's
Fast Time: Brandon Bailey 14.678
Heat 1: Shawn Kaufman, Jason Grewell, Mark Willison Jr, Lucas Ripley, Kevin McClintock, Bill Shimko, Brandon Bailey
Heat 2: Shawn Marder, Lee McCreery, Jimmy McCune, Mike Bowers, Cristian Bailey, Laney Striejewske, Dan Harding
Feature: Ripley, McClintock, B. Bailey, Kaufman, Marder, Grewell, Bowers, McCune, McCreery, Shimko, C. Bailey, Striejewske, Harding, Willison Jr
JD Byrider Street Stock's
Fast Time: Gabe Pringle 15.973
Heat 1: Josh Moss, Larry Smith, Tom Earley, Gabe Pringle, Mike Martin, Bob Passwaters Jr, Bob Passwaters Sr, Gary Hoopingarner
Feature: Earley, Pringle, Martin, Smith, Hoopingarner, Ritchey, Moss, Passwaters Sr, Passwaters Jr, Jimmy Orr
Finish Line Motor's Mini Truck's
Fast Time: Rich Schweitzer 16.473
Heat: Rich Schweitzer, Colt Locker, Tim Scott, Andrew Fishburn, Chad Smith, Michael Varnes, Tim Frederick
Feature: Schweitzer, Locker, Varnes, Scott, Smith, Fishburn, Frederick
Canton Auto Salvage Compact's
Fast Time: Kyle Rector 17.480
Heat 1: Kyle Rector, Clayton Oliver, Gage Jaberg, Kyle Finlayson, Zack Cogar, Brent Shreffler, Britt Vanmeter
Heat 2: Dan Buckey, Brandon France, Jeremy Ross, Larry Ennis Jr, Tim Frederick, Ryan Shreffler
Heat 3: Allen Clark, Korey Herron, Tyler Nign, Trevor Kohl, Josh Beall, Noah Patterson
Heat 4: Derek Johns, Scott Espenchied, Eric Brokaw, Alex Striejewske
Fast Feature: Jaberg, Rector, Buckey, Vanmeter, France, Finlayson, B. Shreffler, Ennis Jr, Ross, Oliver, Cogar, Frederick
2nd Feature: Herron, Clark, Kohl, Nign, R. Shreffler, Johns, Tyler Eichel, Striejewske, Brokaw, Espenchied, Beall
Written by: Chris Kail
Late Models Listings
|5.||Schneider Jr, Bob|
Economy Modifieds Listings
Street Stocks Listings
|8.||Passwater Sr, Bob|
|9.||Passwater Jr, Bob|
Mini Truck Listings
|8.||Ennis Jr, Larry|