What a busy race weekend we had these past few days. Sharon Speedway was the only local track not to have any action, as they are closed under orders of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. The track will reopen for the rest of their season, when allowed.
Before I start my column, I would like to send out my condolences to the family of Brandon Hawkins, 305 Sprint driver that lost his life on Monday (July 20) in a work accident. The weekend prior to his accident, he won the feature at Bedford Speedway, finished fifth at Mercer Raceway Park and celebrated his 26th birthday on Sunday. Unfortunately Monday was not a good day as he had the accident at work and later in the evening passed away from his injuries. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his girlfriend and his son.
On Friday night the BRP Modified Tour visited Thunder Mountain Speedway in Brookville and had 27 cars on hand for the feature. Garrett Krummert, winner of the first event of the series for the BRP Modified Tour started on the pole position alongside Rick Regalski. Regalski led the first lap, but Krummert motored by on lap two. He held the lead through twenty-one laps before the rear suspension gave up on him and he left the speedway unable to return.
Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, N.Y. won the last three BRP Modified Tour events at Lernerville, Tyler County and Sharon Speedways, inherited the lead from Krummert and went on to pick up win number four with the Tour. Finishing second was twelfth place starter, Rex King, Jr. followed by Brian Swartzlander, Jim Rasey and Chad Brachmann. Local driver, Brad Rapp broke a rearend in his car ending his night on the hook. JR McGinley finished eighth in the feature.
Also on Friday night at Lernerville Speedway it was the RUSH Racing Summer Showcase with all the RUSH series cars on hand. The fans in the stands collected $4,200 for the Brandon Hawkins family by taking a collection in the stands. Racing people are the best and I'm sure this will help the family out a great bit.
The RUSH Wingless Sprint Cars Brian Woodhall paced the field for the better part of the feature, but lapped traffic played a big part in the outcome of the track as Jeremy Weaver took advantage of Woodhall being trapped in lapped traffic to pick up the feature win on the last lap. Woodhall held on for second with Kevin Ruhlmam third, Alan Dellinger fourth and Carl Bowser fifth.
Noah Brunell looked to have the Pro Stock feature in the bag, but with three laps to go, his car came to a halt. This gave the lead over to Tyler Dietz who went on to pick up the win over Mike Miller, Corey McPherson, Joey Zambotti and Joe Kelley.
John Mollick and Kyle Lukon had the fans on their feet during the RUSH Late Model feature as the two dueled side by side almost the entire event. In the end, Lukon was able to make the pass for the lead and went on to get the win. Mollick finished second ahead of Joe Martin, Logan Zarin and Josh Ferry.
Chas Wolbert had the best car and driver during the RUSH Sportsman Modified feature and cruised to victory ahead of Tony Tatgenhorst, Rob Kristyak, Kyle Martell and Jordan Ehrenberg.
Coming up Friday, July 31st will be Nostalgia Night featuring cars and drivers from the past along with the 410 Sprints, Big Block Modifieds, Late Models and Pro Stocks. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m.
Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, N.Y. spent the entire weekend in Western Pa. and visited Michaels Mercer Raceway Park on Saturday night. Keeping his winning streak alive, Rudolph cruised to his first ever Michaels Mercer Raceway Big Block Modified win. Dave Murdick finished second with Phil Vigneri, III third, Eric Gabany fourth and Dave Reges fifth.
An emotional night for the 305 Sprint Car drivers saw Jacob Gomola hold off Logan McCandless to win the feature and honor friend and fellow driver, Brandon Hawkins. The drivers went through the stands with their helmets at Mercer and collected $2,000 for the Hawkins family. Chase Metheney finished second followed by Jim Morris, Randy Sterling and Timmy Jasen.
Chris McGuire captured the feature win for the Homak Penn Ohio Pro Stock series over Andrew Gordon. Third went to Paul Davis with Chris Wither and Jackson Humanic rounding out the top five.
In Mini Stock action Mike Porterfield held on to win over Andy Thompson. Third went to Ron Haley with Pete Blaczak fourth and Tyler Beeler fifth.
Eric Gabany pulled double duties competing in the Big Block Modified feature for car owner Bob Ryder and also in the FASTRAK Modified division driving for Jerry Schaffer. Gabany captured the checkers in the FASTRAK feature over Jordan Ehrenberg, Brandon Ritchey, Jim Bryce and Gage Priester.
Nathaniel Bale pulled the upset of the night in the Mod Lite feature by defeating Shane Webb, Alan Atkins, Jason Gracey and Tyler Barr.
Coming up Saturday, August 1st will be a 410 FAST Sprint feature with $2,000 to win along with the Big Block Modifieds, Racesaver 305 Sprints, Mod Lites and Mini Stocks.
Also on Saturday night, Hummingbird Speedway had a lot of special events taking place along with their races. First of all, owner Louie Caltagarone was honored as he celebrated his 92nd Birthday. It was also Fan Appreciation night with 94 door prizes and nearly 400 treat bags being given away to the fans in attendance. Also, Jake Valasek who was born with cerebral palsy made his first racing attempt with in a pure stock that was built with a special hand throttle and brakes. His smile can still be seen hovering over the speedway. At the time of this writing, I have not received the results from the racing action, but it was the first time that the Econo Mods have run at Hummingbird Speedway ever.
Tri City Raceway Park was able to complete its program on Sunday night. AJ Flick who has been having fuel issues with his 410 Sprint car finally was able to get the problem fixed and after starting in the seventh position, picked up his first win of the season. Sye Lynch finished second behind Flick with Carl Bowser third. Fourth went to Gary Kreiss with Brandon Spithaler rounding out the top five.
Erick Rudolph continued his winning ways, bringing out his 358 Modified for the running of the first 358 Modified Tour event at Tri City. Rudolph won his heat race and started eighth in the feature, but was unstoppable to pick up his third win in three days in Western Pa. Having his best run of the season, finishing second was Kevin Hoffman with Jeremiah Shingledecker third. Fourth went to Kyle Fink and rounding out the top five was Lonnie Riggs. Emlenton's Sidney Unverzagt made his first appearance at a track in the last year and a half, but had problems and was unable to start the feature.
The Pro Stocks were on hand Sunday night and Curtis J. Bish found victory lane. Finishing second was Jackson Humanic followed by Curt Bish, Rod Laskey and Blaze Myers.
Mark Lawrence captured the checkers in the Mini Stock feature for the first time this season. Finishing second was Chad Greeley followed by Dalton Speer, James Buchanan and Dillon Speer.
Coming up this Sunday at Tri City Raceway Park will be the 410 Sprints, 358 Modifieds, Mini Stocks and the Mod Lites. Racing starts at 6 p.m.
Enjoy your week, stay well and visit a local speedway.