HAMMETT, Pa. - The 2013 racing season finally arrived at Eriez Speedway on Sunday, but the results looked like a continuation of 2012 with three of the six reigning champions getting wins to start the year.
Jay's Auto Wrecking defending champion Mike Knight led every lap en route to the win, the 16th Eriez triumph of his career.
Billy Henry picked up his second career Eriez Speedway Bonnell Collision FASTRAK Late Model feature while Steve Dixon got his first-ever Plyler Overhead Door E-Mod feature win.
Defending champion Steve Kania started the defense of his Conway & O'Malley Limited Late Model with a win; John Phelps drove into the Winner's Circle after a wild Eric Walters Tree and Stump Removal Street Stock feature, the second of his career; and Kasey Hammond waited until the last lap, but started her Kandy's Gentlemen's Club Challenger championship defense with a notch in the win column.
The first feature race was for the Street Stocks with Jimmy Kennerknecht and former track champion Greg Fenno sharing the front row. Fenno took off to the immediate lead. After two cautions in the first two laps, Ron Johnson began challenging for the lead at lap four and was showing as the leader at lap five when caution again flew for Jimmy Kennerknecht and Pat McGuire who had spun in turn four. Randy Wyant was sent to the pits for rough driving on his part in the incident.
After another yellow flag, Fenno regained the lead from Johnson, who was being challenged by Mark Thompson in his pristine 1957 Chevy. At lap nine, the runner-up position was in Thompson's control and a lap later Shawn Fawcett took over third. Fenno, spun out after a restart, collecting the cars of Shawn Fawcett, Johnson, and Ken Lamp.
For the restart at lap 10, the running order was John Phelps in the lead with Eric Ester, Andy Faulhaber, and Ron Boardman following. The run to the checkers was all Phelps for his second Eriez win over Shawn Fawcett, Greg Fenno, Ron Boardman, and Elaine Best,
The E-Mods were not able to get through the first two turns before a caution period was needed as Steve Rex spun at the exit of turn two. Then on the second try, Chad Carlson spun coming out of turn two. The third try succeeded in getting one lap into the book, but only one. Steve Dixon was the immediate leader with Ron Davies and Shane Crotty battling for second.
By five laps in, Davies had the spot with Rich Michael Jr. getting by Crotty a lap later. At the halfway point, Michael, who had been using the high line, spun in turn two. With five to go, Dixon had a good-sized lead over Davies, but saw it evaporate when Brian Fardink spun in turn three.
Dixon drove on to his first E-Mod win at Eriez with Davies second, Michael third, John Boardman fourth and Chad Carlson fifth.
Chris McGuire and Steve Kania, two second-generation drivers, brought the Conway & O'Malley Limited Late Model field to the green flag. At the end on one green-flag lap, Kania, the reigning champion, had a substantial lead over second-running Mike Lozowski. Lozowski spun in turn four at the end of lap three. For the restart it was Kania leading Chris Ottaway and Dustin Eckman to the green.
Eckman grabbed second at the restart, but Ottaway stayed right with him until Ryan Scott came by at lap 11. Coming to the stripe at lap 13, Kania suddenly lost power and headed to the infield, turning the lead over to Eckman. One lap later Scott was showing the way.
Scott went on to the win over Eckman, Ottaway, Dan Maxim, and Chris McGuire.
Billy Henry led from the start of Late Models, but Rob Bates spun in turn four to halt the event after one lap. After yellow had been shown, the cars of Max Blair, Adam Sixt, and Jamie Brown tangled in turn one. They were restored to their running order due to the caution already being out and Sixt had enough damage that he went out of the event. The race ran green until the halfway point with Henry leading Scott Gurdak and Matt Latta with Max Blair fourth.
At the halfway point, Khole Wanzer spun in turn four right in front of the leader, but they managed to avoid contact. At lap 13 Kyle Zimmerman's engine exploded coming down the front straight. Zimmerman spun in the oil and wound up in the infield, clipping Jamie Brown on the way. After green, Matt Latta appropriated second from Gurdak. With two to go Blair was alongside Gurdak.
Henry went on to the win with Latta second, Gurdak holding on for third, Blair fourth and Jamie Brown fifth.
Mike Knight, the defending champion, wasted no time getting to the lead in the Super Late Model feature with Ron Davies second and pole-sitter Chris Hackett third. The front three remained the same through to the finish in the all-green 25-lap event.
Following the top three were Dave Hess Jr. and Rich Gardner, who completed the pass at the checkers.
The Challengers had Jason Brightman leading the early stages with Tim Fisher and Kasey Hammond challenging every lap. Hammond came to second at lap nine and took over at the front on the backstretch of the final lap. Brightman wound up second with Fisher settling for third.
Super Late Models
Heat 1: Ron Davies, Mike Knight, Chris Hackett, Dave Hess, Rich Gardner, Andy Boozel
Heat 2: Rob Blair, Darrell Bossard, Scott Gurdak, Greg Oakes, Chub Frank
Feature: Mike Knight, Ron Davies, Chris Hackett, Dave Hess Jr, Rich Gardner, Darrell Bossard, Rob Blair, Scott Gurdak, Greg Oakes, Chub Frank, Andy Boozel
FASTRAK Crate Late Models
Heat 1: Billy Henry, Scott Gurdak, Adam Sixt, Kyle Zimmerman, Jamie Brown, Ryan Scott, Colton Flinner, Bruce Hordusky,
Heat 2: Max Blair, Matt Latta, Dennis Lunger, Bobby Rohrer, Chad Wright, Joe Buccola, Al Brewer, Rob Bates, Khole Wanzer
Feature: Billy Henry, Matt Latta, Scott Gurdak, Max Blair, Jamie Brown, Chad Wright, Dustin Eckman, Colton Flinner, Bobby Rohrer, Joe Buccola, Ryan Scott, Khole Wanzer, Al Brewer, Kyle Zimmerman, Rob Bates, Adam Sixt
Heat 1: Shane Crotty, Steve Dixon, Joel Watson, John Boardman, Steve Sornbger, Steve Simon, John Schenker, Jake Eller
Heat 2: Ron Davies, Rich Michael, Gary Eicher, John Boyd, Brian Fardink, Steve Rex, Steve Rex, Chad Carlson, Kevin Peru
Feature: Steve Dixon, Ron Davies, Rich Michael Jr, John Boardman, Chad Carlson, Steve Simon, Brian Fardink, John Boardman, Kevin Peru, Joel Watson, Shane Crotty, Gary Eicher, Steve Sornberger, Steve Rex, Jake Eller, John Boyd
Limited Late Models
Heat 1: Tyler Green, Chris McGuire, Mike Lozowski, John Cline, Stan Davis
Heat 2: Steve Kania, Dan Maxim, Ryan Scott, Chris Ottaway, Jake Finnerty
Feature: Ryan Scott, Dustin Eckman, Chria Ottaway, Dan Maxim, Chris McGuire, John Cline, Stan Davis, Mike Lozowski, Steve Kania, Jake Finnerty, Tyler Green
Heat 1: Ron Johnson, Greg Fenno, Andy Faulhaber, Ken Lamp Jr, Mark Thompson, Mark Frontera, Eric Ester
Heat 2: Ron Boardman, Shawn Fawcett, Eric Reinwald, Pat McGuire, Joe Rohrer, Ron Boardman, Pail Schreckengost
Heat 3: Chris Withers, Randy Wyant, Jimmy Kennerknecht, Elaine Best, Chris Withers, Don McGuire, Matt Tuzynski
Feature: John Phelps Jr, Shawn Fawcett, Greg Fenno, Ron Boardman, Elaine Best, Eric Ester, Andy Faulhaber, Ken Lamp Jr, Mark Thompson, Ron Johnson, Gary Fisher, Matt Tuzynski, Eric Reinwald, Chris Withers, Don McGuire, Randy Wyant, Pat McGuire, Jimmy Kennerknecht, Joe Rohrer, Paul Schreckengost, Mark Frontera
Heat 1: 18 Geoff Maloney, 16 Jason Brightman, 99 Eddie Orton, 11 Kasey Hammond, 10 Jeff Nunemaker, 64 Tim Fisher, 98 Tom Cupp, 5 Ryan White, 23 Gary Olsen, 88 Matt Wolf, 84 Drew Panko, 25 Mike Pohl
Heat 2: 55 Casey Burch, 48 Zach Downes, 1 Matt Marcy, 7 Todd Hanlon, 63 Wesley Stull, 72 Preston Matve, 5 Leo Hanlon, 04 Kelsey Parker, 61 Keith Hall, 31 Stephen Enlow, 27 Chad Fletcher, 14 Justin Boardman (DNS)
Feature: Kasey Hammond, Jason Brightman, Tim Fisher, Wesley Stull, Casey Burch, Jeff Nunemaker, Eddie Orton, Matt Marcy, Stephen Enlow, Tom Cupp, Gary Olsen, Kelsey Parker, Leo Hanlon, Mike Pohl, Preston Matve, Matt Tuzynski, Drew Panko, Geoff Maloney, Chad Fletcher, Todd Hanlon, Zach Downes (DNS), Matt Wolf (DNS), Justin Boardman (DNS)