Eckert, Mahaney, Hartman, Kunsman, & Miller Win at Action Track USA on May 29Action Track USA
Kutztown, PA – A World of Outlaws Late Model veteran and a burgeoning DIRTCAR Modified star led the parade of feature winners on Wednesday evening at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA in Kutztown, Pa.
Rick Eckert, the York, Pa. wheel-twister and former WoO Late Model champ, notched the victory in the postponed main event for the Sunoco USAC Championship SpeedSTR’s, taking the checkered over Billy Pauch Jr. in the Goldie Meitzler Memorial that was rained out on May 22nd.
In the regularly scheduled 30-lapper for the SpeedSTR’s, Mike Mahaney took advantage of a spin by Eckert -who was leading at the time – to score the victory. The blooming dirt Modified superstar from King Ferry, NY, stormed to the win with Pauch Jr. – subbing for his dad in the second race – once again recording a runner-up effort.
Flagtown, NJ resident Jay Hartman won the Pioneer Pole Buildings Wingless 600cc Micro-Sprint main event, while “the Thriller” Matt Miller, from Blandon, Pa., won the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshot headliner. The Slingers were taking part in a Mid-Atlantic Silver Regional Tour event on Wednesday.
Young charger Tommy Kunsman Jr., the Bethlehem, Pa. driver, was victorious in the 20-lap feature race for winged 270cc Micro-Sprints.
The Action Track USA will not race on Wednesday, June 5th…instead, next week’s event will be held on Tuesday, June 4th (see details under Action Track Sidebites below).
On Wednesday, the first race of the night was the postponed feature for the Sunoco USAC Championship SpeedSTR’s.
John Kovatch paced the early laps, while Rick Eckert slipped past Wayne Weaver for second and Mike Mahaney dropped Weaver to fourth, one lap later.
Eckert muscled to the inside of Kovatch on lap nine, taking the lead and opening the door for Mahaney to follow him past the No. 46 of Kovatch.
While Eckert waltzed away from the field, an entertaining three-car tussle developed for the runner-up position between Mahaney, Pauch Jr., and 13th starter Chuck Schutz. Right behind that trio, a pair of Modified legends were wrestling for fifth as Kenny Brightbill and Billy Pauch Sr. ran side by side.
At the finish, it was Eckert over Pauch Jr. by more than three-quarters of a second, with Mahaney and Schutz on the heels of the younger Pauch as they crossed the stripe. Brightbill outdueled Pauch Sr. for fifth.
By virtue of turning the fastest lap in the Timed Dashes qualifying format, Eckert lined up on the inside of row one for the second (regularly scheduled) 30-lap feature for the SpeedSTR’s. Mahaney was right beside him on the front row after he turned the second quickest lap, less than half-a-second slower than Eckert in the Timed Dashes.
It appeared that Eckert was going to sweep the SpeedSTR mains, as he pulled away from Mahaney on the start and cruised out front for the initial seven trips around the progressively banked quarter-mile oval. Then disaster struck the driver of the No. 24…
Eckert caught one of the large tires that mark the infield boundary in turns three and four, causing him to spin. Mahaney inherited the lead at that point, and he blasted to the triumph, crossing the line by more than one second over Pauch Jr.
Pauch Jr. was filling in for his dad in the Sunoco No. 9 SpeedSTR in the second race, and he survived a wheel-banging battle with Brightbill to register his second runner-up finish of the night.
Brightbill, Brandon Rahmer, and Brittany Wixon completed the top five.
Jay Hartman may have been the polesitter and led every lap of the Pioneer Pole Buildings Wingless 600cc Micro-Sprint feature, but several of the division’s best made things quite interesting during the second half of the 20-lapper.
A terrific, four-car battle royale ensued behind Hartman as sixth-starting Brett Schoenly, James Morris, Timmy Buckwalter, and 20th-starter Brian Carber waged a fiercely competitive, nip-and-tuck battle for second.
One final caution period with four to go tightened things up even more, and on the restart, Jay Hartman could not get away from the group behind him. Shoenly looked high and low, seeking an opening that would allow him to draw even with the leader. Buckwalter was planted in the outside lane, attempting to power around the two cars in front of him. Carber and J. Morris were right behind the lead threesome, waging their own fight for the fourth position.
Jay Hartman, steering Rusty Myers’ Pete’s CARSTAR No. 24, held on to record the triumph, beating Schoenly to the stripe by 0.136-seconds. Buckwalter was a close third, with opening night victor Carber finishing fourth and James Morris cashing in for fifth-place money.
Blandon, Pa. driver Matt Miller has been competing in the All Star Slingshot class at Kutztown for the past five years. And last Wednesday, May 29, will be a date that sticks in his mind forever, as Miller finally broke through and won his first main event at the Fairgrounds.
He won a big race, too, as the best of the best in the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshot division invaded the Action Track for the Mid-Atlantic Silver Tour event.
Miller is now a fan of the Timed Dashes to determine the qualifiers and starting lineup for the feature race, as he set quick time over the field of 35 Slingers, earning the right to start on the pole of the 20-lap main.
Miller led all the way, fending off some mid-race challenges from Travis Bieber, then motoring away to notch the popular triumph. As the laps wound down, Bieber had his hands full trying to hang on to second, as 16th-starter Joe Bodenschatz weaved his way into third and challenged for the runner-up spot.
Miller led them all to the checkered, with Travis Bieber settling for second and Bodenschatz satisfied with his run to third. Donny Hockman ended up fourth, with 19th starter Kurt Bettler bringing the Miller No. 66 home in fifth. Chris Kurtz took the initial green in 21st and finished sixth, while 14th starting Larry Raifsnider – the winner on opening night – crossing the line in seventh.
Tommy Kunsman Jr. set quick time for the winged 270cc Micro-Sprints, putting his Kunsman Paving No. 21k on the pole for the 20-lap feature race.
Kunsman romped to victory in the main event, racing away from defending 270cc track champion Jarid Kunkle to score his third victory in the last eleven days. He’s won two in a row at Hamlin Speedway, his Saturday night home, and added the Action Track USA triumph on Wednesday.
With only two yellows slowing the pace of the feature, Kunsman wrapped up his win in 8 minutes, 41 seconds. Kunkle chased him to the checkered, with former track champion Ross Perchak finishing third. Josh Stoyer and Pete Skias placed their Viper Chassis in fourth and fifth when the race ended.
Action Track Sidebites…
Once more, impressive car counts combined with another terrific crowd to produce a successful second night of racing at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA.
There were 39 of the wingless 600cc and 24 of the winged 270cc Micro-Sprints on hand, joining the 35 All Star Slingshots and 23 SpeedSTR’s for a grand total of 121 racecars that took part in Wednesday’s program.
The wingless 600’s competed in qualifying heats; they were the only division to do so on Wednesday. Heat winners included Brett Schoenly, Tim Buckwalter, and Rick Perone. A pair of last chance qualifiers, the B-Mains, went to Billy Ney and Brian Carber.
With 23 SpeedSTR’s on hand, the Fast Five in the Timed Dashes were Eckert, Mahaney, Paul Lotier Jr., Matt Janisch, and K. Brightbill. Planck won the B-Main.
The All Star Slingshot Fast Five included Matt Miller, Kyle Gruber, Travis Bieber, Matt Massone and Dylan Hoch. Kurt Bettler won the B-Main.
Kunsman led the way in the Timed Dashes for the 270cc Micros. Joining him in the Fast Five were Jarid Kunkle, Josh Stoyer, Ross Perchak, and Harlee Schaffer.
Jeff Strunk, already nursing a neck injury after a bizarre accident inside his trailer at Grandview a few weeks ago, went for a wicked ride on the opening lap of the regularly scheduled SpeedSTR feature.
Strunk was in the middle of a gaggle of cars as the yellow appeared for a spinning Dale Planck. As the cars began to slow, Strunk was launched over the left-rear wheel of one of the cars in front of him, flipping wildly on the homestretch, just past the flagstand.
The Pottstown throttle-jockey was able to climb from the car on his own, but had trouble turning his head from side to side as he walked to the infield. He was checked by the EMT’s at the track, then transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.
NOTE: on Thursday, the day after the event, Strunk was reported to be okay and able to turn his head normally. The flip aggravated the injury that occurred in his trailer at Grandview, but did not cause further damage.
The JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA will race on Tuesday, June 4 – not on Wednesday the 5th. It’ll be USAC Night at the speedway, and the Sunoco USAC Championship SpeedSTR’s will compete in the Flyin’ Farmer 40, paying $3,000 to the winner, as the late, great Tommy Hinnershitz is honored.
Hinnershitz, a resident of Oley when he traveled the country racing his Sprint Car in the ’50’s, was known as “the Flyin’ Farmer” and his Miracle Power Offy was one of the widely respected and recognized racecars of that era.
Joining the SpeedSTR’s on June 4 will be the Pioneer Pole Building Wingless 600’s, the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots, and the Junior Slingshots. The winged 270cc Micros will have the night off on Tuesday.
With the Eastern Storm Tour for the USAC National Non-Wing Sprint Cars set to kick off at Grandview on Wednesday, June 5, it is expected that a few of the USAC “Thunder and Lightning” stars will make an appearance at Action Track USA on Tuesday.
Pit gates open at 4 p.m. and grandstand gates at 5:00. Warm-ups get underway at 6:00, and the first race of the evening goes green at 6:20.
Sunoco/ USAC Championship SpeedSTR’s, Feature #1 (30 laps): 1.Rick Eckert, 2.Billy Pauch Jr., 3.Mike Mahaney, 4.Chuck Schutz, 5.Kenny Brightbill, 6.Billy Pauch Sr., 7.Jeff Strunk, 8.Craig VonDohren, 9.Matt Janisch, 10.Brandon Rahmer, 11.Paul Lotier Jr., 12.Brittany Wixon, 13.Dale Planck, 14.Al Arrisher, 15.Craig Rochelle, 16.John Kovatch, 17.Chad Layton, 18.Gary Huber, 19.Wayne Weaver, 20.Freddie Rahmer Jr.
Sunoco/ USAC Championship SpeedSTR’s, Feature #2 (30 laps): 1.Mike Mahaney, 2.Billy Pauch Jr., 3.Kenny Brightbill, 4.Brandon Rahmer, 5.Brittany Wixon, 6.Wayne Weaver, 7.Paul Lotier Jr., 8.Brad Brightbill, 9.Brian Montieth, 10.Gary Huber, 11.Rick Eckert, 12.Chad Layton, 13.Mike Bednar, 14.Dale Planck, 15.Freddie Rahmer Jr., 16.Matt Janisch, 17.Chuck Schutz, 18.Jeff Strunk. DNS: Richard Janney, Al Arrisher.
Pioneer Pole Buildings Wingless 600cc Micro-Sprints, 20 laps: 1.Jay Hartman, 2.Brett Schoenly, 3.Tim Buckwalter, 4.Brian Carber, 5.James Morris, 6.Simon Egan, 7.Rick Perone, 8.Shane Lewis, 9.Brandon Azzalina, 10.Jeff Hartman, 11.Taylor Troxel, 12.Greg Stevens, 13.Tom Schearer, 14.Ryan Morris, 15.Billy Ney, 16.Joe Kay, 17.Blaine Emery, 18.Jacob Severn, 19.Kyle Lick, 20.Rhett Long, 21.Kayla Stoltzfus, 22.Ryan Neil, 23.Brett Peters, 24.Tony DiMattia.
NAPA All Star Slingshots: Mid-Atlantic Silver Regional Tour Race, 20 laps: 1.Matt Miller, 2.Travis Bieber, 3.Joe Bodenschatz, 4.Donny Hockman, 5.Kurt Bettler, 6.Chris Kurtz, 7.Larry Raifsnider, 8.Joe Howey, 9.Joe Nemeth, 10.Danny Buccafusca, 11.Brett Bieber, 12.Tayllor Schoenly, 13.Cody Kline, 14.Dylan Hoch, 15.Tyler Ulrich, 16.Erik Jones, 17.Mark Sensenig, 18.Louden Reimert, 19.Mike Homeijer, 20.Matt Massone, 21.Kyle Gruber, 22.Alex Schoffstall, 23.Ed Shaub, 24.Jeff Kemp, 25.B.J. Antonio.
Winged 270cc Micro-Sprints, 20 laps: 1.Tommy Kunsman Jr., 2.Jarid Kunkle, 3.Ross Perchak, 4.Josh Stoyer, 5.Pete Skias, 6.Harlee Schaffer, 7.Cheyanne Schaffer, 8.Jessica Miller, 9.Bobby Butler, 10.Michael, Weinert, 11.Steve Walters, 12.Mark Ewer, 13.Derek Miller, 14.Brandon Heist, 15.Luke Fogg, 16.Andrew Dietrich, 17.Randy Fogg, 18.Ronald Helmick, 19.Rich Nagy, 20.Kim Glass, 21.Marty Gorr, 22.Alex Reinsmith, 23.Jeff Carman, 24.Hayden Miller.
NOTE: after the 270cc Micro-Sprint feature was completed and the drivers had been paid, a review of the lap charts was done and officials realized that Cheyanne Schaffer’s scoring transponder stopped working around the seventh lap; therefore the scoring computer did not list her on the lead lap after lap 8, but officials and drivers confirmed that she finished 7th and was on the lead lap at the end of the race. The payout stands, but Cheyanne Schaffer will receive the points awarded to the 7th place finisher.