Eight Feature Races, Eight Different Winners in Action Track USA’s Ronnie Tobias Memorial on 6/12Action Track USA
Kutztown, PA – What better way to honor the memory of the late Ronnie Tobias than by designating his family’s famous car number, 17, as the race distance for each main event run on Wednesday night at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA at the Kutztown Fairgrounds.
The Ronnie Tobias Memorial was highlighted by Twin 17 lap features for all four divisions, and the wheel-to-wheel competition was non-stop from start to finish. The eight main events produced eight different winners and some incredibly close finishes as a total of 113 race teams took part in the night’s festivities.
Winning the two mains for the Sunoco USAC Championship SpeedSTR’s were Rick Eckert, York Pa., and Frenchtown, NJ’s Billy Pauch Jr.
Kyle Lick, Catasauqua, captured the first feature for the Pioneer Pole Building Wingless 600cc Micro-Sprints, while the second went to Pipersville resident Brian Carber in an amazingly close finish with Jay Hartman.
The pair of winged 270cc Micro-Sprint mains were won by Ross Perchak, Hazelton, and Tommy Kunsman Jr. from Bethlehem, Pa.
Twin 17’s for the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots fell to Matt Massone from Kunkletown, and Leesport’s Mark Sensenig.
The speedway swings back into action on Wednesday, June 19, when the same four divisions are joined by the Junior Slingshots. The All Star Slingers will compete in the “Slingshot Open”, while the SpeedSTR’s, Wingless 600cc and winged 270cc Micro-Sprints compete in qualifying action and feature races. In addition, there will be a Hot Rod Car Show behind the main grandstand during the June 19 program. The entire event begins at 6 p.m.
With three restored Modifieds driven by the late Ronnie Tobias on display, last Wednesday’s Memorial Races got underway with Timed Dashes and B-Mains for all four divisions. After several of Tobias’ former crew members and his widow, Dianne, were introduced and had photos taken with the restored racecars, it was time for the 17-lap A-Mains.
The first feature for the Sunoco USAC Championship SpeedSTR’s saw Rick Eckert jump from his pole starting position to the lead – a lead that he would not relinquish enroute to his second victory of the season at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA.
Freddie Rahmer Jr., Billy Pauch Jr., and Kenny Brightbill diced for the runner-up spot, with Brightbill, using his customary high line, eventually storming from fourth to second. Eckert, who had been running the bottom, apparently got some signals from his crew at that point because he immediately moved up the race track to take Brightbill’s line away and force the Shillington veteran to try the low groove.
Eckert, the World of Outlaws Late Model star, stayed out front and won by a half-second over Brightbill, with Pauch Jr. and Rahmer Jr. finishing third and fourth. Craig Von Dohren survived a three-car battle with Glenn Strunk and Paul Lotier Jr. to finish fifth.
In the second feature race for the SpeedSTR’s, Von Dohren and Strunk, who was subbing for his brother Jeff on Wednesday, waged a fierce side-by-side duel for the top spot over the first seven circuits. A caution flag slowed the pace with seven complete, and Von Dohren – as the race leader – chose the outside lane for the double-file restart. Pauch Jr. was now the runner-up, and he beat Von Dohren to turn one to grab the lead.
Eckert, who started sixth, methodically picked his way to the front of the pack moved into second as the 17-lapper entered its final laps. He challenged Pauch Jr. for the number one position as Pauch ran a higher line through the corners and Eckert hugged the bottom. A yellow with two to go gave Eckert one last shot at the leader, but Pauch Jr. held on to beat the York, Pa. wheel-twister to the stripe by 0.413-seconds.
Rahmer Jr. recorded his second top-five of the night with a third place effort, followed by Brightbill and Von Dohren.
The first feature for the Pioneer Pole Building Wingless 600cc Micro-Sprints had Kyle Lick charge into the lead at the drop of the green from his outside, front row starting spot.
Lick set the pace as the Hartman brothers, Jay and Jeff, battled for second while Simon Egan and Brian Carber traded slide jobs behind them. Just prior to the halfway point, Jeff Hartman secured the runner-up position and Carber flew into third.
Now it was Carber’s turn to pull the slide jobs on Jeff Hartman, with Jeff counteracting each move by crossing over and zipping back in front of Carber on the inside.
Their battle for second helped Lick to maintain command. Even a few late caution periods did not deter Lick from his date with victory lane.
The first five to cross the finish line were Lick, Jeff Hartman, Carber, Jay Hartman, and Egan.
Carber and Jay Hartman actually saved their best performance for the second main event of the night for the Wingless 600’s.
Jay Hartman passed polesitter Brett Schoenly to snatch the lead on lap two. Hartman built a sizeable advantage over Carber, who moved into second during the first half of the event. Carber managed to run down the leader as Jay Hartman caught the back of the field and struggled to put those cars one lap down.
The final frantic laps saw Jay Hartman stick to the low groove and Carber blast around the top. The pair raced side-by-side in and around heavy lapped traffic, with neither giving an inch to the other and they never made contact (with one another or with the lapped cars).
On the last trip around the progressively banked oval, Carber got a run off the high side of turn four but Jay Hartman produced an equally good launch off the bottom. They drag raced down the front chute, with Carber forcing the nose of his No. 71 to the line just a tick in front of Hartman’s No. 24. The margin of victory for Carber was 0.030-seconds over Hartman.
Lick ran third in the second feature, while Jeff Hartman and James Morris completed the top five.
Former 270cc Micro-Sprint track champion Ross Perchak won his first feature on the reconfigured oval, starting on the pole and romping to victory in the opening 17-lap main for the winged 270’s.
Bobby Butler dueled with Jarid Kunkle, last year’s 270cc point king at Kutztown, for the runner-up slot as Perchak cruised out front. Butler emerged from the battle with Kunkle to finish second. Kunkle had to settle for third, with Marty Gorr and Pete Skias rounding out the first five.
Tommy Kunsman Jr. raced to his second triumph of the season in feature No. 2 for the 270cc Micros. It wasn’t an easy victory, however, even though Kunsman took the initial green from the inside of row one.
The first 12 tours went clean and green, meaning Kunsman was dealing with lapped traffic early in the event. The backmarkers slowed his pace enough to permit Kunkle to close in and wait for his opportunity to pounce. The first caution period, with 12 complete, was actually a break for Kunsman, as it cleared the track in front of him.
Wild racing on a couple of ensuing restarts allowed Kunsman to pull away, as his competitors went four-wide at times as they attempted to wrestle second place away from one another.
At the finish, Kunsman flashed across the line safely in front of Butler, who cashed in for another runner-up payday. Perchak fought his way to third, and Austin Bishop finished fourth ahead of Kunkle.
Matt Massone has been plenty frustrated at times this year; he’s seemingly had the car to beat, only to fall victim to mechanical issues or crashes that were no fault of his own.
Massone ended his frustration by winning the first feature for the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots on Wednesday. He fended off some early assaults from Chris Kurtz before dashing away to a comfortable lead. That lead did not last until the finish, however, as Kurtz reeled him back in and mounted another attack just before the yellow waved with three laps remaining.
Massone kept his composure and planted his No. 15M in the low lane at both ends of the race track, holding on to defeat Kurtz by about half-a-second.
Travis Bieber chased them to the stripe for a third place finish, while Dylan Hoch and Danny Buccafusca took the checkered in fourth and fifth, respectively.
The final race of the night was the second main for the All Star Slingshots, and it was a real barn-burner.
Mark Sensenig, Buccafusca, and Hoch ran close for much of the 17-lap affair in a three-car tussle for the top spot.
Sensenig stayed low so Buccafusca went to the top, while Hoch followed in the leader’s tire tracks down on the bottom. Lap after lap, Buccafusca would get a run off turn four and nearly draw even with Sensenig as they floored their mounts down the homestretch. Entering turn one, Sensening would pull ahead once more, and Hoch repeatedly shoved the nose of his No. 35 under Buccafusca, only to have the No. 55 move back in front of him as they accelerated onto the backstretch.
Headed for the checkered, Buccafusca pushed his right foot to the floor one more time, losing out to Sensenig’s Slinger Warehouse No. 7 by one-tenth of a second as they crossed the finish line, with Hoch just three-tenths behind them in third. Travis Bieber notched another top five run with his fourth-place effort, and Kurtz registered a fifth-place finish in the nightcap.
Action Track Sidebites…
The fourth event of the season brought another large gathering of fans and race teams, as the near-capacity crowd witnessed terrific racing by 24 SpeedSTR’s, 35 of the Wingless 600’s, 20 of the 270cc Micro-Sprints, and 34 All Star Slingshots.
The Timed Dashes, B-Mains, and eight feature races were completed at 10:18 p.m.
Some of the Action Track’s SpeedSTR regulars had other committments on Wednesday. Jeff Strunk, Dale Planck, Mike Mahaney, and Chad Layton could not participate, and Frank Cozze, who was supposed to drive Layton’s car, had to postpone his plans to be in Kutztown as well.
Glenn Strunk took over for his brother Jeff in the BPG No. 88g SpeedSTR, while New York Modified hotshoe “Lightnin'” Larry Wight filled in for Planck.
Mahaney’s dad, Jim, hopped into the No. 33 as a sub for his son, and Pauch Jr. took the seat in the No. 4 that is usually campaigned by Layton.
Ironically, Billy Pauch Jr. now has one victory and is second in points, just 30 behind Kenny Brightbill…and he doesn’t have a steady ride! The younger Pauch has picked up relief rides in the Premier Racing No. 21, his dad’s Sunoco No. 9, and Layton’s K&N Filters No. 4. And he’s had strong runs in all of those cars.
Billy also drove Dave Bodine’s Wingless 600 on Wednesday, a last-minute deal put together when Cozze, who was scheduled to compete in the SpeedSTR’s and Wingless 600’s, had to alter his plans. Pauch Jr. said he had a blast running the powerful, wingless Micros and was impressed by the level of competition in that class and the way the track seems to suit those cars.
The Fast Five in the Timed Dashes included…
SpeedSTR’s: Eckert (12.168 seconds), Freddie Rahmer Jr., Larry Wight, Brian Montieth, and Pauch Jr.
Wingless 600cc Micro-Sprints: Jay Hartman (11.488 seconds), Kyle Lick, Dave Graziano, Simon Egan, and Brian Carber.
Winged 270cc Micro-Sprints: Ross Perchak (11.207 seconds), Jarid Kunkle, Bobby Butler, Jacob Hendershot, and Jessica Miller.
All Star Slingshots: Matt Massone (13.356 seconds), Chris Kurtz, Travis Bieber, Dylan Hoch, and Ray Nemeth.
The race on June 19 will be the last event at the Action Track USA until Wednesday, July 10. The track will take its customary mid-summer break while the Kutztown Fairgrounds hosts the annual Pennsylvania Heritage Festival during the weeks surrounding Independence Day. For that reason, there will be No Racing at the Action Track on June 26 and July 3.
Ronnie Tobias Memorial Race Results:
Sunoco USAC Championship SpeedSTR’s, Feature #1: 1.Rick Eckert, 2.Kenny Brightbill, 3.Billy Pauch Jr., 4.Freddie Rahmer Jr., 5.Craig Von Dohren, 6.Glenn Strunk, 7.Paul Lotier Jr., 8.Matt Janisch, 9.Chuck Schutz, 10.Mike Bednar, 11.Brandon Rahmer, 12.Richard Janney, 13.Gary Huber, 14.Brittany Wixon, 15.Brian Montieth, 16.Wayne Weaver, 17.Larry Wight, 18.Brad Brightbill, 19.Mike Vermuelen. DNS: Billy Pauch, Sr.
Sunoco USAC Championship SpeedSTR’s, Feature #2: 1.Billy Pauch Jr., 2.Rick Eckert, 3.Freddie Rahmer Jr., 4.Kenny Brightbill, 5.Craig Von Dohren, 6.Billy Pauch Sr., 7.Brandon Rahmer, 8.Matt Janisch, 9.Chuck Schutz, 10.Jim Mahaney, 11.Brittany Wixon, 12.Gary Huber, 13.Wayne Weaver, 14.Brian Montieth, 15.Paul Lotier Jr., 16.Mike Bednar, 17.Richard Janney, 18.Glenn Strunk, 19.Larry Wight. DNS: Mike Vermuelen; Brad Brightbill.
Pioneer Pole Buildings Wingless 600cc Micro-Sprint Feature #1: 1.Kyle Lick, 2.Jeff Hartman, 3.Brian Carber, 4.Jay Hartman, 5. Simon Egan, 6.Brett Schoenly, 7.Billy Pauch Jr., 8.James Morris, 9.Tony DiMattia, 10.Dave Graziano, 11.Rick Perone, 12.Blaine Emery, 13.Billy Ney, 14.Molly Chambers, 15.Tom Schearer, 16.Greg Stevens, 17.Rhett Long, 18.Joe Kay, 19.Rob Adams, 20.T.J. Lilly, 21.Brett Peters, 22.Ryan Morris, 23.Brandon Azzalina, 24.Jason VanDoren.
Pioneer Pole Buildings Wingless 600cc Micro-Sprint Feature #2: 1.Brian Carber, 2.Jay Hartman, 3.Kyle Lick, 4.Jeff Hartman, 5.James Morris, 6.Brett Schoenly, 7.Billy Pauch Jr., 8.Blaine Emery, 9.Billy Ney, 10.Brett Peters, 11.Dave Graziano, 12.Joe Kay, 13.Ryan Morris, 14.Tony DiMattia, 15.Rick Perone, 16.Molly Chambers, 17.Taylor Troxel, 18.Greg Stevens, 19.Tom Schearer, 20.Zack Fisher, 21.Rob Adams, 22.Billy Murphy, 23.Rhett Long, 24.Simon Egan.
Winged 270cc Micro-Sprint Feature #1: 1.Ross Perchak, 2.Bobby Butler, 3.Jarid Kunkle, 4.Marty Gorr, 5.Pete Skias, 6.Tommy Kunsman Jr., 7.Austin Bishop, 8.Jessica Miller, 9.Michael Weinert, 10.Harlee Schaffer, 11.Hayden Miller, 12.Steve Walters, 13.Dane Tobias, 14.Jeff Carman, 15.Ronald Helmick, 16.Cheyanne Schaffer, 17.Jacob Hendershot, 18.Andrew Dietrich, 19.Alex Reinsmith, 20.Jason Swavely.
Winged 270cc Micro-Sprint Feature #2: 1.Tommy Kunsman Jr., 2.Bobby Butler, 3.Ross Perchak, 4.Austin Bishop, 5.Jarid Kunkle, 6.Pete Skias, 7.Jacob Hendershot, 8.Steve Walters, 9.Michael Weinert, 10.Hayden Miller, 11.Jessica Miller, 12.Marty Gorr, 13.Jason Swavely, 14.Alex Reinsmith, 15.Ronald Helmick, 16.Dane Tobias, 17.Jeff Carman, 18.Cheyanne Schaffer, 19.Harlee Schaffer, 20.Andrew Dietrich.
NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots, Feature #1: 1.Matt Massone, 2.Chris Kurtz, 3.Travis Bieber, 4.Dylan Hoch, 5.Danny Buccafusca, 6.Mark Sensenig, 7.Brett Bieber, 8.Donny Hockman, 9.Larry Raifsnider, 10.Cody Kline 11.Kyle Gruber, 12.William Mohring, 13.Ray Nemeth, 14.Kalli Hartman, 15.Tayllor Schoenly, 16.Erik Jones, 17.Ed Shaub, 18.Dave McCullough, 19.Jim Laubach, 20.Matt Miller, 21.Joe Nemeth, 22.Mike Homeijer, 23.Travis Gruber, 24.David Kreis.
NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots, Feature #2: 1.Mark Sensenig, 2.Danny Buccafusca, 3.Dylan Hoch, 4.Travis Bieber, 5.Chris Kurtz, 6.Brett Bieber, 7.Cody Kline, 8.Ed Shaub, 9.William Mohring, 10.Donny Hockman, 11.David Kreis, 12.Kalli Hartman, 13.Jim Laubach, 14.Matt Stangle, 15.Dave McCullough, 16.Sterling Hamm, 17.Erik Jones, 18.Kyle Gruber, 19.Ray Nemeth, 20.Tayllor Schoenly, 21.Joe Nemeth, 22.Matt Massone, 23.Larry Raifsnider, 24.Travis Gruber.
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