2009-05-21 / Entertainment

Justin Rasp Wins At Path Valley

By Rob Keller

Justin Rasp, 4-Cylinder Thunder Car winner Justin Rasp, 4-Cylinder Thunder Car winner Path Valley Speedway raced four divisions of sprint cars and two divisions of stock cars on Friday night. All six feature events had their own share of dramatic twists and turns, providing the fans with a full load of entertainment.

The first half of the 270cc Micro Sprint feature was a two car duel between front row starters Brian Marriott and Tom Shearer. They had already begun to lap slower cars when Marriott went high and Shearer went low entering turn three. Both drivers went for the same part of the track and when the two cars collided they became hooked together sideto side, and they came to a stop, sending both of them to the tail of the field. This put Sean McAndrew in first and Jason Houtz in second. McAndrew slowly pulled away from Houtz over the remaining laps to capture his second feature this year. Houtz held off a latecharging Steve Whary for second, while Ryan McAndrew maneuvered through the field from starting 15th to finish fourth. Marriott passed Tim Mertz with one lap to go to finish fifth. Shearer and Marriott won the heat races.

Jesse Fitz won his first feature this year in the 600cc Micro Sprints. Fitz started on the pole but lost the lead at the start to Rodney Glass. Fitz then slipped around Glass on a lap-six restart to take the lead. Tim Barrick started eighth and moved into second just before halfway. Tyler Walton started 12th and followed Barrick to the front, taking third on lap nine. But even with a late restart with four laps to go, neither could move any higher. Tim Mertz finished fourth, and Kevin Steele won a spirited battle with Eddie Rice to finish fifth. Barrick and Brad Cox claimed heat wins.

Mark Watkins continues to be one of the fastest drivers in the PASS 305 Sprint Cars at Path Valley in 2009. He also seems to be the driver with the worst luck. Watkins started third, but he was leading before lap one was complete. He continued to lead by as much as a straightaway, until lap 12. Rookie Steve Whary had the misfortune of having his bottom radiator come loose, dumping water all over the track surface entering turn one. Whary spun in his own fluid, coming to a stop near the outside guardrail. Unfortunately, Watkins also hit the fluid and did a complete spin before lightly tapping Whary in the rear bumper. This put Watkins to the rear of the field for the restart. Todd Spangler had started eighth and had made his way to second on lap eight. With Watkins at the rear of the field, Spangler easily out-distanced everyone else to win his first feature this year. Jeff Sell and Ryan Lynn raced each other hard for almost the entire 20 laps, with Sell finishing second and Lynn in third. Tyler Bear came from starting 12th to finish fourth, and Matt Mountz held off Watkins for fifth. Ben Naugle and Bear won their heat races.

In the Sidewinder main event, Tim Mertz and Chad Hough started side-by-side in row three. Mertz was able to make his way through the field just a bit quicker than Hough as he took the lead on lap five. Hough was not far behind, taking second one lap later. Mertz lead by as much as a full straightaway at one point, but as the two worked lapped traffic Hough closed the gap. At the end Mertz took the win by three car lengths over Hough. Jesse Snyder finished third, but he failed post race inspection and was disqualified. That made the remainder of the top five Gary Funck, Alex Schanz, and Craig Myers. Hough and Mertz won the heat races.

Kevin Thomas started third in the field of 18 Mini Stocks. When front-row starters Chris Semple and Ricky Harper both went high, Thomas drove low and into the lead. As drivers all through the field jockeyed for position, Thomas kept them all at bay to win his sixth feature in seven races at Path Valley. Frank Gordon drove by Semple and Harper to take second on lap three only to bobble two laps later and give the position back to Harper. Those two battled hard the rest of the race, with Harper coming out on top to finish second. Steve Hanes Sr. finished fourth and Kenny Hill fifth. Gordon and Thomas were the heat winners.

Justin Rasp is a rookie in the 4-Cylinder Thunder Car division, moving up from the Strictly Stock class to race against his father, John. Justin has also been running near the front of the field all season long, logging several top-five finishes. This week Justin Rasp started on the pole and led the entire 20 laps to claim his first-ever feature win. Although he started on the pole and led the whole race, it was no easy win. For the first six laps Rasp had last year's point champion, Denny Scofield, right behind him. And from lap seven to 19 Andy Stouffer applied the pressure, several times pulling to the inside of Rasp. And when the yellow came out with one lap to go, Rasp had to hold off the quickest car on the track driven by Jeremy Ott. Ott came from the tail of the field on lap six to finish second, ahead of Stouffer, Mike Brindle and John Rasp. John Rasp and Stouffer won the heat races.

Friday night, May 23, the Late Models join the regular weekly classes. Also, the Super Stocks that normally run on Saturday will be on the program.

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