2009-06-18 / Sports

John Rasp Wins Again At Path Valley

By Rob Keller

Pictured above is John Rasp, the 4-Cylinder Thunder Car winner at Path Valley Speedway. Pictured above is John Rasp, the 4-Cylinder Thunder Car winner at Path Valley Speedway. Mother Nature has not been kind to the racing world of south-central Pennsylvania this spring. But after a week of rain, the skies cleared on Friday and Path Valley Speedway was able to get in a six-division program. For half of the winners, it was their first trip to victory lane in 2009.

Dwayne Gutshall started fourth in the 600cc Micro Sprint feature and took the lead before the end of lap one. Jimmy Brookens also had a fast start and moved from eighth to third on lap one, and then he passed Travis Saner two laps later to take second. Jesse Fitz also made his way to the front as he passed Saner for third on lap eight. Two laps later and the whole complexion of the race changed. And incident in turn four sent Gutshall to the infield with damage, and Fitz and Saner were also collected and had to restart at the end of the field. This put Brookens in the lead, but not for long. On the restart Brookens car did not come up to speed, and Timmie Barrick rocketed around the outside and into the lead. Barrick outran Kevin Steele over the remaining laps to claim his first feature win at Path Valley this year. Steele finished second, Rodney Glass in third, while Saner and Fitz can back to finish fourth and fifth. In victory lane, Barrick dedicated his win to Joey Kuhn, who recently passed away. Fitz and Brookens were the heat race winners.

The 270cc Micro Sprint feature got off to a terrible start with five cars involved in a wreck as soon as the green flag was displayed, with two cars rolling over. On the next start, Jason Houtz grabbed the lead. Houtz continued to pull away from Levi Peck, who was running second. Ryan McAndrew was one of the cars that rolled over on the first wreck, but he got his wing replaced, and he sliced his way through the field, closing in on Peck for second when the caution came out with two laps to go. On the restart McAndrew powered by Peck to take second, but Houtz held on for his first win in 2009. Peck held on to third ahead of Sean McAndrew and Colby Dice. Ryan McAndrew and Brian Marriott were heat winners.

In the Sidewinder feature Alex Schanz took the early lead from his second-place starting position. With Schanz running the bottom groove, Tim Mertz began to close the gap, running the high groove. On lap six Mertz began to get alongside Schanz in the turns, with Schanz pulling back ahead on the straights. After three laps of this close battle, Mertz finally drove around Schanz through turns one and two. Metz controlled the race over the final 10 laps to get his third win at Path Valley this season, which ties him for the most wins this year with Chad Hough. Chad Myers moved up through the field over the second half of the race, taking second on lap 17. Hough finished third, Schanz fell to fourth, just ahead of Craig Myers. Sean McAndrew and Chad Myers won their heat races.

Courtney Shreiner started on the pole of the Late Model feature and led until he spun out on lap two. Kyle Wiser inherited the lead, which he kept for another 10 laps. On lap 12, Brad Kling moved inside of Wiser for the top spot. Kling's only concern after that was when he caught the tail end of the field, which was a three-car battle, on the final lap. Kling had enough of a lead that he did not have to risk passing any of them. It was Kling?s first win at Path Valley. Tim Fedder rebounded from a bad wreck two weeks ago to post a strong second-place finish. Wiser held on to third ahead of Scott Richwine and Rance Garlock. Garlock won the heat race.

The Mini Stock feature was not one of their best performances. With eight caution periods, it was the longest race of the night. Ryan Laye took the lead from Dave Edwards on the first lap. On lap four, Laye spun exiting turn four, and Gary Newell was unable to avoid him. Both drivers continued, but the front of Newell's Mustang body was badly bent. Kenny Hill passed Edwards on the restart for the lead. Behind Hill it was a dogfight for second, with as many as six cars in the fight. Mark Grove made his way up to second on lap eight. Two laps later, Grove was passed by Kevin Thomas. Thomas then began to work on Hill for the top spot. Twice Thomas had made the pass only to be negated by another yellow flag. Finally, on the third attempted restart of lap 14, Thomas made the pass for the lead and eventually the win. Ricky Harper passed Hill on the final circuit to get second. Hill finished third, Frank Gordon fourth, and Grove completed the top five. This was Thomas' ninth win in 10 races at Path Valley this year. Heat race wins went to Harper and Gordon.

The 4-Cylinder Thunder Car feature looked like it might follow the Mini Stock script, as the two front-row starters collided in turns one and two, ending up against the outside wall on the back stretch. That moved Denny Scofield onto the pole position and when the green flag waved again, Scofield took the lead. Scofield held the lead until lap seven, when John Rasp found enough traction in the high groove to drive around Scofield and into the lead. Scofield stayed within a car length of the lead until Jeremy Ott made his way from the back of the field to take second with one lap to go. Ott ran out of laps before he could mount any challenge for the lead and he settled for second. It was Rasp's fourth win of 2009. Scofield held on to third place, ahead of Tom Crum and Josh Walstrum. Mike Brindle and Andy Stouffer won the heat races.

Path Valley Speedway returns to action next Friday night, June 19, with the same six-division program of 270cc and 600cc Micro Sprints, Sidewinders, Late Models, Mini Stocks and 4-Cylinder Thunder Cars.

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