Path Valley Crowns Two New Winners
Heavy afternoon showers brought a halt to most racing action in the south-central Pennsylvania region on Friday night. But the showers ended soon enough for the Path Valley crew to get the clay surface ready for action. In fact, it provided for some of the fastest laps of the season.
Brian Marriott started second in the 16-car field of 270cc Micro Sprints and was leading by a straightaway over Jason Houtz when the only caution came out on lap 10. Sean McAndrew restarted in fifth and found the high groove to his liking, passing his brother, Ryan, for fourth and two laps later getting around Daryl Beakler for third and Jason Houtz for second. McAndrew then closed in on Marriott and made the winning pass on lap 17. Marriott held on for second, ahead of Houtz, Ryan McAndrew and Ken Duke.
The Glick Fire Equipment/ Legends Cars of Central PA feature was non-stop action at the front for all 20 laps. Nate Fisher started on the pole and led until a restart on lap seven when Scott Houdeshell slipped past. Houdeshell, Fisher and Lucas Montgomery raced hard for the top spot, and Pat Mc- Dermitt and Randy Kissinger closed in to make it a five-car battle. Two laps later, Montgomery won his first feature at Path Valley Speedway. Kissinger finished strong, moving from fifth to second in the final five laps.
Ben Naugle started second in the PA Sprint Series 305 Sprint Car feature and outran polesitter Todd Spangler to grab the lead on lap one. That proved to be the winning move as Naugle led all 20 laps for his second win this year. Naugle's only concern came as he was moving past a car that was heading for the pit exit. That slowed him just enough for Spangler to catch up and get inside of Naugle. But once Naugle got his car back under control, he quickly pulled away. Spangler finished second, ahead of Logan Wagner, Steve Whary and Tyler Bear. Unofficially, Naugle was turning lap times in the eight-to-nine-second range during the feature.
Mike Rutherford started on the pole and won the 600cc Micro Sprint feature for his first win at Path Valley Speedway. Sounds easy, right? But Rutherford only led the first lap and the last lap. Jesse Fitz started second and drove by Rutherford on lap two. The two front runners set a blistering pace, weaving their way through the back part of the 19- car field. Just as the leaders were going through the final turns and passing Gary Funck, Funck lost control and slowly rolled over, bringing out the only caution of the event. After the restart Fitz left the high groove open, and Rutherford drove wide open through the final two turns to pass Fitz for the win. Ryan Greth finished second, ahead of Tyler Walton and Jim Brookens.
Tom Crum raced for nearly five years at Path Valley before getting his first feature win. He did not have to wait quite as long for win number two. Crum started seventh in the 4-Cylinder Thunder Car feature. But after a crazy start and finish to lap one, Crum found himself in the lead for a restart on lap two. Crum had to hold off a late-race surge by Denny Scofield and John Rasp over the final three laps to get win number two. Scofield and Rasp finished second and third respectively, ahead of Andy Stouffer and Bill Kennedy.
The Mini Stock feature was a tale with many subplots and unexpected twists. Young Ryan Laye started on the pole and veteran Gary Dehart started second. Laye out-powered Dehart on the start to take the lead. Ricky Harper and Kevin Thomas started at the back of the 10-car field and promptly began making their way to the front. Laye bobbled on lap 13 and Dehart drove around him. But, before the lap was completed, the caution waved when Thomas stopped on the track with a flat tire. A lap after the restart, Laye slipped again in turn four and Dehart pulled to his inside. As they entered turn one side-by-side they collided and spun towards the infield, collecting Harper as they came to a stop on the apron. This put Mark Grove, Troy Eckenrode and Bryan Neff in the top-three spots on the restart, with Harper in fourth and Dehart in fifth. Harper went right to work, passing Neff for third on lap 14, Eckenrode for second on lap 15, and Grove for the lead on lap 16. It was Harper's third win this year. Grove held on to second, with Eckenrode third, Dehart fourth and Laye in fifth. Harper also won the heat race.
Next Friday night, August 7, Path Valley Speedway returns with another six-division show featuring the 270cc and 600cc Micro Sprints, Mini Stocks, 4- Cylinder Thunder Cars, Sidewinders, and Late Models.