Four Get First Wins In 2009 At Path Valley
Four of the six divisions that raced at Path Valley Speedway Friday night featured drivers claiming their first victory of the season.
Kevin Garman started on the pole of the 270cc Micro Sprint feature, but he could only hold the lead for one lap. Steve Whary started third and drove past Garman on lap two. Ryan McAndrew moved past Garman on a restart on lap three. Whary was able to keep McAndrew at bay the remaining laps to score his fourth win this year. Whary and McAndrew are also very close in the championship standings, with McAndrew leading the division. Levi Peck ran a strong third, while Tim Mertz passed the most cars moving from 11th up to fourth. Tom Tice finished fifth. Tice, Peck and Daryl Beakler claimed heat race wins.
The 600cc Micro Sprint feature was a tale of two halves. From the start, polesitter Travis Saner led the field. Timmie Barrick took second from Dusty Foust on lap four and Jim Brookens followed Barrick into third. On lap nine Brookens worked around Barrick and into second. A caution one lap later bunched the field back together and on the restart Brookens again used the high groove driving around Saner and into the lead. Once in the lead Brookens pulled away the last 10 laps for his second win this year. Saner held off Barrick for second, with Jesse Fitz finishing fourth and Brock Bilger in fifth. Eddie Rice and Fitz won the heat races.
Rance Garlock started second in the Late Model feature and led all 20 laps to get his first win at Path Valley this year. Dave Dunkle had his best finish since moving to the Late Model ranks, coming home a strong second. Kyle Wiser finished third and Brad Kling in fourth. The biggest drama of the event came after Ryan Walls and Jimmy Andrew got together in turn one. After Andrew restarted his engine, he drove into the side of Walls, earning a disqualification. Walls continued on and finished fifth. Garlock also won the heat race.
Donnie Hendershot returned to victory lane in the Sidewinder division for the first time in 2009. Hendershot started fourth and took the lead from Jimmy Young on lap three. Tim Mertz came from the middle of the pack into second on lap five, but he could not mount any pressure for the lead. Joe Robertson had one of his best finishes at Path Valley, coming home third. Stan Fleming finished fourth and Mike Zielonis finished fifth. Craig Myers and Robertson won the heat races.
When the green flag dropped on the Mini Stock feature Gary Dehart led the field. But before lap one was complete, Jeremy Ott slipped inside to take the top spot. With Dehart and Jodie Varner battling for second several other drivers made their way to the front. On lap four Varner and Dehart made contact exiting turn four. Dehart's car started to spin towards the infield when Kevin Thomas bumped him in the front end, straightening Dehart out. As Dehart and Varner slowed to regain control, Thomas shot on by and into second. Thomas continued to stalk Ott for the lead, until he was forced to pit on lap 13 and lost one lap before he could return. As the laps wound down, Ott's car continued to get tighter, and Varner made several attempts to pass on the inside. Ott and Varner were side-by-side entering turn three on lap 19 and it appeared that Varner would get the lead exiting turn four. But Varner got on the throttle just a little bit too hard, and he spun to the infield. After the restart, Gary Newell and Ricky Harper raced hard for second, allowing Ott to pull away for his first win in the Mini Stocks this year. Harper passed Newell on the last lap to finish second. Dehart was able to hold on to fourth, and Scott Gordon finished fifth. Newell and Gordon were the heat winners.
After a wild start took out the front row of the 4-Cylinder Thunder Car feature, Josh Walstrum restarted first and never looked back to get his first-ever win since moving up from the Strictly Stock division. Mike Brindle ran in second for lap two to the finish, just holding off Tom Crum at the end. Andy Stouffer blew up his engine at the finish of last week. So he drove his team car this week and finished fourth. Bill Kennedy was involved in the crash on the initial start, but worked his way from the back to finish fifth. Heat race checkers went to Brindle and Justin Rasp.
Path Valley Speedway returns to action Friday, August 14, with Melvin's Auto Repair Night. Along with the six-division show, including the Sidewinders and 305 Sprints, there will be many activities for both kids and adults.