Donnie Lawson and Ray Bliss Split Sportsman “Twin 20” Feature Wins at Black Rock
Rich Vleck, DUNDEE, NY, (May 17, 2013)- Donnie Lawson was the dominator of the sportsman division at Black Rock Speedway for many years, but even he conceded that the improvement in the competition level in the last couple seasons has made his trips to Victory Lane tougher to come by. On Friday though, he found a way to get back there and did it in thrilling style.
Lawson, a three-time track champion, held off defending champion Brady Fultz in a wild drag race to the finish that saw the No. 11 win by two feet in the first of two 20-lap features on “Double Sportsman Night” at Black Rock Speedway.
Lawson started on the pole and had a healthy lead when the race had its only caution flag wave on lap eight. After the restart though, Brady Fultz was on a mission, driving down to the bottom of the track. Fultz took second place on lap 14 and then quickly chopped down the gap between himself and Lawson. Fultz showed the nose on lap 15 but was unable to complete the pass, which woke Lawson up.
“I was kind of cruising there for a while,” admitted Lawson afterwards. “We had a softer tire on and the car was starting to go away. I should have known better than to take it easy because I saw (Fultz) on the (score) board.”
Once Lawson was aware of his competition, he moved his line down to the bottom, forcing Fultz to run the top side. Fultz was able to stay side-by-side with the leader, but as the duo were coming to the checkered flag, a lapped car was slower in the middle of the front stretch, forcing them to split him and sprint to the finish. The result would be Lawson winning by only a few feet, with Fultz second and Chris Fisher third. Nicole Hoag and Loren Lincoln rounded out the top five.
In the second 20-lap feature, the top 18 finishers of the first event were inverted, which made things wild in the opening laps. On lap 2, a pileup on the front stretch resulted in the No. 30 of Gary Hotelling flipping over on to his roof. He would be alright.
Scott Waters led until lap nine, but Ray Bliss, who turned more laps on the 4/10-mile oval than any other competitor on Friday, found something in the middle groove of turn three and four that allowed his No. 12 to be a touch better than the letter, and helped him drive in to the lead on lap coming to halfway. Bliss would not look back from there, scoring his first win at BRS since August of 2011.
Bliss would have a comfortable advantage to the finish, while opening night winner Chris Daugherty worked hard to come home in second. Brady Fultz got the better of Donnie Lawson this time around, crossing in third. Rounding out the top five was Ron Carwright Jr.
Jason Knowles had to be disappointed when his brother Brian beat him by a foot at the line in the heat race, but it would be the lowest point of his night as he looked flawless in the late model feature, allowing him to drive to his first win at BRS since July of 2011.
Knowles moved in to the lead on lap three of the feature, just as defending track champion John Waters and heat race winner Brady Wondelring came together, resulting in damage for each of their rides that would force them out early. Knowles’ biggest challengers the rest of the way would be the lapped cars that made the path to Victory Lane a little more arduous for the driver of the No. 4.
Bruce Miller, who won on opening night, moved into second quickly but was not able to close the gap between him and the leader fast enough to repeat. Behind Miller would be a wild battle for third place, with Jared Hill outlasting Brian Knowles. Ray Bliss rounded out the top five.
Crate Sportsman Feature 1 (20 Laps)- DONNIE LAWSON, Brady Fultz, Chris Fisher, Nicole Hoag, Loren Lincoln, Chris Daugherty, Ron Cartwright Jr., Rob Humpherys, Chris Silvers, Ray Bliss, Fran Hilton, Kenny Peoples Jr., Gary Hotelling, Randy McCulloch, Brent Ayers, Scott Waters, Ron White, A.J. Lloyd, John Agnew, Lance Keesey, Ricky Newton, Dale Welty (DNS), Eric Bell (DNS).
Lap Leader- Lawson 1-20.
Crate Sportsman Feature 2 (20 Laps)- RAY BLISS, Chris Daugherty, Brady Fultz, Donnie Lawson, Ron Cartwright Jr., Chris Fisher, Fran Hilton, Scott Waters, Kenny Peoples Jr., Brent Ayers, Randy McCulloch, Nicole Hoag, John Agnew, Lance Keesey, Loren Lincoln, Chris Silvers, Gary Hotelling, A.J. Lloyd, Rob Humphreys, Ron White, Ricky Newton, Dale Welty (DNS), Eric Bell (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Lloyd 1, Waters 2-9, Bliss 10-20.
Heat Winners- Lawson, Fisher, Hoag.
Late Model Feature (20 Laps)- JASON KNOWLES, Bruce Miller, Jared Hill, Brian Knowles, Ray Bliss, Carl Cleveland, Steve LeBarron, Quinn Sutherland, Sparky Hills, Steve Kent, Brady Wonderling, John Waters, Brandon Smith (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Bliss 1-2, J. Knowles 3-20.
Heat Winners- Wonderling, B. Knowles.
ANDY FAYASH JR. MEMORIAL RACE FOR SPORTSMAN SCHEDULED ON JUNE 14th
MINERSVILLE, PA - MAY 15th, 2013
This past weekend, all of us in the racing community lost one of our own with the untimely passing of Andy Fayash Jr.
Andy had competed in all types of racing since his start in 1984, and was a feature winner in every division he raced. Even more important than feature wins, Andy's reputation in the pit area was second to none. He was always willing to lend a helping hand, a part, or even his car to anyone that he felt needed it more than he did. He was always there with a freindly conversation or funny story for anyone that was willing to listen. Those qualities are what endeared him to his fellow competitors, and why he will be so dearly missed.
Big Diamond Speedway plans to pay tribute to the late Andy Fayash Jr. on Friday, June 14th, with the running of the Andy Fayash Jr. Memorial race for the Sportsman division. This race will be 45 laps in length, and will pay $1,570 to win and $157 to take the green. Also on the card for the Sportsman will be cash dash for the heat winners paying $157 to win, $45 for second, and $22 for third. More details will be released in the next few days.
If anyone is interested in adding lap money (minimum $10 per lap) or any other type of special award to the evening, please contact Tim Long at 484-256-5149 or email@example.com to make arrangements. We are looking to make this a very special race for the Sportsman division and in honor of Andy.
Also on the card that evening will be the 358 Modifieds, Roadrunners, and Street Stocks.
Justin Barger Bests Field at Patriot Sprint Tour Birthday Bash at Black Rock
Rich Vleck, DUNDEE, NY, (May 3, 2013)- 10 years ago, when the Patriot Sprint Tour began, Justin Barger was a up-and-coming teenager that still had a lot to learn about sprint car racing; but on Friday Night, the 10th Anniversary of the first Patriot Sprint, event, he put on a clinic to reinforce why he one of the best in the Northeast.
Barger, of Montrose, NY, led all 25 laps of the Patriot Sprint Tour America Series opener at Black Rock Speedway for his fourth career win at the 4/10-mile oval. Barger was able to keep a healthy lead throughout, even though some late-race restarts made his task a little more tenuous.
“We pretty much nailed it from the beginning tonight, we didn’t change too much,” Barger stated in Victory Lane. “I love coming to this race track, you can move around a lot even for a small race track. It is pretty racey.”
The defending PST Canada Series Champion won his heat race from the outside pole, easily qualifying him for the A-Main redraw, where he once again drew a starting spot on the outside of the front row. Upon Starter Scott Hixson’s green flag, Barger used his momentum on the top to move around Polesitter Bruce DeWick off the second corner and set sail around the speedway.
By the fifth lap, the Carillo Rods/ JE Pistons/ King Motorsports No. 5 was already in lapped traffic, but it did not seem to phase him as he continued to grow his advantage over the DeWick, Scott Kreutter, Jason Barney and Robbie Stillwaggon, the four drivers that would covet the runner-up position at different points in the feature.
Stillwaggon had command of second place and was making ground on the bottom line when a caution flag on lap 23 for contact between Chuck Hebing and Clint Ide tightened up the pack. This would result in one last restart that Barger would have to endure.
“I didn’t like to see the last yellow or the red (for a Steve Collins soft tip on to his side),” noted Barger. “Robbie drove up next to me on that last caution and I had already seen that his wing was in his trunk so I knew he was sliding around there so I just rode out the last few laps.”
In the final two circuts, Stillwaggon was solid on the bottom, but did not have enough time to get the drive off the bottom built-up that he needed to contend for the win. Barger would hold on for the win by three car-lengths.
“This is pretty cool 10 years later,” added Barger in reference to the anniversary of the first Patriot Sprint event. “That race was won by my girlfriend’s father (Tom Taber), so this is pretty special.”
With the win, Barger has now extended his streak of top-five finishes at BRS to seven straight.
Robbie Stillwaggon was pleased with his runner-up showing at a track where in his last appearance there did not qualify for the feature. The run was especially gratifying for the Burlington, NJ driver after starting back in seventh place.
For the second week in a row, as well as the second-straight race at Black Rock, Jason Barney completed the podium in third. The Constantia, NY driver noted afterwards that he played it safe with his setup which inhibited his ability to chase after the win, or even hang on to second place.
The battle from fourth place on back was ever-changing, but Jared Zimbardi was able to drive up from eighth starting position to hold on to the position. Zimbardi looked impressive winning his heat race after starting in fourth, as did Bryan Howland, who rounded out the top five.
Scott Kreutter faded back to sixth, just ahead of Tommy Wickham, who lost two spots on the final lap to place seventh. Original Pizza Logs Four Laps of Fame crossed in eighth while nine-time BRS winner George Suprick was ninth. Brad Knab would complete the top 10.
Brandan Warner and Dave Just were unable to start the feature as engine failures in their respective heat races would knock them out of competition on a beautiful spring evening.
In weekly class competition, there must be something about the cool spring air that just suits Chris Daugherty, because for the second season opener in a row, he could not be touched, as he walked away to the sportsman win.
Daugherty led all 20 laps and survived a pair of late-race restarts to hold off three-time track champion Donnie Lawson and defending champion Brady Fultz and put the No. 45 in Victory Lane for the first time at Black Rock since last June.
“The track was absolutely terrific,” exclaimed Daugherty. “It was great to win on opening night last year so to do it again is awesome. I won last week at Woodhull so it’s a good start to the season.”
Daugherty started on the pole by virtue of his dominating win in heat race one. Donnie Lawson and Brady Fultz showed glimpses of superiority, but Daugherty continued to stay steady in the middle groove to have Lawson and Fultz place second and third, respectively. Dale Welty and Ray Bliss completed the veteran top five.
Bruce Miller dominated the late model division, keeping his No. 80 glued to the inside groove of the track and driving away from Defending Track Champion John Waters to score the victory.
Miller had just one win last season at BRS and finished fifth in points, something he might consider a down year for him. After the 20-lap feature, it appeared that 2013 might be a little better for Miller in Dundee as he was the class of the field.
As Miller dominated out front, a spirited battle was on for the runner-up spot, with John Waters getting the best of Jason Knowles for second. Brady Wondering and Brian Knowles completed a strong top five.
For more information, visit www.BlackRockSpeedway.com.
Patriot Sprint Tour A-Main (25 Laps)- 1. Justin Barger (5), 2. Robbie Stillwaggon (89), 3. Jason Barney (87*), 4. Jared Zimbardi (35), 5. Bryan Howland (51), 6. Scott Kreutter (52), 7. Tommy Wickham (75), 8. Kevin Ward Jr. (13), 9. George Suprick (87), 10. Brad Knab (38), 11. Derek Jonathan (81), 12. Vinnie Vitale (X1), 13. Clint Ide (3), 14. Chuck Hebing (45), 15. Steve Collins (67), 16. Dave Wickham (80), 17. Bruce DeWick (22D), 18. Geoff Quackenbush (25), 19. Scott Just (54JX), DNS: Dave Just (54J), 21. Brandan Warner (10B).
Lap Leaders- Barger 1-25.
Sportsman Feature (20 Laps)- CHRIS DAUGHERTY, Donnie Lawson, Brady Fultz, Dale Welty, Ray Bliss, Ricky Newton, Chris Fisher, Ross Vleck, Rob Humpherys, Ron Cartwright Jr., Nicole Hoag, Brent Ayers, Ron White, Loren Lincoln, Chris Silvers, Lance Keesey, Scott Waters, Gary Hotelling, Fran Hilton (DNS).
Lap Leader- Daugherty 1-20.
Heat Winners- Daugherty, Lawson, Fultz.
Late Model Feature (20 Laps)- BRUCE MILLER, Jason Knowles, John Waters, Brady Wonderling, Brian Knowles, Jared Hill, Steve LaBarron, Quinn Sutherland, Sparky Hills, Carl Cleveland, Brandon Smith (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Br. Miller 1-20.
Heat Winners- Br. Miller, Waters.