Apr 21, 2007 02:12 AM EDT
Familiar Faces In Black Rock Victory Lane Friday Night
By RICH VLECK
Dundee, NY - A week after the season opener the temperature was two times higher, crowd much larger, and the car count significantly stronger; but when it came to who won, it looked a lot like week one.
Steve Paine turned down the opportunity to give up his pole position to and drop to the back to see if he could earn an extra $500 for winning the 358-modified feature, but that could have been the wise decision as he picked up his third-straight win (dating back to last year) at Black Rock Speedway.
“The Hurricane” faced stiff competition once again on a Chamber of Commerce night, due in part to the fact that Black Rock was the only track in New York to run on Friday. Paine’s refusal to go after a bonus $500 made that money a bounty for any driver that could beat him; many tried, some quite well, but none succeeded.
“We’ve got the car going pretty good right now,” said the Waterloo, NY driver in Victory Lane. “If it was later in the year I might have gone to the back but the track was just too fast tonight and there were plenty of good cars.”
Paine was able to hold off Billy Van Pelt during the closing laps for the second week in a row. To continue the mirror image from week one, Ray Bliss Jr. finished third once again. Bath’s Dave Dubois and defending Champion Brian Swarthout completed the top five.
Twenty-five modifieds in all made the trip to Dundee for the first point race of the season. Healthy car counts were found in all six divisions, with a cumulative total of 123 entries on the night.
Like Paine, Todd Henderson won the for third Sportsman race in a row at Black Rock (including last year). Henderson started ninth but quickly moved forward, taking the lead from a stout Brady Fultz on lap 5 and never looking back. Fultz was able to hold on for an impressive runner-up showing with Loren Lincoln, Brian Swarthout and Mike Entwistle filling out the top five of an every-growing division.
Larry Knowles returned to work out a few bugs that cost him the win in the super stocks last week; he was able to hit the setup perfectly. Knowles held off Mikey Wonderling for the majority of the event until Wonderling dropped out with mechanical problems, allowing Knowles to cruise to the victory.
A number of other BRP Can-Am 360 Late Model regulars made Friday a test and tune session for the upcoming series event on May 4. Jeff Cheesbro finished second, ahead of Quinn Sutherland, Donnie Smith and Rich Michael Jr. Defending Champion Jeremy Wonderling retired from the event after a two consecutive solo spins.
Terry Povoski picked up right where he left off, winning the first race for the new Regional Truck Pro Truck/ Street Stock division. Povoski got around Chris Leroux on lap 10 hang on to make it a 1-2 finish for the trucks. Street Stocks Rich Sharpsteen and Bubba Burnell were next across the line with Mike Warren rounding out the top five in a Pro Truck.
Derrick Mills was the first under the final checkered flag of the night in a wild 4-cylinder feature, but it did not result in a win. Mills was disqualified in post-race inspection for illegal rear springs and had his win taken away.
The race was turned upside-down on lap 12 when Ray Speicher, who became a father Friday Night, spun out Jack Ayers while the two were battling for second. Both of those cars went to the back along with leader Scott Yaw for jumping the prior restart. Ayers would be able to salvage a strong finish though, crossing the line second and being the first legal car, therefore earning the most points on the night.
Early in the night, what is believed to be a record-high 14 cars competed in the Black Rock Bandits feature. Erica Bell returned to here April 2006 form, winning the event in her No. 31. Tom Austin Jr., last week’s winner, appeared to be poised to go back-to-back but had a problem on the final restart, he was able to salvage a third place finish behind Bell and C.J. Winslow.
Racing action continues forward next Friday as Penn Yan Auto Parts presents a regular card, along with the first of five kid’s bike give-a-ways. Remember, the Bully Hill Vineyards NY Sprint Nationals presented by S.P. Wilson is less than a month away.