Nov 6, 2010 11:30 PM EST
Ronnie Hill Bags $10,000 in “Big One” Enduro at Black Rock
By RICH VLECK
Ronnie Hill dominated early on in the first running of the “Big One” Enduro last year but fell out before he could even make it to halfway. In the 2010 version, he once again had trouble and began to limp around the track, but this time around he would make it to the end to collect the big payday.
Hill, a semi-regular in enduro competition at Black Rock, led the final 63 laps of the 100 lap event in his No. B3. For much of the race he was in a league of his own, but an incident with 10 laps to go put everything in peril.
With 77 cars starting three-wide from a stand-still, the early portions of the feature had to be stopped five times before halfway for dangerous situations on the racetrack. Despite these issues, 37 cars were still able to return after the break at halfway. When the remaining cars came back on the track, they found a much different surface for them after the track crew laid down water on the clay that had been ideal all day. Things were slippery for a few laps when the green flag came back out and that was when Hill took off.
Hill was one of only three cars to restart on lap 51 that was on the lead lap. Within a dozen laps of the restart, he used the high groove above the berm to maintain traction and drive around a myriad of cars with ease.
As Hill was coming to complete lap 90, while holding a lead of nearly a lap and a half, he slammed into a vacated car on the frontstretch and severely damaged his right rear tire and wheel. The B3’s speed was greatly reduced but his healthy lead, along with issues by his nearest competitors, would allow him to hang on to the top spot.
After the leader got damaged, the intensity picked up for the final 10 circuits and when Scott Hixson waved the pair of checkered flags, there was some questions as to who won. After careful review by the track scorers, Hill was rightfully declared the winner.
Hill waited patiently in Victory Lane for the official decision but was confident that he had won the race he had longed for. He was the second place starter after finishing in the runner-up spot on September 11, enabling him to finish his season off with a bang. Speaking of which, he would bang the hood of his car as part of his Victory Lane celebration.
Jarrad Fox, who had run in second place for much of the second half of the event despite being a lap behind Hill, would move back on to the lead lap on lap 91 and was two seconds quicker the next lap than the leader. On lap 93, however, his car began to slow and could no longer run quicker than the leader and would remain more than ¾ of a lap behind.
As Hill and Fox were nursing their car home, BRS Street Stock regular Nate Peckham was busy getting his way back on to the lead lap the hard way. Peckham had gone two laps down on lap 62 but for the next 25 circuits would stay within sight of Hill. When the only red flag of the second half of the race flew on lap 87, Peckham saw his opportunity to get one lap back. Two laps after the restart, the No. 90 got one of his laps back and then earned the other one on lap 96 when Hill had slowed down with his damage.
Peckham would take the second position coming to the parallel flags when he got by the Jarrad Fox No. 900 and would hang on for second.
The top three finishers were the only cars on the lead lap and no other cars were even just one lap down. Clayton Weaver and Larry Miches II would complete the top-five as they were two laps down.
The race saw eight different lead changes, all of which took place before lap 37. There were a number of thrilling moments, including on lap 11 when Jimmy Fudd slammed into the gas tank of a vacated car packed in the track, setting off a fireball. Bob Neiss, who was the leader at the time, was involved in the incident but with the red flag out, never lost the top spot.
Drivers from New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Ontario helped to comprise this impressive field.
Donnie Lawson was perhaps the most-feared sportsman driver entering the night and proved why in the closing laps of a thrilling 50-lap feature to win his final race at Black Rock for the second straight year. Lawson had some tough luck in the feature, but also caught some major breaks though in order to capture the Checkered Flag.
Lawson, the two-time and defending track champion from Woodhull, NY, came from the back of the pack on two occasions to claim the $2,000 top prize in the Empire 50. On the opening lap, a spin in front of the No. 11 put his lead lap status in peril when he spun out as well; but he would be able to rejoin at the rear of the field.
With 10 laps in, Lawson developed a flat right rear tire on his crate-powered entry and on the next caution was summoned to the pit area to make the changes. Luckily for Lawson, he did not pit until caution laps stopped counting on that yellow flag and never lost a lap. For the final 36 laps he was a man on a mission.
Lawson cracked the top-10 before the final caution on lap 31 and then charged towards the front of the pack. Lawson made it up to third with eight laps remaining but needed some major help in lapped traffic before he could take on the leaders.
James Cornell took the lead on lap 7 from John Juhl, but when Jeff Crambo moved into the lead on lap 33 it looked like the No. 77 would check out on the pack. Even before the lead duo hit the back of the pack though, Cornell would close back in and make Crambo have to focus on moving quickly through the traffic.
With six laps remaining, the leaders started to get slowed up and gave Lawson the opportunity to make it a three-car battle for the top spot. Lawson then dove into second on lap 48 when Cornell attempted to run the high side in turn two. Coming to the white flag, a slow car on the backstretch would give Lawson the pick he needed to rocket into the lead.
“I had a good car and I was coming but there was no way I would have caught those guys without the lapped traffic,” admitted an exhausted Lawson after climbing down from the roof of his car.
Jeff Crambo would cross in second behind Lawson for the second-straight year. James Cornell was third as he was well ahead of Black Rock regulars Ray Bliss Jr. and John Juhl, who completed the top-five.
Bob Buono has always been strong at the end of the season at Black Rock, and he continued that mantra as he calmly held off some major challengers to win the 30-lap challenge event.
Buono, from Wayne, NY, lead all 30 laps of an event that was light on cautions, but it was the battles behind him that perhaps allowed the No. 64 to visit Victory Lane.
“Slow was fast,” declared Buono. “It can be tricky in lapped traffic, and sometimes you just have to get lucky.”
The first 18 laps of the event went caution-free, with Buono getting passed by Chris Fisher on lap 17. Just after the lead changed hands though, Fisher got into the back of a lapped car and cut down his tire, sending the 2010 Street Stock World 100 Winner to the pits to change the tire.
The final 12 laps of the race would see former track champions Nate Peckham and Frank Guererri Jr. began to apply pressure on Buono for the lead, with Peckham mostly on the inside and Guererri rim-riding to the front. Guererri moved around Peckham with three to go but Peckham was persistent and when they hit lapped traffic coming to the white flag the two swapped spots again, just what Buono needed to have happen.
Buono would pick up the top prize, with Peckham beating Guererri back to the line for second. Heat winners Dave Fultz and Nate Daggett completed the top-five.
Rich Sharpsteen II dominated the RWD 4-cylinder feature that was running during the halfway stoppage in the sportsman race. The Dundee driver moved by C.J. Winslow on lap six and then pulled away to put the “Flyin’ X” in Victory Lane to end 2010.
With the 2010 season now complete, focus shifts to 2011, which will kick off with the Black Rock Banquet in January and the season opener on April 2. For more information, visit www.BlackRockSpeedway.com.
Black Rock Speedway Results: 11/6/2010-
$10,000-to-win “Big One” Enduro Top-20 (100 Laps)- RONNIE HILL, Nate Peckham, Jarrad Fox, Clayton Weaver, Larry Miches II, Greg Turner, Matt Prescott, Ricky Breed, Joe Povoski, Terry Ostrander, James Hays, Eric Boynton, Rich Post, Tim Gillett, Todd Koegel, Kenneth John Harper, Dave Lowe, Chet Cobb, Bill Werner, Jeremy Warner.
Lap Leaders- Hill 1-3, Lowe 4-5, Eldridge 6, Hill 7, Neiss 8-19, Eldridge 20-27, Hill 28-34, Neiss 35-36, Hill 37-100.
“Empire 50” Sportsman Feature (50 Laps)- DONNIE LAWSON, Jeff Crambo, James Cornell, Ray Bliss Jr., John Juhl, Brady Fultz, Steve Gray, Loren Lincoln, Anthony Perrego, Dave Marcuccilli, Jim LaRock, Brian White, Fran Hilton, Brett Buono, Jamie Batzel, Rob Richmond Jr., Randy Brokaw, Rob Humphreys, Trevor Sutherland, Ben Wheeler, Tyler Siri, Roger Williams, Simon Jupe, Bob Johnson, Luke Carlton, Serenity Sutherland, Justin Wright, John Hargrave, Bryan Faulkner (DNS).
DNQ- Brent Ayers, Mike Marold, Andy Durie, Joe Cook Jr., Russell Morseman, Brent Ayers, Chad Ayers.
Lap Leader- Juhl 1-6, Cornell 7-32, Crambo 33-48, Lawson 49-50.
Heat Winners- Marcuccilli, Crambo, Wright, S. Sutherland.
Consolation Winner- Richmond.
“Champion’s Challenge” Street Stock Feature (30 Laps)- BOB BUONO, Nate Peckham, Frank Guererri Jr., Dave Fultz, Nate Daggett, Paul Harrington, Chris Fisher, Chuck Winslow, Tom Harrington, Joe Buske, Todd Hayward, Bill Weller, Bruce Kinner, Chuck Pruden, Brad Rathbun (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Buono 1-16, Fisher 17, Buono 18-30.
Heat Winners- Peckham, Fultz.
4-Cylinder Feature (15 Laps)- RICH SHARPSTEEN II, C.J. Winslow, Mike Ziarno, Les Irwin, Justin Schenk, Derrick Puryear, Tyler Siri (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Winslow 1-5, Sharpsteen 6-15.
Heat Winner- Sharpsteen.
SPORTSMAN TIME TRIAL RESULTS:
Number Name Town C/O Time
1 M1 Dave Marcuccilli Montezuma, NY CRATE 16.056
2 77 Jeff Crambo Troup, PA OPEN 16.058
3 19w Justin Wright Piffard, NY CRATE 16.159
4 37 Serenity Sutherland Dundee, NY CRATE 16.317
5 21 Bob Johnson Horseheads, NY CRATE 16.338
6 90 James Cornell Harpursville, NY OPEN 16.408
7 56 Brian White Candor, NY OPEN 16.410
8 2P John Juhl Weedsport, NY CRATE 16.410
9 2L Loren Lincoln South Bristol, NY CRATE 16.449
10 70 Brady Fultz Dundee, NY CRATE 16.504
11 34 Trevor Sutherland Dundee, NY OPEN 16.512
12 12 Ray Bliss Jr. Warsaw, NY CRATE 16.532
13 18 Anthony Perrego Montgomery, NY CRATE 16.541
14 R7 Randy Brokaw Freeville, NY OPEN 16.541
15 52 Fran Hilton Geneva, NY CRATE 16.544
16 64B Brett Buono Wayne, NY CRATE 16.596
17 J27 Jamie Klein-Batzel Kirkwood, NY OPEN 16.606
18 26 Derrick McGrew Ballston Spa, NY CRATE 16.658
19 16 Roger Williams Woodhull, NY CRATE 16.664
20 85H Rob Humphreys Elbridge, NY CRATE 16.714
21 93jr Rob Richmond Jr. Rochester, NY CRATE 16.755
22 22 Simon Jupe Gold Coast, Aus CRATE 16.815
23 9H John Hargrave CRATE 16.819
24 16x Brandon Butler Horseheads, NY CRATE 16.840
25 58L Jim LaRock Seneca Falls, NY OPEN 16.847
26 26H Luke Carlton Port Colborne, Ont CRATE 17.029
27 8 Joe Cook Jr. Seneca Castle, NY CRATE 17.091
28 11 Donnie Lawson Woodhull, NY CRATE 17.124
29 28 Tyler Siri Beaver Dams, NY CRATE 17.152
30 29G Steve Gray Middlesex, NY CRATE 17.230
31 44 Russell Morseman Addison, NY CRATE 17.321
32 11w Ben Wheeler Genoa, NY CRATE 17.375
33 32D Andy Durie Stillwater, NY CRATE 17.417
34 81s Chad Ayers Dundee, NY CRATE 17.435
35 83x Bryan Faulkner Naples, NY CRATE 17.544
36 29 Brent Ayers Dundee, NY CRATE 17.689
37 10 Mike Marold Honesdale, PA CRATE 19.277