Rich Vleck, DUNDEE, NY, (March 31, 2012)- AJay Potzrebowski had won more than a dozen races in a mini stock at Black Rock in the past and has always been regarded as a top driver, but not until Saturday Evening had he won a sportsman feature in Dundee.
Potzrebowski, of Elmira, took the lead from Donnie Lawson on lap 47 of the 60 lap “Flyin’ Milkman” Kenny Moore Crate Sportsman Classic and held to claim the top prize, that with lap money bonuses totals $1,780.
After overnight snow and rain showers dissipated before the dawn of the final day of March, a morning mist was persistent and delayed the start of the first race in New York State for 2012. Once the track got worked in though, the show ran off in under four hours on a smooth and highly competitive race track. The conditions played right in to Potzrebowski’s hands on this dreary spring day.
“There wasn’t any easy part of the race today,” admitted Potzrebowski in Victory Lane. “I was biding my time and letting the center (of the track) burn out. We set up the car a little tight so it would come in later in the race.”
Potzrebowski won his heat race but drew the 11th starting position. He took over second place on lap 13 after Tyler Siri and leader Donnie Lawson came together on a lap 12 restart, spinning around the No. 5*. Potzrebowski would stalk Lawson’s No. 11 around the bottom of the track while Ray Bliss Jr. stayed close in-tow running the top of the track in third.
The race saw more green flag laps turned without issue as the race stretched along and it was clear that while Lawson was still out in front, he might not have been the quickest car on the track. On lap 42, Lawson’s issue became evident as his right rear trailing arm broke, displacing the right rear and hindering the performance of his ride. He would hold off Potzrebowski for a few laps but in the end the No. 72 was too strong.
In Victory Lane, Potzrebowski said he would be running at Black Rock weekly in 2012 and would also taking the guaranteed starting spot for the sportsman event at Dutch Hoag’s National Open Weekend on October 20.
Despite giving up the lead, Lawson would be hold on to second for at least the final 18 laps with damage to the rear end housing. On the final lap, Tyler Siri would apply pressure after rallying from the lap 12 crash, but his position would be disallowed upon post-race inspection. BRS Regulars Ray Bliss Jr. and Fran Hilton came from their respective consolation events to slot into spots three and four with Jim LaRock scoring fifth.
Matt Sheppard used to be a bandit competitor at the Black Rock Speedway back in the ‘90s, but it had been quite a while since he had raced in Dundee. There was no rust to knock off as he led wire-to-wire to score $1,500 in the Big Block/ Small Block Modified Shootout.
“I didn’t know what to expect today,” admitted the Waterloo driver in Victory Lane. “The car was really good but I actually missed (the setup) in the feature, I was a little tight.”
After finishing second in his heat, Sheppard redrew the outside pole and quickly took the top spot from polesitter Brian Weaver at the start of the event. Sheppard would have company up at the front of the pack early on though as Alan Johnson would charge into second on the second lap and begin to apply pressure on “Super Matt” for the lead.
The top two would quickly hit the tail of the field on lap five and over the next eight laps would dice through half of the pack. Just after halfway though, Sheppard cleared the traffic and had a half-track gap before catching the next car. The No. 9s would hold about a 2.5 second lead over Johnson’s No. 10J until they hit the back of the field again with five laps remaining. This time through the traffic Sheppard was markedly better and would cruise to the win by lapping up to sixth place in what ended up being a caution-free event.
Johnson would hang on for second while Brian Weaver would drive to a steady third. BRS sportsman regulars Donnie Lawson and Ray Bliss Jr. completed the top five spots.
In their inaugural visit to Dundee, the CRSA 305 Sprints put on an impressive performance throughout the night, led by Danny Varin, who put on a clinic in the feature.
Varin, the second-generation shoe from Sharon Springs, NY, took command of the field from the outside pole position and held a comfortable distance over J.R. Hurlburt in an event slowed by just two caution flags both on lap five. In the closing laps, he stretched his lead to nearly a half-lap and sliced his way through lapped traffic to win in style.
“That was some good racing by everyone out there today,” proclaimed Varin in Victory Lane. “I’m just glad we got it in today. We are out here to have to have fun and the most fun you can have is standing right here.”
Varin, along with Brittany Tresch, won their heat races in convincing fashion, but Tresch would struggle at the start of the race and have to claw her way back forward. After the first caution flag flew on lap five for Josh Pieniazek, the ensuing restart was nullified after third place Cory Sparks nearly tipped over No. 7. The final 15 laps would go off without issue.
At the end of the night Varin also scored the win in the 2011 Winner’s Circle Dash despite having his nose wing fold back at the drop of the green flag.
Hurlburt would ride the rest of the way in the runner-up spot and would come home in second, while Tyler Rice would cross in third. Tresch would drive back up to fourth while John Cunningham held off Brett Jaycox at the line to round out the top five.
Eddie Sites had quality finishes in each of his starts in his IMCA Modified at BRS in 2011, but the Empire State Series Champion did not have a win in Dundee until Saturday afternoon as he led the final 10 laps to kick off 2012 in style.
Sites, of Monroeton, PA, drove underneath Gary Roberts coming to Scott Hixson’s crossed flags. After Sites had taken the white flag, Roberts, who was holding a strong second, lost the driveshaft, forcing the pilot of the No. 15 to be perfect on one final restart, which he was as would hold a steady distance to claim the win.
Behind Sites at the end of the line were Shawn Bruce, Chris Fleming, Jared Kenney and Mark Griffen to complete the top five finishers.
Racing action returns to Black Rock on Friday Night, April 20, with another modified shootout plus a full-point IMCA Modified Race, practice sessions and Front Row Shootouts for all other weekly divisions at BRS in 2012. For more information visit www.BlackRockSpeedway.com.
Black Rock Speedway Results: 3/31/2012-
Kenny Moore Classic Night
Kenny Moore Classic Crate Sportsman Feature (60 Laps)- AJAY POTZREBOWSKI, Donnie Lawson, Ray Bliss Jr., Fran Hilton, Jim LaRock, Rob Humphries, Butch Green, Kyle Rohner, Serenity Sutherland, Doug Kline, Nicole Hoag, Geoff Powell, Joe Cook Jr., Randy McCulloch, Mike Jackson, Loren Lincoln, Trevor Sutherland, Adam Leslie, Dale Welty, Karl Comfort, Michael Prentice, Grant Hilfiger, Steven Swarthout, Ryan Tracy, Gary Hotelling, Tyler Siri (DQ).
Lap Leader- McCulloch 1-11, Lawson 12-46, Potzrebowski 47-60.
Heat Winners- Lawson, T. Sutherland, Potzrebowski, Siri.
Geoff Powell Trucking Dash for Cash Winner- Lawson.
Consilation Winners- Hilton, Green.
Did Not Qualify- Anthony Marro, Scott Waters, Brent Ayers, Josh Keesey, Joe Budka, Rich Powell, Dave Flanigan, Chris Brockway.
Issac F. Brown Jr. Memorial Award- R. Powell.
Sherwood Racing Wheels Hard Charger Award- Bliss.
American Racer/Lias Tire Front Runner Award- Potzrebowski.
American Racer/Lias Tire Hard Luck Award- Lawson.
Precision Automotive Move of the Race Award- LaRock.
J&H Photos and Turn 6 Photos Best Appearing Car Award- Randy McCulloch.
Big Block/ Small Block Modified Feature (25 Laps)- MATT SHEPPARD, Alan Johnson, Brian Weaver, Donnie Lawson, Ray Bliss Jr., Dave DuBois, Dave Rauscher, Chris Ostrowsky, Dale Welty, Ron Cartwright Jr., Brady Fultz, Tom Flannigan, Fran Hilton, Bob Davis, Scott Boudinot, Colton Chappius, Eric Fisher (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Sheppard 1-25.
Heat Winners- Weaver, Johnson.
CRSA Sprint Car Feature (20 Laps)- DANNY VARIN, J.R. Hurlburt, Tyler Rice, Brittany Tresch, John Cunningham, Brett Jaycox, Jeff Frasier, Josh Pieniazek, John Matrafalio, Frank Lieto, Matt Priscott, Tommy Martocci, Mike Castner, Cory Sparks, Warren Alexon (DNS), Tyler Chartrand (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Varin 1-20.
Heat Winners- Tresch, Varin.
2011 Winner’s Circle Dash- Varin.
IMCA Modified Feature (20 Laps)- EDDIE SITES, Shawn Bruce, Chris Fleming, Jared Kenney, Mark Griffen, Dave Yehl, Phil Yaw, Rich Karlnoski, Josh Sawyer, Jeremy Lacou, Bryan VanTassell, Gary Roberts, Mike Smith, Rob Wilcox, Scott Bennett (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Kenney 1-4, Roberts 5-9, Sites 10-20.
Heat Winners- Yaw, Yehl.