MIKE MAHANEY WINS 44TH SOUTHERN TIER 100
MAHANEY MAKES HISTORY BY WINNING THE 44TH SOUTHERN TIER 100 AT FIVE MILE POINT SATURDAY NIGHT
BY JR KENNERUP
Kirkwood, NY… Twenty – four years ago in this same race Jim Mahaney of King Ferry, NY won his biggest race of his career, the 20th Southern Tier 100 at Five Mile Point Speedway. That same year in June Kathy Mahaney, Jim’s wife gave birth to their son Mike and on Saturday night Mike Mahaney won the 44th Gary’s U – Pull – It Southern Tier 100 to make history as the first father son duo to win this race.
Mahaney driving the Jim Spear owned car started second had to fend off first time track visitor Dominic Buffalino over the early portions of the 100 lap feature. Mahaney then fighting tire wear which loosened his car up exiting the corners had to hold off Mike Ricci in the Jamie Batzel Triple R Farms entry over the final 37 laps to claim the posted $5,555 cash first place prize.
Ricci a short track master ended up a disappointed second with another short track master Pat Ward wheeling the Larry Wight owned Troyer to a third place finish. Asphalt Modified racer Rusty Smith started 21st, made several pit stops and came on strong at the end by running the extreme high side to finish fourth while Buffalino slipped back to fifth.
“This is my biggest career win, it is such an honor to win this same race that my dad won 24 years ago,” said the smiling $6,535 feature winner who received a Guaranteed Starting Spot for the Icebreaker Friday night show in March 2014 at the Selinsgrove Speedway.
Mike continued on, “It’s really cool for these guys, Jim Shear, Chuck and Scott Brady, my team, Lynch Paving who sponsors this car. This is their home track so it is really cool to win here for them and it is a good belated birthday present for Cheryl Brady who’s birthday was last Saturday.”
A pair of Utica Rome Speedway regulars in Willy Decker and Mike Mahaney brought the 27 car starting field to green. Mahaney got the jump on Decker to grab the lead with Dominic Buffalino, Anthony Perrego, and Mike Ricci in tow.
Buffalino in his first ever appearance at the track shocked many with a strong move into second on lap two and his charge continued as he applied heavy pressure to Mahaney for the lead as they entered heavy lap traffic on lap eight.
Just as Buffalino was going for the lead the yellow lights came on for Perrego who slowed with a broken axle on the homestretch. Buffalino’s charge to the lead continued as he raced under Mahaney to grab the lead on the restart. Decker, Ricci, and Jeff Heotzler wheeling the Mel Schrufer entry completed the top five at this point.
Buffalino and Mahaney raced side by side for the lead in a crowd pleasing performance by the two young drivers until Mahaney finally had enough steam to get the lead for good on lap 12.
“Rhythm was a key early in the race as I was trying not to spin the tires,” Mike. “But the 51m (Buffalino) surprised me a little bit as I didn’t want him to get on me and pressure me too hard that you had to abuse the tire. There was one restart ( lap 9 ) where he ran me high going into one dropped down low coming out of two and had the bottom which was the preferred lane and he raced me hard and I finally got ahead of him on the outside. I didn’t want that to happen again so that is why I started to protect the bottom and just wanted to run smooth and consistent laps with the goal of not letting anyone underneath me.”
Behind the top two the racing action was heating up in heavy lap traffic as Decker had to contend with Ricci, Heotzler, and now Pat Ward as they battled for positions three through six.
Ricci finally got past Decker on lap 34 for third with Ward doing the same three laps later to take fourth and when Decker slipped up on lap 44 Heotzler found himself in fifth.
At the halfway point fuel stop Mahaney was leading Buffalino, Ricci, Ward and Heotzler.
When racing resumed after the break the top five remained the same as they raced themselves into heavy lap traffic on lap 60. Ricci finally got under Buffalino to take second on lap 63 and he immediately got right up on the back bumper of Mahaney for the lead.
After many laps of trying Ward was able to sneak under Buffalino on lap 73 to take third and when the yellow appeared for the stopped car of Tyler Dippel on lap 73 everyone knew it was going to get interesting. At the same time of the yellow Ricci did have the bottom groove under Mahaney but the yellow nullified the attempted pass.
“I did not see him ( Ricci ) at that point but if I did I would have been freaking out,” said Mike with a big laugh.
It sure did get interesting when the race resumed as the top three engaged in an all-out battle for the lead as Mahaney was running the middle groove of the five groove surface. Ricci was hugging the bottom groove protecting his tires and his line while Ward was looking for a way to get under Ricci for second.
Heotzler joined the fray as he got past Buffalino for fourth on lap 79 and made the difference between him and the top three up as they were racing in heavy lap traffic.
Behind the top four the racing action was wild and incredible as drivers were racing three, four and at times five wide in heavy lap traffic. Buffalino, Brian Malcolm, Decker, Mike Colsten, Craig Hanson, Danny Creeden, Jeff Crambo, Bobby Varin, and Rusty Smith were all racing for fifth with lap cars in the mix.
With such hard racing taking place something had to give and it did with a grinding backstretch accident that started when the lap car of Joey Colsten got pinched into the outside concrete wall. The resulting contact destroyed the Colsten car along with the car of Hanson, while the cars of Creeden and Crambo both received significant damage.
The race after a 15 minute delay was restarted with 18 laps to go and the great racing battle resumed once again as now Mahaney turned up the wick and started to lean a little harder on his right rear tire while holding off Ricci who in turn had his hands full of Ward and Heotzler.
The complexion of the race would change again on lap 92 as Heotzler attempting to get under Ward for third clipped the inside track marking uke tire in turn two and spun out. On the restart Bobby Varin in the Tom Umbenhauer owned ride made a strong move to get into fourth but that would end as he pulled to a stop with a flat right rear with six laps to go.
The final six laps were as exciting as you could get in a 100 lap feature as you had three cars going for the win and behind them you had a very impressive five car battle taking place for the next five positions.
Upfront Mahaney continued to lean hard on his right rear and his car for the last 15 laps was losing side bite exiting the turns. While Ricci was showing signs of smoke from the power plant holding on to second as Ward in third was looking for any way past Ricci for second.
“The right rear tire started to lose some tread as I can see that now after the race, but the left rear has plenty of rubber left,” said Mike when asked about the loose condition. “There is still enough tire but I was starting to lose some side bite towards the end. But I think we did a good job of conserving where we had a fast car throughout the whole race, the yellows were really tough as I didn’t know whether I had enough tire left to go even harder racing or keep the same pace that I had been running. It was much easier when we were under green flag conditions then I could keep my rhythm.”
Behind the top three Buffalino was under attack for fourth as Rusty Smith was racing in the fifth groove finding some success at it as he was the fastest car on the track. Meanwhile Heotzler and Varin were making their way back up through the field after their respective troubles. Then add in 26th place starter Chris Wood who was coming on strong along with Richard Smith and Malcolm.
Mahaney ran a nearly perfect final five laps to grab the win over Ricci, Ward, Smith, and Buffalino.
Mahaney, the 24 year old second generation driver admitted that he has struggled at Five Mile Point in the past. “I’ve struggled here in the past and to finally get a handle on this track like this as it is different from the tracks I started out at. It’s really cool to conquer it and finally get a win here and a big one at that.”
“It’s amazing to think about that history of my dad winning this race the year I was born and now I win to become the first father son duo to win such a prestigious race. I grew up in our shop and the big race my dad won was this race in 1989 and I looked at that check every day I worked in the garage and I said to myself I can’t wait to win a race like that and now I have won that big race. I just can’t believe it, it’s like we made it.”
“I really have to thank Jamie Batzel and Vinnie DeCicco,” said second place finisher Mike Ricci. “Vinnie called Jamie and got me the ride in the car as I didn’t have a car to race here today and I like racing here. Me and Jamie got together, talked and put something together and I can’t believe we ran second the car was awesome, I wish I didn’t have those cautions.”
“That yellow I was under him was the whole key there”, said Mike who received a Guaranteed Starting Spot for the New Egypt Cabin Fever 60 in March.
“We were real patient and I knew tire wear would be the difference like it is always here, I guess we should of got going a little sooner than we did,” said third place finisher Pat Ward. “I feel like we were the best car on the track at the end, again, but those guys ahead of me did what they had to do.”
Qualifying heat wins went to Dippel, Ricci, Ward, and Heotzler while Smith and Joey Colsten won the consi’s and the Guaranteed Starters Race for non – qualified cars from the Short Track Super Nationals was captured by Creeden.
SOUTHERN TIER 100 NOTES; A Gambler’s program was in place for the Modifieds with $390 being split between Mahaney and Ward. Bonus money was awarded to the top three on laps 25, 50, and 75 with financial support coming from Doug’s Speed Shop, Sharkey’s Fuels, and French’s Auto Parts. Grant & Mary Buck along with Dale & Sue Smith sponsored the last car on lead lap award. The Bonus Money breakdown was Mahaney $680, Buffalino $225, Ricci $175, Ward $230, Decker $50, Rosa $50. A scorecard was needed with many new driver and car combinations. Ward was driving the Troyer car of Larry Wight with his motor in it while Ricci was in the car that Jamie Batzel has driven previously. Harry Landis was in a former Doug Manmiller driven car while Adam Smith was driving a former Rodney Hart driven car. John Siedlecky was in a second Bob Hamm, Jr. owned car as Hamm drove his primary car. Alan Rudalavage was in the second Tom & Terry Coar / Chris Clark owned car and Jeff Heotzler was in the car of Mel Schrufer as Mel has retired from driving. Brain White used his guaranteed starting spot from winning the Southern Tier 100 Sportsman race from the week prior while Chris Wood took the top five Five Mile Point provisional and Dave Rosa took the former race winners provisional.
44TH GARY’S U – PULL – IT SOUTHERN 100 FINISH; Mike Mahaney, Mike Ricci, Pat Ward, Rusty Smith, Dominic Buffalino, Jeff Heotzler, Bobby Varin, Chris Wood, Richard Smith, Brian Malcolm, Dave Rosa, Chris Ostrowsky, Dan Humes, Mike Colsten, Willy Decker, Craig Hanson, Jeff Crambo, Dan Creeden, Joey Colsten. Alan Rudalavage, Tyler Dippel, Harry Landis, Tom Collins, Jr., Bob Henry, Jr., Glenn Knapp, Anthony Perrego, Brian White.
DNQ’S; Adam Smith, Cass Bennett, John Siedlecky, Dale Welty, Ken Titus, Sam Allen, Chris Grbac, Bob Hamm, Jr., Mike Mammana, Bob Lileck.
LAP LEADERS; Mahaney ( 1 – 9 ), Buffalino ( 10 – 12 ), Mahaney ( 13 – 100 ).
CARPENTER COMPLETES UNDEFEATED RoC STREET STOCK TOUR WITH WIN…WILMOT WINS IMCA MODIFIED RACE AND EMPIRE STATE SERIES TITLE… BAILEY NOTCHES FIRST CAREER FIVE MILE POINT FOUR CYLINDER WIN IN SATURDAY PRELIMINARY FIVE MILE POINT ACTION.
BY JR KENNERUP
Kirkwood, NY … Two track champions ended their racing season with feature wins on Saturday afternoon / evening at the Five Mile Point Speedway while another driver notched his first career win in the final race of the year at the historic 63 year racing facility.
The Race of Champions Street Stock Tour finale was a repeat of what has been happening all year long on the Tour. The domination of Jonathon Carpenter in his crate powered car ending up in victory lane and on Saturday it was to a tune of a $2,000 plus win.
Carpenter who started fourth took the lead from Kurt Stebbins on lap six and then held off the relentless challenges of several drivers over the remaining 34 laps to capture the win. Shane Wolf, Sr., Gene Sharpsteen, Eric Boynton, and John Cooper, Jr. rounded out the top five.
The Empire State Series for IMCA Modifieds saw current point leader Mike Wilmot come back from a late race spin to rim ride his way to the marathon 25 lap feature win and the Series championship. Gary Roberts, Matt Cole, KC Cole, and Matt Jones completed the top five.
The 20 lap Four Cylinder Lightning Cat feature that ended the racing program saw Devon Bailey take advantage of a mechanical breakdown to inherit the lead. Bailey would lead the final five laps to get the win and he was followed by Bob Crandle, Trevor Dudley, Rick Sinsabaugh, and Nick Kennedy.
The 40 lap RoC Street Stock Tour finale had Daryl Krebs and Jason Butler bringing the 22 car starting field to green. Third place starter Kurt Stebbins made a three wide turn two pass to get the lead on the opening lap over Krebs, Butler, Jonathon Carpenter, and Tim Gullo.
Five Mile Point Street Stock track champion Carpenter moved into third on lap two and on the next lap veteran Gene Sharpsteen driving the Nick Robinson owned car moved into fifth.
On a lap four restart Carpenter moved into second after starting fourth and immediately started applying pressure on Stebbins for the lead. That pressure would pay off as on a lap seven restart Carpenter raced his way into the lead by passing Stebbins.
Carpenter who was already crowned the RoC Street Stock titlist for the second year in a row before the feature started immediately opened up a big lead. However his lead would be diminished as a rash of yellow fever kept bunching the field up.
Those yellow flags allowed several drivers to take a run at passing Carpenter for the lead. The first driver to give Carpenter a shot was seventh place starter Sharpsteen who moved into second on lap 12 and on a restart executed a slide job to get the lead in turn two. However Carpenter was able to duck back under Sharpsteen going down the back straight to regain the lead.
The next driver to challenge Carpenter was Steven Deinhardt who started tenth. After moving into second on lap 14 Deinhardt kept working under Carpenter in an attempt to get the lead. This exciting racing battle for the lead lasted over the next 16 laps.
The final driver to go after Carpenter for the lead was a rival in Shane Wolf, Sr. Wolf who started 16th raced patiently up through the field conserving his equipment and tires. After moving into second on lap 31 Wolf started to make a run at Carpenter by first trying the low side and when Carpenter would inch his way out of the preferred top groove Wolf would try that groove.
The final nine laps between the two Susquehanna, Pa. drivers kept the crowd entertained on a brutally cold evening. In the end Carpenter had just enough to hold off Wolf for the $2,000 feature win and an undefeated season on the RoC Street Stock Tour. Wolf, Sharpsteen, Eric Boynton, and John Cooper, Jr. completed the top five.
The Gamblers Bonus for the Street Stocks saw $240 split between Carpenter and Buck Mills, Sr. Additional bonus money throughout the racing program was awarded with Carpenter claiming a majority of those bonuses to push his winnings close to the $2,500 mark.
Qualifying for the 23 car field had heat wins going to Carpenter, Butler, and Gullo.
STREET STOCK FINISH; Jonathon Carpenter, Shane Wolf, Str., Gene Sharpsteen, Eric Boynton, John Cooper, Jr., Daryl Krebs, Jason Butler, Matt Vinson, Ricky Davis, Sr., Tim Gullo, Steven Deinhardt, Gary Noe, Kurt Stebbins, John Cooper Sr., Earl Zimmer, Doug Stack, Rich Sharpsteen, Steven Wren, Jr., Cory Costa, Carl Cleveland, Buck Mills, Sr., Shannon Oswald. DNS; Jake Karlonski.
The Empire State Series for IMCA Modifieds was the first feature on the track for the afternoon with Kevin Cole and Tony Harris bringing the 22 car field to green.
After two failed attempts to get a completed lap in the third time was the charm with Harris leading Brad Sites, Cole, his cousin Matt Cole, and Will Ward, Ward was able to move into fourth one lap later.
On the restart KC Cole would grab the lead over Ward, Matt Cole, Mike Wilmot, and Chris Fleming. Several yellow flag periods would slow the pace once again.
Gary Roberts who started 11th was now in the lead over KC Cole, 18the place starting Matt Jones, Matt Cole, and Wilmot who came back from three incidents to be back in fifth.
Wilmot, the Five Mile Point IMCA Modified track champion and point leader of the Empire State Series heading into this event showed the talent over the next few laps that got him the championship. Wilmot took to the extreme high side of the quarter mile oval to go from fifth to second in just one lap and he set sail after Roberts for the lead.
Wilmot got alongside Roberts for the lead on lap 18 and the two drivers raced cleanly as they entertained the crowd with their good racing. Wilmot would grabbed the lead by inches with the five laps to go signal being given but Roberts sticking to the bottom groove took the lead back one lap later by a foot over Wilmot.
The next time around Wilmot ran what could be called the perfect lap and this allowed him to regain the lead he never gave up over the final three laps. But Roberts didn’t go away without a huge fight for the lead as he fell two feet short at the checkers.
Wilmot in for the $600 win to clinch the IMCA Modified Empire State Series title over Roberts, Matt Cole, KC Cole, and Jones rounded out the top five.
Qualifying for the 22 car field saw heat wins won by KC Cole, Dan Burman, and Harris.
IMCA MODIFIED FINISH: Mike Wilmot, Gary Roberts, Matt Cole, KC Cole, Matt Jones, Brian Steigerwald, Brad Sites, Tanner Harpell, Will Ward, Mike Stoddard, Chris Fleming, Tony Harris, Gary Smith, Dan Burman, James Cornell, Tyler Stoddard, Matt Roberts, Jared Spalding, Michael Butler, Ray McClure. Logan Terry. DNS; Billy Ward.
Duane Kinne and Devon Bailey brought the 17 car Four Cylinder Lightning Cat feature to green with Kinne taking the lead over Bailey, Rick Sinsabaugh, Keith Potter, and Bob Crandle.
Potter driving the Beezer Wilkie entry was the early race mover as he moved into third on lap three and was just about ready to move into second on lap five when mechanical problems sent him pit side.
Kenny Underwood who missed heat race qualifying while repairing his car started 16th and was up to third on lap six. However one lap later the rear axle broke sending him pit side ending his racing for the day.
Up front Bailey was challenging Kinne for the lead but Kinne kept holding his line to remain in the lead. The great race of Kinne ended on lap 14 just after crossing the start finish line his car broke ending his chance at victory.
Bailey inherited the lead and led the final five laps to capture his first feature win at the track and since he was a first time feature winner he received an additional $50 dollar bonus courtesy of track owner and promoter Andrew Harpell making his winnings $200 for the day. Crandle, Sinsabaugh, Trevor Dudley, and Nick Kennedy completed the top five.
Qualifying heat races for the 17 car field were won by Rich Wagner and Dudley.
FOUR CYLINDER LIGHTNING CAT FINISH; Devon Bailey, Bob Crandle, Trevor Dudley, Rick Sinsabaugh, Nick Kennedy, Phil Burns, Tucker Harpell, John Maynard, Damien Bausenwein, Walt Henry, Duane Kinne, Brian Bauerfeind, Kenny Underwood, Keith Potter, Rich Wagner, Kyle Welsh, Jeremy Warren.
Saturday Lap Bonuses
Modified Bonus Money Breakdown
Lap 25 – French’s Auto Parts – Court Street Binghamton – 607-774-4500
Mike Mahaney - $125, Dom Buffalino - $75, Willy Decker - $50
Lap 50 – Halfway – Sharkey’s Race Fuels -
Mike Mahaney - $250, Dom Buffalino - $150, Mike Ricci - $100
Lap 75 - Mike Mahaney- $125, Mike Ricci - $75, Pat Ward - $50
*Dave Rosa $50 - last car to finish the Southern Tier 100 on the lead lap courtesy of Grant and Mary Buck and Dale and Sue Smith.
Mike Mahaney – Guaranteed Starting spot to the Race of Champions Dirt Small Block Block IceBreaker event at Selinsgrove Speedway on Friday, March 14th.
Mike Ricci – Guaranteed Starting spot to the Race of Champions Dirt Modified Cabin Fever 60 at New Egypt Speedway on Saturday, March 22nd.
Gamblers Bonus - Mike Mahaney - $190 Pat Ward - $190
Race of Champions Street Stock Bonus Money Breakdown
Lap 10 – Trackside Products – Endicott, NY – 607-748-3322
Jon Carpenter - $75, Kurt Stebbins - $50, Daryl Krebs - $25
Lap 20 – Penn Can Speedway – Thank you to all the fans, teams and staff for their patience and effort in making the “King of the Can” a great weekend!
Jon Carpenter - $75, Steve Deinhardt - $50, Gene Sharpsteen - $25
Lap 30 – Jon Carpenter - $75, Steve Deinhardt - $50, Shane Wolf- $25
Gamblers Bonus – Jon Carpenter $120 – Buck Mills $120 -
IMCA Modified Bonus Money Breakdown
Lap 5 – Schneider’s Market – 5 Mile Point Plaza, Kirkwood – 607-775-1335
Gary Roberts - $50, Matt Roberts - $25 , Matt Jones - $25
Lap 10 - $100 – Gary Roberts - $50, K.C. Cole - $25, Matt Jones - $25
Lap 15 - Schneider’s Market – 5 Mile Point Plaza, Kirkwood – 607-775-1335
Gary Roberts - $50, K.C. Cole - $25 , Matt Jones- $25
Lap 20 – Pudgies Pizza – 224 Robinson Street Binghamton, NY 607-235-3133
Mike Wilmot - $50, Gary Roberts - $25, K.C. Cole - $25