June 12th, 2004
KIRKWOOD, NY - Brian Weaver is a bridesmaid no more. With three second place finishes to start his season at Five Mile Point Speedway, Weaver forged a determined last lap maneuver to pick up the victory last Saturday night, squeaking by J.R. Crouse in the final quarter-mile to win the Stolarcyk Chevrolet 30-lap Modified headliner.
"It's very good not to be second," quipped Weaver, who was also victorious Friday night at Penn-Can (Pa.) Speedway. Weaver started the event back in 12th position aboard his Enders-powered Bicknell, as Crouse, who avoided a spinning Brian Corcoran and the ensuing melee on lap one, grabbed the early lead. Crouse, a former regular at the defunct Flemington (N.J.) Speedway and Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway, powered his Troyer Four-Link to a commanding advantage in the event's first half as Weaver plowed through traffic.
When the caution flew for a three-car tangle on lap seven, Weaver sat sixth. He made a bold three wide move to grab fourth shortly after the green flew and remained there until lap 12, when a spin by Mark Plummer necessitated a yellow. On the subsequent restart, Weaver squeezed between Bob Hamm and Don Hart Jr. for second. "The early restarts were key in getting up through the field," the 41-year-old said. "I was getting a bite in turn two on the outside - that gave me a shot down the backstretch."
Soon after taking over second, Weaver began his chase of Crouse, hounding him lap after lap with inside advances through the corners. "He (Crouse) was right in my line…he was fast enough down the straightaway where he could get a run off the yuke tire and I couldn't do anything with him." A caution on lap 26 set up a dash to the finish and Weaver took full advantage. After trying the low side with two laps to go, he powered his Rhino Linings No. 1 to the outside entering turn one on the final lap, then ducked underneath Crouse in the second turn, setting up a drag race to the finish.
The leaders raced wheel to wheel through turns three and four and Weaver narrowly beat Crouse to the line for his first win at the facility since 1994. "The high-low switch was key to the win," a happy Weaver said. "When I was low I was losing too much ground. I knew I had to try something different. "The last lap was clean. I went into three with serious thoughts of making no contact. I even got out of it early just to make sure I didn't get into him."
For Nazareth, Pa.'s Crouse, the result was a heartbreaking second place run. "That's all I had," the 44-year-old remarked. "I'm not one to make excuses. I thought I had him, I even moved down on the final lap, but he never even touched me." Two-time winner Dan Vauter rallied to third, ahead of Dana Wagner and Brian Malcolm, who charged from 23rd starting position to the top five.
31 Modifieds signed into the pit area with heat race wins going to Bob Hamm, James Cornell, Dan Hineline and Kirk Horton. Bobby Puckett topped the consolation.
For the first time at Five Mile Point Speedway, Carbondale, Pa.'s Brett Tonkin raced to victory in the Sportsman main. The 19-year-old Tonkin led the entire distance, as the imposed 30-minute time limit ran out on lap 14 and the checkered was displayed. Tonkin started from the outside pole in his former Jeff Rudalavage Bicknell mount and repelled the challenges of Tim French and Rodney Hart through numerous restarts for the $500 victory.
As Tonkin sat in victory lane, his right rear tire was soft and slowly losing air. "It had a little push because of the tire going down," he said. "But even if the race went the entire distance, I liked my chances." Tonkin was previously victorious at Penn-Can and Thunder Mountain (N.Y.) Speedway. Following a scramble on the final circuit that saw French spin in turn three collecting Hart and Mike Trautschold, Bill Deckelman emerged as the runner-up finisher, ahead of Brad Grim, Brandon Buck and Jeremy Holt.
Nick Petrilak fought off Dan Pompey and Chris Strohl in a competitive 20-lap Street Stock main, as the Greenfield Township, Pa., teenager picked up his first career win at the Point. Pompey made several bids for the lead, but Petrilak kept the momentum up on the outside line for the win. Strohl beat Pompey to the line for second, with Darl Ellis and Bill Trego rounding out the top five.
On the night sponsored by his family's business, Mike Stolarcyk III of Whitney Point, N.Y., topped the 20-lap UMP Modified feature. Stolarcyk overtook Joe Cole for the lead on lap seven, then fought off a hard-charging Gary Dence on the final lap for his second win of the 2004 season. Dence, Cole, Scott Bennett and Brad Shaffer trailed.
Shane Wolf of Susquehanna, Pa., emerged victorious in the 20-lap Pure Stock feature, passing Jeremy Shaw for the top spot on lap two. Charlie Gilbert finished second, just ahead of Mahlon Shoemaker, Shaw and Todd Buskirk.
Taking the win in the first appearance of 2004 by the Briggs and Stratton Slingshot Tour was Jeremy Franoski of Newark Valley, N.Y. Franoski led the entire 12-lap distance, besting Keith Tucker, Travis Nolan, Tyler Wilkins and Mike Tasillo.
Prior to the start of the program, many drivers participated in giving Kiddie Rides around the quarter-mile oval. It was a huge hit with the youth in attendance. Racing resumes at Five Mile Point Speedway on Saturday June 19 with Community Night, as all Town of Kirkwood residents will be admitted free with proof of address. A full six-division show will be on the card, featuring Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, UMP Modifieds and Figure 8's. Racing starts at 6:30 p.m. For more information, contact the speedway office at (607) 775-5555 or check out the website: www.fivemilepointspeedway.net.
COUNTER POINTS:Kirk Horton debuted a small-block powered 2000 Teo-Pro car after campaigning a trusty '95 Olsen with a big-block under the hood for the first three weeks off the season. "We've struggled with the big-block so we dusted off this car from last year," he explained. After winning his heat in dominant fashion, Horton was collected in the first lap spin by Brian Corcoran and was scored dead last…. Brian Malcolm made a shock change during the week (Penske to Bilstein), which he believed aided his performance. Malcolm overcame a heat race right rear flat tire to record a top five finish…. Crouse's second place finish came with a bent right front shock. The damage occurred as a result of minor contact in the Corcoran spin…. Afton (N.Y.) Speedway 358-Modified regular Ben Bushaw made his '04 Point debut…. Returning to action on the quarter-mile after an absence of several years was Sportsman frontrunner Bill Deckelman. The exciting Freemont Center, N.Y., driver slid off the track in turn three during heat action, but quickly found the line in the main…. A wild scramble on the first lap of the Sportsman feature saw Ricky Rutt soar over the hood of Garth Tonkin Jr. on the backstretch…. The picture-perfect weather brought out a large crowd….
MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH:
BRIAN WEAVER, J.R. Crouse, Dan Vauter, Dana Wagner, Brian Malcolm, Glenn Knapp, Dave Rumsey, Jim Crawn, James Cornell, Bobby Puckett, Ben Bushaw, Don Hart Jr., Rich Keehle Jr., Butch Klinger, Steve Walsh, Jim Corcoran, Matt Smith, Mark Plummer, Dave Calaman, Bob Hamm, Joel Batzel, Brian Corcoran, Dan Hineline, Kirk Horton. Did Not Qualify: Craig Hawley, Joe Uliana, Darl Ellis, Tom Oleski, Nick Barassi Jr., James Christ, Jim Allen.
SPORTSMAN MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH:
BRETT TONKIN, Bill Deckelman, Brad Grim, Brandon Buck, Jeremy Holt, Shawn Olenski, Jim Toy, Tim French, Rodney Hart, Mike Trautschold, Brian Decker, Ricky Rutt, Bruce Gould, Garth Tonkin Jr. Disqualified: Rob Harder. Did Not Start: Scott Brady.
STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH:
NICK PETRILAK, Chris Strohl, Dan Pompey, Darl Ellis, Bill Trego, Les Gillette, Dave Luff, Jason Bartsch, Tom Cornell, Greg Buchanan, Bill Price Jr., Fred Christ, Ken Taugher, Neil DiBlasi, Carl Heater, Todd Sutliff, Jim Hughes Sr., Tony Ferri, Bob Teribury, Paul Rooney, Randy Tyler. Did Not Start: Eddie Kudrako.
UMP MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH:
MIKE STOLARCYK III, Gary Dence, Joe Cole, Scott Bennett, Brad Shaffer, Mike Stoddard, K.C. Cole, Joe Novak, Jay Conroy, Dave Stalker.
PURE STOCK FEATURE FINISH:
SHANE WOLF, Charlie Gilbert, Mahlon Shoemaker, Jeremy Shaw, Todd Buskirk, Walt McClennon, Art Darling Jr., Ed Felkner, Mike Coddington, Darl Ellis Jr., Matt Spencer, Cory Bond, John Carpenter, Ken Washburn, Serafino Raggi, Brian Mills, Jason Bond. Did Not Start: Jimmy Balutis.
Briggs and Stratton Slingshot Tour FEATURE FINISH:
JEREMY FRANOSKI, Keith Tucker, Travis Nolan, Tyler Wilkins, Mike Tasillo, Rich Curtis. Did Not Start: Jim Johnston.