June 19th, 2004
KIRKWOOD, NY… He may be a teenager, but Dan Vauter showed the poise of a veteran last Saturday night at Five Mile Point Speedway.
Vauter took advantage of a late race caution to regain his composure and roared past Bob Hamm on the white flag circuit to win the night’s Country Town Auto/Gary’s U-Pull-It 30-lap Modified main. For the 18-year-old, who started 16th on the field, it marked his third win of 2004. ”I’m as surprised as anyone,” Vauter admitted. “Starting in the back, I never thought I’d make it through.” “I was just hoping for a top five.”
Dan Hineline jumped into the lead on the start from the outside pole and paced much of the event’s first half, holding off the repeated charges of Bob Hamm. Hineline’s bid for his first victory since 1995 went sour on lap 12, when he slowed on the front stretch with driveline problems. Hamm then gained command as Vauter made a patented charge forward. By lap 21,the Forest City, Pa., driver advanced to third spot. Four laps later, he slipped by Brian Malcolm for second and set his sights on Hamm.
The kid pulled even with Hamm on lap 27, but pushed slightly and was forced to back off the throttle. That put Hamm in sole possession of the lead when the race’s final yellow flag was displayed with two laps remaining. ”Before the caution, I was running hard and it was pushing on me,” Vauter said. “When the yellow came out, I had a few nasty words with myself and calmed down.”
On the restart, Hamm pushed wide in turn two. That opened the door for Vauter, who drag-raced the Windsor, N.Y., veteran back to the stripe with the white flag in the air. He then raced on for the $1,000 victory. ”He was drifting out high off the corners, Vauter said. ”The very bottom of the track had a lot of bite.” “I changed my line from the top where I came through the field to the inside once I got into the top five.”
Hamm, in search of his first Point win of 2004, settled for second. ”That caution at the end hurt us,” Hamm, 37, said. ”I had no side bite all race long, but once I got wound up for a couple laps I was okay. It was a clean race. I like racing with Dan.” Kirk Horton of Eldred, N.Y., rebounded from his string of early-season bad luck for third. Rich Keehle and Don Hart Jr. rounded out the top five. Thirty Modifieds signed into the pit area, with heat wins going to Hamm, Darl Ellis, Hineline and Horton. Brian Weaver won the consolation.
Rodney Hart of Bainbridge, N.Y., topped the 20-lap Sportsman feature, besting front runner Brian Decker for his first victory of the season. Hart outgunned Decker on a lap 12 restart with a high-low crossover move and raced on to the $500 victory. Shawn Olenski finished second, the best career finish for the second-generation talent. Tim French rebounded from a first lap spin for third, ahead of Garth Tonkin Jr. and Brad Grim.
In a caution-marred Street Stock main, Gouldsboro, Pa.’s Bill Trego took the victory. Trego, a veteran of Southern Tier competition, grabbed the lead on an eighth lap restart and held the top spot when the 30-minute time limit expired on lap 14. Trego was a winner earlier in the season at Lake Moc-A-Tek (Pa.) Speedway. Dave Luff finished second, ahead of Darl Ellis, Les Gillette and Carl Heater.
Mike Stolarcyk III of Whitney Point, N.Y., dominated the 20-lap UMP Modified main, taking his third win of the season by a half-track advantage. Stolarcyk triumphed despite a soft right-rear tire in the final laps. Mike Stoddard, K.C. Cole, Scott Bennett and Gary Dence filled out the front five.
Shane Wolf of Susquehanna, Pa., out dueled Mahlon Shoemaker for the top spot on lap 15 and raced on to his third win of the season in the 20-lap Pure Stock main. Jeremy Shaw finished second, Shoemaker, Art Darling Jr. and Walt McClennon.
Scott “Guido” McGonigile of Walton, N.Y., topped the 10-lap Figure Eight feature.
It was Community Night at the speedway. All Town of Kirkwood residents were admitted into the grandstands free of charge. Racing resumes at the Point on June 26 with the 40th Heath Memorial for the Modifieds, a 50-lap main paying $2,000 to the winner plus lap money. The Sportsman, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks and UMP Modifieds will also race for bonus money. The Legend Cars and a Former Racers reunion will fill out the card, which will get underway one-half hour early at 6 p.m. For more information, contact the speedway office at (607) 775-5555 or checkout the website: www.fivemilepointspeedway.net.
COUNTER POINTS:Gary Griffin made his first Five Mile Point start since 1989 in the Modified division. Archbald, Pa.’s Griffin, a former Lake Moc-A-Tek (Pa.)Speedway champion and 24-year veteran of the Northeastern Pennsylvania facility, finished eighth in his return to the quarter-mile oval. Griffin said a soft right rear tire in his heat race led him to miss the set-up for the main.... Buddy Altemose also joined the Modified field, while the debuts of Easton, Pa’s Rick Raisner and Archie Myers III ballooned the Sportsman class to a season-high 18.... Bobby Puckett, who climbed as high as second in the feature, spun on lap 17 when his machine lost power. His downfall: a broken header. ”It started laying down on me,” he said.... Matt Smith retired from the main with a broken brake caliper fitting.... Ricky Rutt retired his 1997 Troyer in favor of a 2003 Troyer SLR mount that he purchased from Jay James. Rutt, raced the car previously at Big Diamond (Pa.)Raceway, was pleased with the mount.... Brian Weaver’s lackluster performance in the heat race forced him to qualify through the consolation, a handicap he could never rebound from. Weaver finished the main sixth, his worst effort of the season....
Gary’s U- Pull It / Country Town Auto MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH:
DAN VAUTER, Bob Hamm, Kirk Horton, Rich Keehle, Don Hart Jr., Brian Weaver, Brian Malcolm, Gary Griffin, Buddy Altemose, Joel Batzel, Tom Oleski, J.R. Crouse, Ben Bushaw, Dana Wagner, Jim Allen, Glenn Knapp, James Cornell, Dave Rumsey, Darl Ellis, Nick Barassi Jr., Jim Corcoran, Matt Smith, Bobby Puckett, Dan Hineline. Did Not Qualify: Brian Corcoran, Craig Hawley, Butch Klinger, Dave Calaman, Jim Crawn, Steve Walsh.
Gary’s U- Pull It / Country Town Auto SPORTSMAN MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH:
RODNEY HART, Shawn Olenski, Tim French, Garth Tonkin Jr., Brad Grim, Archie Myers III, Ricky Rutt, Rick Raisner, Brett Tonkin, Randy Thomas, Eric Stephens, Bruce Gould, Fred Christ, Brian Decker, Jeremy Holt, Brandon Buck. Did Not Start: Don Hildebrant, Mike Trautschold.
Gary’s U- Pull It / Country Town Auto STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH:
BILL TREGO, Dave Luff, Darl Ellis, Les Gillette, Carl Heater, Neil DiBlasi, Chris Strohl, Jason Bartsch, Bill Saxe, Bob Teribury, Nick Petrilak, Tom Cornell, Eddie Kudrako, Fred Christ, Jim Hughes Sr., Dan Pompey, Greg Buchanan, Paul Rooney.
Gary’s U- Pull It / Country Town Auto UMP MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH:
MIKE STOLARCYK III, Mike Stoddard, K.C. Cole, Scott Bennett, Gary Dence, Joe Cole, Brad Shaffer, Dave Stalker, Jay Conroy, Joe Novak.
Gary’s U- Pull It / Country Town Auto PURE STOCK FEATURE FINISH:
SHANE WOLF, Jeremy Shaw, Mahlon Shoemaker, Art Darling Jr., Walt McClennon, Harry Cook Jr., Mike Coddington, Cory Bond, Josh Ellis, Darl Ellis Jr., Charlie Gilbert, Ed Felker, Josh Parker, John Carpenter, Jason Makosky, Jerry Whitmarsh, Allen Metzgar, Jason Bond, Ken Washburn. Did Not Start: Larry Fenton Jr., Matt Spencer.