August 7th, 2004
KIRKWOOD, NY - It didn't take long for Ed Strada Jr. to find the fast lane at Five Mile Point Speedway.
In his fifth start of the season at the quarter-mile oval, Strada raced to victory last Saturday night, topping the Advance Auto Parts Stores 30-lap Modified feature. The South Canaan, PA, second-generation driver fought off the advances of Brian Malcolm to collect the $1,000 payday for his first ever win at the 54-year-old facility. "It's good to get a win here without a doubt," said Strada, a three-time Lake Moc-A-Tek (PA) Speedway champion whose previous best FMP effort was a fifth in the 53rd Anniversary Special last August.
Strada started from the outside pole, and motored his Wally Fiehl-powered Bicknell into the race lead on the start with Malcolm in tow. Initially, Strada opened up an advantage on Malcolm. The Lake Ariel, PA, driver erased that gap as the laps clicked off under the green flag. When the race's first caution flew on lap nine, Malcolm had Strada in his sights. However, four incidents marred the mid-portion of the main, the most serious of which occurred on lap 15 exiting turn four.
Contact between Kirk Horton and Don Hart Jr. sent Hart spinning mid-pack, collecting James Cornell. The Modified rookie's No. J3 launched into the air, stood on its rear deck lid, then landed on its roof. In total, seven cars were involved. No one was injured. When the race resumed, Strada had his hands full with Malcolm, whose Bicknell No. 119 carried a fresh Murray and Gillette small-block power plant.
The 34-year-old tried the high-low crossover in each set of corners, but Strada won the drag race down the straight-aways, negating each attempt. "I knew I could beat him off the corner," Strada said. "I let my car drift up in the center (of the corner), but I was getting good drive off the turns. "My right rear tire sealed over during that red flag (on lap 15). The car wasn't as good after we went back green."
With time winding down, Malcolm tried the outside on lap 27. He nearly pulled even with Strada entering turns one and two, but Strada gradually moved up the track and Malcolm rolled out of the throttle. "I was surprised he tried the top," Strada, 39, admitted. "Once I heard him out there, I moved my line up a little." Malcolm trailed Strada across the line, matching his career-best FMP finish.
"I was definitely faster. I just couldn't get around him," Malcolm said. "I was way better on the longer runs than he was, but I was leery about trying the outside. "I almost had him one time (on lap 27), but I couldn't get through three and four like I was through one and two”. Bobby Puckett of Old Forge, PA, finished third with Dana Wagner and J.R. Crouse completing the front five. Heat winners for the 28 Modifieds in attendance were Puckett, Cornell, Strada and Dan Vauter, while Bob Hamm Jr. topped the consolation.
Kurt Decker of Afton, NY, registered his first ever FMP victory in a competitive 20-lap Street Stock feature. Decker inherited the lead on lap 10, when race-long pace setter Nick Petrilak dropped off the pace then fought off a gaggle of four cars in the second half of the main for the win aboard his No. 89. Darl Ellis came home second, while Dan Pompey made a late rally to finish third, ahead of high-running Brett Spoor and Bill Trego.
K.C. Cole led from wire-to-wire to win the 20-lap UMP Modified feature. The Conklin, NY, driver darted into the lead from the outside pole and maintained the position en route to his second win of the season. In the process, he snatched the point lead away from cousin Joe, who entered the night at the top of the standings. Scott Bennett finished second, ahead of Gary Dence, Joe Novak and Mike Stoddard.
For the third time in six days, Conklin, NY's Chris Wood visited Victory Lane in Southern Tier Pure Stock competition. The rookie standout started mid-pack and made a patient ascent in the 20-lapper, breaking into the runner-up spot on lap 14. It took only three laps for Wood to reel in and pass defending champion Mahlon Shoemaker, who led from the outset, as Wood collected his career first at the Point. Shoemaker, Mike Codington, Walt McClennon and Darl Ellis Jr. trailed.
In a wild finish to the 12-lap Figure Eight feature, Scott "Guido" McGonigile inherited the lead on the final lap when race leader Steve Dechow met with misfortune in the "Danger Zone" ripping the right-rear wheel off his machine. Dechow was scored second and Jesse Velez was third.
The Mid-State Vintage Stock Car Club made its annual pilgrimage to FMP, providing a glimpse into the glory days of auto racing through their restored vehicles. Jeff Ackerman (50s), Jim Hilimire (60s) and John McNamee (70s) picked up the checkered flags.
COUNTER POINTS:Car counts remained steady with 28 Modifieds, 19 Street Stocks,10 UMP Modifieds, 20 Pure Stocks and 6 Figure Eights. The Sportsman division had the night off. Duane Hiller in a former Jeff Rudalavage Bicknell and Marty Bunker in a former Doug Worthing Teo-Pro car joined the Modified field. Kirk Horton brought out a pair of cars, as he resurrected an Olsen Four Coil/Four Link that carried him to victory at Orange County (NY) Fair Speedway back in 2001.
Tough night for defending champion Dan Vauter, who was involved in three separate incidents before being eliminated in the lap 15 "big one" on the front stretch. Track crews dug down almost three feet during the week, "turning over" the clay, making for a racy, multi-groove surface.
Racing resumes on August 14 at the Point with Kids Night, featuring a Kiddie Rides, a Poster Contest and a Bicycle Race, plus a full program of Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks, UMP Modifieds and Pure Stocks presented by Time Warner Cable. Racing begins promptly at 6:30 p.m. For more information, contact the speedway office at (607) 775-5555 or checkout the website: www.fivemilepointspeedway.net.
Advance Auto Parts Stores Night Race Summary
MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH:
ED STRADA JR., Brian Malcolm, Bobby Puckett, Dana Wagner, J.R. Crouse, Bob Hamm Jr., Jim Crawn, Craig Terrell, Rich Keehle Jr., Butch Klinger, Brian Corcoran, Chris Ostrowsky, Don Hart Jr., James Cornell, Nick Barassi Jr., Dan Vauter, Steve Walsh, Kirk Horton, Jim Corcoran, Marty Bunker, Tom Oleski, Gary Griffin, Dan Hineline, Glenn Knapp. Did Not Start: Dave Rumsey. Did Not Qualify: Jim Toy, Duane Hiller, Kirk Horton (Second Car).
STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH:
KURT DECKER, Darl Ellis, Dan Pompey, Brett Spoor, Bill Trego, Les Gillette, Paul Rooney (DQ), Harry Marvin III, Carl Heater, Darwin Green, Keith Villano, Joe Krisovich, Jim Hughes Jr., Ken Hineline, Steve Snider, Chris Strohl, Nick Petrilak, Bill Saxe. Did Not Start: Jason Bartsch.
UMP MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH:
K.C. COLE, Scott Bennett, Gary Dence, Joe Novak, Mike Stoddard, Ty Hurlburt, Jay Conroy, Dave Stalker, Brad Shaffer, Joe Cole.
PURE STOCK FEATURE FINISH:
CHRIS WOOD, Mahlon Shoemaker, Mike Codington, Walt McClennon, Darl Ellis Jr., Shane Wolfe, Art Darling Jr., Jason Bond, Charlie Gilbert, Allen Metzgar, Jeremy Shaw, Brian Mills, Dan Callen, Matt Spencer, Fred Velez, John Carpenter, Corey Bond, Jerry Whitmarsh, Eddie Felker, Frank Chapman.
FIGURE 8 FEATURE FINISH:
SCOTT “GUIDO” MCGONIGILE, Steve Dechow, Jesse Velez, Steve Matson, Bubba Folk, Jim W