August 14th, 2004
KIRKWOOD, NY - Since becoming a regular at Five Mile Point Speedway three seasons ago, Brian Malcolm has established himself as a consistent top five finisher. However, wins have always seemed to elude him, until last Saturday night that is.
For the first time in his career at the 54-year-old Southern Tier quarter-mile oval, Malcolm, of Lake Ariel, Pa., reached Victory Lane, dominating the 30-lap Time Warner Cable Modified main. "I've covered every spot here from second through 24th," Malcolm, a multi-time Sportsman and 358-Modified winner at Lake Moc-A-Tek (Pa.) and Redline (Pa.) in recent seasons, remarked. "I just couldn't make it to first until tonight."
Starting 10th in the 28-car field, Malcolm quickly picked his way to the top five, as the front row of Jim Corcoran and Dave Rumsey paced the early circuits. In by far the best run of his career, Corcoran quickly began to put some distance on the field before disaster struck on lap 11. Entering turn three, the slower cars of Buddy Altemose and Tom Hager sat sideways, leaving Corcoran with no place to go. He pitched his car into a half-spin and stopped, while Rumsey made significant contact with the right side of his car.
That melee put Bob Hamm Jr. and Malcolm into first and second, respectively. On the restart, Malcolm entered turn one high aboard his Murray and Gillette-powered No. 119 Bicknell, then pulled off a slingshot pass in turn two, snatching the top spot away from Hamm. "He went in low and I went in high," the 34-year-old said of the critical restart. "He slid up and I drove under him in (turn) two before he even knew what happened. The car was perfect. I was getting really good bite on the bottom."
Only lapped traffic posed a threat to Malcolm in the final five circuits, but he negotiated the back markers flawlessly. "I didn't hear anyone, so I was just riding," he said. "I didn't want to mix it up with those guys (the tail of the field), so I just stayed back." Hamm, 37, of Windsor, N.Y., matched his best FMP effort of the season with second. He is a two-time winner this year at The New Afton (N.Y.) Speedway.
"Brian was good tonight," noted Hamm, who piloted his No. 77x Bicknell car with a homebuilt engine. "I was catching him at the end when I started running the bottom. I probably should have moved down there earlier. "The car wasn't too bad." Rebounding from a front stretch flip one week earlier, James Cornell finished a solid third, beating Ed Strada Jr. to the line. Strada, of South Canaan, Pa., raced from 20th to finish fourth, and Tom Oleski rounded out the top five.
Heat wins for the 29 Modifieds in attendance went to Rumsey, Cornell, Hamm and Dan Hineline, while Bobby Puckett topped the consolation.
For the second time in his career, Brandon Buck reached Sportsman Victory Lane, as the sophomore driver from Kirkwood, N.Y., led from wire-to-wire in the 20-lap feature. Buck started from the pole in his Bicknell No. 11 and jumped out to the initial lead, with Brett Tonkin in tow. Buck and Tonkin broke away from the field, making it a two-car fight for the race lead.
The race's final caution flew with four laps remaining, but Buck was un-phased. The low-key 24-year-old motored on for the $500 victory. "The car was getting great bite tonight," noted Buck, whose father Grant is the track handicapper. "Of course, starting up front helped, but the car was good, too."
Tonkin, of Carbondale, Pa., finished second. In the process, the 19-year-old gained ground on point leader Rodney Hart, whose late-race spin relegated him deep in the field. Full-fender graduate Rob Harder was a career-high third, ahead of Shawn Olenski and Tim French.
Late-race dramatics in the Street Stock main handed Kurt Decker of Afton, N.Y., his second consecutive victory. Decker, who started 13th, moved up through traffic patiently, before taking over the runner-up spot with three laps remaining in the 20-lap main. With 18 circuits complete, Decker pulled a high-low move on Nick Petrilak exiting turn two and the pair drag-raced down the backstretch.
Petrilak's car slid wide entering the corner and the Greenfield Township, Pa., teenager spun from contention, while Decker inherited the lead for a one-lap dash, which he handled masterfully to take the win. Completing the front five were Jason Bartsch, Darl Ellis, Ken Taugher, and Bill Trego, who rebounded from a lap 13 spin while battling for the lead.
Gary Dence collected his second win of the 2004 season in the 20-lap UMP Modified feature. The Candor, N.Y., driver started from the outside pole and worked around early leader Brad Shaffer on lap three, then fought off point leader K.C. Cole to become a repeat winner in the division. Cole finished second, with Scott Bennett, Mike Stoddard and Joe Cole in tow.
Conklin, N.Y.'s Chris Wood backed up his first FMP win with a second trip to Pure Stock victory lane in as many weeks. The rookie competitor raced from mid-field to grab the lead on a lap six restart, then held onto that advantage through a caution-plagued affair that was curtailed by the 30-minute time limit. On lap 17, the checkered was displayed, with Wood being credited with the win over Shane Wolfe, Corey Bond in a career-best performance, Matt Spencer and Eddie Felker.
The evening included numerous activities for the youngsters in attendance, including a Poster Contest, the ever-popular Kid Rides and Bicycle Races. Racing resumes at Five Mile Point Speedway on August 21 with a full program of Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks, UMP Modifieds, Pure Stocks and Slingshots presented by Peoples National Bank.
A pre-race tailgate party on the backstretch (2-4 p.m.) and a post-race bonfire will sandwich the on-track action. Racing gets underway at 6:30 p.m. For more information, contact the speedway office at (607) 775-5555 or check out the official website: www.fivemilepointspeedway.net.
COUNTER POINTS:Modified winner Malcolm experienced a scare when Corcoran and Rumsey were collected entering turn three on lap 11. "I didn't get slowed down in time and I got into the back of Bob (Hamm) hard over there," Malcolm said. "He slowed down a lot faster than I did."….
Car counts for the night were 29 Modifieds, 22 Sportsman, 20 Street Stocks, 20 Pure Stocks and nine UMP Modifieds….
With rain moving from the south, the Pennsylvania and New Jersey tracks cancelled early in the afternoon. Tom Hager, the Modified journeyman from Easton, Pa., took advantage of a night off at Bridgeport (N.J.) to make the haul to FMP….Ralph Mele returned after an absence of a year in the Ralph Henneforth No. R25, while Henneforth hopped into Malcolm's big-block No. 119. Mertztown, Pa.'s Barry White debuted a brand-new Teo-Pro car, his first ever FMP start…. Andrew Harpell invoked the Promoter's Option to start all 28 remaining Mods….
Time Warner Cable Night Race Summary
MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH:
BRIAN MALCOLM, Bob Hamm Jr., James Cornell, Ed Strada Jr., Tom Oleski, Don Hart Jr., Rich Keehle Jr., Jim Crawn, Steve Walsh, Chris Ostrowsky, Joel Batzel, Dan Hineline, Dan Vauter, Craig Terrell, Gary Griffin, Bobby Puckett, Brian Corcoran, Butch Klinger, Dana Wagner, Jim Corcoran, Dave Rumsey, Tom Hager, Ralph Mele, J.R. Crouse, Barry White, Ralph Henneforth. Did Not Start: Pete Monroe.
SPORTSMAN MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH:
BRANDON BUCK, Brett Tonkin, Rob Harder, Shawn Olenski, Tim French, Archie Myers III, Rick Raisner, Jesse Kline, Randy Thomas, Eric Palmer, Jim Toy, Ted Stout, Ryan Grim, Rodney Hart, Bruce Gould, Brad Grim, Jeremy Holt, Scott Merritt, Ricky Rutt, Andy Stout, Bill Moyer. Did Not Start: Garth Tonkin Jr.
STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH:
KURT DECKER, Jason Bartsch, Darl Ellis, Ken Taugher, Bill Trego, Darwin Green, Carl Heater, Chris Higgs, Les Gillette, Lyle Williams, Dennis Shaffer, Chris Strohl, Brett Spoor, Nick Petrilak, Keith Villano, Greg Buchanan, Ken Hineline, Jim Hughes Sr., Jim Hughes Jr., Darren Stout, Fred Christ.
UMP MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH:
GARY DENCE, K.C. Cole, Scott Bennett, Mike Stoddard, Joe Cole, Brad Shaffer, Mike Stolarcyk III, Dave Stalker, Jay Conroy.
PURE STOCK FEATURE FINISH:
CHRIS WOOD, Shane Wolfe, Corey Bond, Matt Spencer, Eddie Felker, Mike Codington, Walt McClennon, John Carpenter, Jason Bond, Art Darling Jr., Darl Ellis Jr., Brian Mills, Jeremy Shaw, Mahlon Shoemaker, Sheppard Blodgett, Charlie Gilbert, Josh Ellis, Fred Velez, Dan Callen, Jerry Whitmarsh.