August 26th, 2003
KIRKWOOD, NY...Russell Hendrickson, Jr. scored the biggest Modified win of his career on Tuesday night at Five Mile Point Speedway. It also happened to be his first as he held off a determined Jim Crawn by inches for the win in 53rd Anniversary Special. James Cornell took the Street Stock portion of the show, which was a Race of Champions qualifier.
Hendrickson drew the pole and blasted into the lead of the 53 lap feature for 358 Modifieds. Tom McGurrin chased him along with three time feature winner Jim Crawn. Crawn used his home track knowledge to take second on lap six and needed just two more laps to take the lead.
Crawn, the 1998 winner of the Anniversary Special, appeared to be well on his way to the victory as he opened a comfortable margin. Hendrickson in the meantime was running a great race in second ahead of McGurrin and a hard charging Brian Weaver.
The caution flew on lap 26 for a wreck involving Bob Hamm, Mike Colsten, Glenn Knapp and Dan Vauter. During the caution, Crawn went to the pits with a right rear flat tire. That put Hendrickson back in front with Weaver now the challenger. Weaver went low in turn three and then drifted high to take the lead momentarily on lap 27. Hendrickson immediately switched lanes and shot back to the inside to regain the lead.
Weaver took the lead back going down the backstretch on lap 30, but a stuck throttle sent him sailing off the third turn bank with tremendous velocity. Weaver was uninjured but was having flashbacks of the same thing that happened in the same spot some ten years earlier.
Hendrickson was back in front and opened a commanding lead with McGurrin, Mike Clapperton, Ed Strada and Jeff Bronson making up the top five by lap 31. With Hendrickson in front, the attention started to shift to Crawn, who was charging hard from the back of the pack.
Crawn moved into sixth by lap 37 and stayed there for the next eight laps, trying to move past Bronson. Crawn made a daring move to pass both Bronson and Strada to move into fourth. He then moved past Clapperton for third on lap 50. Hendrickson appeared to be in the clear with just two laps to go. Thatís when things got real exciting as the caution flew for Mike Decker. When the green flew for the final time, Crawn quickly raced past McGurrin for second and immediately went to work on Hendrickson for the lead.
Hendrickson was running the high side, which is the groove Crawn used to go to the front. That forced Crawn to the bottom and he dove hard into the third turn on the last lap and the two drivers came out of turn four side by side. Hendrickson mashed the gas and got the better bite off the corner to hold off Crawn for the win.
The young talent ran a flawless race to capture his first career win. He is the tenth different winner in 14 races this year at the Point. Crawn was second ahead of McGurrin, Clapperton and Strada. Sixth through tenth went to Butch Klinger, Bobby Puckett, Paul Jensen, Hamm and Bronson. The win gave Hendrickson a guaranteed starting spot in the Victoria 200 All Star Race at Fulton in October.
James Cornell once again made it look easy in the Street Stock feature. Cornell started on the pole by virtue of the draw and he ran away, leading all 25 laps enroute to the $700 win. It was his 11th win of the season at the Point and earned him a guaranteed starting spot in the Race of Champions Street Stock race in September at Oswego.
Wade Decker finished second ahead of Paul Rooney, Kurt Decker and Dan Pompey. Sixth through tenth went to Gary Roberts, Rick Davis, Jason Rhodes, Jerry Tonti and P.J. Goodwin.
53RD ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH:
RUSS HENDRICKSON JR., Jim Crawn, Tom McGurrin, Mike Clapperton, Ed Strada, Jr., Butch Klinger, Bobby Puckett, Paul Jensen, Bob Hamm, Jeff Bronson, Billy Thornton, Glenn Knapp, Dana Wagner, Brian Corcoran, Mike Decker, Alan Kellogg, J.R. Hurlburt, Brian Weaver, Mike Colsten, George Kostelansky, Dave Rumsey, Dan Vauter, Jim Corcoran, Kirk Horton.
STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH:
JAMES CORNELL, Wade Decker, Paul Rooney, Kurt Decker, Dan Pompey, Gary Roberts, Rick Davis, Jason Rhodes, Jerry Tonti, P.J. Goodwin, Rob Harder, Geoff Powell.