KUTZTOWN, PA – It’s a good bet that Tim Buckwalter is not looking forward to the end of the 2016 racing season.
That’s because the Douglassville, PA wheel-twister is having an incredible year in both the USAC All Pro SpeedSTR and Hyper Racing 600 Sprint divisions at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds.
It’s also fair to say that things may be a bit tense between Tim and cousin Steve at the next Buckwalter family reunion.
Tim Buckwalter captured his second consecutive SpeedSTR victory at Action Track USA on Wednesday night, giving him a total of three for the season. He’s also wracked up a division leading four triumphs in the 600 Sprint class. And he’s also been a winner – on multiple occasions – in both SpeedSTRs and 600 Sprints at Linda’s Speedway in Jonestown, PA.
But Buckwalter did not register the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint victory on Wednesday night; that honor went to Eddie Strada of Lake Ariel, PA, who started 26th and took the lead coming off the final corner to nip Billy Pauch Jr. for the win.
The NAPA Dutch Classic for the All Star Slingshots, a National Tour event, served as Wednesday’s nightcap. When the checkered flag waved to end the Dutch Classic after 30 laps, it was Anthony “Peanut Butter” Raisner pulling into victory lane for the first time this year. It was also the Hellertown, PA driver’s first-ever All Star Slingshot National Tour victory, and it provided a $500 payday for Raisner.
On Wednesday, August 3rd, the Slingshots will once again be featured in a very special race – the annual Kutztown Komet 100. The 100-lap grind is run is dedicated to the memory of the late, great Freddy Adam, the dirt Modified legend who lived in the borough and, throughout his career, was known as “The Kutztown Komet”. The Slingshots will compete in group time trials to determine their starting positions in the Kutztown Komet 100 and every driver who enters will start the race.
Mark Sensenig won the first 100-lapper in 2013, while Brett Bieber, the four-time and defending National Slingshot Champion, has notched the victory in the last two editions of the event.
The USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs and the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints will also be on the August 3rd menu of high speed adventure at Action Track USA.
The SpeedSTR’s final feature of July at Action Track USA was a good one, with Jason Miller carving out an early lead over Briggs Danner. The first 16 circuits went clean and green, with Miller maintaining a slim lead over Danner and Steve Buckwalter dueling with Andy Haus for third. The initial yellow of the race waved when Earl Paules coasted to a stop atop the turn four banking.
Subsequent restarts, needed because of additional incidents that occurred before another lap could be completed, permitted Steve Buckwalter to steer his way by Haus and Danner as his Rita’s Italian Ice No. 56b was perking to perfection in the low groove.
On a restart with 12 laps remaining, Buckwalter gunned his car to the inside of Miller on the backstretch, then took the lead as both cars skated up the banking in turn four. With Miller scrambling to wheel his No. 44 out of the loose stuff, Tim Buckwalter, who started 11th, motored through dense traffic that included Miller and suddenly found himself in the runner-up position.
The final dozen revolutions produced a Buckwalter family fued, with Steve gassing his mount up on the cushion and Tim twisting his No. 17 around the bottom at both ends of the speedway. Steve would get a big run off the corners and pull up to his cousin’s tail tank, but Tim eased back in front by a few car lengths as they raced through the corners.
Heading for the white flag, Steve made a huge run down the back chute. Tim was still letting his car drift up the track after accelerating off the bottom of turn two when Steve got to his right-rear corner. The No. 56b ran out of race track and bicycled down the straightaway with its right side wheels up on the wall. Steve somehow pulled his steed down off the concrete barrier but slowed with heavy front end damage and pulled into the infield as Tim charged under the white flag.
“I never saw him; he wasn’t far enough alongside so that I could see him,” said Tim Buckwalter afterward. “I didn’t squeeze him into the wall on purpose because I had no idea he was out there. Steve’s a tough racer; he would have run me the same way if he was in front.”
Tim Buckwalter crossed the stripe to win his second straight SpeedSTR race at Action Track USA. His fifth career triumph at the speedway propelled Tim to third on the all-time SpeedSTR win list behind co-leaders Billy Pauch and Billy Pauch Jr., who each have nine career wins.
Jason Miller recorded his best ever finish with a runner-up effort, with Matt Janisch, Steve Drevicki, and Haus completing the top five.
The Hyper Racing 600 Sprint main was not only part of the NAPA Dutch Classic, but it became an instant classic due to the intensely competitive racing for the lead and the fact that Eddie Strada came from 26th to win in dramatic fashion.
Most of the 25-lapper was highlighted by a tremendous battle for the top spot between Joey Jarowicz and Joe Kay. With the No. 30 of Jarowicz firmly planted on the high side of the progressive banking and Kay catfishing in the low lane, the two throttle-jockeys waged a terrific battle for the lead.
As the race hit its halfway point, 16th-starter Billy Pauch Jr. maneuvered the LHS Racing Engines No. 91s into third, and he had Strada shadowing him with Tim Buckwalter, who started the race in 11th, also making his presence known in the top five.
With nine to go, Jarowicz jumped the cushion in the fourth turn, giving the lead to Kay and enabling Pauch to move into second place. A few circuits later, Strada slipped into third, where he had a great view of the race for the lead between Kay and Pauch.
As the laps clicked off, Kay stayed on the bottom, forcing Pauch to move up the track in an effort to pass him. Strada lurked close behind in third and Buckwalter, a four-time winner in the 600’s this season, stalked Strada from the fourth position.
With one to go, Pauch made a big run into turn one, attempting to dive under Kay as the leader kept his No. 12 as low as possible to thwart the attack. The two made contact and Kay spun around, bringing out the yellow and ending his fantastic drive.
The ensuing restart gave Strada one more lap to unseat Pauch at the head of the field, and “the Edge” made the most of his opportunity. He gassed Russ Thornton’s No. 36D to the inside of Pauch at the end of the backstretch and, when Pauch bounced off the cushion and twitched in turn four, Strada edged ahead. He won the drag race to the checkered flag for his second 600 Sprint victory of the season at the Berks County oval.
An extremely disappointed Pauch, who took responsibility for Kay’s spin and admitted he “got over the cushion in the last corner”, finished second with T. Buckwalter earning third place cash. Bobby Butler and Jay Hartman ended up fourth and fifth, respectively.
“We’ve had some good finishes this year, but we’ve also struggled at times. We just couldn’t figure out how to get this car to victory lane…until tonight,” smiled Anthony Raisner after his All Star Slingshot victory in the NAPA Dutch Classic National Tour event.
Raisner started on the outside of polesitter Jordan Knepp and immediately took the lead as the race went green. Chris Kurtz, still looking for his first Action Track triumph of the year after winning four times in 2015, charged into the runner-up spot on the opening trip around the clay and began his pursuit of the leader. During a caution period with three laps in the books, however, Kurtz slowed and stopped in turn four with mechanical ills. He was forced to retire from the race.
Seth Spayd throttled into the runner-up position on lap eight, but Raisner was in command of this one and pulled out to a comfortable lead. He deftly navigated his way through heavy lapped traffic in the middle stages of the 30-lap affair, but a yellow flag with two to go gave new life to Spayd.
On the restart, Spayd hung with the leader, keeping his front bumper glued to the rear bumper of Raisner’s No. 35x. Austin Silfee, Cody Kline, and 19th starter Tyler Peet ran third through fifth as Spayd tried to duck under the race leader on the final trip around the oval.
Raisner held on to record the popular victory by 0.222-seconds over Spayd, with Silfee scoring a strong third place effort. Kline wound up fourth and Peet finished fifth with Dylan Hoch, the winner’s car owner, finishing sixth.
Action Track Sidebites…
The NAPA Dutch Classic drew solid fields of cars in each division and a large crowd who caught T-shirts and caps tossed into the stands by NAPA reps and cheered several young Big Wheel racers who competed at intermission.
A significant portion of the crowd was made up of the future Jenny and Alex Elliker of Kutztown, who brought their wedding party and many friends to Wednesday’s event as a pre-wedding racing party. Jenny and Alex, who will be married on Saturday, July 30, also added money to the SpeedSTR and 600 Sprint purses to celebrate their upcoming marriage.
As a result, those two features were named “the Nightmare Nuptials 30” for the SpeedSTRs and “the Nightmare Nuptials 25” for the 600 Sprints. Alex Elliker picked out those names, by the way.
“We live nearby; we walk to the races each week,” said Alex as he and Jenny, along with all of their friends, posed for photos in victory lane at intermission. “We’re here every week; we love it at Action Track USA and we thought, ‘what better way to celebrate our marriage than to have a pre-wedding party’ here at the race track. We’re having a great time!”
The couple and their entourage watched 28 SpeedSTRs, 38 of the 600 Sprints, and 32 Slingshots compete in the NAPA Dutch Classic. That’s 98 racecars in action and the competition was outstanding from start to finish.
The folks from NAPA of Kutztown, Fleetwood, and Hamburg rewarded Slingshot drivers with NAPA gift cards. Jordan Knepp received a $25 gift card for starting on the pole, while Anthony Raisner picked up a pair of the gift cards for being the leader at the halfway mark ($25 gift card) and a $50 card for winning the race (in addition to his $500 first place prize).
The local NAPA store also sponsored the season-long Most Popular Driver Award, named for the late Modified driver Russell “Red” Coffin of nearby Lyons Station, PA.
For a $1.00 donation, fans could vote each week for the 2016 Red Coffin Most Popular Driver at Action Track USA. The donation went to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, an organization that works with Wounded Warriors to support veterans who have been injured in service to our country.
At intermission on Wednesday, this year’s Red Coffin Most Popular Driver was announced, and the award went to All Star Slingshot driver Austin Stufflet of Orefield, PA.
Fans who voted for the Most Popular Driver were also entered into a drawing for a grand prize – a season pass to the 2017 events at Action Track USA. Mark Shaffer’s name was drawn as the winner of the season pass.
Eli Bailey, son of the late Mike Bailey and grandson of Randy and Donna Bailey, won a NAPA Racing prize pack.
The Race Chasing for Fans Facebook Page once again offered cash bonuses to the drivers who finished second in their respective main events on Wednesday, as long as the runners-up cars had a Race Chasing decal on his/her body panels.
In addition to Mike Knappenberger of the Race Chasing for Fans Facebook Page, Chris Frey provided a cash bonus along with Will White and Tristan Gilliland Kunkle.
The SpeedSTR runner-up did not have the proper decal on his car, so that bonus will roll over to next week. Billy Pauch Jr. earned the 600 Sprint bonus and Seth Spayd picked up the Slingshot bonus money.
SpeedSTR driver Andy Haus has had his share of hard luck this season, so he sponsored a No Luck Race Chasing bonus to the driver suffering the worst luck on Wednesday. That bonus went to Steve Buckwalter for his unfortunate climb up the backstretch wall on the final lap of the SpeedSTR main while battling his cousin for the win.
This week, it’s the Kutztown Komet 100 for the All Star Slingshots, along with more jaw-dropping, slide job throwing action by the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints and USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs! So come on out as the 2016 season winds down, and get your Midweek Motorsports Adrenaline Rush at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds!
Warm-ups begin at 6:15 with the first heat race going green at 7 p.m.
For additional news and information, check out www.actiontrackusa.com. The speedway also has a strong presence on social media, like it’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/ActionTrackUSA and on Twitter (@actiontrackusa).
USAC All Pro SpeedSTR Feature, 30 laps: 1.Tim Buckwalter, 2.Jason Miller, 3.Matt Janisch, 4.Steve Drevicki, 5.Andy Haus, 6.Louden Reimert, 7.Jeff Hartman, 8.Frank Yankowski, 9.Mike Bednar, 10.James Morris, 11.Damon Paul, 12.Jay Hartman, 13.Steve Buckwalter, 14.Steve Nederostek, 15.Billy Pauch Jr., 16.Brad Brightbill, 17.Tim Iulg, 18.Briggs Danner, 19.Kenny Brightbill, 20.TJ Mayberry, 21.Billy Pauch, 22.John Bockhorn, 23.Ray Nemeth, 24.Earl Paules, 25.Keith Prutzman, 26.Joe Vaccaro.
DNQ: Joe Mooney, Phil Meisner.
Hyper Racing 600 Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Eddie Strada, 2.Billy Pauch Jr., 3.Tim Buckwalter, 4.Bobby Butler, 5.Jay Hartman, 6.Alex Bright, 7.Brandon Azzalina, 8.Nate Brinker, 9.Jason Swavely, 10.Kyle Spence, 11.Molly Chambers, 12.Sam Kravitsky, 13.Dan Schumaker, 14.Doug Snyder, 15.Robbie Hocker, 16.Tommy Kunsman, 17.Chris Stockham, 18.Mike Meyers, 19.Joey Jarowicz, 20.Joe Kay, 21.Jarid Kunkle, 22.Austin Quick, 23.Jesse Maurer, 24.Jacob Severn, 25.Colin White, 26.Stephen Reynolds, 27.Shelby Harper.
DNQ: Mark Berkenstock, Ronald Helmick, Nate Schumaker, Dan Leaper, Matt Roselli, Dylan Licklider, Taylor Troxel, Mike Linderman, John Vreeland, Don Colaluce, Joe Plunkett.
NAPA Dutch Classic for All Star Slingshots, 30 laps: 1.Anthony Raisner, 2.Seth Spayd, 3.Austin Silfee, 4.Cody Kline, 5.Tyler Peet, 6.Dylan Hoch, 7.Dave Carraghan, 8.Brett Bieber, 9.Joe Toth, 10.Nick Vinciguerra, 11.Alex Yankowski, 12.Dale Kober, 13.Travis Bieber, 14.Dakota Kohler, 15.Taylor Schoenly, 16.Matt Miller (57), 17.Dave Burns, 18.Nick Delcampo, 19.Matt Miller (16m), 20.Lee Schantzenbach, 21.Jordan Knepp, 22.Blaire Schoenly, 23.Joey Vaccaro, 24.Bridget Conti, 25.Austin Stufflet, 26.Chris Kurtz, 27.Jeff Kemp, 28.Henry Anderson.
DNQ: Zac Kistler, Tim Roeder, Ryan Davey, John Arms.
HTMA 600 Sprint Mad Scramble, 8 laps: 1.Stephen Reynolds (Transfer to feature & $25 from Hosensack Poker Club), 2.Joey Jarowicz(Hoosier RR Tire), 3.Robbie Hocker (Vahlco Aluminum Wheel), 4.Nate Brinker (10 Gallons Fuel from RoadRunner/ VP Race Fuel), 5.Nate Schumaker (RTS Gift Certificate), 6.Molly Chambers (TSL Shocks Gift Certificate), 7.John Vreeland (Kreitz Oval Track Parts Gift Certificate), 8.Mike Linderman (Set of FK Rod Ends), 9.Matt Roselli (Saldana Racing Products Gift Certificate), 10.Mike Meyers (Free Car Entry @ Action Track USA), 11.Don Colaluce (Pyrotech Racing Cells Gift Certificate), 12.Joe Plunkett, 13.Dylan Licklider, 14.Mark Berkenstock, 15.Ronald Helmick.