Stickley Earnes King of Milford Streets bragging rights.
MILFORD, DE-ZT Racing Engines powered Mike Wilson Kart pilot Bob Stickley, of Baltimore, MD bagged a pair of 2-cycle wins on the streets of Milford, DE during the 10th Annual PNC Bank sponsored Milford Street Race Presented by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford October 19-20. Stickley was the only driver of the record 170-entrees from the US and Canada who earned more than a single win.
This year's race marked the event's return to its origin, the streets of downtown Milford. The annual event began in the 1970's, but due to dropping participation ended in the 1980's. Nine year's ago it was revived by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford with the combined efforts of Chestertown (now Nicholson) and Sandy Hook Speedways and raced in a parking lot. This year the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford organized the event and brought it back to the streets.
The annual Milford Street Race is a unique karting venue offering both two and four cycle road course karters a chance to compete on a 1/2-mile course laid out through the town. Feature winners received an Eagle trophy and contingency prizes from RLV Tuned Exhaust, Go-Racing Magazine, Briggs & Stratton, Garland Racing Engines, Shifter Kart Illustrated and Morgan Fuels.
Highlighting the event were the Rodney J. Harrington Memorial Pro Race for 4-cycle competitors that paid $500 to win plus contingency awards and new this year a 125cc Shifter class that had the largest number of entrees battling down Walnut Street at over 80-miles per hour to the amazement of spectators lining the streets.
Racers practiced that Saturday morning and competed in heat races that afternoon setting the stage for Sunday's feature races. On Sunday Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner gave feature drivers the command to start their engines and led the first class Bayhealth Medical Center Briggs Stock Lite's parade lap in her Plymouth Prowler driven by her son Tim.
"This is always a lot of fun," Governor Minner said during the opening ceremony. "This is a good family sport, my sons have raced karts and we have five karts at home. I want to wish all of you good luck; I know you can't all be race winners, but you are winners because you participated here today", the Governor added.
Stickley swept both the heats and features in Kent and Sussex Auto Care Comer 125 Senior Lite and City of Milford sponsored Comer 125 Senior Heavy. Stickley battled his way from mid-pack in the Comer 125 Senior Lite heat and beat Sean Noonon to the stripe for the feature's pole from where he led the 10-racer field flawlessly with Mark Thompson trailing.
"The Mike Wilson Kart handled real good on this course and the ZT Racing Engine pulled strong the whole race, actually I could have done it with a slower motor," Stickley said after his first feature win.
Taking the remaining top five behind Thompson were Tim Shannon, Dan Hughes and Tim Palmater.
Comer 125 Senior Heavy was a repeat of Stickley's earlier performance in Lite. He battled his way to the lead in the heat race and then backed it up Sunday with a wire-to-wire run in the feature that ended with Jared O'Kerson close behind.
"It wasn't easy," Stickley admitted after his second feature win. "I had to be patient and run smooth laps because Jared (O'Kerson) was back there working me the whole time."
This time Thompson took third and was followed in the top five of 10 by Palmatier and Hughes.
Rat Powered Wall, NJ racer Jace Reynolds ruled the Rodney J. Harrington Memorial Pro Race's heat and feature. Salisbury, MD based Chip Disharoon dominated the 16-racer field in the heat race's early laps from the pole with Reynolds threatening from behind. Reynolds took the lead at mid-race and beat Rowan Pennink to the finish.
"This was a good maiden race for this new Shadow kart," Reynolds explained. "I just drafted into second and laid there until my tires came in and then got the lead. "I want to thank my crew for all of their work this weekend."
Coyote factory pilot Matt Ploor finished third, Disharoon followed in fourth and Joe Bodenshatz rounded out the top five.
Reynolds and Pennink made up the Pro Race's front row. "Who ever wins here today will have to have a lot of luck and the cool weather in not in our favor," Reynolds said on the grid before the race.
The first lap was only half way complete when the leaders piled up in the first hairpin turn at the head of Pearl Alley. Jason Lavere was quickly jumped into the lead on the restart and held it around twice before surrendering it to Reynolds who tightened his grip on the field with every lap. Lavere held on to second across the stripe followed by Gold Cup standouts Eric Garland, Justin Gumley and Kevin Morris.
"The Shadow kart got steadily faster as the tires came in and the Rat Power motor was pulling strong," Reynolds said. "We worked hard and were prepared and everything went well for us, there were some really good drivers in this race. I want to thank G-Man Kart Works, Shadow Racing Chassis and my crew for all of their support and help in winning this race."
Laurel, MD based CRG kart pilots Paul and Fernando Rodrigues ruled the i.g. Burton 125cc Shifter heat and feature. That Saturday Fernando was first across the heat race's finish line followed by Luis Couto, John Fitzpatrick Gunnar Vendersteur and Jack Couto for the top five of 18.
"The course here is very nice. The kart and motor were both good today and I just saw a opportunity to get by Couto and Fitzpatrick in the third turn on the last lap and went by them," Fernando described.
Shifter racers started their heat race from a rolling start and then on Sunday flagman Opie Lawson lined them up on the north side of Walnut Street and gave them the green flag from a dead start. From the outside pole Vendersteur roared into the initial lead with Fernando Rodrigues in hot pursuit. Rodrigues got a piece of the lead in the final laps, but surrendered it to his brother as he slipped to third. Vandersteur recaptured second at the end but couldn't catch Rodrigues before they crossed the stripe. Lee Vicente and Jack Couto claimed fourth and fifth.
"That was a lot of fun. I love the course here and the 1/2-mile length is very good," Paul said after posting the win. "We were all pretty equal and the only advantage I had was driving smooth."
Five Direct Drive racers competed on the course with the 125cc Shifter class. Mike Tancredi was first across the finish line in that class followed by Thomas Chrisman, Sean Christio, William Jones and Lou Cireoni.
Lavere was first under Bayhealth Medical Center Stock Lite's checkered flag in the heat race, but he lost his exhaust pipe and was forced to surrender the win and starting advantage to Wilmington, DE based EBS Racing Engines powered Coyote kart pilot Schuyler Heiser. Heiser hustled into the feature's early lead while Lavere fought his way from the back of the pack to the lead in time to take the win over David Harding.
"The kart was a little off, but still good enough to be competitive and at least the exhaust pipe stayed on this time," Lavere laughed. "I want to thank Chris Mason of Robinson Speed Shop for building me a real strong motor for this race and I want to thank Travis Firing for coming up here from Charlotte, NC to crew for me this weekend and I also have to thank Bryan Bradford for coming here and helping work on the kart too."
Completing the five-racer field behind Harding were James Postick, Heiser and Brad Huffman.
Silver Spring, MD based Alexander Built Racing Engines powered Bandit kart pilot Jesse Morrison battled his way from a fifth place feature start in Discover Bank Briggs Junior Stock to third with three laps remaining. While race leaders Walter Myers and John Macklin, Jr. were battling through turn four they traded a little paint spinning both and as that unfolded Morrison seized the moment and took charge of the eight-racer field from where he led them across the finish line.
"It was a lot of fun, but I didn't think I'd win when I was back there in third," admitted the 13-year-old winner. "The kart handled good, but I didn't have much for brakes at the end, but the motor was pulling strong. I want to thank everybody on my crew that helped me get here especially William Morrison and my coach Stevie Johnson."
Trailing Macklin, Jr. in the top five were Matt Ames, Stephen Jorda and heat race winner Walter Myers.
Tom Fash, of Silver Spring, MD, topped Wal-Mart Briggs Stock 5HP 35+'s 13- racer feature field. Heat race winner Paul Quattro, also of Silver Spring, MD, grabbed the feature's initial lead as Fash, who was last year's winner, worked his way past outside pole winner Robert Mitchell and set his sites on the leader. Next time around Fash's SuperTech Racing Engines powered Bandit kart slipped into the lead. Fash opened a comfortable lead by mid race, but Toni Alexander, who took second from Mitchell, was closing fast.
"There's nothing better than winning at Milford and this is the second time I've done it," Fash beamed. "I've got to give a big thanks to Justin Gumley he setup the kart perfect to win this race. They gave me a good run but the SuperTech motor and Bandit kart worked good and that's what got us here again."
Trailing Mitchell in the top five were Bowie, MD based Coyote factory pilot Dave Ploor and Quattro.
Coyote factory pilot Matt Ploor, of Bowie, MD, posted Embroidery & Screen Masters Briggs Stock Medium's heat race win and shared the feature's front row with Huntington Valley, PA based Rowan Pennink who shot into the early lead and fought of challenges from Dustin Morris down to the finish.
"It was a real good race," said the 17-year-old feature winner. "The Invader Kart hooked up and the Garland Racing Engines motor ran real good too. I want to thank Eric Garland for a great motor and the Pennink family for all of their support."
Brad Huffman, Nick Sapp and William Stairiker filled the remaining top five of 15.
Shoemakersville, PA pilot Kevin Mauger notched his first road course win that weekend. The 10-year-old Speed Sport Association Racing Engines powered Ultramax Blaze kart driver broke into the early lead as he, heat race winner Scottie Hilman and Zachary Taylor entered the first turn three wide. Before the first lap was booked the caution flag waved forcing a complete restart. This time pole winner Hilman, of Reading, PA, hustled into the initial lead. Hilman's Less Engineering powered Coyote kart commanded the six-racer field almost to the finish, but Mauger nipped him in the chicane on the last lap and took the checkered flag.
"We went two-wide and he (Hilman) hit a hay bale and spun and I just kept going," Mauger described. "The motor ran strong and the Ultramax kart was the best it's ever been."
Zachary Taylor took second; Hilman gathered his kart back for a third place finish followed by Nick Errera and Zachary Doshaies in fourth and fifth.
Advanced Racing Engines powered Coyote kart pilot Nathan Russell, of Curwensville, PA fought off hard charging Glen Bernie, MD based Coyote Products factory shoe Steven Axtell on his way to winning Holiday Inn Express Briggs Junior Sportsman-2. Axtell won the heat race earning him the feature's pole. Russell, who finished second in the heat, started next to him and from there hustled into the early lead. Axtell was glued to Russell's tailpipe from start to finish.
"It was hard, he (Axtell) was on me the whole way," said the 11-year-old winner. "I ducked under a lapped kart and that helped me for a little while. I want to thank Paul Harraka for setting the kart up perfect and Andy Van Cleef for the motor it was very strong."
Tyler Nichols was third across the stripe followed by Jason Tauber and Brook Delss.
Milford native Matt Jester piloted his Grottos Pizza/Action Race Photos backed Coyote kart to victory in Milford Chronicle Briggs Limited Modified's heat and features in front of the home crowd. The early going in both were heated battles between Jester and fellow Milford native Lavere, but each time mechanical troubles forced Lavere to drop into the pack.
"It was just follow the leader until you got the momentum to pass," Jester said after winning the heat race. "The Coyote kart was good it just took a little time for the tires to come in and Huffy's R&R Racing Technology motor had tons of power. I want to thank the people that sponsored me G- Man Kart Works, Action Race Photos, Coyote Products, Sand Dollar Trafficking, Grottos Pizza, R&R Racing Technology and Smith Concrete."
Sunday's feature race had Jester and Lavere sharing the front row and when the 13-racer field got the initial green flag they began a heated battle for the lead that ended when Lavere's machine developed mechanical problems as they took the lead into lapped traffic. When Lavere left the contest Jester kept the throttle down and built a very comfortable lead over Heiser at the stripe.
"That was a great race in the beginning," Jester described. "The kart was running good, the tires were sticking and the motor was pulling."
Rounding out the top five were David Dill, Billy Cullingsworth and Matt Ellingsworth.
Also out on the track with the Limited Modifieds were three Briggs Controlled Stock races lead across the finish line by Mark Paskey. Taking the other two positions were Andrew Miller and Charles Dill.
Clariant Briggs Stock Heavy was the second largest field with 16-entrees. Manasquan, NJ based Coyote kart pilot Joe Bodenschatz was first across the heat race's finish line with his engine builder Eric Garland close behind.
"The kart was great at the start. Eric was third and then he came up to second and I think he was playing with me for tomorrow at the end," Bodenschatz said. "This is a good track I like racing here."
As Bodenschatz predicted Garland proved the driver to beat in the feature. When the green flag dropped Garland grabbed the early lead and held it to the finish with Bodenschatz behind him the whole race.
"We got the Genesis kart setup good and it should work good in the Pro Race," said the Washington, NJ based winner. "
Local micro sprint driver Jeremy Lynch was third across the stripe followed by Dennis Neel and James McKinney for the top five.
Quick thinking and being at the right place at the right time turned a possible third place finish in to a feature win for Steven Jorda in East Coast Signs Briggs Restricted Junior.
Bobby Black bagged the heat race win over Jorda and took the feature's early lead with Jessie Morrison threatening to take it from him. With just three laps remaining Josh Millman moved into the lead with Black and Jorda behind him. Millman was first under the white flag, but as the leaders battled into the final turn heading for the checkered flag waving ahead they got together and crashed out opening the door for Jorda to pilot his Zanderbuilt Racing Engines powered Bandit kart past them for the win.
"It was luck. I was right behind them and thought I'd get third," said the 14-year-old West Minister, MD based winner. "It really helped that the Bandit kart was handling good and the motor was excellent."
Rounding out the top five of seven behind Black were Matt Ames, Millman and Kevin O'Neal.
Upper South Hampton, PA based ZT Racing Engines powered Top kart pilot Vinnie Dinora fought his way from an eighth place start to the front of Midway Services, Inc. 100cc Piston Port Senior's 11-racer field in time to take the win over Harold Lavere. Heat racer winner Brent Ely hustled into the initial lead as Dinora flew through the field on his way to the front. As Dinora moved into third Ely and Harold Lavere got together and spun out giving Dinora the lead, which he held to the finish. Lavere and Ely got right back into the fray and finished second and third.
"I was surprised that they spun out in front of me," admitted the 20-year- old JC/RC Hobbies sponsored winner, "but the Top Kart handled great and Bob's motor was very fast."
Taking fourth and fifth were Tom Chance and Steve Minken.
Falls Church, VA CRG kart pilot Fernando Angulo took Delaware River & Bay Authority Comer 125 Junior's checkered flag over Julian Vandersteur. "I just drove hard and learned to pass on this track," said the 8-year-old winner.
Next year's Milford Street Race is tentatively scheduled for October 4-5, 2003.