HUMPHREY, NY-Chapel Hill Raceway's hosting of the WKA/Ultramax Racing Chassis Speedway Pavement Series 'Udderly Smooth' Nationals drew more than 400 entries from the US and Canada. Three were double winners on the fast 0.175-mile oval in Humphrey, NY. Posting those wins were Jacob Wilson, of Crawfordsville, IN and Holland, NY based Baker brothers Robert and Wayne.
Wilson captured wins in that Saturday's Crum Communications Briggs Junior Animal and Sunday's Airbag Service Briggs Junior Heavy. A 10.219 seconds qualifying lap at 61.650 mile per hour earned him Junior Animal's pole from where he beat outside pole winner Jesse State by just 0.130 seconds. Wilson blasted into the early lead with third fastest qualifier Zachary Kanizer behind him. Before the second lap was complete Kanizer climbed into the lead with State taking second close behind. Next time around State dove under Kanizer for the lead with Wilson's X-Caliber Racing Engines powered Phantom Nemesis helping him draft to the front. Wilson settled into second for a few laps and then charged to the front as the end neared. At the stripe State and Kanizer were nose-to-tail behind him followed in the top five by Joey Mattis and Jason Shultz.
"The kart got tight and Jesse's kart got tight and I got underneath him," explained the 14-year-old winner. "I want to thank my brother, my mom and dad and Carl Young of X-Caliber Racing Engines for working on my kart all weekend and making it fast."
Sunday Michael Gervais grabbed Junior Heavy's pole with a 10.078 seconds fast lap followed by Wilson who was just 0.009 seconds slower. Gervais led for three laps with Taylor Bonsignore glued to his tailpipe. Then the caution flag waved for the first of three times. Gervais led the restart and Bonsignore dogged him for the next three laps. Then she took it from him. She wouldn't lead a full lap before the caution flag robber her and returned Gervais to the front. She would get back to business when racing resumed, but as she struggled to recapture the front Wilson snuck up and passed her for second pulling a freight train behind him quickly dropping her back to fifth. Wilson was firmly in control when the final caution flag flew, led the restart and finished the mission 0.207 seconds ahead of Mark D'Llario.
"This one here was a tough one," Wilson admitted, "Charlie was real fast and I had Mark D' Llario pushing me the whole time. I couldn't have done it without my brother and my mom and my dad, Carl Young for the motor and helping me work on the kart."
Robert Baker ruled Vickery's Speed Shop Briggs Lite and CKI Briggs Medium besting fields of 28 each time trailed closely by his brother. In Lite it was by 0.451 seconds and in Medium it was by 0.376 seconds. Dana Messier was Lite's fastest qualifier with a blistering 9.796 seconds trip topping out at 64.312 mph. Bob started next to him and Wayne was fourth fastest qualifier.
With the stage set, the green flag unfurled and Messier moved out into a small lead as the Baker boys worked together to draft by him on the third lap. It was theirs from there. They reached the 28-racer field's tail and began threading through it when the first of three caution flags waved on lap eight. Bob lead the restart and next time around his brother stole it from him gaining distance as fellow New Yorker Justin Bonsignore began challenging him for second. At the half way mark caution returned with Bob back in the lead. One lap later the caution flag waved for the final time with Wayne leading. With just three laps left Bob got a nose under his brother and nudged by him for the lead in time to take the final two flags. Just like the previous national. Under the last one they were separated by just 0.451 seconds. Messier made third, Mike Lariccia fourth and Joey Maruca capped the top five.
"My brother was just as fast as I was. He was just a little looser than I was. I was watching him I followed him for a couple of laps and I waited until the second to the last lap and I went for it and it paid off," Baker said. "I'd like to thank Harill Wiggins for the great Phenom kart from Phantom Racing Chassis, Shorty's Automotive for all the help he does, my mom and dad, Custom Trophy & Signs, Baker Motorsports and everyone that helps me."
According to Wayne, "My kart tightened up a little bit and my brother just jetted around me and got the win. I'll be back tomorrow and hopefully get him. It's happened before, it seems like he's got my number this year. Hopefully it will change in a couple of races."
They finished first and second again in Medium with Bob beating his brother by 0.376 seconds. This time Bob bagged the pole with a 9.786 seconds effort. Wayne started fifth.
Bob pulled into the early lead barely getting his tires heated when the first of three caution flags flew. Bob led the restart. Before he could secure the lead Brian Sullivan stole it from him. Sullivan led through two restarts. Just after green returned for the final time the Bakers drafted by him with Bob again leading the charge and taking the win. Sullivan was followed in the top five by Kerry Parnell and Messier.
"He (Sullivan) was real tough in the beginning and I was jus following him and watching where he was getting looser and where he was making mistakes and about half way through I made my move. I hit the floor and hit my line and that's the way it ended," Baker said after his second win, "I want to thank my mom and my dad for setting up the kart and Shorty's Automotive for the engine. He builds great, great motors, Harrill Wiggins for the chassis, Custom Trophy & Signs, Baker Motorsports and every one that helped us this weekend."
Saturday Wayne scored a solo win in Reno Investments Briggs Limited Medium. On Sunday he had a tougher fight for Horstman Manufacturing Briggs Super Controlled's win. Baker blasted out a 9.555 seconds lap for the pole. Ronald Flaim starting next to him and veteran Matt Ketchlin behind him. Ketchlin captured the early lead, opened a small advantage over Baker, but before the third lap was booked the caution flag flew for the first of two times. Ketchlin led the restart with Baker behind him. In less than a lap Baker was back in charge of the 13-racer field and quickly opening it. By mid race he was threading his way through the field when the second caution flag waved ending his huge advantage. Baker led the restart and took the lead back into traffic on his way to building a 1.220 seconds finish line advantage over Sullivan who took second from Ketchlin. Flaim finished fourth followed by Kevin Smith in fifth.
"I lost the lead early in turn one and lost a couple of laps there, Baker explained. "Fortunately we got a break with the caution and got a chance to came back and win it. Everyone keeps getting faster here every year so there isn't much home track advantage here anymore."
Pavement racers have two more nationals on their 2004 second. Their next stop is Fast Track in Vincennes, IN July 23-25 followed by their season ending Grand Nationals which return them to where it started at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC September 3-5.
By: Bruce C. Walls