Hesston Speeday season opener report

Hesston Speedway opener forecasts fabulous season. Hesston, PA -- In spite of the ominous weather Saturday a mix of young and veteran winners thrilled an enthusiastic crowd as Hesston Speedway opened with a no-points race for all five ...

Hesston Speedway opener forecasts fabulous season.

Hesston, PA -- In spite of the ominous weather Saturday a mix of young and veteran winners thrilled an enthusiastic crowd as Hesston Speedway opened with a no-points race for all five divisions.

Young hotshoes Darin Hoover of Huntingdon in the Grubb Lumber V-8 Street Stocks and Kevin Brown of Bedford in the V-8 Chet Groves Cars Unlimited Hobby Stocks won close features.

Veteran crowd pleasers Rick Singleton of Hesston in the Shellbrook Stables Limited Late Models and Rick Bookwalter of Mapleton in the Goshorn Racing Supply Four-Cylinder Pure Stocks led most or all the laps in their features. Roger Fickett of Mechanicsburg led all the way in the Hesston Speedway PA 305 Sprints feature that was marred by two hair-raising crashes.

The regular season points racing toward the season championships begins next Saturday, April 27, for the limited lates, hobby stocks, street stocks and pure stocks, and the points for the bi-weekly PA 305 Sprints begins May 4. The first points race is the Goshorn Racing Supply Trophy Night sponsored by tire, fuel, parts and advice guru John Goshorn.

Said co-promoter Butch Grubb, "Everything went well with lots of cars and a very good crowd considering the weather. The quality of the drivers and the exciting first races is a forecast for a fabulous season."

Complimented repeatedly on the smooth, soft racing surface, Grubb modestly said, "Mother Nature's rain last week packed it firm and Mike and his crew worked hard!"

The 305 Sprints opened the night with a flying flip off turn one in the third heat race that sent driver Joe Zap of Hollidaysburg searching for another wing. "I thought I would just slide into the runout field, and all of a sudden the right rear dug in and I was flying upside down," he said. Then during the feature the brakes dropped off on Zap's #33 with a new wing from Jeff Taylor and he drove head-on under power into the outside wall off turn four. "I was belted in tight and more shocked than hurt," he admitted.

The biggest crash of the night was in lap two of the feature when Chris Meleason made contact with Tim Bilger's #1B and Bilger went airborne. The Mt. Union area driver was uninjured but his car was destroyed and he said he guessed he was done for the season. That wreck also collected Jeff Taylor and Todd Lynn.

Roger Fickett started on the outside the front row and led every lap through several cautions and the two red-flag wrecks for his first win at Hesston and third of his 305 Sprints career. Jim Lender of Osceola Mills worked ahead from ninth to get scored second after Rod Peters weighed in light, one of several cars that did not make weight.

Rounding out the front five were defending Hesston champion Vince Snyder and defending Path Valley champion Scott Ellerman who ran their own hard race swapping positions several times and Ryan Lynn in fifth. Joe Davis, Fickett and Jim Roush won the heats.

Rick Singleton drove Mike Bolden's #Bold1 to its firs win ever in the limited late feature as Tim Smith, Waylon Wagner and Bill Henney fought it out for second. Henney came from second to pass Wagner on the last lap and then Wagner weighed light at the scales, setting the top five lineup as Singleton, Henney, Steve Bailor who started seventh, Smith and Jim Parsons Jr. Singleton and Smith won the heats.

Darin Hoover started fourth in the street stocks and passed Wayne Bunn for the lead on lap four taking an outside line through turn three. After a lap nine restart the race went to the checkers and Terry Benton in second and Bunn right behind pushed Hoover to the finish. Russ Hamer and Tim Brindle were fourth and fifth and Bunn and Benton won the heats.

The four-cylinder pure stocks raced with only on caution and twice Kirk Knable pulled alongside past Hesston champion Bookwalter but "Hollywood Rick" pulled ahead in the last lap out of turn four. The front five were Bookwalter, Knable, Larry Duvall, Barry Hawbaker and Gary Garner who started last. Duvall and Bookwalter won the heats.

The economy V-8 hobby stocks opened their season with 32 cars. Ray Fisher, Kevin Brown, Mike Barto and Gary Morder won the heats and Joe DeArmitt won the ten-car consi. The 24 that qualified raced with only three cautions and Kevin Brown in his #10 Alton Hall Masonry Chevy led every lap. The front five were Brown, Barto, Fred Noll, Tim Snare and past champion Jr. Guyer. The Keith Russell 65K that finished second weighed in light at the scales.

May 4 is the Huston Ford Trophy Night at Hesston with the PA 305 Sprints back in the lineup, and May 11 is the Chet Grove's Cars Unlimited Race Night with a 20-lap feature and 100 'show' points for the hobby stocks.

Gates open every Saturday at 5 p.m. with heat races at 7 p.m. and the last feature starting before the 11 p.m. curfew. Ticket prices for the pits and grandstand are unchanged from last season and a few reserved top row grandstand seats remain available. The waiting list is again open for anyone interested in the reserved spots on "The Hill" drive-in tailgating section.

The Hesston Speedway is located just north of Route 26 opposite to the Seven Points access to Lake Raystown. It's about five miles south of Route 22 in Huntingdon and 45 miles north on Routes 30W and 26 from the Breezewood Exit 12 of the PA Turnpike. For information call the track at 814-658-2823.

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Series Sprint , Stock car