Path Valley race report 2002-07-05

Gramley leads non-stop among new Path Valley winners. Spring Run, PA_ Nathan Gramley of Lewistown raced the best of his life Friday night at the Path Valley Speedway as he led the PA 305 Sprints non-stop start to checkers. Gramley, Scotty Smith...

Gramley leads non-stop among new Path Valley winners.

Spring Run, PA_ Nathan Gramley of Lewistown raced the best of his life Friday night at the Path Valley Speedway as he led the PA 305 Sprints non-stop start to checkers. Gramley, Scotty Smith of New Castle DE in the 600 Sprints, Jeff Furlong of Selinsgrove in the 270 Sprints and Mike Rosenberry of Willow Hill in the four-cylinder thunder cars all won for the first time this season.

Veterans in the winners circle were Weston Alleman of Newburg for the fourth time in V-8 street stocks and Ray Swank of Harrisburg marking his second Legends Cars win.

The Friday night racing opened on a somber note with the request for prayers and cards for two laid-up officials. Race Director John Winsett Jr. was severely injured July 4 in a motorcycle racing accident at Frederick MD and is in grave condition in a Baltimore Head Trauma unit with skull and spinal injuries. Cards can be sent to: John Winsett Jr. PO Box 407 Bainbridge PA 17502.

Announcer Bob Johnson returned to his Altoona home Friday after removal of a previously transplanted kidney Monday. Wife Sharon says he hopes to be back at the track in a week or two but in the meantime friends can send notes and cards to his Altoona home: Bob Johnson, 1909 14th Avenue Altoona PA 16601.

Next weekend sees two full nights of racing at Path Valley with the mini stocks returning from their regularly scheduled night off for the Friday sprint, stock car, Legends and Dwarf cars show and then a Junk Car race with the Vintage Car Club and the Dwarf cars on Saturday night. Gates open at 5 p.m. for both evening races and at 10 a.m. for the Saturday karts and quads race.

The full size V-8 economy 305 PA Sprints stole the show Friday night as Nathan Gramley took off from the pole and pulled away from Rod Ort in the early laps. Gramley was lapping the rearmost cars by lap nine and in lap 14 got a thrill when overtaking former national kart champion Chris Meleason. As Meleason came out of turn two his #8m spun a complete 360-degree circle just in front of Gramley and kept going.

"That set me back a lapped car or two. Was I ever surprised," Gramley said, "but he handled it very well and never stopped to bring out the yellow." At the finish Gramley had lapped seven in the 18-sprint field. Ryan Lynn came from fifth to pass Ort for second on lap 16 but finished among the cars Gramley had already lapped. Todd Lynn and Joe Davis completed the top five. Davis and Ryan Lynn won the heats.

Scotty Smith of New Castle said his truck broke down on his way to a big money race in Indiana, and since he was in the neighborhood he had to bring his Stallard factory 600 sprint to test the Path Valley banks. "This is a real class act under the new owners, and the track is as good as any track anywhere," he said from the winners circle. Smith started fourth and took the lead from Mark Hendershot on lap nine. Terry Peters threatened to overtake him until Peters broke a chain, and Donnie Hendershot and Jim Brookens put the heat on the Stallard car in the last laps but the top five were Smith, Donnie Hendershot, Brookens, Chris Arnold and Jim Young. Jim Callahan and Jim Young won the heat races.

In the 270 sprints Jeff Furlong chased Todd Steffy through the first half and then held off Dave Socks, Keith Woodson, Randy Morral and Butch Harrington through several late race restarts for his first win of the season. "I wish I had been here all season," said the two-time champion and current Greenwood points leader, "the track and the competition is just awesome." Ray Myers came from fifth to win the 14-car consi. The heat winners in 270 sprints were Furlong, Harrington, Chad Myers and Shelby Rowles.

Ray Swank took over the Legends lead on lap two when Brian Levan spun and then rookie Austin Kirby took the lead in lap six. On lap ten the youngster went wide enough in turn four that Swank took the lead back with a dive to the inside groove. Donnie Potts and Larry Garrison swapped second back and forth through the mid-race and at the finish the top five were Swank, Potts, Garrison, Tim Henry and Randy Fetterolf. Levan, Kirby and Kip Erb won the heats.

The four-cylinder thunder cars opened the features with first lap spins and crunchers and Rosenberry led every lap from the single file third start. Keith Armolt took second as Brenda McCartney slowed in lap 13 and left the track and Melvin Bigler, Mike Beidel and Derrick Casner filled out the front five. McCartney, Rosenberry and John Rasp won the heats.

Weston Alleman passed Randy Patterson on lap six of the V-8 street stock feature and ran away to win by half the track. The front five were Alleman, Patterson, Tony Stoneberger, Doug Hoffman and Wayne Hawbaker and the heats went to Patterson and Hawbaker.

The Path Valley Speedway Park is located in Spring Run PA a mile north on PA Route 641 from the intersection with PA Route 75, halfway between Port Royal and Hagerstown. It is five miles east from the Willow Hill Exit 14 of the PA Turnpike. The new phone number at the track for promoter Ken Geesey is 717-349-7111.

For information on the 2002 schedule and track, race teams and fans can consult the website at www.pathvalley.com.

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Series Sprint , Stock car