Ellerman, Criswell and Womer Win Path Valley Sprints Spring Run, PA_ Four-time defending PA 305 Sprints champion Scott Ellerman of Landisburg showed his best form and skill as he started third, survived three starts, and led every lap scored in...
Ellerman, Criswell and Womer Win Path Valley Sprints
Spring Run, PA_ Four-time defending PA 305 Sprints champion Scott Ellerman of Landisburg showed his best form and skill as he started third, survived three starts, and led every lap scored in the full size PA 305 Sprints Friday night at the Path Valley Speedway Park's annual Auto Locator Race Night.
The other five feature winners also collecting Auto Locator winners' bonuses were Colby Womer of Mt. Pleasant in 270 Sprints, Chad Criswell of Martinsburg WV in 600 Sprints, Mike Hay of Somerset in Dwarf Cars, Joe Hawbaker of Mercersburg in the 4-Cylinder Thunder Cars, and Kevin Thomas of St. Thomas in the Mini Stocks. Auto Locator also provided trophies and hats for the winners and a plentitude of door prizes for the fans.
Next Friday, July 16, is Fan Appreciation Night at Path Valley with $2 off the regular $7 grandstand admission. Featured in the two-week rotation will be the V-8 Street Stocks and the INEX national championship producing Central PA Legends Cars.
Next Saturday, July 17, Path Valley hosts the return of AMA Region Six motorcycle and four-wheeler racing with free grandstand admission and the return of the top amateur racer in the nation. At the grand nationals in Springfield IL, John Lewis V won in the top three premiere class features and the Horizon Award for the most promising amateur American racer of the year. Lewis is the son of John Lewis IV and Penny of Brandamore and he also won three classes in the Northeast Amateur Nationals at Path Valley over the Memorial Day weekend.
Like every other class, the 305 Sprints started with a caution when the 33T of Todd Spangler spun sideways from the front row coming out of turn four and collected seven sprints in a big heap. Eliminated were Bob Gutshall, Cody Schmiedel, Greg Hammaker and Joey Hershey. After the track was cleared, only one caution slowed the action as Ellerman showed his mastery of the steeply banked smooth clay.
"Winning is all in good sponsors like I've got and a great crew," Ellerman said in victory lane. "(Crew chief) John Zeigler and these guys are great. I tell them what the car is doing, and they make it work every week," he said after thanking every sponsor by name. The front five finishers were Ellerman, Mike Freet, Don Slack, Brent Comp and Gary Heckman and Frank Reisinger and Greg Hammaker won the heats. The PA 305 Sprints return to Path Valley, in regular rotation, in two weeks.
From his pole starting spot Zack Zook spun sideways coming out of turn four to kick off the 270 sprints feature. Colby Womer took the lead on the restart and barely stayed ahead of Craig Myers through 18 laps. On the final lap defending champion Brian Walker managed to get past Myers but didn't have enough race left to catch Womer.
Womer is currently the national championship Valvoline Cup points leader in micro sprints, with Path Valley racers Jim Brookens, Jim Young, and Sean Good close behind in the top four spots. Womer said in victory lane that he got there by running a lot of races with great support from his car owners and Demon Chassis. "We've run 60 races so far this season in 600 and 270 sprints, and Path Valley has great competition. I was just lucky to move to the front right away because the track was just tremendous," he said. The front five were Womer, Walker, Myers, Rodney Glass and Tom Tice, and the heat winners were Jim Callahan and Womer.
"Everyone wants to win on the first lap, and they can't do that," said race director John Winsett as the 600 Sprints opened with a bang and bent wings on turn three that included Chris Crull, Jim Fitz, Brian Maccubin, DJ Holland and Dusty Foust. Pole starter Chad Criswell was ahead of the wreckage and raced just ahead of Jimmy Brookens to his second win of the season -- a week later than he hoped. The previous week his father, former super sprints racer Chris Criswell, had raced against him in a borrowed 600.
The dashing trio of Criswell, Brookens and Jim Fitz were into lapped sprints traffic by lap 10 and after a final lap 17 caution for Jim Young and Lyle Stroman, only nine of the full field finished on the lead lap. "I finished bridesmaid to Jimmy for the past two races," Criswell said, "and this win is entirely thanks to the guys at Probe Chassis who helped me with setup. Dad's in Florida and I wish he could be here too." The front five were Criswell, Brookens, Fitz, Mark Hendershot and Rod Schell. Greg Kone won the consi and the heat winners were Stroman, Fitz, and Brookens.
The first lap jinx held true in the stock car classes, but when Jeremy Ott spun crosswise in front of the Mini Stock field on lap one out of turn four, the damage was minimal. Kevin Thomas promptly took the lead on the restart but gave up the lead to Jerry Bard on lap 16. Racing wheel-to-wheel Thomas took back the lead in the final two laps for his second win this season. "I love racing wheel to wheel with real drivers like Jerry Bard because they won't deliberately or accidentally spin you out," Thomas said. After thanking his car sponsors, he said the win was thanks to the Kirby Softball team that brought him luck. Thomas added that he and his crew fixed earlier engine problems by putting in an engine that week from two years ago. The front five finishers were Thomas, Bard, Tim Burkholder, Gary Dehart and Bob Starr and Dehart won the single heat race.
When Tracy Linn spun sideways in the pole spot to start the Thunder Cars feature, no one hit him.
Melvin Bigler took the lead on the restart with Joe Hawbaker right behind and when Bigler spun to the inside coming out of turn four on lap 17, he got his spot back because he caution was already out of Linn who spun in turn two. Hawbaker put so much pressure on Bigler, racing side by side with him in the final four laps, that Bigler again spun coming out of turn two on the final lap. The final one lap shootout went to Hawbaker with Tony Weller, John Rasp, Terry Smith and Lyle Barnes filling in the front five. Smith and Barnes won the heats.
The Dwarf Cars smashed up in turn four of the first lap when Frankie Dunkle went sideways and from fourth and took out his dad, Frank Dunkle, along with Gary Funck and Eddie Benedict. Mike Hay took command on the restart and led every lap non-stop, as his own dad Eric raced wheel to wheel at times with neighbor Lynn Knepper. At the finish the front five were Mike Hay, Knepper, Eric Hay, Jerry Cushing and Tom Showman. In victory lane Hay said he had been away racing in national events recently and the smooth Path Valley clay "is as fast as any track, anywhere, because driving counts more here than a big expensive motor."
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 is 717-349-7111. For information on the 2004 schedule and rules, race teams and fans can consult our website at www.pathvalley.com or they can email Two Wheel Promotions at email@example.com.
4-Cyl Thunder Cars -- Joe Hawbaker (started 8), Tony Weller, John Rasp, Terry Smith, Lyle Barnes, Ricky Rosenberry, Jeff Christy, Tracy Linn, Tim Varner, Melvin Bigler, Rocky Payne, Wes Scofield, Richard Cline, Ken Lawrence Jr., DNS Chuck Ingram. Heats to Smith, Barnes.
Dwarf Cars -- Mike Hay (2), Lynn Knepper, Eric Hay, Jerry Cushing, Tom Showman, Sam Riggleman, Josh Sigman, Frank Dunkle, Frankie Dunkle, Eddie Benedict, Gary Funck. Heats to Knepper, Hay.
PA 305 Sprints -- Scott Ellerman (3), Mike Freet, Don Slack, Brent Comp, Gary Heckman, Mike Wagner II, Frankie Reisinger, Todd Spangler, Joey Hershey, Greg Hammaker, Cody Schmiedel, Bob Gutshall. Heats to Reisinger, Hammaker.
600 Sprints -- Chad Criswell (1), Jim Brookens, Richie Fitz, Mark Hendershot, Roc Schell, Aaron Eichelberger, Donnie Hendershot, Brian Walker, Tim Travis, Jim Young, Lyle Stroman, Jason Pisani, Justin Frontz, Jordon Frontz, Rich Latchaw, Adam Dimm, Doug Dodson, Greg Kone, Dan Kanagy, Dusty Foust, DJ Holland, Brian Maccubin, Jim Fitz, Chris Crull. Heats to Stroman, Fitz, Brookens; consi to Kone.
Mini Stock -- Kevin Thomas (3), Jerry Bard, Tim Burkholder, Gary Dehart, Bob Starr, Jeremy Ott, Tim Bumbaugh, Kyle Wiser. Heat to Dehart
270 Sprints -- Colby Womer (5), Brian Walker, Craig Myers, Rodney Glass, Tom Tice, Adam Romig, Aaron Lynch, Ryan Wilson, Earl Hoon Jr., Amanda Schlegal, Carl Paige, Jeff Black, Bill Simco, Tony Jackson, Chad Myers, Jim Callahan, Nicole Bittner, Greg Robinson II, Josh Dressler, Zack Zook. Heats to Callahan, Womer.