Clear skies greeted the ACDelco Murray's Super Car Series Saturday night at Central PA Speedway for their make-up race originally scheduled May 27. Third-year driver Mike Hennessy, at 20 years, nine months, became the youngest winner in the ...
Clear skies greeted the ACDelco Murray's Super Car Series Saturday night at Central PA Speedway for their make-up race originally scheduled May 27. Third-year driver Mike Hennessy, at 20 years, nine months, became the youngest winner in the fourteen-year history of the traveling series. The previous youngest winner was Lonnie Rush Jr who won in 1987 at 21 years, three days.
Dave Kuhlman drew the pole position and leapt ahead of outside a front row starter, Tim Bainey Jr. Mike Hennessy, Harold Fair Jr, Jimmer Seger, Glenn Gault and Harold Fair Sr dropped Bainey Jr back to seventh by the time the first of nine cautions flew on lap nine for a spin by Greg Taylor.
The first of two red flags flew on lap 39 to clean up water left by the car of Bainey Jr who spun into the fourth turn wall after breaking a radiator hose. Bainey Jr repaired the car and returned to the race for the restart. The red erased a 2/3 of a straightaway lead by Kuhlman.
The second red flag of the race flew four laps later when the cars of Scott Baker and rookie Douglas Ehret tangled in turn one. Baker drove back to the pits amidst a shower of sparks but Ehret wasn't as lucky as his battered car was towed back to the pits. Ehret retired for the remainder of the race with substantial rear clip damage.
Over the next eight lap two cautions flew which kept Kuhlman within the reach rest of the field. A long stretch of green flag laps (between laps 51 and 73) allowed Kuhlman to stretch his lead to a straightaway over Hennessy, Fair Jr and Gault. A caution on lap 73 wiped out Kuhlman's large lead, but when the race resumed the driver of the Right Tools/Zeillers Farm Market/HJ Prime Cuts Monte Carlo left the field in his dust again.
What appeared to be a sure win for Kuhlman came to an abrupt end when the blue and white #24 suddenly lost power on lap 93 with a blown clutch. He coasted to a stop in turn four and was pushed back to the pits, done for the day.
With the demise of the #24 car, the battle tightened between the lead cars of Hennessy, Gault and Fair Jr. The next six laps were thrilling as Gault and Fair Jr battled side-by-side and at the same time tried to get around Hennessy who was the new leader. Hennessy held off the fierce charges of both Gault and Fair Jr to claim his first series victory.
Mike Hennessy came full circle at Central PA Speedway tonight. He won the local late model season opener at the track and finished the track's season by winning the ACDelco Murray's Super Car Series feature. The Chardon, Ohio driver joins Harold Fair Jr and Dave Jackson as a first-time winner in the 2000 Iceman season. The six laps Hennessy led Saturday were the first he had led this year. "I felt sorry for Dave (Kuhlman) when he broke. My car was good, but I felt that Dave was just toying with the field. There was no way I was going to let Glenn pass me low, so I tried to hug the bottom line. Glenn got a run on me, but then he had to battle with Harold. My spotter said they got together but then Glenn made one last run at me but I was able to hold him off. Tonight made up for all the bad luck I've had this year," said the driver of the Shooter's Bar and Grill Monte Carlo.
By finishing ahead of points leader, Harold Fair Jr, Glenn Gault gained one point on him. Glenn is still recovering from sore ribs after crashing at both Winchester and Mansfield within the last couple of weeks. "I had a lot of fun tonight. It was a lot of good hard racing out there even though my carburetor had a stumble in the corners. We put new front and rear clips on the car we crashed so bad at Winchester three weeks ago, and drove it tonight," said the driver of the American Title & Trust/Gault Heating/Tabone's Snow King. ~~ Car owner Larry Zolata's daughter Anita, who handled the stats for the team, recently got married and moved to Texas. Congrats Anita!
Harold Fair Jr said that the tires on his Lefthander Chassis/Phil Harper Motorsports Monte Carlo went away early because he misjudged the stagger. Harold now leads Gault by four points with two races remaining.
Local drivers Tracy Potter, Mike Walls, Jimmer Seger, Dave Houpt, Jeremiah Kuntz, John Houser, Tim Bainey Jr and Barry DeSalve Jr made appearances tonight with the series regulars. ~~ Potter had hoped to run the full AMSCS season but because of business commitments he had to curtail his efforts. Tracy started 16th and finished seventh. ~~ Walls and Jim Baker shared the Penske Hard Charger award by moving up 11 positions and finishing eighth and ninth respectively. ~~ Seger lost a lap in the pits while repairing the seating of the right front spring. ~~ Teammates Dave Houpt and Jeremiah Kuntz, finished 11th and 17th. Kuntz drove the same car in the local LLM program tonight. ~~ Houser finished 19th after dropping out with mechanical problems after 49 laps. ~~ Bainey Jr finished 20th after blowing a head gasket on lap 48. ~~ Two time track champion Barry DeSalve Jr experienced engine problems in hot laps and was unable to compete.
Jason Mignogna was fourth tonight, tying his career best finish. The Greensburg, Pa. driver said, "My car was a little tight tonight. It started going away about the half way point. I think it's my best finish of the year."
Harold Fair Sr made his third appearance of the season starting next to his son, Harold Jr in the third row. Harold Sr ran as high as fifth before experiencing fuel pump problems. "I really like this track, it was a lot of fun," he said.
Dave Kuhlman is the "Terry Labonte" of the ACDelco Murray's Super Car Series. Kuhlman has raced in 109 consecutive races, and a series record of 121 total races. A failed clutch kept the Howell, Mich. driver from an apparent 17th career win.
ROOKIE CORNER: Ted Johnson was again the top rookie, finishing sixth. It was the fourth time this season that the Birch Run, Mich. driver has been the top rookie finisher. "We were extremely tight today. We lost the power steering about 10 laps from the finish. Otherwise it was a good race." said the driver of the Birch Run Machinery/Teamtech Motorsports/Greg Doerr's Automotive Monte Carlo. ~~ Aaron Hulings drove a steady race and finished 12th. Hulings currently is tied with defending series champion Scott Baker for third in overall points. The first year driver leads Johnson in the Rookie of the Year standings by 23 points with two races remaining. ~~ Douglas Ehret was running in seventh when he and Scott Baker tangled on lap 39. "Hopefully we can have the rear clip fixed by the last race of the season on Sept. 30 at Mansfield." ~~ Joel Kauffman, who will run for Rookie of the Year in 2001, finished 14th (which is also his age).