Spring Run, PA_ "It was cabin fever, and I hope they got it out of their system," Flagman Steve Murphy said of three thrilling flips and rolls that punctuated the opening races for the Saturday night Strictly Stock cars at the Path Valley Speedway...
Spring Run, PA_ "It was cabin fever, and I hope they got it out of their system," Flagman Steve Murphy said of three thrilling flips and rolls that punctuated the opening races for the Saturday night Strictly Stock cars at the Path Valley Speedway Park.
Two different low-budget V-8 cars and another in the four-cylinders knocked the number tabs off their roofs in clashes with other cars as the amateur drivers staged exciting features that brought the howling fans to their feet.
Eventual winners were Ralph Dishong of Hustontown in V-8, Todd Price of Everett in 6-Cylinder, and Mark Campbell of Blairs Mills in 4-Cylinders. The Cyclones win went to young Robbie Kendall of Baltimore. Only Price had previously won at Path Valley.
The most dramatic mayhem began on lap 14 of the V-8 feature when Derrick Hinish in his #12 made contact with at least two other cars and flipped end for end and rolled through turn three. Then in the final V-8 lap David Reaugh flipped his #51 in almost the same place after, he said, a brake froze. Seven of 17 starters finished in the 6-Cylinder main, and then in the first lap of the 4-Cylinder feature Donald Houp became a sandwich spread between other cars going into turn one and flipped into the infield.
The Lack-Tuscarora Ambulance medics that stand by at every race checked all of the victims, and none required hospital transportation.
Eager teams began lining up at the Path Valley pit gates at 3 p.m. for the 5 p.m. opening and 54 entries, some with the paint still wet and the welds hot, eventually qualified for the features.
Dishong started on the pole and after the two red flags led every lap but one in his huge Newport with the 360 Mopar engine. Derrick Hinish finished lap 16 in the lead, but Dishong took back the lead coming out of turn two. The front five were Dishong, Tom Brady, Dan Gelwicks, Darryl Pittman and Eugene Naugle. Gelwicks and Jim DeArmitt won the heats.
Carnage in the 6-Cylinders was as common but less dramatic as second-year tarp builder Todd Price of Everett led every lap for the 'Everett Posse' but won by only half a car length ahead of Robert Weist. Andy Krause Jr., Ricky Rosenberry and Josh Walstrum completed the front five and the heat winners were Price and Weist.
The winner of the first Path Valley heat draws a pill to invert from none to ten places and Price was lucky enough to start on the pole. While Weist pulled alongside twice, he couldn't make the smoother outside groove work to complete a pass. "It takes a lot of help and support from my wife and kids," Price said, "and my sponsors to keep me racing."
After the 4-Cylinders started on a red flag for Houp's lap one flip, a second red flag was needed on lap four to remove wrecked cars in turn two. At that point 19-year-old Campbell went to the pits for a flat and returned to restart at the rear behind two cars that were a lap down already. Barron Taylor and then Bruce Ginther led until lap 15 when Campbell completed his careful charge from rear to front and took his first win ever. The front five were Campbell, Johnny Runk, P.L. Best, Norman Stever, and Donna Shipley, and Jeff Treece and Ginther won the 10-car heats. Out of 20 cars in the heats, 15 started and six finished.
The season's first feature for the Cyclones, a miniature late model style of racer, proved as thrilling as the Strictly Stocks as young Kendall fell back as far as fourth and then recovered and held a smooth line to take the lead from Mike Boer with four laps to go. It was the Baltimore driver's first Path Valley win. Mike Boer won the heat race and the front five were Kendall, Boer, Jimmy Staton, Carlos Morgan and Rilley Barnett.
A new motorcycle flagging style worked well, according to Flagman Murphy, with cars cautioned for hazards but allowed to race under a yellow flag and required to restart only under a combined red and yellow flag. All cars stop under a red flag. All four classes completed hot laps, heat races and features by 9:30 p.m.
"We had a great turnout for the first race, but we had more cars on their roofs tonight than all of last season," senior race director John Winsett said. "They need to learn that they aren't going to win if they hit someone else and can't finish."
The Strictly Stocks and Cyclones return to Path Valley in two weeks. Next Saturday, April 3, the AMA motorcycles and four-wheelers race Saturday night, after the regular weekly afternoon race for karts and quads, and the motorcycles and Strictly Stocks alternate every other week with the former junkyard cars back on April 10. A kids Candy Scramble is set for that night to follow the Easter Egg hunt for the karters that afternoon.
Winsett warned the Strictly Stock drivers that a Snell '95 or new helmet is strictly required. "If your head is worth more to you than ten bucks, why would you trust it to a $10 helmet," he challenged. Shirts and shoes are also required, along with a neck brace and gloves. While the Path Valley Strictly Stocks remain the cheapest way to start racing stock cars, safety remains a primary concern to Two Wheel Promotions, which operates the national championship producing quarter mile clay oval.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cyclones -- Robbie Kendall (started 2), Mike Boer, Jimmy Staton, Carlos Morgan, Rilley Barnett; Heat to Boer.
V-8 -- Ralph Dishong (1), Tom Brady, Dan Gelwicks, Darryl Pittman, Eugene Naugle, Dustin Pietrak, Him DeArmitt, David Reaugh, Derrick Hinish, Joey Burdge, Jacob Cottle, Kevin Hinish; Heats to DeArmitt, Gelwicks.
6-Cyl -- Todd Price (1), Robert Weist, Andy Krause Jr., Rick Rosenberry, Josh Walstrum, Jason Ege, Joe Daywalt, Paul Kuhns, Bob Elbin, Randy Scott Jr., Chantz Ramsey, Dave Leidy, Jason Gilliland, Chris McFarland, DNS Steve Frazier, Dale Martin, Jerry Brown. Heats to Price, Weist.
4-Cyl -- Mark Campbell (1), Johnny Runk, P.L. Best, Norman Stever, Donny Shipley, Jeff Arcq, Bruce Ginther Jr., Barron Taylor, Denny Scofield, Jeff Treece, Jeff Koser, Wilbert Barker, Ruggie Guyer, Donald Houp, DQ BJ Bookwalter. Heats to Treece, Ginther.