For more information: Linda Mansfield, lindamansfield@CompuServe.com ARDC CARQUEST Midget "First Features" To Booth, Fraschetta Sunday at Flemington FLEMINGTON, N.J., Aug. 31 - Two new winners were guaranteed in the "First Features"...
For more information: Linda Mansfield, lindamansfield@CompuServe.com
ARDC CARQUEST Midget "First Features" To Booth, Fraschetta Sunday at Flemington
FLEMINGTON, N.J., Aug. 31 - Two new winners were guaranteed in the "First Features" program for American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) CARQUEST Midget Series drivers Sunday afternoon at Flemington Speedway. They turned out to be J.R. Booth of Lebanon, N.J., and Tom Fraschetta of Oaks, Pa., who each won 14-lap, non-point events open only to drivers who have never won an ARDC feature.
Booth was in his usual mount, the Serridge Garage Rieder Gaerte owned by Skip Serridge of Flemington. Fraschetta, returning from an off-track hand injury which sidelined him for most of the season and making his first appearance in a midget on a paved track, was driving the West End Equipment and Rent-all Ellis Fontana owned by Brodheasdville, Pa.'s Mike Roselli and usually driven by Michael Roselli Jr.
Pills were drawn for the lineup for the first race, and Booth drew number nine. (That proved to be a lucky number, because Fraschetta won from that starting spot too.) Outside front-row starter Greg Klar of Reisterstown, Md. got the jump on polesitter Fraschetta at the drop of the green and led the first four laps. The pair dueled for the first four laps before Fraschetta slipped ahead on lap five. Booth was on the charge, however, as he was fifth at the end of lap one, fourth at the end of lap three, and third at the end of lap five.
Booth started to pressure Klar for second at that point, and the pair was nose-to-tail by lap eight, which allowed Fraschetta a little bit of breathing room. Behind them, however, a torrid three-car battle for fourth was being waged between Gary Mondschein of Stewartsville, N.J.; Rudy Boetticher of Lake Hopatcong, N.J.; and Rudy's brother Robert of Fanwood, N.J.
With nine laps down contact was made in that battle, however, and Mondschein was pushed into a slide across turn one and against the foam near the outer guardrail. Fraschetta survived the restart but Booth jumped into second at that point, and the top three cars of Fraschetta, Booth and Klar were three wide going into turn one on lap 11. Booth got the lead coming out of turn one, and he went on to take the checkered three laps later over Fraschetta, Robert Boetticher, Rudy Boetticher, Klar and Mondschein. Sprint car star Becca Anderson of Houston, Del., making her first appearance both on asphalt and in a midget, was seventh followed by Bill Case Jr. of Sellersville, Pa.; Dave Kelley of Ransomville, N.Y., and Mark Lawshe Sr. of Browns Mills, N.J.
In the second 14-lapper, polesitter Shannon Mausteller of Bloomsburg, Pa., led the first seven laps before succumbing to the pressure of Rudy Boetticher in the inside of turns three and four on lap eight. Just like Booth had done earlier in the program, Fraschetta started ninth and was fifth at the end of lap one. He was fourth by the end of lap two but he stayed in that spot until Donnie Trent II of Honeybrook, Pa. faded from second to third and then back to fifth on lap six.
A heated three-car fight for the lead between Rudy Boetticher, Mausteller and Fraschetta developed after Boetticher got the lead from Mausteller on lap eight, and the trio ran under a blanket on laps 10, 11 and 12. The fans were sure something would have to give and in the end that turned out to be both Rudy Boetticher and Mausteller on lap 12. Fraschetta got the lead by diving low at the start-finish line on lap 12 and just instants later the second-place car driven by Mausteller pulled in with a flat right rear tire and Rudy Boetticher stopped on the backstretch when his car simply shut off with no warning. That put Robert Boetticher and Klar on Fraschetta's rear nerf bar for the final two laps, but he was up to all challenges and they finished in that order with Mondschein fourth and Trent fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Rudy Boetticher, Mausteller, Anderson, Skip Serridge and Mark Lawshe Sr. (Since the winner of the first race wasn't eligible to compete in the second 14-lapper, Booth convinced his car owner, Serridge, to drive in that one.)
Fraschetta was really flying, as during that race he was clocked at an average speed of 135 mph unofficially. He said no changes were made to the car between the two events, in which he finished second and first, respectively.
With her appearance, Anderson became one of the few women to ever compete in an ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series race. It was the first time she had ever driven a midget and also the first time she ever drove on an asphalt track.
"Overall I don't think it was a big adjustment at all from my sprint car," she said afterwards. "I try to run my sprint car as straight and as smooth as I can, so it wasn't that much different. It's not as forgiving to run on asphalt, but it was fun.
"In the first race my car was a little too loose," she added. "For the second race we had it set up a lot better, but it was overheating a little so I brought it in so I wouldn't hurt the motor."
Would she do it again?
"Yeah!" she said with a grin.
Her car owners, Doug and Claudette Starrett, were happy too. "She did a great job for us and she and her whole family are lovely people," Claudette Starrett said. "Hopefully she can race our car again sometime, because we're really impressed with her and enjoyed working with her. I think we all had fun."
The other cars and drivers of the ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series will join this group at Lincoln (Pa.) Speedway on Sept. 13. Unless another date is added to the schedule, that race will be the season finale. Ed Stimely Jr. of McVeytown, Pa., tops the overall point standings followed by defending champion Phil DiMario of Piermont, N.Y.; Bryan Kobylarz of Birdsboro, Pa.; Gary Halteman of Gilbertsville, Pa.; Mike Roselli Jr.; Mark Freeland of Ickesburg, Pa.; Tom Martocci of Brodheadsville, Pa.; Bob Cicconi of Prospect Park, Pa.; Tim Dietz of Hanover, Pa.; and Shannon Mausteller.
First "First Feature" (14 laps) - 1. J.R. Booth, 2. Tom Fraschetta, 3. Robert Boetticher, 4. Rudy Boetticher, 5. Greg Klar, 6. Gary Mondschein, 7. Becca Anderson, 8. Bill Case Jr., 9. Dave Kelley, 10. Mark Lawshe Sr., 11. Donnie Trent II, 12. Shannon Mausteller, 13. Scott Jackson, 14. Art Lawshe Sr., 15. Mike Lapp (DNS), 16. Brian Suchy (DNS), 17. Dave Suchy (DNS).
Lap Leaders - Laps 1-4, Greg Klar; laps 5-10, Tom Fraschetta; laps 11-14, J.R. Booth.
Second "First Feature" (14 laps) - 1. Tom Fraschetta, 2. Robert Boetticher, 3. Greg Klar, 4. Gary Mondschein, 5. Donnie Trent II, 6. Rudy Boetticher, 7. Shannon Mausteller, 8. Becca Anderson, 9. Skip Serridge, 10. Mark Lawshe Sr., 11. Bill Case Jr., 12. Scott Jackson, 13. Dave Kelley, 14. Art Lawshe Sr. (DNS); 15. Dave Suchy (DNS); 16. Brian Suchy (DNS); 17. Mike Lapp (DNS).
Lap Leaders - Laps 1-7, Shannon Mausteller; laps 8-11, Rudy Boetticher; laps 12-14, Tom Fraschetta.