For more information: Linda Mansfield, lindamansfield@CompuServe.com After 14 Years of Trying, Halteman Wins ARDC CARQUEST Midget Feature MALTA, N.Y., May 30 - A calm and cool Gary Halteman collected his first American Racing Drivers...
For more information: Linda Mansfield, lindamansfield@CompuServe.com
After 14 Years of Trying, Halteman Wins ARDC CARQUEST Midget Feature
MALTA, N.Y., May 30 - A calm and cool Gary Halteman collected his first American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) CARQUEST Midget Series feature victory in 14 years of trying when he won a wild 25-lap feature Friday night that was part of Albany-Saratoga Speedway's "Open-Wheel Madness" program.
Halteman's victory came in his 197th ARDC race, and the popular Gilbertsville, Pa.-based driver really earned both the triumph and the accolades of the fans and his fellow drivers. Halteman, who turned 32 May 11, became the series' sixth different winner in the seven of 18 point races held so far this year.
It was a matter of perseverance for Halteman and his car owner and chief mechanic, his brother Dave. The pair's 4-year-old Streicher Hawk is powered by a Fontana engine and sponsored by Schaeffer's Family Restaurant of Boyertown, Pa.; Mason Racing Ignitions (MRI); G. Davis Masonry; Halteman Brothers Building Contractors and Graeber Lettering.
There were four different lead changes in the 25-lap race around the four-tenths-mile clay oval. All that happened in just over 8 minutes, the time need to run the race after a complete restart needed when half the field tangled between turns three and four on the initial start. Doug Borger, Bryan Kobylarz, Fred Schell and Fremont Dickerman were unable to make the call for the complete restart, which moved Halteman up to second from his original tenth place starting position. Tom Martocci, Tim Dietz and Randy and Shannon Mausteller were also involved in the first-lap melee.
Duane Mausteller led the first lap but Halteman passed him on lap two and led through lap six. Once they got around Mausteller, Mark Freeland and Ed Stimely Jr. duked it out for second behind Halteman, with Stimely's Harold Yetter/Robert Sowden Primevest Creek Gaerte passing Freeland for the spot on lap five. Stimely then charged by Halteman in the outside of turn two to lead lap seven, and by lap nine there was a three-car battle for the lead among Stimely, Halteman and Freeland. Behind them, Brian Seidel and Bob Cicconi were locked in combat for fourth right behind them.
Stimely had moved out a bit by lap 10, while Halteman and Freeland waged war behind him for second. Halteman primarily used the low groove while Freeland attacked on the outside. Freeland got around Halteman for second on lap 15, and after taking a couple of stabs at Stimely, Freeland got the lead by passing Stimely to the inside coming out of turn two on lap 18.
The pressure was intense, and five laps from the end the second-place Stimely caught the edge of the cushion high in turn two and disappeared off the backstretch. He hardly even slowed down a bit, however, and flew back onto the track in turn three, losing only one position.
"I wanted to check out the go-kart track down there," Stimely quipped afterwards.
Freeland still led, but Halteman was now in second with Stimely third, Seidel's Stearly Freight Hawk Pontiac fourth and Bob Cicconi's Weiland Racing Enterprises' Stealth Brayton fifth.
Four laps from the end the tables turned once more, as the torque tube broke in Freeland's Exportise Stealth Scat V4 and he rolled to a stop in the infield just off the frontstretch. Halteman went on to take the checkered with Stimely second, Seidel third, Dietz in fourth with his Shack Automotive Avenger Dietz and Cicconi hanging on for fifth.
Michael Roselli Jr., Duane Mausteller, Tom Martocci, Phil DiMario and Freeland rounded out the top 10.
"The level of competition in the ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series is so high, finishing in the top five is like a win for my brother and me," Halteman noted May 24 when he registered his best previous feature finish of the year, a fourth at Flemington (N.J.) Speedway.
"When Freeland dropped out, I thought I just have to keep calm," he said after Friday's race. "I'm surprised even now how calm I am. I guess it hasn't set in yet. I have to go call my mom; today's her birthday!"
The twin 8-lap heats were won by Stimely and Freeland. Shannon Mausteller flipped over three times in turn four after riding over the wheel of another competitor at the start of the first heat, but luckily he rode back into the pits on the wrecker rather than in the ambulance.
Modified star Brett Hearn qualified Lou Cicconi Jr. and Tom Fraschetta's Weiland Racing Enterprises No. 75 in the second heat while Cicconi was racing a supermodified in Michigan and Fraschetta was still recuperating from a hand injury sustained in a shop accident. The car never felt comfortable to Hearn, however, primarily because he's much taller than the 5-foot, 8-inch; 162-lb. youngest Cicconi, for whom the car was built.
When Bob Cicconi's No. 59 had handling problems and didn't finish the same heat, Hearn stepped out of the No. 75 so that the elder Cicconi brother could drive it, resulting in Cicconi's fifth-place feature finish in the final rundown.
The action continues in June when the series appears at Southampton (Va.) Speedway on Friday, June 13; Langley (Va.) Raceway on Saturday, June 14; Flemington (N.J.) Speedway on Saturday, June 21; and Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway on Saturday, June 28.
Stimely leads the driver point standings at the moment followed by Bob Cicconi, Roselli, Halteman, Freeland, DiMario, Borger, Randy Mausteller, Martocci and Lou Cicconi Jr. The owner standings is topped by Mike Roselli over Harold Yetter, Tom Fraschetta, David Halteman, Walt Stearly, Roger McKeehan, Ray McCabe, Gene Borger, Bob Cicconi and Randy Mausteller.
First Heat (8 laps) - 1. Ed Stimely Jr., 2. Michael Roselli Jr., 3. Gary Halteman, 4. Fremont Dickerman, 5. Tom Martocci, 6. Bryan Kobylarz, 7. Tim Dietz (DNF), 8. Shannon Mausteller (DNF). 2:18.75
Second Heat (8 laps) - 1. Mark Freeland, 2. Doug Borger, 3. Randy Mausteller, 4. Brian Seidel, 5. Brett Hearn, 6. Duane Mausteller, 7. Fred Schell, 8. Bob Cicconi (DNF), 9. Phil DiMario (DNF). No time.
Feature (25 laps) - 1. Gary Halteman, 2. Ed Stimely Jr., 3. Brian Seidel, 4. Tim Dietz, 5. Bob Cicconi, 6. Michael Roselli Jr., 7. Duane Mausteller, 8. Tom Martocci, 9. Phil DiMario, 10. Mark Freeland, 11. Randy Mausteller, 12. Shannon Mausteller, 13. Doug Borger, 14. Fred Schell, 15. Bryan Kobylarz, 16. Fremont Dickerman. 8:11.81.
Feature Lap Leaders - Lap 1, Duane Mausteller; laps 2-6, Gary Halteman, laps 7-17, Ed Stimely Jr., laps 18-21, Mark Freeland, laps 22-25, Gary Halteman.