Hesston Speedway report 2002-05-04

Hesston, PA -- Local drivers dominated the first Hesston Speedway points race of the season as Rodney Peters of Huntingdon took a dramatic Huston Ford Trophy Night win in the PA 305 Sprints and past four-cylinder champion Tim Smith of McVeytown...

Hesston, PA -- Local drivers dominated the first Hesston Speedway points race of the season as Rodney Peters of Huntingdon took a dramatic Huston Ford Trophy Night win in the PA 305 Sprints and past four-cylinder champion Tim Smith of McVeytown led every lap in the Shellbrook Stables Limited Late Models.

Gary Morder led all the way in the Cars Unlimited Hobby Stocks as three dozen drivers prepared for next week's Chet Grove's Cars Unlimited Hobby Stock Special for extra laps and extra money.

Gary Garner, the former Hesston announcer and expert automotive personality, made his return from retirement official with his first win of the season and high-schooler Darin Hoover charged from tenth to win his third consecutive feature and second at Hesston.

All but Smith are Huntingdon area drivers and they thrilled the hometown crowd in an action-filled night with lots of spins and crashes.

"The racers put on a great show with lots of excitement, and we're glad there were no serious injuries," said co-promoter Butch Grubb. Next week the Cars Unlimited Hobby Stocks will race for 20 laps instead of their usual 12 and every hobby stock will earn 100 bonus 'show' points.

The limited lates, street stocks, and hobby stocks serve as support classes that night as the budget level hobby stocks take their night in the spotlight. The bi-weekly 305 sprints return May 18 for the five-division Sleeper Chassis Trophy Night. Gates open every Saturday night at 5 p.m. with heat races at 7 p.m. and feature events starting at 9 p.m.

As Clearfield County racers Jim Lender and Nathan Gramley struggled to keep ahead of Peters, the thrill of the night for the 305 sprinters came in lap 14 when 16-year-old Chris Meleason of Carlisle went tumbling over the turn three bank. Meleason is last year's national champion in the Yamaha 2-Cycle class of WKA karts and he walked away from the wreckage.

In lap 16 Lender missed his line out of turn two allowing Gramley and Peters past and Peters got to the inside of Gramley on the next lap to take the lead and then the win. "It was a nice smooth track and we got the car hooked up just right," he said. Peters has won several races in past seasons and one championship and he was one of the very first converts to the spec engine in the full-size 305 sprints.

Tim Smith, the past champion in four-cylinders at three different tracks, made it look easy as he stayed ahead of the limited late models. Cory Houck, son of 2001 champion Brad Houck, took a long ride down the front stretch wall on lap two to set the grandstand fans for action, and then Smith took off and gained a full turn lead before a final lap caution and restart.

Only three cautions slowed the hobby stock feature as the Morder family feud held the lead, but the third one on lap 10 was prolonged. Bill Fox in #89 hit the spun #W8 of rookie Wayne Irvin in the middle of turn three and Fox went sailing off the turn three bank. When the track crew located the car at the back of the runout area, Fox was uninjured but the car had apparently rolled several times.

Gary Garner took the lead from Ray Moore on lap four and then stayed just ahead of the Groundhog Valley teammates, Moore and Larry Duvall, to win by half a turn. Garner said his car sponsors are responsible for his return to racing and he appreciates their support!

Darin Hoover started tenth as handicap for winning the previous Grubb Lumber Street Stock feature and he went to work advancing through the pack. He chased Bill Heffner and Jerry Bookwalter into third by lap six when defending champion John Bookwalter went to the pits and then he disposed of Heffner with a front stretch pass on lap eight as Cris Edwards caught up. The young racers went side-by-side in the final four laps and Hoover claimed the Huston Ford trophy by half a length.

The Hesston Speedway is located just north of Route 26 opposite to the Seven Points access to Lake Raystown. It's about five miles south of Route 22 in Huntingdon and 45 miles north on Routes 30W and 26 from the Breezewood Exit 12 of the PA Turnpike. For information call the track at 814-658-2823.

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About this article
Series Sprint , Stock car
Drivers Chris Meleason