J&J Auto Racing weekly news 2003-09-09

McKENZIE, TN -- Keith Kauffman and his Middleswarth Potato Chips were "dialed in" over the weekend winning Saturday night's annual Tuscarora 50 and just over 16 hours later claiming the Labor Day Classic racing the Middleswarth ...

McKENZIE, TN -- Keith Kauffman and his Middleswarth Potato Chips were "dialed in" over the weekend winning Saturday night's annual Tuscarora 50 and just over 16 hours later claiming the Labor Day Classic racing the Middleswarth #7 J&J. Scott Bonnell took home the Bully Hill Vineyards 360 Sprint Championship on Saturday night in his #3B J&J while Russ Fletcher made it two straight in the IMCA Sprint Car Summernationals. Chris Coyle and Ed Lynch, Jr. also took checkered flags driving J&J sprint cars over the weekend.


It took Keith Kauffman 25 years to become a two-time Tuscarora 50 champion at Port Royal Speedway. Saturday night's $10,000 win was his second career Tuscarora 50 title after first winning the race in 1978.

"The first year I won this race, I had to beat Stevie Smiths' dad on the final corner," Kauffman said. "The No. 12 car has been tough to beat all year. But I know [with the engine problems] he would have been lucky to make it to the end."

Kauffman, who chased early leader Greg Hodnett for most of the race, was alluding to the excessive smoke that began to billow from behind Hodnett's on lap 40. That smoke began to increase and by lap 45, the engine started to sputter when a valve broke, and eventually it died, forcing Hodnett to the pits on lap 48. Once in front, Kauffman was not going to be denied.

"I could hardly see," Kauffman said. "I didn't have many tear-offs, and it was rough seeing. This is a great feeling."

Fred Rahmer came home second in the Joe Harz Racing #88h J&J giving J&J Auto Racing a one-two finish. Lance Dewease (Hamilton Motorsports #77 J&J), Len Thompson (Crawford Motorsports #CIII J&J) and Doug Esh (Leach #30 J&J) finished sixth, seventh and tenth.


Keith Kauffman concluded an exciting three days of racing at Port Royal Speedway by winning Sunday's 25-lap Labor Day Classic, an event that was postponed from last Monday.

"It just took this team a while to figure out the new rules this year," Kauffman said after winning his second consecutive Labor Day Classic. "We've had a lot of rain outs this year, so we weren't able to get in as much practice as we expected."

Kauffman won less than 16 hours earlier at the track on Saturday night when he claimed more than $10,000 and the Tuscarora 50 crown. Kauffman, who started third, was the show on this afternoon and once he passed Mark Smith on lap 17, he turned the fastest laps of the afternoon. When the caution flag came out on lap 24, he had almost a straightaway lead.

"I had a good car," Kauffman said. "Rusty [Trego, team mechanic] put me in a fast car. "The track started taking rubber from the tires and that makes it feel like a wet surface. I know I didn't take care of my tires. I ran the crap out of them."

Lance Dewease came home second in the Hamilton Motorsports #77 J&J and was followed by Len Thompson in the Crawford Motorsports #CIII J&J giving J&J a one-two-three sweep. Fred Rahmer, who finished on Saturday night, came home fifth in the Joe Harz #88h J&J.


Scott Bonnell scored a convincing victory Saturday night at the Black Rock Speedway in his #3B Sherwin Williams/ Black Sheir Racing Engines/ J&J by winning the 35 lap Bully Hill Vineyards 360 Sprint Championship in the fifth running of this event. Bonnell led every lap of the main event and survived several caution flags and a brief challenge from both Kevin Welsh and Curt Michael to score the prestigious $4000 victory before a large crowd.

"What a great weekend, this feels really good," said Bonnell following the win. "We've been fast all year and just had some things not go our way. With the format like the Knoxville Nationals, you had to be good every time you hit the track and once we raced from the back of our to win it, I knew we were in for a good weekend."

"I've been telling everybody how good these J&J racecars are. I have two of them and they both act the same and any time you make adjustments, you know how the car is going to respond. I have been comfortable all year. This is a great way to culminate a season with a big win like this."

A field of twenty-four sprint cars took the green in the 35 lap Bully Hill Nationals and Bonnell jumped into an early lead. The Fairview, PA native was awesome as he mastered the fast Black Rock Speedway and had the field covered for most of the race. After a restart on lap 28, the green flag was displayed and Bonnell powered away from the field.

In the final laps, Scott Bonnell did a masterful job with lapped traffic and was alone at the checker flag to leading the entire thirty-five lap distance. C hris Coyle drove the #56 J&J owned Bill Turpin/Fred Kennedy to a fourth place finish and Trevor Lewis came home sixth in the Palladino #99 J&J.


For the second year in a row, multi-time URC feature winner Chris Coyle won a preliminary feature by coming through the field. He took second position on lap nine and began setting his sights on the lead. Coyle used every inch of the Dundee, NY oval to chase leader Josh Weller. On the 15th lap, it was experience that proved key with Coyle doing a wild inside dive going into turn one to pass Weller and also to sweep by a lapped car for the lead and the eventual victory.

"I gave it a shot!" said Coyle following his victory driving the Turpin/Kennedy #56 J&J. "I was either going to hit the wall, Josh or get the lead, luckily I came away with the lead. When you get an inch you have to take it, especially when every car you pass counts to your point total. I felt bad for Josh, he's run great all year and ran a great race, but you're out here to win and that's what we wanted to do."

IMCA Sprint Car Supernationals

Russ Fletcher made his trip from Abilene, Texas pay off as he swept to his second straight IMCA Sprint Car Supernationals title last Tuesday night at the Boone Speedway in Boone, Iowa. Fletcher wasted little time tracking down early leader Jason Tostenson after starting outside the fifth row in his #4t6 J&J.

At the conclusion of the 20-lapper, it was Russ Fletcher, cruising to his 17th win of the 2003 season.


Ed Lynch, Jr., the 25-lap $2,000 to-win Luxaire Heating & Cooling Sprint feature leading all the way in his #2L J&J for his first ever Triathlon Series victory. "I'm glad to get into the winner's bracket of this series," expressed the Apollo, Pa. driver, who made his first start since his opening night win. "It was exciting to race here at Mercer and to see what all they've done to the track and facility since I've been here last. It just keeps getting better and better."

Lynch raced past brother-in-law, Chad Hill, on the start to assume the early lead. By lap 10, Lynch was in traffic and was able to weave his way through back markers. After a late restart, the battle raged on for positions two through five as Lynch drove off to a convincing victory in the Ed Lynch, Sr.-owned, J&J, Kistler-powered, Indy Recycling/Commercial Truck & Trailer/Chip Ganassi Racing-sponsored #2L.

"If you start up front, you better finish up front otherwise you got to eat a lot of crow on the way home" stated Lynch after his 10th career Mercer win and 21st overall in 2003. "That was a good advantage for us. I feel my car was pretty good for starting anywhere."

Jamie Smith got into second place on lap 24 after starting ninth in his GBK #5 J&J. For Smith, it was his third straight runner-up finish and eighth straight top five.

Other strong J&J performances:

World of Outlaws

Greg Decaries finished second in Friday night's Gold Cup of Champions preliminary feature event. He put on a great show driving the Redi-Green Motorsports #1k J&J. In Saturday's finale, Sammy Swindell raced the Roth Motorsports #1 J&J to a sixth place finish while Donny Schatz came home seventh after starting 14th in the ParkerStore #15 J&J. Daryn Pittman was another hard charger coming from 20th to finish ninth driving the #21 Sherdon Motorsports J&J.


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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Donny Schatz , Sammy Swindell , Chip Ganassi , Daryn Pittman
Teams Williams