Path Valley Opens with Thrills and Crashing Wins Spring Run, PA_ Thrills from start to finish and crashing last minute wins opened the Path Valley Speedway Park 2002 season Saturday as veteran drivers and champions dominated the feature ...
Path Valley Opens with Thrills and Crashing Wins
Spring Run, PA_ Thrills from start to finish and crashing last minute wins opened the Path Valley Speedway Park 2002 season Saturday as veteran drivers and champions dominated the feature wins.
The most exciting finish was in the 600cc Sprints as Johnstown native Jim Young led all but the final quarter of the last lap. Then Young hit the wall out of turn four and teenager Terry Peters of Tower City took the win. Young Peters was the Saturday 600 Sprints champion in 2001.
In a similar front stretch crash teenager Keith Walls of St. Thomas took the lead from past champion Terry Smith on the first lap of the thunder car feature and then got sideways out of turn four, got hit hard and his #85 flipped end for end and rolled back onto its wheels. Willow Grove veteran Terry Smith led the rest of the race to the checkers.
"We are thankful that no one was injured in those spectacular crashes, and we want to thank all of the race teams for such fine, fast, competitive racing," said Promoter Ken Geesey.
The PA 305 Sprinters season opener went to Lewistown's Joe Davis, the Y2K Hesston champion, who led all the way as defending Path Valley champion Scott Ellerman worked into second too late by lap 16. Rodney Glass, the 2002 champion in the Saturday 270cc Sprints, recovered from a flip in preliminaries and charged from sixth to the lead in lap four and won the season's first 270 Sprints points race. Weston Alleman of Newburg picked up a handy win in the non-stop V-8 Street Stocks feature and Dave Staley of Mapleton raced side by side with Jerry Bard of Shippensburg to win the mini stock feature.
Saturday afternoon action continues March 23 at Path Valley with the first features for the National Championship Central PA Legends Cars and the Vintage Car Club headlining the show. Also on tap will be the 270 Sprints, 600 Sprints, V-8 Street Stocks, 4-cylinder thunder cars and 4-cylinder modified mini stocks for a seven-feature event. Gates open at 11 a.m.
Fans and race teams were pleased on opening day that there are no price increases from last year at Path Valley.
The following week, March 29, Path Valley's stock cars and sprints revert to the normal Friday night schedule in hopes of warmer evening weather. After that gates open at 5 p.m. every Friday night for the sprints, stock cars and Legends. March 30 is the first karts and quads show with Bug Day racing starting at 11 a.m. and an Easter Egg hunt for the youngsters. Then Saturday night, March 30, Path Valley hosts the season's first AMA motorcycle races with gates open at 5 p.m.
The opening day thrills started in the double practice sessions when Troy Miller flipped his #1c 305 Sprint off the backstretch wall and tore the front end off. Shortly after, 250cc champion Glass flipped end for end in turn one inside his #84 in the 270cc class of modified micro sprints. Heat race action included Jerry Bard and Ricky Harper racing side-by-side for six fast laps before Harper took the lead in the outside groove around turns three and four.
The PA 305 Sprinters, which are racing under their own ad hoc sanction and always start third or fourth at Path Valley, opened their season with Todd Lynn on the pole but past champion Joe Davis, in a chassis he and his son built themselves, took the lead out of turn two and never faltered. Only one caution slowed the pace and when defending Path Valley champion Scott Ellerman worked into second he did not have enough laps left to pass Davis.
"I want to compliment the owners on the great condition the track was in, especially this early in the season," Davis said, and promised, "We will support you, and the car will be here even if I can't get here on time every Friday night." The front ten were Davis, Ellerman, Ryan Lynn, Rick Mayberry, Denny Mellott, JR Fogelsonger, Jim Lender, Jeff Taylor, Todd Lynn, and Jamie Estep. Davis and Todd Lynn won the heat races.
In the first feature for the 270 Sprints, Glass took the lead from Alex Cunningham on lap three and then held off Colby Womer and later Sean Good through two restarts for the win. The top ten finishers were Glass, Good, Tony Jackson, Dusty Shatzer, Rick Brehm, Womer, Jason Hall, BJ Brehm, Todd Miller and Brad Zook. The heat race winners were Jackson, Cunningham and Womer.
The 600 Sprints feature looked like a run-away for Jim Young, who has been the winningest driver on the east coast more than one past year and the defending champion at Marion Center. Then his drive chain apparently came off coming out of turn four on the final lap and he bounced to a rest at the finish line as young Peters took the checkers. Heats went to Doug Greenwood and Peters and the finish order was Peters, Jeff Lewis, Justin Frontz, Greenwood, Ron Lewis, Young and Dave Shirk.
Weston Alleman, who finished second in points to Doug Hoffman last year, won the first feature by half a turn ahead of Hoffman in a race that went flag to flag without a caution. The finish order was Alleman, Hoffman, Randy Patterson, Jim Andrews, Earl Tabb, Wayne Hawbaker, Terry O'Donel, Steve Lowery, Jeff Johnson, Dan Rhome; and the heat race winners were Lowery and Patterson.
The modified mini stocks provided a fierce battle between Staley, Bard and Harper with Staley winning by less than a car length. "I knew he was back there when he pulled alongside me," Staley said of the close racing. He opined that adjusting the car weight to the engine size has made the class much more competitive and thanked his car owner, Rusty Sites, and his crew for a winning ride. The front ten finishers were Staley, Bard, Harper, Steve McCartney, Larry Duvall, Brian Lessley, Chuck Ingram, Kyle Wiser, Ed Kirby and Jeremy Ott. Heat winners were Staley and Harper.
The four-cylinder thunder cars that race with sealed engines this season opened with a crash by Keith Walls and he made it back to the starting chute just as the restart of lap three took the green and had to wait there until the next and final caution on lap 16. Terry Smith won with Mike Beidel right behind and then John Rasp, Derrick Casner, Chris Casner, Marteena Starr, Michael Harlow, Melvin Bigler, Walls and DNS Brenda McCartney and Jeremy McCartney. Walls and Smith won the heats.
For information on the 2002 schedule and track, race teams and fans can call the owners at 717-426-4756 or 717-426-2910, consult the website at www.pathvalley.com, or they can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. The new phone number at the track for promoter Ken Geesey is 717-349-7111. 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.
PA 305 SPRINTS -- Joe Davis, Scott Ellerman, Ryan Lynn, Rick Mayberry, Denny Mellott, JR Fogelsonger, Jim Lender, Jeff Taylor, Todd Lynn, and Jamie Estep, Jim Roush, Troy Miller.
Heats Davis and Lynn.
600 SPRINTS -- Terry Peters, Jeff Lewis, Justin Frontz, Doug Greenwood, Ron Lewis, Jim Young and Dave Shirk;
Heats Greenwood and Peters.
270 SPRINTS -- Rodney Glass, Sean Good, Tony Jackson, Dusty Shatzer, Rick Brehm, Womer, Jason Hall, BJ Brehm, Todd Miller and Brad Zook, Devin Dougherty, Craig Myers, Chris Heckendorn, Chad Myers, Alex Cunningham, Doug Greenwood, Greg Kone, Kelly Hall, Josh Dressler, Zack Zook;
Heats Jackson, Cunningham and Womer.
V-8 STREET STOCK -- Weston Alleman, Hoffman, Randy Patterson, Jim Andrews, Earl Tabb, Wayne Hawbaker, Terry O'Donel, Steve Lowery, Jeff Johnson, Dan Rhome;
Heats Lowery and Patterson.
MODIFIED MINI STOCK -- Dave Staley, Jerry Bard, Ricky Harper, Steve McCartney, Larry Duvall, Brian Lessley, Chuck Ingram, Kyle Wiser, Ed Kirby and Jeremy Ott, Joe Jakubic, Frank Gordon, Kyle Parson, Mark Fleegal, Andy Stouffer, Larry Long, Shawn Moore.
Heats to Staley and Harper.
4-CYLINDER THUNDER CAR -- Terry Smith, Mike Beidel, John Rasp III, Derrick Casner, Chris Casner, Marteena Starr, Michael Harlow, Melvin Bigler, Walls and DNS Brenda McCartney and Jeremy McCartney.
Heats Walls and Smith