Spring Run, PA_ Shock and surprise prevailed Friday night at the Path Valley Speedway Park in dramatic and unexpected finishes to most features. The top battle of the night was the PA 305 Sprint season opener after defending champion Scotty...
Spring Run, PA_ Shock and surprise prevailed Friday night at the Path Valley Speedway Park in dramatic and unexpected finishes to most features.
The top battle of the night was the PA 305 Sprint season opener after defending champion Scotty Ellerman of Landisburg fought fiercely to finally pass promising newcomer Joey Hershey of Chambersburg. Ellerman took the lead on lap seven. Then on a lap eight restart after a caution for a sprint upside down, Ellerman missed the start going into turn three and Hershey retook the lead as Ellerman dropped to seventh. By lap 12 Hershey was a turn ahead of the field and on lap 15 he began putting lapped cars between his new #44 and the following pack.
Ellerman later told track workers he never saw the 'one up' flag signal to go on the next circuit. Hershey said, "He didn't go. I was shocked. I took off and then lifted coming out of turn four to check for sure, and the light really was green so I have no idea why he wasn't there." After a lap 18 restart Chris Meleason caught Hershey but fell two lengths short at the finish line. The front five were Hershey, Meleason, Von McGee, Todd Spangler and Ellerman and Hershey and Spangler won the heats.
Frankie Dunkle of Everett opened the night with a his first Path Valley win in recent years as he battled his father and two past track and national champions to the win. Rodney Glass of Ft. Loudon took the lead on lap six to pass Chad Myers and then hold off his brother Craig Myers for the 270 Sprints win, and defending champion Jim Young of Johnstown took the lead from Mark Hendershot for his third win of the year but first at Path Valley in 600 Sprints.
John Rasp finished less than a length ahead of Chuck Ingram in the four-cylinder thunder cars to become the track's first Friday night repeat winner. Then the shock and surprise came back full force in the Mini Stocks when a lap 19 caution saw leader Jerry Bard go to the scales to weigh instead of finishing the race. He had seen almost half the field leave with flat tires and other malfunctions when the caution flag came out, but had not yet taken the checkered. On the restart Gary Dehart of McConnellsburg took his first win of the season.
Next Friday, April 23, the V-8 Street Stocks and the Central PA Legends Cars take their turn on the Path Valley clay, and the full size 305 Sprints and Dwarf Cars return in two weeks, on April 30.
After two attempts to start the Dwarf Cars failed, Frank Dunkle Jr. took the first turn as leader, bowing to Lynn Knepper after two laps. Then past national champion Knepper fell back and Frankie Dunkle out of his fifth place start took the lead from his dad and held it through four restarts for his first win at Path Valley in at least six years. The front five were Frankie Dunkle, Lynn Knepper, Frank Dunkle, Eric Hay and Josh Sigman. Jeff Barclay and defending champion Mike Hay won the heats.
John Rasp led all the way in the thunder cars as the second place spot swapped four times. Rasp survived three cautions and held off Chuck Ingram through the final laps by less than the length of his red number 11. The front five finishers were Rasp, Ingram, Ken Lawrence Jr., David Edwards and Terry Smith. Ingram and Joe Hawbaker won the heats.
After Rodney Glass passed Chad Myers with a bump on lap six, Myers stayed close enough to pull alongside again at the line to end lap 10 and then spun on lap 11 exiting turn four. Glass survived three more restarts for his first win of the season. The front five were Glass, Craig Myers, Sean Good, Matt Miller and A.J. Bast. Bast won the consi to start 20th, and Brian Walker, Tom Tice and Matt Miller won the heat races.
The PA 305 Sprints, an economy class full size sprint with a high-tech sealed spec engine, followed in the lineup with Hershey taking his win.
The Mini Stock mayhem saw Kevin Thomas lead the most laps as Thomas, Dehart and Bard raced bumper to bumper from lap three to lap 15 when Bard took the front. At the mistaken finish when Bard went to the scales and had to line up fifth, Dehart took the lead, and then did it again as one more final caution forced a second restart of the final lap. The front five were Dehart, Bard, Tim Burkholder, Kyle Wiser and Mike Beidel. Eric Mellott and Bard won the heats.
The final thriller in a night of dramatic finishes saw past national micro sprint champion Jim Young start 6 and patiently work through six restarts to take his third win after two early season victories in Florida. The front five were Young, Rickie Fitz, Mark Hendershot, Duane Harbaugh, and Jim Fitz. Rod Schell, Jim Brookens and Young won the heats.
"We had at least five sprints on their wings in the three classes, but no one was seriously injured and most of them were still running after flipping or falling over. That's plenty enough excitement for me," said senior race director John Winsett.
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. The new phone number at the track is 717-349-7111. For information on the 2004 schedule and rules, race teams and fans can consult our website at www.pathvalley.com or they can email Two Wheel Promotions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pa 305 Sprints: Joey Hershey (started 1), Chris Meleason, Von McGee, Todd Spangler, Scott Ellerman, Jim Wentz, Wes Zimmerman, Brent Comp, Randy Kaylor, Michael Alleman, Greg Hammaker, Jim Roush, Ryan Lynn, Mike Freet, Cody Schmiedel, James Kennedy, Don Slack, Brandon Keller. Heats to Hershey, Spangler.
600 Sprints: Jim Young (6), Richie Fitz, Mark Hendershot, Duane Harbaugh, Jim Fitz, Jim Brookens, Donnie Hendershot, Jake Murphy, Colby Womer, Dusty Heistand, Tim Barrick, Aaron Eichelberger, Justin Frontz, Adam Dimm, Jordon Frontz, J.C. Walling, Dan Kanagy, Wil Gable, D.J. Holland, Jeff Amaral, Gary Linderman, Rod Schell, Greg Kone, Jason Starr. Heats to Schell, Brookens, Young.
270 Sprints: Rodney Glass (4), Craig Myers, Sean Good, Matt Miller, A.J. Bast, Aaron Spahr, Brian Walker, Josh Dressler, Earl Hoon Jr., Bill Hockenberry, Jeff Hoover, Jason Houtz, Chad Myers, Matt Keefert, Aaron Lynch, Eric Spahr, Micheal Gerber, Tony Jackson, Lin Bowie, Zack Zook, Tom Tice, DQ Jim Callahan. Consi A.J. Bast, Heats to Walker, Tice, Miller.
Dwarf Cars: Frankie Dunkle (5), Lynn Knepper, Frank Dunkle, Eric Hay, Josh Sigman, Jeff Barclay, Bill Durstine, John Gerula, Todd Rahley, Greg Johnson, Tom Showman, Mike Hay, Adam Snyder. Heats to Hay, Barclay.
Mini Stock: Gary Dehart (3), Jerry Bard, Tim Burkholder, Kyle Wiser, Mike Beidel, Jeff Mangle, Kevin Thomas, Raymond Middaugh, Eric Mellott, Tim Mangle, DNS Rickey Harper, Larry Stine. Heats to Mellott, Bard.
4-Cylinder Thunder: John Rasp (1), Chuck Ingram, Ken Lawrence Jr., David Edwards, Terry Smith, Joe Hawbaker, Tim Varner, Jeff Christy, Wes Scofield, Lyle Barnes, Charles Stallman, Tony Weller, Keith Armolt, Melvin Bigler. Heats to Ingram, Hawbaker.