Path Valley Opens with Thrills and Spills Spring Run PA__ On a lap 16 restart past national micro sprint champion Jimmy Young of Johnstown took the lead from Cody Darrah and raced to the season's first win in 600 Sprints as the Path Valley ...
Path Valley Opens with Thrills and Spills
Spring Run PA__ On a lap 16 restart past national micro sprint champion Jimmy Young of Johnstown took the lead from Cody Darrah and raced to the season's first win in 600 Sprints as the Path Valley Speedway Park made up two features from the week before. In sharp contrast Steve Buckwalter led every lap of the makeup feature in 270 Sprints.
The make-ups raced before the night's regular heat races, and in the scheduled features past champion Donnie Hendershot of Clear Sprint MD outran defending champion Jimmy Brookens in 600 Sprints, and in 270 Sprints Matt Horst of Liverpool took the lead on lap 11 for his first Path Valley victory.
The V-8 Hobby Stocks opened their first full regular season with former Strictly Stock racer Dave Dunkle of Spring Run in the winner's circle. Gary Dehart of Mercersburg passed and then outran Frankie Gordon of Ft. Loudon in the Mini Stocks, and John Rasp of McConnellsburg remembered his winning way in the Thunder Cars.
Four features remain that were postponed by rain April 1, and next Friday night the PA 305 Sprints and the Central PA Legends Cars will make up their delayed features before the night's regular heat races. Then on April 22 the Mini Stocks and Thunder Cars will get double features as they race their make-ups and then their regular features.
"We had a good crowd and a great set of exciting races," said Sr. Race Director John Winsett, "but we need to run the Hobby Stock heats last to keep the track harder." Racing was twice delayed as Winsett and his Two Wheel Promotions crew worked to smooth the soft clay.
In the 270 Sprints victory lane Steve Buckwalter said that it's always a thrill to win at Path Valley after he held off determined charges from both Heath Hehnly and Matt Horst. The front five were Buckwalter, Horst, Hehnly, Sean McAndrew and Tom Tice. In the 600 Sprints defending champion Jimmy Brookens led the first six makeup feature laps and then Cody Darrah took over until the final restart when Young took the lead out of turn four with Darrah, Nick Schlauch Jr., J.D. Walling and Mark Strickler following in the front five.
The night's regular show opened with the first points race ever for the Hobby Stocks, after exhibition features last season, and local Strictly Stock star Dave Dunkle from his third place start took the lead from Craig Imes on lap two and led all but lap 11 when Tony Daniels briefly got past him. The front five were Dunkle, Imes, Joe DeArmitt, Robert Weist, and Derrick Hinish and Daniels won the single heat race.
After four false starts, Frankie Gordon took the Mini Stock lead until Dehart worked ahead from his sixth place start and got past on a restart of lap 14. Once in the lead Dehart held a tight inside line and finished barely two lengths ahead of Gordon. The front five were Dehart, Gordon, Ronnie Garlock, Steve McCartney and Tim Burkholder. McCartney and Gordon won the heats.
Matt Horst, after his second place in the 270 Sprints makeup, passed Chip Geib going into turn three on lap 11 of the regular night's feature and then survived four restarts to finish just ahead of Buckwalter and then Craig Myers, Chad Myers and Geib in the front five. Ryan McAndrew, Craig Myers and Steve Dunmire won the heats.
Past champion Rasp took the Thunder Car lead from Melvin Bigler on lap four and said in victory lane, "This is a great way to start the year, but I never expected it." The front five were Rasp, Lyle Barnes less than a length behind, Wes Scofield, Ken Lawrence Jr. and Rocky Payne. Lawrence and Rasp won the heats.
Ben Murphy led the first 12 laps in the final 600 Sprints feature and then left the track with motor problems to let Jimmy Brookens take the front spot. On lap 16 Donnie Hendershot made his way past Brookens on the outside at the line and later said that Brookens seemed to have a tire going down. Hendershot had started sixth and was on Brookens' rear bumper by lap four. After a lackluster season last year, Hendershot said he hopes his bad luck is gone. Ironically, Hendershot was the first in micro sprints at Path Valley to win the championship in two consecutive years, a distinction Brookens duplicated in 2003 and 2004. The front five finishers in 600 Sprints were Hendershot, Nick Schlauch Jr., Nathan Hauck, Mark Strickler and Young. Jamie Umlauf, Ben Murphy and Brookens won the heats.
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. From March to October, Path Valley races stock cars, Legends and sprints Friday nights, karts and quads on Saturday afternoons and AMA bikes or Strictly Stock junkyard cars Saturday nights.
270 Sprints (April 1) -- Steve Buckwalter (started 1), Matt Horst, Heath Hehnly, Sean McAndrew, Tom Tice, AJ Bast, Craig Myers, Cody Darrah, Ryan McAndrew, Zack Zook, Aaron Spahr, Pete Allison, Chad Hough, Steve Dunmire, Eric Spahr, Ken Wisner, Nathan Hauck, Chad Myers, Randy Taylor, Chip Greib, DNS Mike Rutherford, Michael Brant, Mike Dicely, Greg Miller.
600 Sprints (April 1) -- Jim Young (2), Cody Darrah, Nick Schlauch Jr., JC Walling, Mark Strickler, Justin Frontz, Chris Crull, Lyle Stroman, Nick Saner, Travis Saner, Kerry Schanz, Dane Delancey, Jim Brookens, Jake Murphy, Richie Fitz, Greg Kone, Rod Schell, Jamie Umlauf, Jordan Frontz, Nathan Hauck, Rob Griffin, DNS Dan Kanagy.
Hobby Stock -- Dave Dunkle (started 3), Craig Imes, Joe DeArmitt, Robert Weist, Derrick Hinish, Tony Daniels. Heat to Daniels.
Mini Stock -- Gary Dehart (started 5), Frank Gordon, Ronnie Garlock, Steve McCartney, Tim Burkholder, Kevin Thomas, Ralph Morgan, Dave Bivens, Troy Eckenrode, Kyle Wiser, JR Fogelsonger, Mike Beidel, John Griswold, Steve Hanes, Charles Stallman, DQ Dave Staley. Heats to McCartney, Gordon.
270 Sprints -- Matt Horst (started 3), Steve Buckwalter, Craig Myers, Chad Myers, Chip Greib, Cody Darrah, Todd Reusser, Zack Zook, Pete Allison, Tom Tice, Randy Taylor, Jesse Howell, Ryan McAndrew, Steve Dunmire, Aaron Spahr, AJ Bast, Nathan Hauck, Chad Hough, Heath Hehnly, Sean McAndrew, DNS Michael Brant, Ken Whismer, Eric Spahr. Heats to Ryan McAndrew, Craig Myers, Steve Dunmire.
Thunder Cars -- John Rasp (started 5), Lyle Barnes, Wes Scofield, Ken Lawrence Jr., Rocky Payne, Melvin Bigler, Derrick Casner, Joe Hawbaker, Terry Smith, Jeff Christy, Zac Smith, Tim Varner, Tony Weller, Jeremy Ott, Greg Fuller Jr., Chuck Ingram. Heats to Lawrence, Rasp.
600 Sprints -- Donnie Hendershot (started 6), Nick Schlauch Jr., Nathan Hauck, Mark Strickler, Jim Young, Jim Brookens, JC Walling, Lyle Stroman, Rodney Glass, Dan Kanagy, Travis Saner, Dane Delancey, Nick Saner, Justin Frontz, Ben Murphy, Rod Schell, Jamie Umlauf, Rickie Fitz, Jordon Frontz, Dennis McKeon, Cody Darrah, Kerry Schanz, Chris Crull, DNS Greg Kone, Jake Murphy, Rob Griffin. Heats to Umlauf, Ben Murphy, Brookens.