Kosiski does it again at Thunderhill

MAYETTA, Kan (Sept. 21, 2002) -- Veteran dirt track racer Steve Kosiski took the lead at turn one, lap one, and held it for 30 laps to win the Topless Outlaw Racing Association (TORA) feature Saturday night at Thunderhill Speedway in ...

MAYETTA, Kan (Sept. 21, 2002) -- Veteran dirt track racer Steve Kosiski took the lead at turn one, lap one, and held it for 30 laps to win the Topless Outlaw Racing Association (TORA) feature Saturday night at Thunderhill Speedway in Mayetta.

Kosiski started on the outside of row one, gunned his racecar past pole sitter Chris Smyser, and within six laps had moved out to a half-straightaway lead. Despite four yellow flag restarts, this race belonged to Kosiski, who also won the last time TORA visited Thunderhill in August.

"We've had some good luck here and tonight the car ran well," Kosiski said. "It's a new car, not the same car we brought last time, so that gave us some challenges of our own to work out."

Behind the leaders, Mike Conkright, Mike Brown and Charlie Randolph battled with each other early for third. Brown took over that position on lap 15 and then powered around a fading Smyser into second on the next lap.

The first caution bunched the field on lap 17, with Kosiski followed by Brown, Conkright, Randolph and Smyser. On the restart Kosiski broke the tires loose and lost traction -- allowing Brown to pass down low -- before recapturing the lead on the backstretch. Brown again tried the low line going into turn four but Kosiski again held him off.

"I was expecting Brown to work the low line. The next restart we went down low going into one," Kosiski said. "I felt there was a little something there (low), but my momentum just seemed to be better up top for what I could do.

"I moved down some as the race wore on. It was going good both places."

Brown continued to work the low groove and put pressure on the leader but he was unable to mount another serious charge for first the rest of the race, as Kosiski made it two in a row at Thunderhill.

"This is one of the nicer tracks we ever go to, that's why we're down here as many times as we can for specials," he said. "They keep it a wide racetrack. The narrow racetracks make it tough."

By lap 23, Tim Echevarria had moved up to challenge Brown for second. Echevarria took the spot when Brown's machine broke three laps from the end, bringing out the final caution.

On the restart, Kosiski pulled away from Echevarria, leaving him in a three-lap shootout with Larry McDaniels, the defending champion and series points leader, to decide second place.

Echevarria and McDaniels ran mostly nose-to-tail for the final three laps, except for when McDaniels dropped to the inside of Echevarria, looking for the chance to move around him into second. On the last lap, McDaniels stuck the nose of his racecar down low as they went turn three for one final shot. Both cars slid through turn four side-by-side, but Echevarria powered away to take second place by a car length.

Ryan McAninch and Earl Kinderknecht rounded out the top five.

It was a wild night for McDaniels, who didn't finish his heat race due to mechanical problems.

"We broke a torque arm, which took the driveshaft out, in the heat race," he said. "That kinda puts you behind the eight ball all night."

But Larry must be a helluva pool player, too, along with being a great racecar driver. He started at the back of the B feature, charged through the field to win, and started the A feature 17th.

He knifed his way through the field in the A as he was up to 10th by lap 17, moved into the top five on lap 21 and roared around Mike Conkright into fourth on lap 24. Larry picked up another spot (third) when Brown broke on lap 27.

"The car was still working pretty good at the end," McDaniels said. "I probably messed around a little bit too long there at the first of the race, letting them guys get sorted out. When you're back there in the back, it's kinda touchy right at first."

McDaniels entered the race with a hefty points lead over Brown. As a result of the evening's activities, Larry captured his second straight TORA season championship with two events remaining. But this wasn't necessarily something he thought about when the season began in April.

"We didn't go into this year really trying to win the points. When you start running good, then you start looking forward to trying to win it. We're real happy we did get to win it again," McDaniels said.

The season concludes Oct. 18-19 at the Muskogee Speedway Octoberfest in Muskogee, Okla.


Heat 1 (10 laps) - 1. Chris Smyser, Lancaster, Mo.; 2. Ryan McAninch, Goddard, Kan.; 3. Brett Lafollette, Kansas City, Mo.; 4. Greg Larsen, Plattsmouth, Neb.; 5. Danny McFadden, Valley Center, Kan.; 6. Justin Hoepker, Humboldt, Kan.; 7. Artie Munoz, Topeka, Kan.; 8. Roger Bergman, Topeka, Kan.; 9. Larry McDaniels, Valley Center, Kan.

Heat 2 (10 laps) - 1. Mike Brown, Ft. Gibson, Okla.; 2. Charlie Randolph, Muskogee, Okla.; 3. Tim Echevarria, Junction City, Kan.; 4. Tom Grist, Topeka, Kan.; 5. Robert Garst, Topeka, Kan.; 6. Mike McCleary, Linwood, Kan.; 7. Bob Miller, Holton, Kan.; 8. Doug Clark, Park City, Kan.

Heat 3 (10 laps) - 1. Steve Kosiski, Papillion, Neb.; 2. Mike Conkright, Manhattan, Kan.; 3. Earl Kinderknecht, Salina, Kan.; 4. Keith Lewandowski, McLouth, Kan.; 5. Lonnie Smith, Wichita, Kan.; 6. Steve Foster, Abilene, Kan.; 7. Mark Ronnebaum, Centralia, Kan.; 8. Brad Fortney, Wichita, Kan.

B feature (15 laps) - 1. McDaniels; 2. Hoepker; 3. Foster; 4. Miller; 5. Bergman; 6. Ronnebaum; 7. Clark; 8. Munoz; 9. Fortney.

A feature (30 laps) - 1. Kosiski; 2. Echevarria; 3. McDaniels; 4. McAninch; 5. Kinderknecht; 6. Larsen; 7. Smyser; 8. Lafollette; 9. Lewandoski; 10. Grist; 11. McFadden; 12. McCleary; 13. Hoepker; 14. Conkright; 15. Brown; 16. Garst; 17. Foster; 18. Randolph; 19. Smith; 20. Miller.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Mike Brown , Bob Miller