Little Valley report 2002-07-03

Haus captures Little Valley LM feature; Ladoucuer "unofficial" victor in Pro Stock Tour race. (Little Valley, NY) Scott Haus from Hamburg, Pennsylvania, driving the No. 33, used the high line to perfection, in capturing the 30 lap Late ...

Haus captures Little Valley LM feature; Ladoucuer "unofficial" victor in Pro Stock Tour race.

(Little Valley, NY) Scott Haus from Hamburg, Pennsylvania, driving the No. 33, used the high line to perfection, in capturing the 30 lap Late Model Feature and a $3,000 winner's check, at Little Valley Speedway before a large and appreciative crowd on Wednesday night, July 3rd, as part of the two day Freedom Daze Spectacular at the facility. After taking the lead on the seventh lap, Haus held the outside groove and stymied the efforts of Ron Davies from Warren, Pennsylvania in the No. 71D, the acknowledged master of the outside at Little Valley, who was left to try to the low line to pass Haus and couldn't make it work.

Haus started third in the 23 car starting field and immediately dispatched the No. 78 of Rod Maloy to lie second after only two laps. While this was going on, polesitter Todd Andrews from Eldred, Pennsylvania, had streaked out to a commanding lead running the inside groove in the No. 42, and Davies, who started ninth was mounting an early charge from his customary position..

A caution for a spin in turn four cost Andrews his lead and set up a restart that had Haus on Andrews' bumper and Davies up to fifth, after flying up on the outside. It took only two laps for Haus to power past Andrews on lap seven to take the point, while Davies moved to second on the same lap, passing Dick Barton, Mike Wonderling, Maloy, and Andrews in the process, all on the outside.

A caution on lap eleven erased a sizable advantage for Haus, and set up an anticipated battle for the lead when the race resumed. Haus chose the outside for the restart, forcing Davies to the inside, where he was at a considerable disadvantage. Haus bolted out to a significant lead at the drop of the green as Davies mounted a desperate charge down low. Davies' car would not perform down low, however, and Haus extended his lead as the race progressed, running exclusively on the outside of the track.

Haus endured one more caution on lap seventeen which gave Davies a final shot at the leader, but Haus was too strong and he pulled away once more as the race restarted. At the line Haus held more than a half straightaway lead over Davies. Andrews was third, followed by Bob Close and Maloy to round out the top five.

Asked if he planned to use the outside to foil Davies, Haus declared, "No, I didn't run out there to take his line, but that's obviously the fast way around this place, so you've got to get comfortable up there. We were comfortable. He might have been better than me, but as long as I was in that line he wasn't going to get around me." Could he have run low if he had to? "I think low was slower. The track was a little too dry down there. There was a little more bite up high, so that's where you needed to be."

Davies didn't blame his loss on Haus taking his line, explaining, "He (Haus) was just a little bit better than we were tonight. I started developing a vibration with about ten laps to go, and I thought I had a chance to catch him there. We got in lapped traffic and we were catching him slow, but I just didn't want to run it hard enough to break something." On the fateful lap eleven restart where Haus took the outside, he noted, "I thought maybe I could get him on the bottom. I ran with him, kind of, for a little while, but the outside is definitely the fast line. We started ninth, got by everybody to finish second. We're happy."

In the co-feature event of the evening, the 25 lap DIRT Pro Stock Tour made its inaugural visit, and, even though the drivers had never seen the track before, the margin of victory was only half a car length, as Joey Ladoucuer from Alexandria, Ontario, edged point leader Scott Kerwin from Newfane for his first ever tour victory. Ladoucuer started fifth in the No. 92.1, but took the lead on lap seven, passing Jon Miller from Olcott on the outside in turn one. He established a sizable advantage while other cars battled adversity, particularly Kerwin, who spun earlier in the race and had to go to the rear of the 30 car, starting field, and Dave Schulz from Somerset, NY, who spun twice.

Both made spirited runs toward the front, with Kerwin back up to fifth by lap eleven, and Schulz in seventh for a lap thirteen restart, following a caution. On that restart Kerwin turned up the wick once more and took third in less than a lap. On lap fifteen he passed Miller for second and by lap twenty he had reeled in Ladoucuer, who had previously drawn out to a half straightaway lead. Kerwin hounded Ladoucuer until the final lap as he would close in the turns, while Ladoucuer pulled him on the straightaways, while holding the low groove.

On the final turn of the final lap, Ladoucuer drifted outside slightly allowing Kerwin to get inside. The two drag raced to the finish, with Kerwin a half car length back and gaining at the wire. Miller held on for third, while Tom Barron from Ontario, NY, who was also involved in an earlier scrum finished fourth. Dave Schulz, despite his two forays into the infield, made it back to finish fifth. Ladouceur noted that an apparent miscalculation might have helped him win. "I didn't realize they had watered the track before we came out. I thought it might have bit me because I was set up a little tighter than that. I think it might have helped me do that outside fast. It worked out for the best." The fast way around for Ladouceuer was on the inside. He explained, "I knew that I was fast on the bottom and I found it surprising that I was able to get Miller on the outside, but I was able to get back to the bottom. I was closing the area right down." Keep in mind that the results of this race are unofficial.

The 20 lap Super Stock Feature went to Todd Hanson from Franklinville, piloting the No. 45, who went wire to wire, surviving four cautions for spins that erased substantial leads he established after each slow down period but the last. On the final restart, after defending champ Bob Babbitt from Pavilion had a rear suspension break, Kyle Bradigan from Forestville, NY, who had moved into second on lap six but couldn't catch the fleet Hanson, found the power to mount a late challenge. The former Super Stock Champion pulled alongside Hanson in turn three of the final lap and threatened to take the lead in turn four, but Hanson was able to shut the door and hold him off in the race to the finish. Hanson picked up $1,000 for the win, as the purse was a carry-over from the special, scheduled for June 14th but rained out.

Following Bradigan, who finished second, were Todd Rice, Bill Holmes Jr., and Bruce Miller to round out the top five. Hanson said that the key was that he had the right setup for the race. Of the last lap charge by Bradigan, he explained, "I knew he was there on the bottom. Coming out of two I had a little push after the green. It didn't want to come together right at the get go. I saw him on the inside. I just used the bottom on the race track. There was nowhere to go. It was a little sloppy down there. It was a good run from him. I get a donut from him every day."

In the 15 lap Street Stock Feature, defending champion Jim Kennerknecht from Erie, Pennsylvania, drove a controlled and patient race, picking his way forward from his sixth place starting position, before taking the lead on lap ten. He then held off previous race winner Wayne Mohawk to record the win, his sixth in his last eight starts at Little Valley. Kennerknecht explained his strategy. "I knew if I took it easy I thought I could do it. I was up high there for a couple laps, and I ended up settling in in front of the pack, and then I kind of ducked her to the bottom. The only way they were going to get me is if they went to the outside or took me out." The win was worth $500 to the talented Erie pilot.

NOTES: There 141 cars in the pits on a clear warm night, including 47 super stocks. Thirty pro stocks, including a number from Canada, took the greenScott Kerwin had originally planned to turn his ride over to Stewart Friesen for the night, but was able to make arrangements to drive the car himselfDespite the intense heat for the last few days, the track was in excellent condition the whole night, allowing for multi groove racing in all divisions..The next show is on Sunday, July 14th, the final race of the Tri State Championship Series for Super Late Models, held in conjunction with Raceway 7 in Conneaut, Ohio, and McKean County Raceway in E. Smethport, PA. The cars will run "topless" for the second round, with the champion crowned at the end of the night. Each race pays $3333 to win for thirty-three laps, with the series champ cashing a check for $3,000, out of a total point fund of $6,000. Ron Davies is the defending race winner in the event, and by virtue of his 2nd place finish on Wednesday, he is the point leader for the separate Little Valley track championship.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Bruce Miller , Todd Hanson , Jon Miller