Eastern States 200 Recap
Posted: October 26th, 2016
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN – Stewart Friesen brought a packed house to its feet on the final lap of the 2016 racing season as he secured his first Eastern States 200 Modified victory during a heated battle with the event’s all-time winner Brett Hearn Sunday night at the Orange County Fair Speedway.
Friesen, who called OCFS his home for the first time this racing campaign, dove underneath Hearn while racing between the third and fourth turns on the 200th circuit around the five-eighths mile, hard clay oval. Their cars made brief contact while battling for the lead with Friesen coming out on top and Hearn drifting wide towards the outside wall.
Anthony Perrego also was able to slip past Hearn to score an impressive second-place showing in his first race behind the wheel of Bill Pascual’s No. 3 car. Hearn regrouped to place third with Rick Laubach and Kenny Tremont rounding out the top five.
“Brett tried to block the track and I just filled in the gap underneath him,’’ said Friesen about his race-winning move. “I was able to dive down real low and Brett moved too far up. But I knew this was going to be the only chance I had to get past him. We did make some contact, but sometimes you just have to go for it. Things worked out for us this time.’’
Friesen, who also captured this year’s Bud Lite 200 during Super DIRTcar week in Oswego, was easily the class of the 44-car field in the early going from his starting pole position. The Sprakers driver was able to lap cars at will as racing was under green conditions until Jimmy Horton came up with a right rear flat with 26 laps completed.
Several other competitors were forced to the pits throughout the race as the abrasive track conditions took its toll during most of the race.
Perrego, in fact, was forced to the pits with a right rear flat after 28 laps were completed. He would rejoin the field just before the mandatory pit stops could begin after 30 laps were scored. Drivers had to take one mandatory stop at any point of the race from the 31st lap on.
Friesen continued to control matters on the race track as he was able to hold a decisive cushion on the field while many of his competitors – including Hearn – made early their mandatory stops early in the race.
Friesen finally made his mandatory pit stop with 88 laps completed and second-place running Tim Hindley followed him. That turned first place over to Mike Kolka, who remained there to collect the $950 bonus for leading at the halfway point. Kolka would drop out three laps later with mechanical issues to hand Perrego the lead.
Perrego, who still needed to make his mandatory stop, was on top at the 104th lap with Hearn now riding in second place. Perrego would finally make his trip to the pits on the 112th circuit as Hearn assumed the lead for the first time.
Hearn, who was seeking his 12th Eastern States crown, and Tommy Meier were now running first and second as they were in position to produce a repeat of last year’s 200-lapper, which was won by Meier.
Friesen, meanwhile, was racing his way through the field following his stop and stood 10th by the 124th lap. He continued to work his way through the pack and broke into the top five behind Hearn, Laubach, Meier and Mike Ruggiero by the 147th circuit.
Friesen passed Meier to take over third place by the 166th lap and now only had Hearn and Laubach ahead of him. He stood there until a spectacular first-turn accident by Chris Shultz brought out the red light with 180 laps completed. Shultz’ car made hard contact with an inside jersey barrier on gthe homestretch and then landed on its side against the pit lane guard rail. Shultz wasn’t injured.
Friesen jumped ahead of Laubach on the ensuing restart to grab second place before several caution periods during the final 20 laps slowed racing. Friesen, in fact, caused one when he came up with a flat right rear and was forced to pit on the 183rd lap.
But Friesen capitalized on all the cautions down the stretch to move through the field and stood fifth with Bob McGannoin brought out the final caution on the 185th lap.
Friesen worked his way past L.J. Lombardo for fifth place a lap later, and moved into third behind Hearn and Perrego with 10 laps to go. He caught Perrego for second place on the 194th lap to set up his race-winning move on Hearn.
“Brett had a real good race car, but I think having fresher tires at the end really helped us,’’ said Friesen. “We’ve tried all season long to find the right combination at this race track and this race team deserves all the credit for all of their hard work.
“I want to thank Chris Larsen for this opportunity. We’ve struggled to get things right here, but I think we stuck right to our strategy and this was just one heck of a win. It’s something I’ve wanted to achieve for a long time now.’’
Eastern States 100 Recap
Posted: October 26th, 2016
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN – All the attention was focused near the scales in the pits following the conclusion of Sunday afternoon’s Eastern States 100 Small Block Modified championship at the Orange County Fair Speedway.
A large crowd gathered around that area as Brett Hearn was having his post-race weigh-in following his apparent victory in the event. Hearn, however, was 20 pounds light over the scales as the crowd applauded in delight over his misfortune.
Brian Krummel, who took the checkered flag in second place, took his turn over the scales and even a bigger roar ensued as Krummel made weight, and was awarded his first Eastern States victory and the $15,000 that went along with it.
Krummel also checked out legal during the post-race inspection as he picked up the biggest triumph in his racing career behind the wheel of the Dave Zubikowski No. 17Z racer. The Middletown driver recenely became Zubikowski’s main driver and presented his owner with a tremendous win.
“This is just awesone,’’ said Krummel, after getting on the roof his his winning car and bowing to the crowd in victory lane. “I don’t like winning races this way, but I’ll take it. This is my biggest victory ever and I still can’t believe what happened.
“We had a very good race car and I really felt we had a good chance to win. But Brett’s car was really fast and I just couldn’t stay up with him. I didn’t mind finishing second to him, but this feels a whole lot better.’’
Krummel was the early leader in the race as he got the jump on Craig Mitchell when the initial green flag waved. Hearn slipped into second place as he passed Mitchell on the third lap and then put his sights on Krummel.
But Krummel was able to maintain first place over Hearn despite several restarts early in the race. Hearn was able to slip past Krummel with an inside move just before the starter’s stand to complete 20 laps. But he wasn’t able to shake Krummel as the race progressed as the two drivers remained that way until the finish.
Hearn, who still hasn’t won a major race this season, was able to stave off each challenge Krummel had to offer.
“I was able to get underneath Brett several times in the race, but just didn’t have enough momentum to get past him,’’ said Krummel. “He knows this race track and is really tough to get past. I made one last ditch effort to the outside, but he was able to block me and that was pretty much it.’’
That was until Hearn moved to the scales and was disqualified for being light.
Krummel, meanwhile, couldn’t have been happier for himself and the entire Zubikowski racing team.
“We’ve had a great season and this just makes it that much better,’’ said Krummel. “This is a great group of guys we have working on this car and I can’t be happier for Dave, and the trust he has in me to race his car. What a great feeling this is.’’
Tyler Dippel was awarded second place following Hearn’s disqualification with Perrego, Andy Bachetti, Danny Creeden, Meier, Ken Tremont Jr., Dominick Buffalino and Danny Johnson rounding out the top 10.
Jim Hajkowski was awarded the victory in the Street Stock 25-lap feature when Gary O”Brien was disqualified following the first leg of the Street Stock Shootout Series.
This was the first leg of the series that also involves Bethel Motor Speedway and Accord Speedway.
Last year’s winner Charlie Donald was awarded second place with Ray Tarantino, Emerson Cargain Sr. and Kyle Welsch rounding out the top five.
Eastern States Sportsman Recap
Posted: September 26th, 2016
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN – Tyler Boniface put an exclamation point on his most successful season ever at the Orange County Fair Speedway Friday night as he led the entire distance to capture the 50-lap championship for the Sportsman division during the 55th annual Eastern States Weekend Racing Festival.
Boniface, a 23-year-old driver from Pine Bush, got the jump on pole-sitter Jared LaBagh at the drop of the initial green and never looked back as he posted his fourth win this season behind the wheel of the R.J. Smith owned No. 4RJ. The win was worth a first-place prize of $1,000 as well as all of the lap money posted for the event.
“This has been a heck of a season and I can’t thank R.J. Smith enough for letting me drive his car,’’ said Boniface. “I lost the motor in my car sometime in July and R.J. allowed me to use the car to salvage some points. But we did so good in the car that he let me drive it for the rest of the season.’’
The switch to Smith’s car enabled Boniface to win three features and several other top finishes as he walked away with his first track championship at OCFS in impressive style. Smith’s closest rival Jesse Leiby finished 98 points off his winning pace.
Boniface used an outside pass entering the third turn to wrestle first place away from LaBagh and then started putting quite a distance between himself and the rest of the 30-car field as the race progressed for the first 18 laps without any cautions. Chris Stevens, meanwhile, was also able to move past LaBagh into second place with a pass off the second turn on the 14th lap.
“I was having trouble with my car locking up,’’ said LaBagh, who continued losing positions as the race progressed. “I thought I was losing my power steering or was possibly getting a flat tire. I slowed right down after one restart because the car just wasn’t handlng.’’
LaBagh, while riding fourth, lost several positions following a restart at the midway point and never proved to be a factor from that point on.
Boniface, meanwhile, continued his dominance as Stevens continued to follow in second with Frank Venezia, Howie Finch III and Matt Stangle racing in the top five. Boniface had one anxious moment later in the event when Stevens passed him following a restart. But another caution on that start restored his lead.
“I was having carburetor issues, and my car was spitting and sputtering on the restarts,’’ said Boniface. “But I I was able to clean it out after that restart and the car was good to the finish.
“I also had some problems with lapped traffic early in the race. But those drivers are also racing for position. I can’t blame them. This is a tough track to race on and we’re all trying to finish the best we can.’’
Boniface continued his dominance when racing resumed until Phil Johnson slowed action with 33 laps completed when he spun between the third and fourth turns. Venenzia passed Stevens on the ensuing restart and remained in second place until the finish.
Stangle took over third place on the 49th lap as Stevens had to settle for a fourth-place showing when the checkered flag waved and Jesse Leiby rounded out the top five.
However, during the post-race inspection, both Venezia and Stevens were disqualified for racing with illegal cams on their engines. That moved Stangle into second place with Leiby, Allison Ricci, Howie Finch, Tim Hartman, Chris Lynch, LaBagh, Joe Falanga and Brad Horton rounding out the top 10.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 50 Laps: 1. Tyler Boniface, 2. Matt Stangle, 3. Jesse Leiby, 4. Allison Ricci, 5. Howie Finch, 6. Tim Hartman, 7. Chris Lynch, 8. Jared LaBagh, 9. Joe Falanga, 10. Brad Horton, 11. Mike Sabia, 12., Corey Cormier, 13. Patrick Murphy, 14. Leo Fotopoulos, 15. Jimmy Johnson, 16. Cole Hentschel, 17. Joe Conklin, 18. Anthony Falanga, 19. Robbie Speed, 20. Jeremy Pitts, 21. Mel Schrufer, 22. Tony Kawalchuk, 23. Kyle Plumstead, 24. John Virglio, 25. John Illanovsky, 26. Phil Johnson, 27. John Criscione, 28. Jeff Hulseapple. Disqualified: Frank Venezia, Chris Stevens.
Eastern States Time Trials Recap
Posted: October 26th, 2016
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN – Stewart Friesen will have the best seat in the house Sunday afternoon when the 55th edition of the prestigious Eastern States 200 takes center stage for some of the best Modified drivers in the Northeast and Canada during the Weekend Racing Festival at the Orange County Fair Speedway.
Friesen, one of the top Modified talents for the past several seasons, was the only driver to break the 21-second barrier in time trials Friday afternoon as he grabbed the pole for the 200-lap grind with an impressive time of 20.999 seconds around the five-eighths mile, hard clay oval.
Friesen, fresh off his impressive victory in the Bud Lite 200 at the Oswego Speedway on Oct. 9, was among the final group to take time during the day as OCFS track officials worked feverishly to get the racing program completed. The Sprakers driver turned in an initial lap of :21.026 to knock Brett Hearn off the pole. He bettered that with an average speed of 107.655 miles per hour on his second trip.
Friesen, who was a weekly competitor at OCFS for the first time in 2016, is still searching for his first win here this season as well as his first Eastern States 200 crown. But the task won’t to any easy one with several top Modified drivers on hand as well as a mandatory pit stop each driver must take after 30 laps have been completed in the event.
Hearn, who has a record 11 Eastern States Modified titles to his credit, will surely give Friesen all he can handle. The Vernon Township, N.J., driver has amassed 303 victories during his OCFS career and will start alongside Friesen in the front row after posting the second quickest time of 21.041 seconds.
Both Hearn and Friesen will also be contenders in this afternoon’s Eastern States 100 championship for the Small Block Modified drivers. Both will be looking to qualify for the race during time trials, heat races and consolation events. The Capital Region Sprint Agency (CRSA) 305 sprint car drivers will also be in action with qualifiers and a 25-lap feature. Racing gets underway at 11:30 a.m. with time trials.
There is a first-place prize of $15,000 at stake for the Small Block Modified winner. The winner of Sunday’s 200-lapper will earn $35,000. If one driver sweeps both races, a $10,000 bonus will be added – meaning one driver could collect at least $60,000.
Hearn and 2016 Modified track champion Tommy Meier came close to that feat last season. Meier won the 200-lapper but finished second to Hearn in the 100-lap title race for the Small Blocks. Hearn was a close second to Meier in the 200.
Former Eastern States winner Billy Decker turned in the third quickest Modified time aboard Vic Coffey’s No. 32C car with a time of 21.133 seconds. He was followed by Tim Hindley (:21.181), Meier (:21.187) and Jimmy Phelps (:21.261).
There are already 36 cars penciled in for Sunday’s 200-lap race with the remainder of the field coming from a series of consolation races. Those winning heat events were Danny Creeden, Brian Krummel, Danny Johnson, John Ferrier, Ronnie Johnson and Jerry Higbie.
August 27 Recap
Posted: August 29th, 2016
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – A showdown between Halmar International racing stars Stewart Friesen and Jimmy Horton, and the return of fan favorite Tim Hindley had the Orange County Fair Speedway audience buzzing last Saturday night as the Modified 30-lap feature entered its closing stages.
Friesen, who was seeking his first win here in 2016, appeared to have things well in hand as he dominated most of the event. However, the emergence of Horton at the midway point and Hindley’s drive from deep in the pack had the crowd at the edge of their seats when OCFS starter Randy Filipowski displayed five laps to go to the leaders.
Hindley, who was making his first Modified start of the season, was pressuring Horton for second place as he drove the outside lane to perfection. Horton took heed to Hindley’s challenges and moved to the outside lane as well. It proved to be the turning point in the race.
Because Horton realized he could get a good hold on the racing surface on the outside and utilized that to his advantage as he raced around Friesen off the fourth turn on the 29th lap. The Neshanic Station, N.J., legend then went on to end a 20-year winless drought at OCFS as he notched his first victory since Aug. 31, 1996.
Horton, a two-time track champion here, hasn’t been a regular competitor at OCFS for many seasons. But his merger with Halmar owner Chris Larsen brought him back in 2016. Horton now has 15 career wins at the track.
Friesen also joined forces with Halmar and is still seeking his first OCFS win this season. The Sprakers driver started outside pole after winning the second qualifying heat and was in his best position this season to accomplish the feat.
Friesen stormed out to a commanding lead over Chris Shultz and looked well en route to victory before L.J. Lombardo slowed action with a fourth-turn mishap with 12 laps completed. Craig Mitchell passed Shultz for second place on the restart as Friesen continued to dominate.
A second-turn tangle involving Shultz and Bob McGannon slowed action again with 15 laps completed. Horton vaulted past Jerry Higbie and Mitchell to grab second place on the ensuing restart to set the stage for his battle with Friesen.
Hindley, meanwhile, was racing in third place by the 20th lap as he overtook Tommy Meier and Higbie following another restart. Hindley then began closing in on Horton.
“I knew someone was right there because I could hear them,’’ said Horton. “I thought it might have been Meier, but then Hindley showed himself to the outside. I decided to go to the top and was surprised how much grip I got out there.
“That really proved to be the difference because my car just stuck to the track. Stewie was racing on the bottom and guarding the inside of the track. I just went around him off the fourth turn and that was it. I have Hindley to thank for showing me how good the outside was.’’
The win also earned Horton a guaranteed starting spot for the King of the Catskills championship race at Accord Speedway in September. Horton said he plans to make the event.
Hindley was also able to get around Friesen to finish in second place. Friesen followed in third with Higbie, Meier, Mitchell, Jeremy Markle, Michael Storms, Billy VanInwegen and Chris Whitehead rounding out the top 10.
Friesen increased his cushion to five points over Higbie (1045) entering the season finale on Saturday. Meier (1034), VanInwegen (1033), Mitchell (1002) and Horton (1000) follow.
Jeff Hulseapple and Frank Venezia shared the spotlight in Sportsman competition as OCFS presented a pair of 15-lap main events for the division.
Hulseapple picked up his first victory in more than 19 seasons in the Sportsman nightcap as he outraced Jesse Leiby and Allison Ricci to earn his fourth career triumph at the track. It was Hulseapple’s first trip to the winner’s circle since July 12, 1997.
Hulseapple, after picking fourth starting spot, powered ahead of Ricci following a seventh-lap restart and then held off the late charge by Leiby to end his long winless streak. Ricci, Tyler Boniface and Chris Stevens rounded out the top five.
Venezia grabbed his second win of the season in the opener as he finished ahead of Boniface, Leiby, Troy Arnold and Rafaele Carson.
Venezia got the jump on Arnold following a ninth-lap restart and then went on to score his 12th career win at OCFS.
Boniface all but locked up his first Sportsman championship as he owns a 91-point lead over Leiby entering the season finale. Boniface only needs to start the feature to secure the crown.
Thirteen-year-old driver Bobby Flood and Patrick Reiser highlighted racing in the Rookie Crate Sportsman ranks as each won a 12-lap main event.
Flood, a graduate of slingshot racing, earned his first career victory as he powered past Ashley Rogosich following an eighth-lap restart and then went on to finish ahead of Danny Carlough, John Gilroy, Rogosich and Tommy Zwart.
Reiser picked up his second triumph of 2016 as he finished ahead of Matt Shultz, Dylan Smith, Jake Granacker and John Miller.
Jim Maher grabbed his third straight victory and his fifth win this season as he captured the final leg of the Crane Golf Street Stock Challenge.
Maher, who wrestled first place away from Emerson Cargain Jr. on the ninth circuit of the 15-lap race, finished ahead of Jim Hajkowski, Charlie Donald, Emerson Cargain Jr. and Emerson Cargain Sr. The 14th win of his OCFS career also enabled Maher to tie the elder Cargain for first place in the final Crane standings with 370 points apiece.
Maher also took over first place in the track standings entering the season finale. He owns a five-point cushion over Mike Vigiletti.
Darrel Hulbert captured the Northeast Vintage Modified race with Jimmy Johnson and John Hager following.
Modified Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. Jimmy Horton, 2. Tim Hindley, 3. Stewart Friesen, 4. Jerry Higbie, 5. Tommy Meier, 6. Craig Mitchell, 7. Jeremy Markle, 8. Michael Storms, 9. Billy VanInwegen, 10. Chris Whitehead, 11. John Lieto, 12. Brendan Finley, 13. Richie Eurich, 14. Bob McGannon, 15. Danny Cronk, 16. Chris Shultz, 17. Joe Puzzella, 18. Gary Edwards Jr., 19. Matt Janiak, 20. L.J. Lombardo, 21. Mike Horton, 22. Kirk Horton, 23. Donnie Wilson, 24. Mike Kolka. Did Not Start: Jimmy Spellmon.
First Sportsman Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Frank Venezia, 2. Tyler Boniface, 3. Jesse Leiby, 4. Troy Arnold, 5. Rafaele Carson, 6. Jimmy Johnson, 7. Jeff Hulseapple, 8. Allison Ricci, 9. Dan Morgiewicz, 10. Chris Stevens, 11. Patrick Murphy, 12. Tommy Vigh Jr., 13. Greg Sleight, 14. Mel Schrufer, 15. Jeff Richardson, 16. Joe Falanga, 17. Leo Fotopoulos, 18. Matt Hitchcock, 19. Jamie Yannone, 20. Eddie Burgess, 21. Matt Burke, 22. Howie Finch III, 23. Joe Bonetti, 24. Austin Smith, 25. Joe Conklin. Did Not Qualify: Mike Traver, Connor Otten, Billy Eggers Jr., Pete Goydich, Steve Eubanks, Aaron Doolittle, Corey Cormier, Doc Young, Roger Henion Sr., Anthony Falanga.
Second Sportsman Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Jeff Hulseapple, 2. Jesse Leiby, 3. Allison Ricci, 4. Tyler Boniface, 5. Chris Stevens, 6. Patrick Murphy, 7. Joe Falanga, 8. Troy Arnold, 9. Mel Schrufer, 10. Dan Morgiewicz, 11. Leo Fotopoulos, 12. Matt Burke, 13. Howie Finch III, 14. Jeff Richardson, 15. Eddie Burgess, 16. Jamie Yannone, 17. Joe Bonetti, 18. Tommy Vigh Jr., 19. Rafaele Carson, 20. Austin Smith, 21. Greg Sleight, 22. Matt Hitchcock, 23. Jimmy Johnson, 24. Frank Venezia. Did Not Start: Joe Conklin.
First Rookie Crate Sportsman Feature Finish, 12 Laps: 1. Bobby Flood, 2. Danny Carlough, 3. John Gilroy, 4. Ashley Rogosich, 5. Tommy Zwart, 6. George Begg, 7. Michael Giulano, 8. Brad Horton, 9. Bobby Gage, 10. Russell Crotty, 11. Richie Ryder, 12. Mark Connoly, 13. Roger Henion Jr., 14. Cody Hunt, 15. Chris Raser. Did Not Start: Jared Miller.
Second Rookie Crate Sportsman Feature Finish, 12 Laps: 1. Patrick Reiser, 2. Matt Shultz, 3. Dylan Smith, 4. Jake Granacker, 5. John Miller, 6. Erin Paulison, 7. Kyle Jashembowski, 8. Taylor Hurban, 9. Michael Bull, 10. Richie VanOrden, 11. Chet Doolan, 12. Rich Eggers, 13. Joel Murns Jr. Disqualified: John Farissier, Stan Vishinski IV.
Street Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Jim Maher, 2. Jim Hajkowski, 3. Charlie Donald, 4. Emerson Cargain Jr., 5. Emerson Cargain Sr., 6. John Hechinger, 7. Mike Vigiletti, 8. Joel Murns Jr., 9. Terry McNamara, 10. Mario Contarino, 11. Dennis Caine, 12. Tim Daly, 13. Pete Wiegand, 14. Wayne Taylor, 15. Kevin Schlossareck, 16. Tommy Pickles, 17. Paul Maiolo. Did Not Start: Steve Johannessen, Jim Maher Sr.
Northeast Vintage Modified Feature Finish (top 5): 1. Darrel Hulbert, 2. Jimmy Johnson, 3. John Hager, 4. Rob Sanford, 5. Bob Schmidt.
August 20 Recap
Posted: August 22nd, 2016
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – Veteran Middletown drivers John Ferrier and Tom Hindley put an end to long winless streaks last Saturday night to highlight racing activity at the Orange County Fair Speedway.
Ferrier notched his first Modified victory in more than 13 years as he staved off the late challenges provided by Stewart Friesen en route to winning the 30-lap main event. It was Ferrier’s third career triumph and his first trip to the winner’s circle since May 17, 2013.
Hindley, who won for the first time in 12 seasons, and Rob Rowe, who collected his first OCFS career victory, shared the limelight in Small Block Modified competition as the track hosted a pair of 15-lap main events.
Hindley, who grabbed his sixth career Small Block win, chased down Rowe throughout the 15-lap nightcap before grabbing the lead and going on to win for the first time since Aug. 7, 2004.
Ferrier, after starting outside pole, took command of the Modified feature from the start and led the entire event. However, Friesen was entertaining the OCFS audience with a convincing drive from the rear of the field as he raced into the top 10 by the 11th lap.
Friesen, after finishing fourth in his qualifying heat, was disqualified during the post-race inspection for racing with an illegal tire. He was forced to start the main event in 22nd because of the infraction.
Friesen quickly moved his way through the field in the early stages of the race and sat in sixth place when Mike Kolka stopped on the track in the third turn to force a caution with 19 laps completed.
Friesen vaulted into fourth place following the ensuing restart, and was scored in second place just before an incident involving Jeremy Markle and Donnie Wilson between the first and second turns slowed action with 22 laps completed.
The caution provided Friesen with the opportunity he needed, but Ferrier was there to slam the door shut. Ferrier kept Friesen in second place on that restart and did it again four laps later to earn a popular win. Friesen, who took over first place in the standings, settled for second with Gary Edwards Jr., John Lieto and Tommy Meier rounding out the top five.
Rowe put himself in position to earn a sweep of the Small Block Modified competition when he picked the pole after capturing his first win. The top 10 finishers from the 15-lap opener drew for their positions from 10 cards and Rowe grabbed the ace.
Rowe seemed well on his way to pulling off the feat as he led for the first 13 laps with Hindley and Meier in hot pursuit. But Rowe’s car was noticeably slowing and he lost the lead and several positions on the 14th circuit around the five-eighths mile, hard clay oval.
Hindley grabbed the lead and went on to take the win ahead of Meier, Mike Ricci, Kirk Horton and Shane Jablonka.
Rowe inherited first place from Joe Falanga following a pile-up in the fourth turn on a second-lap restart and then held off the challenges provided by Eddie Burgess to earn his initial OCFS win.
Both Rowe and Burgess were seeking their first wins in the division as the race was run caution-free the rest of the way. Rowe remained just ahead as he grabbed the checkered flag just 0.854 seconds ahead of Burgess. Ricci, Edwards and Hindley rounded out the top five.
Chris Stevens picked up his second win this season in the Sportsman 20-lap feature as he finished ahead of Joe Conklin, Tyler Boniface, Greg Sleight and Bobby DeLeon.
The race was marred by a pile-up down the homestretch after five laps as Corey Cormier flipped his Sportsman car and landed upside down. Several cars were involved in the incident, but no one was injured.
Cole Hentschel notched his second straight win and Danny Carlough won for the first time as the track hosted a pair of 12 lap features for the Rookie Crate Sportsman drivers.
Hentschel powered ahead of Connor Otten following a 10th-lap restart and then went on to finish ahead of Otten, Rich Ricci III, Brad Horton and Bobby Flood.
Carlough inherited first place on the 11th lap when leader Chris Raser spun and then went on to finish ahead of Cody Hunt, Stan Vishinski IV, Patrick Reiser and Tommy Zwart.
Jim Maher continued his recent dominance of Street Stock competition as he grabbed his fourth win of 2016 in the 15-lap race.
Maher, who was won three of the last four features, grabbed first place away from Emerson Cargain Sr. on the eighth lap as he went on to score his 13th career win. Mike Vigiletti finished second with Paul Maiolo, Jim Hajkowski and Wayne Taylor following.
Modified Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. John Ferrier, 2. Stewart Friesen, 3. Gary Edwards Jr., 4. John Lieto, 5. Tommy Meier, 6. Billy VanInwegen, 7. Brendan Finley, 8. Craig Mitchell, 9. Jerry Higbie, 10. Richie Eurich, 11. Matt Janiak, 12. Chris Shultz, 13. Michael Storms, 14. Jeremy Markle, 15. L.J. Lombardo, 16. Chris Whitehead, 17. Donnie Wilson, 18. Mike Kolka, 19. Danny Cronk, 20. Mike Horton, 21. Jimmy Horton, 22. Bob McGannon.
First Small Block Modified Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Rob Rowe, 2. Eddie Burgess, 3. Mike Ricci, 4. Gary Edwards Jr., 5. Tom Hindley, 6. Tommy Meier, 7. Zack Vavricka, 8. Kirk Horton, 9. Jimmy Spellmon, 10. Frank Doty, 11. Matt Janiak, 12. John Ferrier, 13. Jesse Leiby, 14. John Lieto, 15. Joe Falanga, 16. Shane Jablonka, 17. Rich Eggers, 18. Willy Auchmoody, 19. Bobby Hentschel, 20. Bob McGannon, 21. Joe Barbagallo Jr., 22. Donnie Elliott, 23. Rich Coons.
Second Small Block Modified Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Tom Hindley, 2. Tommy Meier, 3. Mike Ricci, 4. Kirk Horton, 5. Shane Jablonka, 6. Jimmy Spellmon, 7. Gary Edwards Jr., 8. John Lieto, 9. Frank Doty, 10. Zack Vavricka, 11. Bob McGannon, 12. John Ferrier, 13. Joe Falanga, 14. Rob Rowe, 15. Jesse Leiby, 16. Eddie Burgess, 17. Rich Eggers. Did Not Start: Matt Janiak, Willy Auchmoody, Bobby Hentschel, Joe Barbagallo Jr., Donnie Elliott, Rich Coons.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Chris Stevens, 2. Joe Conklin, 3. Tyler Boniface, 4. Greg Sleight, 5. Bobby DeLeon, 6. Jeff Hulseapple, 7. Jeff Richardson, 8. Patrick Murphy, 9. Rafaele Carson, 10. Allison Ricci, 11. Leo Fotopoulos, 12. Jimmy Johnson, 13. Anthony Falanga, 14. Troy Arnold, 15. Howie Finch, 16. Tommy Vigh Jr., 17. Jesse Leiby, 18. Chris Lynch, 19. Frank Venezia, 20. Joe Bonetti, 21. Randy Sweetman, 22. Corey Cormier, 23. Aaron Doolittle, 24. Billy Eggers Jr. Disqualified: Milton Mann. Did Not Qualify: Mel Schrufer, Pete Goydich, Eddie Burgess, Dan Morgiewicz, Joe Falanga, Doc Young, Phil Johnson, Matt Burke, Bob Wosyluk, Ron Cockley, Rich Coons, Steve Eubanks.
First Crate Rookie Sportsman Feature Finish, 12 Laps: 1. Danny Carlough, 2. Cody Hunt, 3. Stan Vishinski IV, 4. Patrick Reiser, 5. Tommy Zwart, 6. Jake Granacker, 7. George Begg, 8. Chris Raser, 9. Paul Hyde, 10. Erin Paulison, 11. John Gilroy, 12. Don Smith, 13. Matt Shultz, 14. Roger Henion Jr., 15. Mike Orlando. Did Not Start: Rich Eggers, Bob Hallabeck.
Second Crate Rookie Sportsman Feature Finish, 12 Laps: 1. Cole Hentschel, 2. Connor Otten, 3, Rich Ricci III, 4. Brad Horton, 5. Bobby Flood, 6. John Farissier, 7. Ashley Rogosich, 8. Tanner Johnson, 9. Kyle Jashembowski, 10. Michael Giulano, 11. Bryan Jones, 12. Russell Crotty, 13. Taylor Hurban, 14. Mark Connoly, 15. Jared Miller. Did Not Start: Chris Cook.
Street Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Jim Maher, 2. Mike Vigiletti, 3, Paul Maiolo, 4. Jim Hajkowski, 5. Wayne Taylor, 6. Emerson Cargain Sr., 7. Charlie Donald, 8. Terry McNamara, 9. John Hechinger, 10. Scott Gumaer, 11. Pete Wiegand, 12. Emerson Cargain Jr., 13. Tommy Pickles, 14. Joe Paino, 15. Ryan Modiano, 16. Michael O’Sullivan, 17. Mario Contarino.
August 6 Recap
Posted: August 7th, 2016
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – Tommy Meier put himself back in the hunt for the 2016 Modified track championship at the Orange County Fair Speedway last Saturday night when he rebounded from a poor showing two weeks ago to capture his third victory of the season in the 30-lap main event.
Meier, who entered racing on July 23 in first place, was dealt a serious blow in the Modified title chase when a broken pinion shift on his car put him out of action before a lap was scored in the feature. That dropped the popular Waldwick, N.J., into sixth place – 21 points behind leader Jerry Higbie with just four races remaining this season.
Meier, after a dominating win in his qualifying heat, vaulted into second place behind leader Jimmy Horton at the drop of the green. Horton was able to build a comfortable cushion during the early stages of the event before Meier started closing in as the drivers approached lapped traffic.
Meier, who was averaging speeds of over 106 miles per hour around the five-eighths mile, hard clay oval, was glued to Horton’s bumper as the race reached its midway point and then snuck his nose under Horton while racing off the second turn on the 17th circuit.
Horton was able to maintain his lead off the turn and held a slight advantage over Meier during the next two laps. However, Horton, while approaching slower traffic once again, misjudged a pass on Mike Horton while racing through the first turn and wound up looping his car around.
Horton’s miscue handed first place over to Meier and he went on to post his 19th career OCFS victory – deadlocking Bud Marl for 20th place all-time at the track. Higbie followed close behind in second place and was also able to maintain first place in the standings with 871 points.
There are only 31 points separating the top five with Billy VanInwegen (863), Stewart Friesen (857), Meier (856) and L.J. Lombardo (840) following Higbie with just three events remaining. Jimmy Horton (837), Craig Mitchell (827), Bob McGannon (826), Jeremy Markle (815) and Gary Edwards Jr. (812) round out the top 10 in the standings.
Lombardo kept his hopes alive with a third-place showing behnd Meier and Higbie. He was followed across the finish line by VanInwegen, Friesen, Danny Cronk, John Lieto, Chris Whitehead, Mitchell and John Ferrier.
Michael Storms turned in a 12th place finish in his 2016 debut behind the wheel of a No. 14 Modified owned by Robbie Sherlock. Storms has been missing from the racing scene for several seasons.
The Capital Region Sprint Agency (CRSA) 305 Sprint Car drivers roared into town for their third visit of the season and Brian Krummel paced a clean sweep of Middletown drivers with an impressive victory in the 20-lap feature.
Krummel, a successful campaigner in Small Block Modified and Sportsman competition at the track, started on the pole and never trailed throughout as he led fellow Middletown residents Scott Goodrich and Christian Rumsey across the finish line.
“It definitely helps when you know the race track,’’ said Krummel, “but these guys do a heck of a job giving me a good car to race with. I just show up and race. It’s kind of out of my element.’’
Kyle Smith, who took one of the three heat races, finished in fourth place with Thomas Radivoy, Eddie Strada, Emily VanInwegen, Billy VanInwegen, Brett Jaycox and Peter Dance rounding out the top 10.
Tyler Boniface padded his lead in the Sportsman standings as he pocketed his second victory this season in the 20-lap feature ahead of Anthony Falanga, Dan Morgiewicz, Jesse Leiby and Leo Fotopoulos.
Boniface, who is seeking his first OCFS track championship, grabbed first place away from Jeff Richardson on the 12th lap and then went on to score his third career win at the track. The win boosted Boniface’s total to 989 points – 55 more than Joe Conklin in second.
A field of 31 Rookie Crate Sportsman drivers added a new twist as OCFS track management elected to have four qualifying races and a pair of 12-lap features.
Second-generation drivers Cole Hentschel and Matt Shultz both recorded the first victories of their OCFS careers in the two main events.
Hentschel led the entire 12-lap distance as he led Roger Henion Jr., Rich Ricci III, John Farissier and Patrick Reiser across the finish line. Shultz got the jump on Brad Horton during a seventh-lap restart and then went on to finish ahead of Brad Horton, George Begg, John Gilroy and Stan Vishinski IV.
Paul Maiolo moved ahead of Jim Hajkowski through the second turn on the eighth lap and then went on to score his second win this season in the Street Stock 15-lap feature.
Hajkowski, who led from the third lap, held on to finish second with Mike Vigiletti, Jim Maher and Wayne Taylor following.
Modified Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. Tommy Meier, 2. Jerry Higbie, 3. L.J. Lombardo, 4. Billy VanInwegen, 5. Stewart Friesen, 6. Danny Cronk, 7. John Lieto, 8. Chris Whitehead, 9. Craig Mitchell, 10. John Ferrier, 11. Jeremy Markle, 12. Michael Storms, 13. Bob McGannon, 14. Brendan Finley, 15. Gary Edwards Jr., 16. Mike Horton, 17. Jimmy Horton, 18. Joe Puzzella, 19. Matt Janiak, 20. Richie Eurich, 21. Mike Kolka, 22. Chris Shultz, 23. Steve Dodd, 24. Donnie Wilson, 25. C.G. Morey. Disqualified: Mike Ruggiero. Did Not Qualify: Jesse Kline.
CRSA 305 Sprint Car Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Brian Krummel, 2. Scott Goodrich, 3. Christian Rumsey, 4. Kyle Smith, 5. Thomas Radivoy, 6. Eddie Strada, 7. Emily VanInwegen, 8. Billy VanInwegen, 9. Brett Jaycox, 10. Peter Dance, 11. Dalton Herrick, 12. Tyler Jashembowski, 13. Dana Wagner, 14. Jeremy Quick, 15. Sydney Prince, 16. Craig Pellegrini, 17. Scott Flammer. Did Not Start: Rick Stone.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Tyler Boniface, 2. Anthony Falanga, 3. Dan Morgiewicz, 4. Jesse Leiby, 5. Leo Fotopoulos, 6. Jeff Hulseapple, 7. Jeff Richardson, 8. Joe Conklin, 9. Patrick Murphy, 10. Troy Arnold, 11. Rafaele Carson, 12. Bobby DeLeon, 13. Joe Bonetti, 14. Howie Finch, 15. Jimmy Johnson, 16. Steve Eubanks, 17. Allison Ricci, 18. Austin Smith, 19. Chris Stevens, 20. Pete Goydich, 21. Billy Eggers Jr., 22. Joey Bruning, 23. Frank Venezia, 24. Eddie Burgess. Did Not Qualify: Joey Falanga, Bob Wosyluk, Milton Mann, Matt Burke, Phil Johnson, Michael Murphy, Tommy Vigh Jr., Justin Gilson, Doc Young, Winter Mead, Ron Cockley.
First Rookie Crate Sportsman Feature Finish, 12 Laps: 1. Cole Hentschel, 2. Roger Henion Jr., 3. Rich Ricci III, 4. John Farissier, 5. Patrick Reiser, 6. Brian Jones, 7. Taylor Hurban, 8. Derrick Cormier, 9. Michael Guiliano, 10. Dylan Smith, 11. Bobby Flood, 12. Ashley Rogosich, 13. Cody Hunt, 14. Kyle Jashembowski, 15. Bob Hallabeck. Did Not Start: Paul Hyde.
Second Rookie Crate Sportsman Feature Finish, 12 Laps: 1. Matt Shultz, 2. Brad Horton, 3. George Begg, 4. John Gilroy, 5. Stan Vishinski IV, 6. Chris Raser, 7. Jake Granacker, 8. Erin Paulison, 9. Ricky Ryder, 10. Mike Orlando, 11. Tanner Johnson, 12. Rich Eggers, 13. Danny Carlough, 14. Connor Otten. Did Not Start: Russell Crotty.
Street Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Paul Maiolo, 2. Jim Hajkowski, 3. Mike Vigiletti, 4. Jim Maher, 5. Wayne Taylor, 6. Emerson Cargain Sr., 7. Ron Constable, 8. Terry McNamara, 9. Tim Daly, 10. Mario Contarino, 11. John Hechinger, 12. Stan Vishinski Sr., 13. Michael O’Sullivan, 14. Charlie Donald, 15. Emerson Cargain Jr., 16. Kevin Colman. Did Not Start: Tommy Pickles.
July 23rd Recap
Posted: July 24th, 2016
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – Matt Janiak ventured to Ohio for the Super DIRTcar Series’ recent swing through the Buckeye state this past week and he feels the lessons he’s learned traveling have improved his driving style immensely.
Janiak, who broke on to the Modified scene late last season as a member of Chris Larsen’s Halmar racing team, became the 10th different winner at the Orange County Fair Speedway in 2016 last Saturday night when he captured his first career triumph in the 30-lap main event.
Janiak, who said he has about 20 Modified races under his belt, admitted his starting position was a major factor in the victory. But the lessons he’s learned on the road against such talented competition taught him that slowing things down sometimes makes you go faster.
“We’ve hit the road quite a bit this season and I really feel that’s improved my racing style,’’ said Janiak. “I’ve learned a lot about throttle control and how much different it is racing these cars compared to the Sportsman.
“I pretty much could go all out through the turns in a Sportsman. But these Modified cars are too powerful and this is a very fast track here. You have to ease up on the throttle or you’ll end up in the wall.’’
Janiak, who started on the pole, never trailed throughout the event as he raced ahead of Chris Whitehead until the checkered flag dropped. Whitehead was able to keep Janiak within striking distance until fading a bit in the latter stages.
“We ran 30 good laps and I was told we got faster as the race went on.’’ said Janiak. “We actually broke the drive shaft during warmups and had to replace it in the pits. But I had no problems during the race and the race was just perfect.’’
However, things were anything but perfect for Modified points leader Tommy Meier and last week’s winner Craig Mitchell, who entered racing first and second in the standings. Meier’s car slowed before a lap was scored and he had to be pushed to the pits. Mitchell retired under green with 11 laps completed.
Reigning track champion Jerry Higbie, who is seeking his first win this season, vaulted into first place in the standings with 772 points. He’s closely followed by Jimmy Horton (768), Billy VanInwegen (768), Stewart Friesen (767) and Bob McGannon (753). Meier fell to sixth place with 751 points.
The chase for the 2016 championship banner will be intense as there are only four points events remaining on the schedule. That could prove to benefit Higbie, Horton and Friesen as the season winds down with OCFS’s track policy. No feature winner can start in the first three positions for a main event. The three drivers have yet to win this season.
Whitehead turned in his best performance of the racing campaign in finishing second with McGannon, Richie Eurich, Mike Kolka, Friesen, Higbie, VanInwegen, Horton and Gary Edwards Jr. rounding out the top 10.
Joe Conklin broke a two-year winless drought as he held off the late charge provided by Howie Finch III to score his first victory this season in the Sportsman 20-lap feature.
Conklin, who hasn’t won here since Aug. 16, 2014, wrestled the lead away from Corey Cormier following a sixth-lap restart and then went on to earn his seventh OCFS career win ahead of Finch, Joey Falanga, Tyler Boniface and Jimmy Johnson.
Johnson, who is celebratimg his 30th season of racing, was in contention for his first victory in 14 years as he raced second to Conklin with following a ninth-lap restart. But Johnson was involved in an accident with Cormier moments later, and had to fall in at the rear of the field.
Johnson was able to race back to a fifth place finish following the mishap.
Third-generation driver Rich Ricci III grabbed the first win of his OCFS racing career as he captured the Rookie Crate Sportsman 15-lap feature ahead of Patrick Reiser, Matt Shultz, Brad Horton and Connor Otten.
Ricci, the son of former OCFS driver Rich Ricci Jr., got the jump on Brad Horton following a second-lap restart and never looked back as he sailed to an impressive win. Rich Ricci Sr. was also on hand to witness his grandson’s first triumph here.
Jim Maher continued his climb up the OCFS winner’s ladder as he claimed his 12th career victory in the Street Stock 15-lap feature.
Maher, who now stands 11th all-time at the track, finished ahead of Paul Maiolo for the second straight week to claim his third triumph in 2016. Emerson Cargain Sr. followed in third place with Jim Hajkowski and Mike Vigiletti rounding out the top five.
Modified Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. Matt Janiak, 2. Chris Whitehead, 3. Bob McGannon, 4. Richie Eurich, 5. Mike Kolka, 6. Stewart Friesen, 7. Jerry Higbie Jr., 8. Billy VanInwegen, 9. Jimmy Horton, 10. Gary Edwards Jr., 11. Jeremy Markle, 12. L.J. Lombardo, 13. Mike Ruggiero, 14. Danny Cronk, 15. John Lieto, 16. Donnie Wilson, 17. Kirk Horton, 18. John Ferrier, 19. Brendan Finley, 20. Chris Shultz, 21. Craig Mitchell, 22. Jesse Kline, 23. Tommy Meier.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Joe Conklin, 2. Howie Finch III, 3. Joey Falanga, 4. Tyler Boniface, 5. Jimmy Johnson, 6. Jeff Hulseapple, 7. Eddie Burgess, 8. Bobby DeLeon, 9. Austin Smith, 10. Leo Fotopoulos, 11. Troy Arnold, 12. Corey Cormier, 13. Dan Morgiewicz, 14. Joe Bonetti, 15. Joey Bruning, 16. Rafaele Carson, 17. Tommy Vigh Jr., 18. Allison Ricci, 19. Jesse Leiby, 20. Steve Eubanks, 21. Milton Mann, 22. Doc Young, 23. Jeff Richardson, 24. Frank Venezia. Did Not Qualify: Chris Stevens, Billy Eggers Jr., Justin Gilson.
Rookie Crate Sportsman Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Rich Ricci III, 2. Patrick Reiser, 3. Matt Shultz, 4. Brad Horton, 5. Connor Otten, 6. Ashley Rogosich, 7. Chris Raser, 8. Bobby Flood, 9. Tommy Zwart, 10. Taylor Hurban, 11. Dylan Smith, 12. Erin Paulison, 13. Michael Giulano, 14. Tanner Johnson, 15. Cole Hentschel, 16. John Farissier, 17. Jimmy Devitt, 18. Jared Miller, 19. Brian Jones. Did Not Start: Roger Henion Jr., Rich Eggers, Ray Hulseapple, Mike Orlando, Bob Hallabeck, Danny Carlough, Keith Johannessen.
Street Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Jim Maher, 2. Paul Maiolo, 3. Emerson Cargain Sr., 4. Jim Hajkowski, 5. Mike Vigiletti, 6. Tommy Pickles, 7. Emerson Cargain Jr., 8. Stan Vishinski Sr., 9. Mario Contarino, 10. Ron Constable, 11. Tim Daly, 12. Wayne Taylor, 13. Terry McNamara, 14. Shawn Johannessen.
July 16th Recap
Posted: July 17th, 2016
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – A few weeks off proved to be the right remedy for Craig Mitchell to get his Modified racing program back in order at the Orange County Fair Speedway.
Mitchell, who hasn’t reached victory lane in almost three years, unveiled a new racing machine and enjoyed a successful maiden voyage as he captured the Modified 30-lap feature for his first win in the division since Aug. 24, 2013.
“The rain out a week ago enabled me to get all the finishing touches done on this car,’’ said Mitchell. “I bent the frame on my car a few weeks back in the Twin 20s program and had to get a new one. There was no racing here during the Fourth of July weekend and having an extra week to get this prepared really helped.’’
Mitchell, who captured the second qualifying heat to start outside pole, also benefitted from the heads-up start procedure in the feature to claim his fifth OCFS career triumph. The veteran Wappingers Falls driver got the jump on Chris Shultz and never trailed in the caution-free event, which took just 11 minutes and 13.428 seconds to complete.
But Mitchell wasn’t without some close company throughout the race as Shultz kept within striking distance and made several passing attempts on the inside groove for the lead. But Mitchell was able to maintain his outside momentum off the turns and that proved to be the difference was he took the checkered flag just a few car lengths ahead.
“This was a great run for the first time out and I couldn’t be happier,’’ said Mitchell.
“I really needed this win because it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to get one. My starting position was a big key because you need to start up front here to challenge for a win.’’
John Lieto finished a close third to the leaders with Mike Ruggiero, Jeremy Markle, Stewart Friesen, Mike Kolka, Jimmy Horton, Richie Eurich and Jerry Higbie rounding out the top 10. Mitchell was the ninth different winner at the track in 2016.
Tommy Meier, who was ahead in both Modified divisions entering the night’s racing program, still owns a 10-point margin in the big block ranks. However, Horton jumped into second place with 687 points, and he’s closely followed by Higbie (685) and Billy VanInwegen (682).
Meier padded his advantage in the Small Block Modified ranks behind his first victory of the season as he blitzed the 26-car field in the caution-marred Eric Haubrich Memorial 25-lap main event.
Meier, who was awarded second place when Tom Hindley was penalized two positions for jumping consecutive restarts, bolted ahead of leader Jimmy Spellmon on the 11th lap restart and never looked back was he captured his 11th career Small Block Modified win here.
The victory gives Meier 671 points for the season as he pushed his cushion over Brian Krummel (647) to 24 markers. Krummel finished one notch out of the top five in sixth place.
Spellmon led the race from the opening green before several cautions towards the midway point of the race slowed action and depleted the field. Only 13 cars completed the 25-lap distance.
Shane Jablonka remained in contention for the 2016 championship banner behind a third-place effort with VanInwegen and Tim Hindley rounding out the top five.
Tyler Boniface put an end to a five-season winless drought as he drove the R.J. Smith owned No. 4RJ Sportsman car to victory in the 20-lap feature.
Boniface, who captured his only other win here on July 30, 2011, powered ahead of Frank Venezia off the fourth turn on the 17th lap and then went on to score the triumph over Venezia, Jesse Leiby, Troy Arnold and Jimmy Johnson.
Jimmy Maher picked up his second victory this season in the Crane Golf Challenge 15-lap main event for the Street Stock competitors.
Maher, after starting fourth, vaulted into first place before a lap was completed and then ran off and hid as he notched the 11th victory of his OCFS career. Paul Maiolo finished in second with Mike Vigiletti, Emerson Cargain Sr. and Jim Hajkowski following.
Modified Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. Craig Mitchell, 2. Chris Shultz, 3. John Lieto, 4. Mike Ruggiero, 5. Jeremy Markle, 6. Stewart Friesen, 7. Mike Kolka, 8. Jimmy Horton, 9. Richie Eurich, 10. Jerry Higbie, 11. Tommy Meier, 12. L.J. Lombardo, 13. Gary Edwards Jr., 14. Billy VanInwegen, 15. Bob McGannon, 16. Matt Janiak, 17. Brendan Finley, 18. Donnie Wilson, 19. Rob Rowe, 20. Danny Cronk, 21. Chris Whitehead, 22. John Ferrier, 23. Jesse Kline, 24. Kurt Hundeland.
Small Block Modified Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Tommy Meier, 2. Jimmy Spellmon, 3. Shane Jablonka, 4. Billy VanInwegen, 5. Tim Hindley, 6. Brian Krummel, 7. Bob McGannon, 8. Gary Edwards Jr., 9. Tom Hindley, 10. Zack Vavricka, 11. Tyler McKee, 12. Eddie Burgess, 13. Bobby Hentschel, 14. Joe Falanga, 15. John Ferrier, 16. Patrick Murphy, 17. Jesse Leiby, 18. Frank Doty, 19. Rob Rowe, 20. Willy Auchmoody, 21. Matt Janiak, 22. Kirk Horton, 23. Rich Eggers, 24. Joe Barbagallo, 25. Mike Weslowski, 26. Mike Kolka.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Tyler Boniface, 2. Frank Venezia, 3. Jesse Leiby, 4. Troy Arnold, 5. Jimmy Johnson, 6. Howie Finch, 7. Patrick Murphy, 8. Allison Ricci, 9. Corey Cormier, 10. Milton Mann, 11. Pete Goydich, 12. Tony Kowalchuk, 13. Joe Falanga, 14. Austin Smith, 15. Anthony Falanga, 16. Joe Conklin, 17. Joey Bruning, 18. John Farissier, 19. Tommy Vigh Jr., 20. Danny Carlough, 21. Greg Sleight, 22. Randy Sweetman, 23. Billy Eggers Jr. Did Not Start: Jeff Richardson. Did Not Qualify: Jeff Hulseapple, Chris Stevens, Rafaele Carson, Leo Fotopoulos, Bob Wosyluk, Tanner Johnson, Bobby DeLeon, Matt Shultz, Steve Eubanks, Matt Burke, Anthony Horton, Brad Horton, Chris Raser, Ray Hulseapple, John Gilroy, Bobby Hallabeck, Dylan Smith, Dan Mogriewicz, Russell Crotty, Mike Murphy, Eddie Burgess.
Street Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Jim Maher, 2. Paul Maiolo, 3. Mike Vigiletti, 4. Emerson Cargain Sr., 5. Jim Hajkowski, 6. Wayne Taylor, 7. Emerson Cargain Jr., 8. Terry McNamara, 9. Scott Gumaer, 10. Tommy Pickle, 11. Ron Constable, 12. Jak Dekker, 13. Mario Contarino. Did Not Start: Pat Runo.
June 25th Recap
Posted: June 26th, 2016
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – This time of the year holds a special meaning in the heart of Modified driver Donnie Wilson.
Because Father’s Day is celebrated every June and the month has produced some of the fondest memories for Wilson as both a driver and fan while growing up through the racing seasons at the Orange County Fair Speedway.
‘This is my second home,’’ said Wilson, the son of retired Modified driver Billy Wilson. “My father brought us to the races many years ago and we pretty much lived our summers growing up here. It brings back a lot of very fond memories, but this time of the year always seems to be extra special.’’
Because Donnie Wilson captured his first career Modified victory at OCFS during Father’s Day Weekend two years ago and last Saturday night returned to victory lane as he completely dominated a 23-car field to win the 30-lap main event.
Wilson, making only his third start aboard a car he purchased from Craig Mitchell last fall, started on the pole and never looked back as he blistered the five-eighths mile, hard clay oval with speeds averaging over 104 miles per hour to finish more than three seconds ahead of John Ferrier when OCFS starter Bob Ryder waved the checkered flags.
“You could say this car is pretty much brand new,’’ said Wilson. “It only has about 15 races on it and was just what I was looking for. Hollywood (Mitchell) wasn’t happy with it and sold it to me last fall. It’s a 2015 TEO and Bobby Hearn pretty much just has the basic set up on it.
“I’m very happy with the car and can’t believe I’ve won in just it’s third time out. I thought I had motor issues a week ago and sat out both Twin 20s. We took the car to Precision Engine that Sunday and it turned out to be a carburetor issue. He just fine tuned the motor and I got it back that night.’’
Wilson, who claimed his first Modified win on June 14, 2014, also drove to an impressive victory in his qualifying race and that handicapped him to the pole position for the main event.
“That first win is something I’ll never forget,’’ said Donnie Wilson, who also has five Small Block Modified victories here.
“Because it happened on Father’s Day Weekend. I’ve had some other opportunities to win, but something always seemed to happen late in the race.
“My father’s last win here came in 2007. I was leading in the race and he was running second. I blew out a tire on the last lap and just couldn’t finish. He went on for the win. It was bittersweet, but that happened on June 2 that season.’’
Ferrier, who started outside pole, held off several challenges provided by Stewart Friesen during the course of the race to finish in second. Friesen, who is still seeking his first OCFS win in 2016, settled for third with Brendan Finley, Gary Edwards Jr., Danny Cronk, Tommy Meier, Mike Ruggiero, Jerry Higbie and Jimmy Horton following.
Matt Janiak and Edwards were both victorious in Small Block Modified competition as the division had a pair of 25-lap main events.
Janiak, after starting fourth, bolted into first place before a lap was scored and held off Shane Jablonka during the closing stages of the event to claim the first Small Block Modified victory of his OCFS career.
“We had a very good car tonight and I just wish I could have finished a little better in the first feature,’’ said Janiak, who finished second to Edwards. “But it feels great getting this first win.’’
Jimmy Spellmon finished in third place in the Small Block nightcap with Bob McGannon and Meier rounding out the top five.
Edwards, after starting 12th, had a much tougher time reaching victory lane for the second time this season and for the seventh time of his OCFS career.
Edwards avoided several caution periods during the middle stages of the race, but was able to move forward and was racing among the leaders by the 11th circuit.
Janiak, who also owns seven OCFS Sportsman wins, enjoyed a brief lead for three laps before getting out of shape following a 14th-lap restart and losing three positions.
McGannon then surged ahead and remained there until Edwards finally gained control on the 20th circuit. Edwards then went on to finish ahead of Janiak, McGannon, Meier and Brian Krummel.
Tyler Johnston grabbed the first victory of his young racing career as he held off the late-race charge provided by John Leiby to capture the Sportsman 20-lap feature.
Johnston, who started on the pole, led throughout the race as several drivers battled among the top five behind him. Allison Ricci, Frank Venezia and Leiby all raced second at different stages of the race, but were never able to mount a serious pass for the lead.
Leiby wound up finishing second with Venezia, Ricci and Jeff Hulseapple rounding out the top five.
Jim Hajkowski picked up his first career victory in the Street Stock 15-lsp feature as he finished ahead of Emerson Cargain Sr., Paul Maiolo, Wayne Taylor and Jim Maher Jr.
Hajkowski snatched the lead away from Mario Contarino on the fifth lap and then held off Cargain during the last five laps to notch his initial win here.
Modified Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. Donnie Wilson, 2. John Ferrier, 3. Stewart Friesen, 4. Brendan Finley, 5. Gary Edwards Jr., 6. Danny Cronk, 7. Tommy Meier, 8. Mike Ruggiero, 9. Jerry Higbie, 10. Jimmy Horton, 11. Billy VanInwegen, 12. Craig Mitchell, 13. Matt Janiak, 14. Jeremy Markle, 15. Mike Kolka, 16. Bob McGannon, 17. Chris Shultz, 18. C.G. Morey, 19. L.J. Lombardo, 20. John Lieto, 21. Richie Eurich, 22. Chris Whitehead, 23. Rob Rowe, 24. Justin Gozzi.
Small Block Modified Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Matt Janiak, 2. Shane Jablonka, 3. Jimmy Spellmon, 4. Bob McGannon, 5. Tommy Meier, 6. Tom Hindley, 7. Gary Edwards Jr., 8. Brian Krummel, 9. Bobby Hentschel, 10. Jesse Leiby, 11. Rob Rowe, 12. Zack Vavricka, 13. Tyler McKee, 14. Eddie Burgess, 15. Frank Doty, 16. Roger Henion Jr., 17. Willy Auchmoody, 18. Joe Barbagallo Jr., 19. Tim Hindley, 20. Tyler Treacy, 21. Rich Eggers, 22. Joe Falanga. Did Not Start: John Ferrier.
Held Over Small Block Modified Feature, 25 Laps: 1. Gary Edwards Jr., 2. Matt Janiak, 3. Bob McGannon, 4. Tommy Meier, 5. Brian Krummel, 6. Jimmy Spellmon, 7. Tyler McKee, 8. Tom Hindley, 9. Rob Rowe, 10. Bobby Hentschel, 11. Joe Barbagallo Jr., 12. Eddie Burgess, 13. Frank Doty, 14. Jesse Leiby, 15. Joe Falanga, 16. Willy Auchmoody, 17. Shane Jablonka, 18. Tim Hindley, 19. John Ferrier, 20. Tyler Treacy, 21. Rich Eggers.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Tyler Johnston, 2. Jesse Leiby, 3. Frank Venezia, 4. Allison Ricci, 5. Jeff Hulseapple, 6. Randy Sweetman, 7. Joey Bruning, 8. Joe Falanga, 9. Anthony Falanga, 10. Tony Kowalchuk, 11. Eddie Burgess, 12. Howie Finch, 13. Tommy Vigh Jr., 14. Dan Morgiewicz, 15. Danny Carlough, 16. Jimmy Johnson, 17. Joe Conklin, 18. Chris Stevens, 19. Tyler Boniface, 20. Jeff Richardson, 21. Rafaele Carson, 22. Greg Sleight, 23. Austin Smith, 24. Leo Fotopoulos. Did Not Qualify: Troy Arnold, Billy Eggers Jr., Anthony Horton, Brad Horton, Bob Wosyluk, Justin Gilson, Dylan Smith, Tanner Johnson, Corey Cormier, Phil Johnson, Matt Shultz, Matt Hitchcock, John Gilroy, Otto Bradatsch.
Street Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Jim Hajkowski, 2. Emerson Cargain Sr., 3. Paul Maiolo, 4. Wayne Taylor, 5. Jim Maher, 6. Terry McNamara, 7. Tim Daly, 8. Tommy Pickle, 9. Marioi Contarino, 10. Curtis Ayers, 11. Mike Vigiletti, 12. Emerson Cargain Jr. Did Not Start: Ron Constable.
On Nostalgia Night At OCFS, Mike Ruggiero Wins Mod Main For First Win In Three Years
Posted: June 7th, 2016
MIDDLETOWN, NY (Sat., Jun. 4, 2016) – As thousands of nostalgia-minded fans watched, Mike Ruggiero took advantage of an outside front row starting position in the 30-lap Big Block Modified feature, sprinted out in front of the field heading into turn one, and never looked back Saturday at Orange County Fair Speedway.
Ruggiero, who had been having a frustrating season dialing his car in, was as much surprised as he was delighted with the win, the fourth of his Big Block OCFS career but first since September, 2013.
“We threw so much stuff at the car and I’m not sure what the setup even is,” Ruggiero said. “But it certainly worked.”
Ruggiero benefited from a mid-race start that allowed him to access just how well he was racing. And while he was in charge until the end, Chris Whitehead closed to within a car length as the checkered flag flew.
“I didn’t know who it was but I knew someone was coming,” Ruggiero said. “Right at the end, the car was going away. But we got to the finish line first.”
Whitehead had his best race of the year with a second place result. Mike Kolka passed Matt Janiak on the 25th lap to grab third with Janiak holding for fourth over John Lieto. Kolka had changed the livery on his car, carrying a 'K2' on the doors, a tribute to this uncle Richie Kolka who raced a Modified with that number in the sixties. Richie Kolka was among the nearly 100 drivers who attended Nostalgia Night and signed autographs for enthused fans.
A high speed crash in the Modified feature was averted by inches. Midway through it, Gary Edwards, Jr. appeared to slow with a tire problem on the homestretch, and was then clipped by Steve Dodd. Dodd spun across the track and was narrowly missed by a speeding Danny Kronk.
Anthony Falanga won his first career Sportsman feature, in a race abbreviated to just nine laps owing to a combination of time limit expiration, curfew considerations and impending rain.
Falanga battled with Eddie Burgess wheel to wheel for the lead over the first two laps before emerging as the leader on a lap three restart.
Numerous accidents plagued this one, including one false start that nearly took out leader Falanga.
Falanga nevetheless prevailed to win it over Jimmy Johnson, Jeff Hulseapple, Tyler Boniface and Joe Conklin.
The race winner expressed doubt as to whether or not he could have led the race to the end, had it gone the full 20 circuits.
“It would have been tough,” Falanga admitted. “The car was pretty good but not perfect. I think it would have been a real challenge to hold them all off.”
Former Pro Stock standout Paul Maiolo took the early lead in the Street Stock feature which wound up being flagged at the eleven lap marl when rain began to fall. Mike
Vigiletti and Emerson Cargain, Sr. trailed.
In the Rookie Sportsman feature race, young Corey Cormier, 19, won for the first time on The Hard Clay. Cormier had won twice earlier this year, but at Accord Speedway.
“It feels real good to win one here,” Cormier said. “I had been getting a littte discouraged because of some parts failures we had been having here.”
The Rookie Sportsman feature was desigated the Marky Traverse Memorial, in honor of a young man who was a dedicated OCFS supporter and passed away several years ago.
Cormier had to outrun the somewhat more experienced Rich Ricci, III and Bobby Flood to take the checkered.
Ray See, Jr. ran away with the Northeast Vintage Stock Car Club feature.
Modified Feature: Mike Ruggiero, Chris Whitehead, Mike Kolka, Matt Janiak, John Lieto, Tommy Meier, Billy Vaninwegen, Chris Shultz, Rich Eurich, Craig Mitchell, LJ Lombardo, Stewart Freisen, Jimmy Horton, Brendan Finley, Danny Cronk, Bob McGannon, Gary Edwards Jr., Rob Rowe, Kirk Horton, Jeremy Markle, CG Morey, Steve Dodd, Jeff Heotzler, Jerry Higbie, Juston Gozzi, John Ferrier, Tom Hindley
Sportsman Feature: Anthoy Falanga, Jimmy Johnson, Jeff Hulseapple, Tyler Boniface, Joe Conklin, Howie Finch, Milton Mann, Rafaele Carson, Jesse Leiby, Allison Ricci, Billy Eggers Jr., Austin Smith, Chris Stevens, Pat Murphy, Jeff Richardson, Eddie Burgess, Tyler Johnsotn, Johnny Illanovsky, Joey Falanga, Greg Sleight, Randy Sweetman, Frank Venezia, Leo Fotopoulos, DQ: Larry Hendershot
Rookie Sportsman Feature - Marky Traverse Memorial: Corey Cormier, Rich Ricci III, Bobby Flood, Patrick Reiser, Danny Carlough, Tommy Zwart, John Farissier, Matt Shultz, Brad Horton, Keith Johannessen, Jimmy Devitt, Bryan Jones, Ashley Rogosich, George Begg, Rich Eggers, Dave Demorest, Connor Otten, Chris Raser, Steven Ball, Taylor Hurban, Dylan Smith, Cody Hint, Roger Henion Jr., Stan Vishinski IV, Erin Paulison
Street Stock Feature: Paul Maiolo, Mike VIgiletti, Emerson Cargain Sr., Jim Hajkowski, Emerson Cargain Jr., Kevin Coleman, Terry McNamara, Tommy Pickle, Dave VanSise, Ron Constable, Wayne Taylor, Curtis Ayers, Joel Murns, Jim Maher, Mario Contarino, Steve Johannessen
Northeast Vintage Feature: Ray See Jr., Rob Sanford, Darrel Hulbert, Jimmy Johnson, Tom Laner, Stan Wetmore, Dan McKeirnan, Jeff Hager, Joe Poliacik, Bob Schmidt, Wyatt Jacobus
Week 4 Recap
Posted: May 8, 2016
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – The waiting is finally over for veteran Modified driver Jeff Heotzler Sr.
Heotzler, who will be enshrined in the Northeast Dirt Modified Hall of Fame in August, joined an elite group of Modified drivers at the Orange County Fair Speedway last Saturday when he captured his 50th career victory at the historic track in the 30-lap main event.
Heotzler, who picked up his initial triumph here on May 14, 1983, became only the third driver in the track’s rich Modified history to reach the 50-win milestone – joining Brett Hearn (174) and Frankie Schneider (58).
“I’m glad to finally get this behind me,’’ said Heotzler, “but this is also going to be a season to remember. It’s just fantastic getting 50 wins here and being elected into the Hall of Fame is something I’ll always cherish. We’ve struggled to get here and got off to a pretty lousy start. But this makes it all worthwhile.’’
Heotzler, who blew an engine on April 30, captured the first qualifying heat and then was handicapped to start on the pole for the main event. The 58-year-old Wallkill resident, who is in the midst of his 39th racing season, vaulted right into the lead and remained there until Jeremy Markle’s backstretch mishap forced a caution with two laps completed.
Chris Shultz, who rolled his car in the first turn a week earlier, got the jump on Heotzler in his makeshift Modified on the restart and seemed in command despite three more cautions in the early going. Stewart Friesen forced one of them when his car slowed off the fourth turn and he was forced to retire after just seven laps.
Bob McGannon’s third-turn incident forced the race’s final caution and set the stage for Heotzler’s race-winning move.
“I can’t believe he (Shultz) gave me the outside on that restart,’’ said Heotzler. “There was a lot of bite on the top tonight and I was able to drive around him. He was able to do the same thing to me earlier in the race.’’
Heotzler was able to stretch his lead out to the finish as he notched his first OCFS win since May 2, 2015.
“I really didn’t know how much of a lead I had,’’ said Heotzler. “I thought there was someone right on my tail. I just wanted to get this race over because reaching the 50 wins has been a struggle. I’m glad it’s over, but this is a special moment for me.’’
Shultz was able to hold on to finish a distant second with another pair of veteran competitors – Jimmy Horton and Richie Eurich – following close behind. Eurich entered the season with 49 career OCFS wins as well and is the only active driver within the milestone.
Craig Mitchell concluded the top five with Mike Kolka, L.J. Lombardo, Tommy Meier, Jerry Higbie and Billy VanInwegen following.
Reigning track titlist Gary Edwards Jr. started on the pole and led the distance as he displayed some awesome power en route to his first win this season in the Small Block Modified 25-lap main event.
Edwards, who has struggled during the early season, was in complete control from the drop of the opening green as he averaged speeds of nearly 106 miles per hour to finish more than four seconds ahead of McGannon at the finish. The Wurtsboro driver claimed his sixth career triumph.
Meier capitalized on a late-race charge to finish in third place with Tom Hindley, Brian Krummel, Frank Doty, Shane Jablonka, Joe Falanga, John Lieto and Jesse Leiby following.
Eddie Strada got the Capital Region Sprint Agency’s 2016 schedule at OCFS to a flying start as he drove his powerful 305-cubic inch sprinter to a convincing victory in the 20-lap feature.
Strada, who earned his first career victory here, and the rest of his CRSA competitors will have five stops at OCFS this season. There were 20 cars here for their opening show.
Strada grabbed the lead from Christian Rumsey on the second lap and never looked back as he finished ahead of Rumsey, Krummel, Scott Flammer and Scott Goodrich.
Chris Stevens picked up his first triumph of the season in the Sportsman 20-lap feature as he finished ahead of Frank Venezia, Tyler Johnston, Joe Conklin and Tyler Boniface.
Stevens, who started on the pole, never trailed during the race as he secured his fifth career win at the track. Venezia, who claimed his first victory of 2016 a week ago, charged ahead of Johnston following a 16th lap restart, but never challenged Stevens for first place.
Defending track champion Jim Maher passed Joel Murns Jr. on the final lap to register his first win of the season in an exciting Street Stock 15-lap feature.
Maher, who started 10th, chased Murns since grabbing second place following a restart on the second lap. But Murns was able to stave off each challenge Maher had to offer as the race progressed.
Maher finally found an opening off the second turn on the final lap as he went on to secure his 10th career victory ahead of Murns, Mike Vigiletti, Paul Maiolo and Emerson Cargain Sr.
Modified Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. Jeff Heotzler Sr., 2. Chris Shultz, 3. Jimmy Horton, 4. Richie Eurich, 5. Craig Mitchell, 6. Mike Kolka, 7. L.J. Lombardo, 8. Tommy Meier, 9. Jerry Higbie, 10. Billy VanInwegen, 11. John Lieto, 12. Matt Janiak, 13. Mike Ruggiero, 14. John Ferrier, 15. Danny Cronk, 16. Gary Edwards Jr., 17. Mike Wahl, 18. Jeremy Markle, 19. Stewart Friesen, 20. Jesse Kline, 21. Bob McGannon, 22. Brendan Finley, 23. Chris Whitehead. Did Not Start: Steve Dodd.
Small Block Modified Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Gary Edwards Jr., 2. Bob McGannon, 3. Tommy Meier, 4. Tom Hindley, 5. Brian Krummel, 6. Frank Doty, 7. Shane Jablonka, 8. Joe Falanga, 9. John Lieto, 10. Jesse Leiby, 11. Rob Rowe, 12. Bobby Hentschel, 13. John Ferrier, 14. Jimmy Spellmon, 15. Joe Barbagallo Jr., 16. Tyler Treacy, 17. Mike McKerrell, 18. Kirk Horton, 19. Eddie Burgess, 20. Zack Vavricka, 21. Tim Hindley, 22. Rich Eggers, 23. Matt Janiak. Did Not Start: Tyler McKee.
CRSA 305 Sprint Car Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Eddie Strada, 2. Christian Rumsey, 3. Brian Krummel, 4. Scott Flammer, 5. Scott Goodrich, 6. Thomas Radivoy, 7. Josh Flint, 8. Brett Jaycox, 9. Bobby Hackel, 10. Kyle Smith, 11. Dana Wagner, 12. Chuck Alessi, 13. Dalton Herrick, 14. Emily VanInwegen, 15. Ed Newhauser, 16. Art Kiser, 17. Sydney Prince, 18. Craig Pellegrini, 19. Tyler Jashembowski. Did Not Start: Billy VanInwegen.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Chris Stevens, 2. Frank Venezia, 3. Tyler Johnston, 4. Joe Conklin, 5. Tyler Boniface, 6. Brandon Grosso, 7. Jeff Richardson, 8. Jeff Hulseapple, 9. Allison Ricci, 10. Anthony Falanga, 11. Dan Morgiewicz, 12. Howie Finch, 13. Jimmy Johnson, 14. Patrick Murphy, 15. Corey Cormier, 16. Joe Bonetti, 17. Dillon Steuer, 18. R.J. Smith, 19. Troy Arnold, 20. Randy Sweetman, 21. John Illanovsky, 22. Jesse Leiby, 23. Larry Hendershot, 24. Rafaele Carson. Did Not Start: Joe Falanga. Did Not Qualify: Nick Plumstead, Austin Smith, Leo Fotopoulos, Matt Stangle, Connor Otten, Jim Kraus, Tommy Vigh Jr., David Demorest, Tanner Johnson, Milton Mann, Dylan Smith, Patrick Reiser, Eddie Burgess, Phil Johnson, Brad Horton, Steve Eubanks, Zach Mead, Matt Shultz, Charlie Donald, Tony Kowalchuk, Anthony Horton.
Street Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Jim Maher, 2. Joel Murns Jr., 3. Mike Vigiletti, 4. Paul Maiolo, 5. Emerson Cargain Sr., 6. Emerson Cargain Jr., 7. Jim Hajkowski, 8. Tommy Pickles, 9. Terry McNamara, 10. Mario Contarino, 11. Ron Constable, Wayne Taylor.
Week 3 Recap
Posted: April 30th, 2016
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – Tommy Meier is in the midst of what has to be considered the hottest streak he’s ever savored during his Modified racing career at the Orange County Fair Speedway.
Meier, including his first Eastern States 200 victory last October, has now won three of the last four Modified features contested at OCFS after tracking down Jimmy Horton for a thrilling triumph in last Saturday night’s 30-lapper, which was worth $5,000.
Meier, who has suddenly emerged as a dominant figure in lucrative paying events, found the high road to his liking as he rocketed past his competition en route to overtaking Horton on the final lap as he secured his 18th career OCFS win – knotting Pee Wee Griffin for 21st place on the track’s all-time leader board.
“It’s a little risky going on the top here because you just don’t know what kind of a grip you’re going to get on the surface,’’ said Meier. “But I knew by the fifth lap that I could go out there and it was kind of by mistake.
“I got a little tap to the outside and was surprised just how well I was able to stick to the surface. I was able to move out even further as the race progressed and knew I found something special. I don’t think he (Horton) even knew I was there. I was just able to ride around him and into the lead.’’
Meier was able to move into first place while riding off the first turn on the final lap. The two drivers took the white flag almost dead even before Meier went on to score the exciting victory.
But the route to victory didn’t come without a few bumps in the road. Meier, after starting ninth in the 27-car field, was having a difficult time working his way around Jerry Higbie and John Lieto as the race was entering its middle stages.
“Jerry was racing the same line I was and was tough to get around,’’ said Meier. “But he drove down low to try to get around Lieto, and that left the outside wide open. I was able to drive around him and then passed Lieto shortly after that.’’
Meier moved into fourth place past Higbie on the 17th circuit around the five-eighths mile, hard clay oval and passed Lieto a lap later to move into third. The veteran Waldwick, N.J., driver moved ahead of Mike Kolka for second by the 20th lap and then set his sights on Horton.
Horton, an OCFS regular for the first time in many seasons in 2016, was enjoying a commanding lead aboard the Halmar No. 43 Modified. Horton wrestled first place away from Jeff Heotzler Sr. following a second lap restart and was looking for his first OCFS win since Aug. 31, 1996.
But Meier, who was averaging speeds of over 106 miles per hour, was able to reel in Horton with each passing lap before making his race-winning move on the final circuit. Horton settled for a second-place effort with Kolka, Lieto, Higbie, L.J. Lombardo, Billy VanInwegen, Chris Whitehead, Brendan Finley and Gary Edwards Jr. rounding out the top 10.
The race was only cautioned once when Chris Shultz rolled his Modified in the first turn after one lap was scored. Shultz lost the brakes on his car and headed straight into the wall. He wasn’t injured, but the car had extensive damage.
Frank Venezia, who has struggled with a rash of bad luck, took advantage of a good starting position to secure his first win this season in the Sportsman 20-lap main event.
Venezia, who started on the pole, got the jump on teenage rookie driver Leo Fotopoulos following an eighth-lap restart and then went on to secure his 11th OCFS career win. Fotopoulos had led the race since the opening lap.
The race was marred by two multi-car pileups as only 14 of the starting 24-car field finished the event. Jeff Richardson slowly rolled his car in a first-turn mishap involving five cars before a lap was scored, but was able to continue racing.
However, reigning track champion Randy Sweetman and Johnny Illanovsky were not as fortunate. A homestretch accident later in the race sent Joe Bonetti, Chris Stevens and Tony Kowalchuk to the pits with extensive damage to their cars.
Fotopoulos was able to steer clear of the cautions to finish in second place with Jeff Hulseapple, Tyler Boniface and Allison Ricci rounding out the top five.
Roger Henion Jr. drove past Chris Raser through the third turn on the final lap to secure his first career win in the Rookie Crate Sportsman 15-lap feature.
Raser, who started outside pole, led the race from the start as he was also searching for the initial victory of his racing career. But he fell just two turns short as Henion stole an exciting win. Corey Cormier, Patrick Reiser and Cole Hentschel completed the top five finishers.
Mike Vigiletti has served an early season statement as the driver to beat in 2016 as he grabbed his second straight victory in the Street Stock 15-lap feature.
Vigiletti wrestled the lead away from Emerson Cargain Sr. as he captured the 21st win of his OCFS career – deadlocking Ray Tarantino for fourth place all-time at the track. Cargain finished second with Jim Maher, Tarantino and Joel Murns Jr. following.
Darryl Hulbert captured the Northeast Vintage Modified 12-lap main event.
Modified Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. Tommy Meier, 2. Jimmy Horton, 3. Mike Kolka, 4. John Lieto, 5. Jerry Higbie, 6. L.J. Lombardo, 7. Billy VanInwegen, 8. Chris Whitehead, 9. Brendan Finley, 10. Gary Edwards Jr., 11. Matt Janiak, 12. Craig Mitchell, 13. Bob McGannon, 14. John Ferrier, 15. Richie Eurich, 16. Jeremy Markle, 17. Danny Cronk, 18. Jesse Kline, 19. Bobby Zwart, 20. C.G. Morey, 21. Tom Hindley, 22. Jeff Heotzler Sr., 23. Kirk Horton, 24. Mike Ruggiero, 25. Steve Dodd, 26. Mike Wahl, 27. Chris Shultz.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Frank Venezia, 2. Leo Fotopoulos, 3. Jeff Hulseapple, 4. Tyler Boniface, 5. Allison Ricci, 6. Patrick Murphy, 7. Troy Arnold, 8. Jimmy Johnson, 9. Rafaele Carson, 10. Howie Finch, 11. Joe Conklin, 12. Dan Morgiewicz, 13. Tyler Johnston, 14. Anthony Falanga, 15. Jesse Leiby, 16. Joe Bonetti, 17. Chris Stevens, 18. Bob Wosyluk, 19. Zach Mead, 20. Jeff Richardson, 21. Johnny Illanovsky, 22. Randy Sweetman, 23. Jared LaBagh. Disqualified: Tony Kowalchuk. Did Not Qualify: Charlie Donald, Jim Cronk, Steve Eubanks, Connor Otten, Eddie Burgess, Tommy Vigh Jr., Joey Falanga, Pete Goydich, Larry Hendershot.
Rookie Crate Sportsman Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Roger Henion Jr., 2. Chris Raser, 3. Corey Cormier, 4. Patrick Reiser, 5. Cole Hentschel, 6. George Begg, 7. Cody Hunt, 8. Stan Vishinski IV, 9. Anthony Horton, 10. Matt Shultz, 11. Danny Carlough, 12. Ashley Rogosich, 13. Rich Eggers, 14. Erin Paulison, 15. Jimmy Devitt, 16. Keith Johannessen, 17. Jared Miller, 18. Brad Horton, 19. Taylor Hurban, 20. Tighe Sherlock, 21. Phil Johnson. Did Not Start: Bob Hallabeck, Tanner Johnson.
Street Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Mike Vigiletti, 2. Emerson Cargain Sr., 3. Jim Maher Jr., 4. Ray Tarantino, 5. Joel Murns Jr., 6. Jim Hajkowski, 7. Kevin Schlossareck, 8. Terry McNamara, 9. Mario Contarino, 10. Tommy Pickles, 11. Wayne Taylor, 12. Ron Constable, 13. Dick Shaddock, 14. Paul Maiolo, 15. Emerson Cargain Jr. Did Not Start: Curtis Ayers.
ortheast Vintage Modified Feature Finish, 12 Laps: 1. Darryl Hulbert, 2. Ray See Jr., 3. Chris Adams, 4. Rob Sanford, 5. Dan McKiernan, 6. Bill Liese, 7. Jeff Hager, 8. Rob Casti, 9. Ken Hermance. Did Not Start: John Hager.
Week 2 Recap
Posted: April 25th, 2016
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – Davie Franek knew his chances at stealing a victory were dwindling as the laps were clicking off during last Saturday night’s United Racing Club (URC) Sprint Car 25-lap feature at the Orange County Fair Speedway.
But Franek also had a feather in his cap as he chased leader Ed Aiken around the fast five-eighths mile, hard clay oval for so many laps. The Wantage, N.J., driver is no stranger to the OCFS racing surface and also received some friendly advice from his father Dave Franek Sr. – who called the track his Saturday night home for many seasons.
Franek, who felt it was just a matter of time before he would overtake Aikin, finally found an opening on the 21st lap when he drove around Aikin between the third and fourth turns, and then went on to secure the first URC triumph of his OCFS career.
“I just had to wait for the right moment to pounce on him and it worked out,’’ said Franek, who posted his second URC win in 2016. “He (Aikin) slipped up going into the turn and got stuck down low. I just drove around him and into the lead.
“It’s great to win at your home track. I won a Modified feature here several years ago and my father also had some success here. My father gave me some good advice how to get around this place and it really helped me.’’
Franek, who picked up his lone Modified win here on Aug. 5, 2006, followed Aikin past leader Jason Clauss following a second-lap restart to set the stage for their duel during the remainder of the event. A three-car mishap in the third turn involving last year’s winner Justin Barger, Jonathan Swanson and Clauss slowed action with five laps down.
Aikin continued to lead Franek when racing resumed as the two drivers raced several car lengths ahead of the rest of the 18-car field. Robbie Stillwagon and Curt Michael slowly gained on the leaders, but never proved to be factors.
Franek, meanwhile, was able to draw in on Aikin with each passing lap through slower traffic and just waited for his opportunity to move ahead.
“I knew I just had to be patient and wait for the right time,’’ said Franek. “There was a lot of rubber on the racing surface and I was able to move around out there pretty well. I knew I was probably only going to get one shot and took advantage of the opportunity when it presented itself.’’
Franek, who captured the URC season-opener at Bridgeport (N.J.) Speedway on April 10, found that opening on the 21st lap and then went on to outrace Aikin, Michael, Stillwagon and Randy West to the checkered flag.
Barger, who turned in the quickest lap of the race with a time of 18.837 seconds (119.446 miles per hour) rebounded from his early-race accident to finish in sixth place with Nate Snyder, Troy Betts, J.R. Berry and Paulie Colagiovanni following.
Tim Hindley, who admits using poor judgement in the season-opener on April 10, rebounded to score an impressive victory in the Small Block Modified 25-lap main event.
“That was all my fault,’’ said Hindley, who crashed into the third-turn wall while battling for the lead early in the race. “I need to be more patient and bring the car home in one piece. It just goes to show that starting up front doesn’t always result in a win.’’
Hindley, who was scored 21st in the opener, took advantage of his third starting position this time around en route to his 17th career OCFS Small Block Modified triumph. He passed his older brother Tom Hindley coming off the second turn on the second lap and never trailed again.
But Bob McGannon, who experienced mechanical problems a week ago, didn’t make it easy on Tim Hindley as he remained within striking distance throughout the race. He would finish just a little over a second off the winning pace.
“I’ll be concentrating a lot more on our Small Block racing program this year,’’ said Tim Hindley. “We have a very good car here with a powerful motor. The Hermance racing team has been very good to me through the years and we’re putting all our efforts into making this a successful season.’’
Tommy Meier followed in third place with Matt Janiak, Jesse Leiby, Bobby Hentschel, Brian Krummel, Jimmy Spellmon, Shane Jablonka and John Ferrier rounding out the top 10.
Krummel, who captured the season opener, crashed his car during his qualifying heat, but was able to get it repaired for the feature to place seventh.
Leiby saw double-duty during the evening and utilized a late-race pass to earn his first win this season in the Sportsman 20-lap main event.
Leiby, who started seventh in the 24-car field, passed Allison Ricci and leader Randy Sweetman through lapped traffic between the third and fourth turns on the 18th lap to secure his third career OCFS win. Leiby picked up his other victories here last season.
Sweetman, who started on the pole, led the event until Leiby tracked him down. Sweetman settled for second place with Ricci, Zach Mead and Jimmy Johnson rounding out the top five.
Cody Hunt started on the pole and led the distance to score his first career OCFS triumph in a Rookie Crate Sportsman feature that was cut from 15 to 10 laps because of the time curfew.
The 27-car starting field, which included several slingshot competitors from the 2015 season, got off to a fast start as Hunt led the parade with non-stop racing for seven laps. However, several cautions ensued from that point, including a pair of multi-car pileups, as the 20-minute time limit expired.
Roger Henion Jr. was scored in second place with Steven Ball, Bobby Flood and Danny Carlough following. Flood won many races in slingshot competition at Accord Speedway.
United Racing Club (URC) Sprint Car Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Davie Franek, 2. Ed Aiken, 3. Curt Michael, 4. Robbie Stillwagon, 5. Randy West, 6. Justin Barger, 7. Nate Snyder, 8. Troy Betts, 9. J.R. Berry, 10. Paulie Colagiovanni, 11. Jimmy Stitzel, 12. Scott Flammer, 13. Jonathan Swanson, 14. Mark Sasso, 15. Davey Sammons, 16. Jason Clauss, 17. Benny Rizzo, 18. Brett Michalski.
Small Block Modified Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Tim Hindley, 2. Bob McGannon, 3. Tommy Meier, 4. Matt Janiak, 5. Jesse Leiby, 6. Bobby Hentschel, 7. Brian Krummel, 8. Jimmy Spellmon, 9. Shane Jablonka, 10. John Ferrier, 11. Tyler McKee, 12. Rob Rowe, 13. Joe Falanga, 14. Frank Doty, 15. Mike McKerrell, 16. Joe Barbagallo Jr., 17. Tom Hindley, 18. Gary Edwards Jr., 19. Zack Vavricka, 20. Thomas Strupp. Did Not Start: Jeff Heotzler Sr., Eric Haubrich.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Jesse Leiby, 2. Randy Sweetman, 3. Allison Ricci, 4. Zach Mead, 5. Jimmy Johnson, 6. Tyler Boniface, 7. Tyler Johnston, 8. Steve Eubanks, 9. Joe Bonetti, 10. Jeff Hulseapple, 11. Rafaele Carson, 12. Jared LaBagh, 13. Johnny Illanovsky, 14. Joe Falanga, 15. Jeff Richardson, 16. Anthony Falanga, 17. Joe Conklin, 18. Dan Morgiewicz, 19. Troy Arnold, 20. Howie Finch III, 21. Austin Smith, 22. Eddie Burgess, 23. Scott Flammer, 24. Chris Stevens. Did Not Qualify: Charlie Donald, Tommy Vigh Jr., Billy Eggers Jr., Matt Burke, Tony Kowalchuk, Leo Fotopoulos, Cody Cormier, Pete Goydich, Frank Venezia, Connor Otten, Larry Hendershot, Bob Wosyluk.
Rookie Crate Sportsman Feature Finish, 10 Laps: 1. Cody Hunt, 2. Roger Henion Jr., 3. Steven Ball, 4. Bobby Flood, 5. Danny Carlough, 6. George Begg, 7. Ira Landrum, 8. Chris Raser, 9. Stan Vishinski IV, 10. Bryan Jones, 11. Matt Shultz, 12. Brad Horton, 13. Ashley Rogosich, 14. Cole Hentschel, 15. Otto Bradatsch, 16. Rich Ricci III, 17. Jimmy Devitt, 18. Bobby DeLeon, 19. Tommy Zwart, 20. Patrick Reiser, 21. Derrick Cormier, 22. Tanner Johnson, 23. Rich Eggers, 24. Dylan Smith, 25. Jared Miller, 26. Erin Paulison, 27. Phil Johnson.
Opening Night Recap
Posted: April 18th, 2016
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – Bob McGannon had no idea how much of a lead he had during last Saturday night’s season-opening, 30-lap Modified feature at the Orange County Fair Speedway.
McGannon, a fan favorite at the historic racing facility, which has hosted Modified racing since 1948, was only concerned with getting to the finish as he collected a first-place payoff of $4,000 and became the 69th different driver to capture an OCFS season opener.
“This car was just awesome tonight,’’ said McGannon, who completed the 30-lap distance in just 14 minutes and 43.374 seconds. “I didn’t know how far in front I was. I was just concerned with keeping the car straight and finishing.
“I thought I also had a very good Small Block Modified car tonight and would have been in contention for that win as well. But we had a little mishap early in the race and I was forced to drop out with mechanical issues. But this was a great way to start the season and I’m happy I was able to bounce back after some adversity in the Small Block race.’’
McGannon, who captured the third qualifying race, was scheduled to start third for the Modified main event. However, pole-sitter Mike Kolka ran into some difficulties following the initial green flag to force a quick caution.
Kolka, who appeared to be a contender for the victory after a powerful winning performance in the first qualifying heat, slowed while racing down the backstretch and stopped in the third turn to bring racing to a halt. Kolka was towed off the track with rear end problems to his Modified.
That opened the door for McGannon to restart the race on the pole and would be the only caution during the event. McGannon was able to get the quick jump on Jeremy Markle when racing resumed and would stretch out his lead lap after lap.
Craig Mitchell was also able to pass Markle following the restart, but was never a factor as he finished nearly three seconds behind McGannon when OCFS starter Bob Ryder waved the checkered flags. McGannon was averaging speeds nearly 103 miles per hour around the five-eighths mile, hard clay oval.
Markle was able to ride in third place throughout the race and reigning track champion Jerry Higbie did likewise in taking fourth. Ken Tremont Jr. passed Steve Dodd on the second lap to grab fifth place and remained in that position as well.
Those rounding out the top 10 were Dodd, Tommy Meier, Chris Whitehead, Billy VanInwegen and Stewart Friesen, who was making his OCFS weekly debut aboard the Halmar No. 44 Modified.
Brett Hearn, who drew 40th place for the quailifying events, was never a factor as he finished nearly 10 seconds off McGannon’s winning pace. McGannon picked up his third career Modified victory and his first since July 12, 2014.
Jimmy Horton, who will also be a weekly competitor in the Halmar No. 43 during the 2016 season, dropped out after 26 laps and finished in 23rd position.
Brian Krummel had a successful maiden voyage behind the wheel of the Zubi’s Racing No. 17Z as he completely dominated a 21-car field to capture the Small Block Modified 25-lap main event.
Krummel, after starting third, was able to power ahead of Shane Jablonka following a fifth-lap restart to grab the lead and then went on to provide car owner Dave Zubikowski with his first win ever at the track. It was Krummel’s second career Small Block victory and first since June 8, 2013.
“Dave (Zubikowski) was at Grandview with Doug Manmiller,’’ said Krummel, “but I was in contact with him several times during the night and he couldn’t be happier. I do most of the work on this car myself at his shop in Greenville, but I also get a lot of help from a great group of guys.
“This is a great opportunity for me and I’m glad Dave has enough trust in me to get things done here while he’s with his other drivers in Grandview. The only thing I want to do is race as much as I can and this was a great way to start our season. I was just worried about staying focused because this was my first race this season. Some of the other drivers already have raced a few times.’’
Krummel, who dominated Sportsman racing with 33 career wins and two track titles during the past decade here, was clearly the class of the field as he set a blistering pace to finish nearly eight seconds ahead of Jablonka. The Middletown driver turned in a fast time of 21.548 seconds (104.418 mph) around the track.
Meier followed Jablonka across the line in third place with Rob Rowe, Jesse Leiby, VanInwegen, Jimmy Spellmon, Bobby Hentschel, John Ferrier and Zack Vavricka rounding out the top 10.
Fourteen-year-old rookie driver Dillon Steuer drove like a seasoned veteran as he withstood several cautions and some hefty competition breathing down his back to grab his first career win in the Sportsman 20-lap feature.
Steuer, a former slingshot driver, who was making just his second OCFS career start, started on the pole and led the entire distance as he finished ahead of Tyler Boniface, Jared LaBagh, Jeff Hulseapple and Tyler Johnston.
Boniface, after starting 20th in the 24-car field, made a great charge from the back as he took advantage of seven caution periods to move into contention. But he never seriously challenged Steuer after slipping past Troy Arnold following a last-lap restart.
A resounding field of 56 Sportsman signed in for opening-night competition with six heats and three consolation races determining the starting grid for the feature.
Mike Vigiletti became only the fifth driver in OCFS street stock history to collect 20 career victories as he captured the Jeremy Michael Hedges Memorial 15-lap feature ahead of Jim Maher, Ray Tarantino, Joel Murns Jr. and Emerson Cargain Sr.
Vigiletti was able to move ahead of Maher following a fifth-lap restart and never looked back as he earned an impressive victory.
Walt Henry won the Four Cylinder feature event.
Modified Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. Bob McGannon, 2. Craig Mitchell, 3. Jeremy Markle, 4. Jerry Higbie, 5. Ken Tremont Jr., 6. Steve Dodd, 7. Tommy Meier, 8. Chris Whitehead, 9. Billy VanInwegen, 10. Stewart Friesen, 11. John Ferrier, 12. Brett Hearn, 13. Matt Janiak, 14. Mike Ruggiero, 15. L.J. Lombardo, 16. John Lieto, 17. Gary Edwards Jr., 18. Chris Shultz, 19. Chad Loiodice, 20. Richie Eurich, 21. Danny Cronk, 22. Brendan Finley, 23. Jimmy Horton, 24. Kyle Redner, 25. Jeff Heotzler Sr., 26. Mike Kolka. Did Not Qualify: Bobby Zwart, Ricky Davis, Kurt Hundeland, Jesse Kline, Jeff Behrent, Joe Barbagallo Jr.
Small Block Modified Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Brian Krummel, 2. Shane Jablonka, 3. Tommy Meier, 4. Rob Rowe, 5. Jesse Leiby, 6. Billy VanInwegen, 7. Jimmy Spellmon, 8. Bobby Hentschel, 9. John Ferrier, 10. Zack Vavricka, 11. Tyler McKee, 12. Mike McKerrell, 13. Matt Janiak, 14. Mike Wahl, 15. Gary Edwards Jr., 16. L.J. Lombardo, 17. Bob McGannon, 18. Frank Doty, 19. Tim Hindley, 20. Joe Falanga, 21. Tom Hindley. Did Not Start: Thomas Strupp.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Dillon Steuer, 2. Tyler Boniface, 3. Jared LaBagh, 4. Jeff Hulseapple, 5. Tyler Johnston, 6. Joe Conklin, 7. Howie Finch, 8. Johnny Illanovsky, 9. Dan Conklin, 10. Rafaele Carson, 11. Pete Goydich, 12. Joe Falanga, 13. Scott Flammer, 14. Troy Arnold, 15. Corey Cormier, 16. Chris Stevens, 17. Jeff Richardson, 18. Phil Johnson, 19. Leo Fotopoulos, 20. John Farissier, 21. Jimmy Johnson, 22. Jesse Leiby, 23. R.J. Smith, 24. Billy Eggers Jr. Did Not Qualify: Bobby DeLeon, Joe Bonetti, Zach Mead, Dan Morgiewicz, Chris Raser, Jimmy Devitt, Connor Otten, Brad Horton, Eddie Burgess, Allison Ricci, JaMike Sowle, Tony Kowalchuk, Steve Eubanks, Danny Carlough, Tommy Vigh, Dylan Smith, Frank Venezia, Anthony Falanga, Charlie Donald, Tanner Johnson, Larry Hendershot, Pat Reiser, Brian Jones, Roger Henion Jr., Randy Sweetman, Mike DuBois, Bob Hallaback, Austin Smith, Bob Wosyluk, Nick Plumstead, Mike Murphy, Tyler Treacey.
Street Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Mike Vigiletti, 2. Jim Maher, 3. Ray Tarantino, 4. Joel Murns Jr., 5. Emerson Cargain Sr., 6. Terry McNamara, 7. Tommy Pickle, 8. Walt Henry, 9. Jim Hajkowski, 10. Dick Shaddock, 11. Jim Maher Sr., 12. Curt Ayers, 13. Paul Maiolo, 14. Wayne Taylor, 15. Emerson Cargain Jr., 16. Steve Johannessen, 17. Jack Dekker, 18. Ron Constable. Did Not Start: Kyle Riley, Dave Van Sise.
Four Cylinder Feature Finish, 12 Laps: 1. Walt Henry, 2. J.B. Morris, 3. Joe Morris Jr., 4. James Ronk. Did Not Start: Dan Houghtaling.
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