By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN – There’s no doubt that Anthony Perrego is dialed in right now at the Orange County Fair Speedway.
Perrego, who won the OCFS opener on April 21 after starting on the front row, utilized his driving skills and a powerful car last Saturday night as he drove to his second straight convincing victory in the Modified 30-lap feature.
Perrego, after starting 14th in the 26-car starting field, took advantage of some early cautions and some nifty outside passing – especially between the third and fourth turns – to quickly move towards the front en route to earning his third OCFS career Modified triumph. The second-generation driver from Montgomery broke into the top five by the 12th lap after reigning track champion Jimmy Horton slowed coming off the second turn to force a caution.
“It was definitely a challenge coming from the back,’’ said Perrego. “I had a hard time seeing out there early on because of the dust. But things became much clearer when I broke in the top eight and my car was really dialed in on the outside.
“I was really able to pick off cars between the third and fourth turns, and I took advantage of some of the restarts to move towards the front. We have a real good race car here right now and have definitely hit on the right set up. I don’t know where I’ll be starting next week, but it would be nice to make it three in a row.’’
The only place Perrego won’t start for the remainder of the 2018 regular season will be on the front row. No feature winner in any division at OCFS can start there. But he could drive away from third position on night’s when the track has heads-up starts.
Perrego, however, showed it doesn’t matter where he starts so far this season. But he did receive some help during his ride towards the front.
Matt Janiak stopped on the backstretch to slow racing with 14 laps completed and third-place running Chris Shultz spun in the second turn following the ensuing restart to force another caution period. That moved Perrego into fourth place outside of Danny Creeden.
Perrego drove past both Creeden and Danny Cronk on the 15th lap restart to move into second place, and then passed leader Donnie Wilson to the inside down the backstretch on the 16th circuit around the five-eighths mile, hard clay oval.
Perrego was able to stretch out his advantage with clear air in front of him for the remainder of the event as he finished more than a straightaway ahead of Creeden when taking the checkered flag from OCFS starter Jerry Enright.
Creeden, however, was disqualified during the post-race inspection for racing with an illegal open small block engine in his car. Those motors are illegal in the OCFS rule book for Modified competition.
Wilson, who was the race’s only other leader, finished in second place after Creeden’s disqualification with Cronk, Billy VanInwegen, Tommy Meier, Chris Whitehead, Craig Mitchell, Matt Hitchcock, Gary Edwards Jr. and Bob McGannon rounding out the top 10.
Thomas Radivoy of Middletown continued his recent dominance of Capital Region Sprint Agency (CRSA) Sprint Car activity at OCFS as he held off a late charge provided by Sydney Prince to capture his fourth career victory here in the 305 sprinters 20-lap main event.
Radivoy, who won three times at OCFS during the 2017 racing campaign, started outside pole and led the entire distance. Prince, however, made things interesting three laps from the finish as he nearly moved ahead of Radivoy through lapped traffic down the backstretch on the 17th circuit.
Radivoy, however, stood his ground and then went on the take the win ahead of Prince, Bobby Hackel, Scott Flammer and Christian Rumsey.
Veteran driver Jimmy Johnson started on the pole and led the entire 20-lap distance to earn the eight victory of his 32-year OCFS career in the Sportsman feature event.
“I’m lucky to still be doing this,’’ said the 59-year-old Bloomingburg driver. “But I’m having a lot of fun and still enjoy it. I know I started from the front, but I’ll take it. This is pretty much a new TEO car I put together for this season and it has been great.’’
Johnson started on the pole by virtue of his victory in the first qualifying heat and never looked back as he took the checkered flag ahead of Joe Conklin, Howie Finch, Greg Sleight and Jeff Hulseapple.
Conklin, after taking over second place on the 14th lap from Finch, did put pressure on Johnson during the latter stages of the race.
Jake Granacker picked up his first win of the season in the Sportsman Rookie class as he prevailed in a hard-fought battle during the 15-lap main event.
Granacker passed leader Samantha Muller on the inside of the first turn following a ninth-lap restart and then went on to finish ahead of opening-night winner Bob Jashembowski. Ryan Macartney, Jared Miller and Dylan Smith rounded out the top five.
But the race’s excitement happened during the middle stages as Muller, Michael Giuliano and Granacker were staging a three-car race. Giuliano passed Muller for the lead on the fourth lap, but spun in the second turn following an eighth-lap restart to relinquish the spot.
Muller regained her lead and stayed there until Granacker’s race-winning move on the ninth lap. Muller, who was making her OCFS racing debut, slammed hard into the third turn wall a lap later.
Jimmy Maher picked up the 20th victory of his Street Stock career at OCFS as he captured the 15-lap feature ahead of Charlie Donald, Joel Murns Jr., Jim Hajkowski and Emerson Cargain Sr.
Maher, who finished second to Murns in the season-opener, passed Cargain for first place on the seventh lap and then went on to post the win well ahead of Donald.
Modified Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. Anthony Perrego, 2. Donnie Wilson, 3. Danny Cronk, 4. Billy VanInwegen, 5. Tommy Meier, 6. Chris Whitehead, 7. Craig Mitchell, 8. Matt Hitchcock, 9. Gary Edwards Jr., 10. Bob McGannon, 11. Jerry Higbie, 12. John Lieto, 13. John Ferrier 14. Brendan Finley, 15. C.G. Morey, 16. Joey Falanga, 17. Jimmy Horton, 18. Chris Shultz, 19. Matt Janiak, 20. Richie Eurich, 21. Steve Dodd, 22. Jeff Heotzler Sr., 23. Stan Frankenfield Jr., 24. Joe Conklin, 25. Kirk Horton. Disqualified: Danny Creeden (illegal motor).
CRSA Sprint Car Feature, 20 Laps: 1. Thomas Radivoy, 2. Sydney Prince. 3. Bobby Hackel, 4. Scott Flammer, 5. Christian Rumsey, 6. Tyler Jashembowski, 7. Jeff Trombley, 8. Mike VanPelt, 9. Justin Mills, 10. Billy VanInwegen, 11. Jessie Prichnik, 12. Austin Morris, 13. Mark Connoly, 14. Emily VanInwegen, 15. Peter Dance.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Jimmy Johnson, 2. Joe Conklin, 3. Howie Finch III, 4. Greg Sleight, 5. Jeff Hulseapple, 6. Jesse Leiby, 7. Milton Mann, 8. Corey Cormier, 9. Cole Hentschel, 10. Tommy Vigh Jr., 11. Bobby DeLeon, 12. Tyler Johnston, 13. Dan Morgiewicz, 14. Matt Shultz, 15. Danny Carlough, 16. Lem Atkins, 17. Troy Arnold, 18. Conner Otten, 19. Mel Schrufer, 20. Leo Fotopoulos, 21. Bobby Flood, 22. Joe Bonetti, 23. Patrick Murphy, 24. Billy Eggers Jr. Did Not Qualify: Tyler Pirone, Mike Bull, James Cronk, Scott Muller, George Begg, Corey Lowitt. Disqualified: Brad Horton (transponder).
Rookie Sportsman Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Jake Granacker, 2. Bob Jashembowski, 3. Ryan Macartney, 4. Jared Miller, 5. Dylan Smith, 6. Michael Giuliano, 7. Ryan Neiger, 8. Jimmy Leiby, 9. Keith Johannessen, 10. Pat Mann, 11. Bryan Jones, 12. Jamie Doolan, 13. Mike Orlando, 14. Jason Armstrong, 15. Chet Doolan, 16. Samantha Muller, 17. Chris Raser, 18. Brett Weslowski, 19. Anthony Sisco, 20. Rich Eggers, 21. Jake Bedell. Did Not Start: Russell Crotty, Jeff Jones.
Street Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Jim Maher, 2. Charlie Donald, 3. Joel Murns Jr., 4. Jim Hajkowski, 5. Emerson Cargain Sr., 6. Ron Constable, 7. Wayne Taylor, 8. Ryan Modiano, 9. Joe Scheffold, 10. John Miracle.