Results Nostalgia Night At Orange County Fair Speedway 6-10-17 – Tommy Meier Starts 12th And Takes The Victory
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – Reigning track champion Tommy Meier captivated the biggest crowd of the season with an awesome display of power and driving ability last Saturday night as he came from the middle of the pack to capture his first victory of 2017 on Nostalgia Night at the Orange County Fair Speedway.
Meier, after starting 12th in the 24-car field, took advantage of Billy VanInwegen’s inability to get around slower traffic and some excellent track conditions en route to his 21st career OCFS triumph – joining Bob Malzahn and Otto Harwi for 17th place on the track’s all-time leader board.
“The track was just perfect tonight,’’ said Meier. “It was very racy and I could put the car just about any place I wanted to. But these guys here deserve all the credit for this. We must have had 40 people working on the car after crashing in our heat. We finished the car just minutes before the feature started.’’
Meier was involved in a first turn accident in the second qualifying heat and was forced to the pits. He made his way back onto the track before losing a lap and then benefitted from Anthony Perrego’s misfortune to earn a handicapped spot for the main event.
Perrego was enjoying a comfortable lead in the heat before blowing the engine on his car just one lap from the finish. Perrego’s departure enabled Meier to grab fifth place and his 12th starting spot for the 30-lap grind.
VanInwegen, who started on the pole, was able to build a commanding lead during the first part of the race as Craig Mitchell, Gary Edwards Jr. and C.G. Morey followed. Meier was already into fifth place by the seventh circuit around the five-eighths mile, hard clay oval.
Mitchell, Edwards and Meier then started putting on quite a battle for position as VanInwegen was still able to enjoy a comfortable cushion past the halfway point of the event. However, that lead began dwindling with each passing lap as VanInwegen was unable to get around Stan Frankenfield Jr.
Meier, meanwhile, disposed of Edwards for third place on the 17th lap and was able to work his way around Mitchell for second place by the 22nd circuit. Meier then quickly began closing in on VanInwegen.
Meier was now riding VanInwegen’s bumper by the 24th lap and nearly squeezed his way into the lead. But VanInwegen was able to maintain his slim margin as Frankenfield raced with the leaders.
Meier finally found the opening he needed with an outside pass down the backstretch on the 26th lap and then quickly disposed of Frankenfield on his way to collecting a very impressive victory in front of a talented array of some 90 former drivers that contributed to the legacy of this historic track.
VanInwegen held on to finish in second place with Edwards, Mitchell, Jerry Higbie, Morey, Brendan Finley, Jimmy Horton, Joey Falanga and Kirk Horton rounding out the top 10.
Joey Bruning continued his most productive season ever at the track as he picked up his third triumph in the 20-lap Sportsman feature over Brad Horton, Greg Sleight, Jimmy Johnson and Jared LaBagh.
Bruning, who has four career triumphs here, wrestled the lead away from Jesse Leiby following a seventh-lap restart and then ran away from the rest of the 24-car starting field.
“This car has been fast all season,’’ said Bruning. “Once I was able to clear Leiby I had no problems. I had clear air ahead and was just able to pull away.’’
Bruning, who was racing with a new motor, took the checkered flag more than a straightaway ahead of Brad Horton.
Jim Maher made a triumphant return to OCFS this season as he drove him $700 richer by winning the Street Stock 15-lap feature ahead of Jim Hajkowski, Mike Vigiletti, Pete Wiegand and Joel Murns Jr.
Maher, who now has 15 career wins here, inherited first place when leader Wayne Taylor and Emerson Cargain Sr. crashed while racing through the third turn with 12 laps completed. Tommy Pickles and Charlie Donald were also collected in the accident as all four drivers were racing among the top five.
Maher took advantage of the situation as he outraced Joe Scheffold to the finish. Scheffold, however, was disqualified during the post-race inspection for an unspecified reason.
Tom Laner won the 10-lap feature for the Northeastern Vintage Modified competitors.
Modified Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. Tommy Meier, 2. Billy VanInwegen, 3. Gary Edwards Jr., 4. Craig Mitchell, 5. Jerry Higbie, 6. C.G. Morey, 7. Brendan Finley, 8. Jimmy Horton, 9. Joey Falanga, 10. Kirk Horton, 11. Matt Hitchcock, 12. Chris Whitehead, 13. Matt Janiak, 14. Donnie Wilson, 15. Tyler McKee, 16. Mike Kolka, 17. Richie Eurich, 18. Stan Frankenfield Jr., 19. Chris Shultz, 20. John Ferrier, 21. Danny Cronk, 22. Mike Ruggiero, 23. Steve Dodd, 24. Tim Hindley. Did Not Start: Anthony Perrego, Bob McGannon, Jeff Heotzler Sr.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Joey Bruning, 2. Brad Horton, 3. Greg Sleight, 4. Jimmy Johnson, 5. Jared LaBagh, 6. Jesse Leiby, 7. Connor Otten, 8. Leo Fotopoulos, 9. Tpmmy Vigh Jr., 10. Matt Shultz, 11. Dan Morgiewicz, 12. Roger Henion Jr., 13. Chris Curtis, 14. Troy Arnold, 15. Joe Conklin, 16. Anthony Falanga, 17. Mel Schrufer, 18. Billy Eggers Jr., 19. R.J. Smith, 20. Danny Carlough, 21. Tommy Zwart, 22. Austin Smith, 23. Jeff Hulseapple, 24. Joe Bonetti. Did Not Qualify: Howie Finch III, Jake Granacker, Mike Bull, Anthony Horton, Dave Werber, Chet Doolan, Dylan Smith, Tyler Pirone, Brian Coulter, Nick Plumstead, Chris Grispin, Bob Jashembowski, Mark Connoly, Jamie Doolan, Jimmy Leiby.
Street Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Jim Maher, 2. Jim Hajkowski, 3. Mike Vigiletti, 4. Pete Wiegand, 5. Joel Murns Jr., 6. Rob Taylor, 7. Larry O’Donnell, 8. Steve Larsen, 9. Wayne Taylor, 10. Emerson Cargain Sr., 11. Tommy Pickles, 12. Charlie Donald, 13. Mikey Rebs, 14. Ryan Modiano. Disqualified: Joe Scheffold.
Northeastern Vintage Modified Feature Finish, 10 Laps: 1. Tom Laner, 2. Ray See, 3. Rob Casti, 4. Bob Schmidt, 5. Burt Irwin.