TOMMY MEIER BACK IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP HUNT
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: