5/13/19 - RACE WIN TO STREET STOCK DRIVER JIM MAHER, OTHER DIVISIONS RAIN OUT
By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – Jim Maher notched the 26th victory of his Orange County Fair Speedway racing career Saturday night as he escaped near disaster in the Street Stock main event that was checkered after 14 laps because of the time curfew.
Maher, after starting fifth in the 19-car event, was embroiled in a tight battle with Charlie Donald for first place when the two pace setters made contact racing off the second turn with seven laps completed. Maher did a complete 360 and continued his momentum down the backstretch, while Donald’s car stopped and he was forced out of the event.
Maher was able to remain ahead until another caution with 14 laps down in the scheduled 15-lap race. The event was checkered at that point as Maher picked up his first win of 2019. Dan Maher followed in second place with Cody Clark, Emerson Cargain Sr. and Joe Scheffold rounding out the top five.
However, the remainder of OCFS’s program was postponed until a later date as light rain began falling during intermission and the threat of heavier rain was in the forecast. The Modified and Small Block Modified features were each paying $6,000 to the winner with another $6,000 bonus offered should one driver sweep both races. The Sportsman 20-lap main event also fell victim to the weather.
In Modified action, Anthony Perrego continued to be the fastest during the timed hot laps as he turned in the quickest tour around the five-eighths mile, hard clay oval for the third week in a row. Perrego turned in a time of 21.466 seconds (104.817 miles per hour) and earned the right to spin the top 12 inversion wheel.
Perrego, however, wasn’t as lucky on the 4-12 position wheel as it landed on 11. Chris Shultz, who has struggled during the early season, benefitted from the spin and will start from the pole for the 30-lap main event later in the season.
Craig Mitchell, Jerry Higbie and Tommy Meier were the other hot lap leaders in their groups as 30 Modified drivers took time. The two heat winners were Mike Gular and Chris Whitehead.
Brett Hearn led the parade of 42 Small Block Modified drivers in the timed hot laps as he was clocked in 21.907 seconds (102.707 mph). Hearn spun No. 5 on the wheel and will start in fifth place for the 25-lap feature later in 2019.
Anthony Perrego paced the second fastest group of the evening with Brian Krummel, Matt Janiak, Richard Smith and Tyler Boniface also earning the fast time in their respective group. Smith will start on the pole following the five-car inversion.
The Small Block heats were captured by Allison Ricci, Danny Creeden and Mitchell. Jesse Leiby won the consolation race.
In Sportsman action, Jared LaBagh won the first of five qualifying heats and will start on the pole when the 20-lap feature is contested later this season. The other heats were won by Joe Bonetti, Leiby, Joe Conklin and R.J. Smith.
Mel Schrufer and Jordan Lawrence won the Sportsman consolation events.
Street Stock Feature Finish, 14 Laps (time curfew): 1. Jim Maher, 2. Dan Maher, 3. Cody Clark, 4. Emerson Cargain Sr., 5. Joe Scheffold, 6. Ray Tarantino, 7. Jim Hajkowski, 8. Walt Henry, 9. Bob Sleight Jr., 10. Wayne Taylor, 11. Emerson Cargain Jr., 12. Ryan Modiano, 13. Ron Constable, 14. Kevin Coleman, 15. Bob Miller, 16. Tommy Pickles, 17. Charlie Donald, 18. Mike Vigiletti, 19. Jay Pepin.