BETHEL, NY – On a day where it seemed that Mother Nature might be the only winner, Bethel Motor Speedway took a gamble that paid off, as the final regular point season races were completed and championships were decided.
In the BMS Modified class, veteran John Cote won both the battle and the war, picking up his sixth win of the 2016 season and securing his seventh career title at the quarter-mile asphalt oval. Cote simply needed to take the green in the feature to wrap up the championship, but instead the fierce competitor claimed the crown with a victory in the season’s final race. Rookie Rob Rafferty and 2011 division champion Skip LaPolt started on the front row, with Rafferty getting out front. Steve Galgano quickly came to second, with Cote hot on his heels. The top three ran in close quarters – often side-by-side – over the first half of the race, before Cote was able to take over the lead just past the halfway point. Once out front, Cote began to distance himself from the field, as Rafferty and Galgano continued their battle for second. The race went green to checker with no cautions, and Cote was first to the line, followed by Rafferty and Galgano. LaPolt – who retired from the race early – wound up second in the season standings, and rookie Joe DeGracia was third.
358/Sportsman driver Kyle Redner also brought home the championship with a feature event win. It was Redner’s third consecutive win on the way to his first career championship. Mike Dutka started on the pole for the feature, and looked to be well on his way to his third win of the season, as Redner struggled lap after lap to find a way around him. With just three laps remaining, Redner was able to muscle his way past and take over the top spot. On the final lap, Milton Mann took over second, but was unable to catch Redner. Redner was first to the line, followed by Mann and Dutka. Redner took down the title by 46 points over Dutka. Rookie Paul Martin wound up third for the season.
The Legends titles had been decided prior to the night’s events, with Richie Coy claiming his second career Pro/Masters title, and Gillian Kirkpatrick securing her first career title in the Young Lions/Semi Pro class. Coy led the first 14 laps of the feature, while the cars at the front of the field all ran in tight quarters. Mikey Policastro, Matt Maring, and Teddy Hodgdon all took turns holding second before Mike Alcaro grabbed the position and made contact with Coy, forcing both cars to restart at the rear of the field and handing the lead to Joseph Graf. Graf went on to collect the win, followed by Hodgdon and Maring.
Just one year after picking up the highly coveted “Most Improved Driver” award, Sean Verwys picked up his first career Bandolero championship, while Garrett Zacharias picked up his second win in as many attempts. By the luck of the draw, Zacharias started on the pole. Tyler Dachenhausen came to second om the initial lap and gave chase to Zacharias over the entire race distance, but was unable to get within striking distance. Zacharias was first to the line, followed by Dachenhausen and Mike Roth. Dachenhausen wound up second in the season standings, and Roth was third.
Katie Verwys picked up her third Beginner Bandolero win, leading every lap on her way to the win Ryan Bille chased Verwys over the entire race distance, but found himself unable to make a successful bid for the lead as Verwys put a cushion between herself and the rest of the field. Verwys was first to the checkered flag, followed by Bille and Nick Archiere.
Mechanical woes plagued Pro Stock driver Kenny Atkins all night, but Atkins was able to take it all in stride, as he wrapped up his second consecutive championship the previous week by picking up his 50th career win. Atkins started the race scratch on the field, using a borrowed car, and he retired from the event early. Vinny Stanton Sr. and Mac Crawson made up the front row for the start, and Crawson got out to the early lead. Crawson led the majority of the race, but Stanton was able to get alongside, and he wrestled the top spot from Crawson with just four laps remaining. Stanton claimed his first victory of the year, with Crawson second, and Jim Helt third. Crawson – who was the division’s 2015 Rookie of the Year – finished second to Atkins in the season standings, and Jim Helt was third.
Kyle Welsch picked up his sixth Street Stock win of the season, but he fell shy of the championship, which was claimed by Gary VanOrden for the second straight year. Jay Smalley started on the pole, with rookie Phillip Funcheon to his outside. Smalley grabbed the lead at the drop of the green, and Arthur McArthur held second for the first three laps before Welsch – who started eighth – got by for the spot. Just one lap later, Welsch grabbed the top spot. Just prior to the halfway point, VanOrden grabbed second, but Welsch had already built a sizeable lead. Lapped traffic came into play shortly thereafter, as the race went green to checker with no cautions. VanOrden was able to close the gap to Welsch in the closing laps as Welsch had to contend with lapped cars, but VanOrden was unable to catch him. Welsch was the winner, with VanOrden second and rookie Joe Smith third. Welsch – in spite of missing a race early in the season – wound up second in overall season points, and Amber VanOrden took third.
Brian Bauernfeind collected his eighth win of the season and the 2016 4 Cylinder Advanced championship, as Mikey Travis – the only other driver mathematically able to claim the title – was absent from the night’s events. Tim Curry took off from the pole and led the first two laps before being overtaken by Cody Houghtaling, who was then involved in an incident and had to restart at the rear of the field. Bauernfeind inherited the lead as a result. Kyle Welsch – who was driving double-duty in both the Street Stock and 4 Cylinder Advanced classes – came to second, and Gary Magie sat in third. Neither were able to catch Bauernfeind, who claimed victory. Welsch was second, and Magie was third. In spite of his absence, Travis still wound up second in final season points, and Cody Houghtaling was third.
James Shields picked up the win in the last season feature for the 4 Cylinder Novice class, while John Houghtaling claimed his first title. Nicole Nelson and Keith Unger took off from the front row, with Nelson leading the first eight laps of the event as Unger and Felicia Reichenbaugh each spent time in second before Shields took over the spot with five laps complete. He immediately set his sights on Nelson, and wrestled the spot from her just prior to the halfway point. Ryan Lamantia grabbed second, but was passed by Vinny DeGraw with 14 laps in the books. DeGraw tried everything he could to get past Shields, but was unsuccessful, as Shields was first to the line. Following post-race tech, second was awarded to Lamantia, and Nick Curry was credited with third. Shields wound up second in the final season standings, and Kayla Curry was third.
George VanArsdall Jr. grabbed the lead from polesitter Mike Consales on lap 4 of the Officials’ Race, and drove on to the win. Consales and Martin Chevalier put on a side-by-side battle for the second spot that lasted most of the race, enabling Van Arsdall to build a sizeable lead. Consales was second across the line, and Chevalier – who was the winner of last year’s race – was third.
While the regular point season at Bethel Motor Speedway has now concluded, there are still several special events on the schedule. On Saturday, October 15, the gates will swing open for the 4th Annual Fall Finale Car Show and Swap Meet. The final event of the season will be the “Run What Ya Brung”/Street Stock Shootout Series/Vintage TQ event on Saturday, October 29. Gates open at 12 noon, with hot laps at 2 pm, and racing beginning at 3 pm. More information can be obtained online at www.bethelmotorspeedway.com, or by calling (845) 319-7908 Tuesday through Friday from 9 am until 6 pm.
BMS MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. John Cote, 2. Rob Rafferty, 3. Steve Galgano, 4. Joe DeGracia, 5. Wayne Hajek, 6. Skip LaPolt. DNS – Robbie Koinikowski. 2016 CHAMPION – JOHN COTE.
358/SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Kyle Redner, 2. Milton Mann, 3. Mike Dutka, 4. Paul Martin, 5. Matt Curry, 6. Jerry Curry. 2016 CHAMPION – KYLE REDNER.
LEGENDS FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Joseph Graf (P), 2. Teddy Hodgdon (SP), 3. Matt Maring (P), 4. Stephen Hershey (P), 5. Mikey Policastro (SP), 6. Mike Alcaro (P), 7. Richie Coy (M), 8. Josh Marchese (SP), 9. Josh Stark (YL), 10. Lars McElravy (YL), 11. Gillian Kirkpatrick (SP). 2016 CHAMPIONS – RICHIE COY (PRO/MASTERS), GILLIAN KIRKPATRICK (YOUNG LION/SEMI PRO).
BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Garrett Zacharias (O), 2. Tyler Dachenhausen (O), 3. Mike Roth (B), 4. Conner Piasecki (O), 5. Sean Verwys (O), 6. Josh Duke (O), 7. Teddy Cranmer (B), 8. Joey Aungst (B), 9. Jeff Darrah (O), 10. Anthony Bello (B). 2016 CHAMPION – SEAN VERWYS.
BEGINNER BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Katie Verwys (B), 2. Ryan Bille (O), 3. Nick Archiere (B), 4. Justin Aungst (B), 5. Julia Magie (B).
PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Vinny Stanton Sr., 2. Mac Crawson, 3. Jim Helt, 4. Mikey Policastro, 5. Jim Sykes, 6. Kenny Atkins. 2016 CHAMPION – KENNY ATKINS.
STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Kyle Welsch, 2. Gary VanOrden, 3. Joe Smith, 4. Amber VanOrden, 5. Arthur McArthur, 6. Jay Smalley, 7. Bryan Chirico, 8. John Hechinger, 9. Patty Falkena, 10. Jessica Ricci, 11. Mario Contorino, 12. John Hager, 13. Bill VanAken, 14. Phillip Funcheon. 2016 CHAMPION – GARY VANORDEN.
4 CYLINDER ADVANCED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Brian Bauernfeind, 2. Kyle Welsch, 3. Gary Magie, 4. Cody Houghtaling, 5. Jerry Kingeter, 6. Brandon Golzak, 7. George VanAken, 8. Jeff DeGroat, 9. Tim Curry. 2016 CHAMPION – BRIAN BAUERNFEIND.
4 CYLINDER NOVICE FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. James Shields, 2. Ryan Lamantia, 3. Nick Curry, 4. Nicole Nelson, 5. Felicia Reichenbaugh, 6. Marisol Torrens, 7. Keith Unger, 8. John Houghtaling. DQ – Vinny DeGraw. 2016 CHAMPION – JOHN HOUGHTALING.
4 CYLINDER OFFICIALS’ RACE: 1. George Van Arsdall Jr., 2. Mike Consales, 3. Martin Chevalier, 4. Andrew Van Arsdall, 5. Jonathan McGibbon, 6. Derk Van Wolde, 7. Judy Amerose, 8. Brett Hughes.