BETHEL, NY – With four weeks of racing at Bethel Motor Speedway in the books, the points battle between veteran BMS Modified competitor John Cote and newcomer Ed Dachenhausen is already beginning to take center stage. Cote took down his second win of the season this past Saturday in a caution-free, 20-lap event, leaving the pair with two wins each, and separated by only three points in the early season standings.
George Rudinas Jr. started on the pole, with multi-time division champion Cote to his outside. Cote got the advantage over Rudinas at the drop of the green, putting his car solidly out front early in the event. As Cote began to pull away from the field, Rudinas and Dachenhausen raced hard for the second spot, with Dachenhausen looking for any way past Rudinas. With six laps in the books, Dachenhausen was finally able to make a successful bid for the spot. He then set his sights on Cote, who had already built up an insurmountable lead. Over the remainder of the race, Dachenhausen worked to reel in Cote, but he was unable to close the gap enough to make a bid for the lead. Cote was first to the checkered flag, followed by Dachenhausen and Rudinas.
For the first time in the 2015 season – and the first time in his career – someone other than Jerry Curry was in Victory Lane at the conclusion of the 358/Sportsman race, as Kyle Redner scored the win.
Redner started on the pole, alongside 2014 Rookie of the Year Dan Dulin. Redner wasted no time putting his car in the lead, while Dulin and Bill Deckelman wrestled for second. Curry, who started the event fourth, worked his way past the two and into the second spot just prior to the halfway point. Curry grabbed the lead from Redner on lap 12, but then suffered mechanical failure four laps later that brought out the caution and forced Curry to retire from the event. Redner regained the lead as a result, with Greg Morgan hot on his heels in second. Behind Morgan was Mark Levy, who was making his Bethel debut. Redner powered his way to the win, with Morgan second and Levy third.
Joseph Graf notched his second regular season win in the Legends division, leading every lap of the race on his way to victory. Graf started on the pole, with Joe DeGracia on the outside pole. Graf, the 2014 Legends Young Lion/Semi Pro champion, shot out front, and DeGracia settled into second with two-time champion Matt Evans behind him. Richie Coy, the 2014 Pro/Masters champion, worked his way up from the sixth starting spot to join the mix, passing Evans for third on lap 16. Two laps later, an oil spill around the track led to a yellow-checkered finish. Graf was declared the winner, with DeGracia second and Coy third.
Defending Bandolero champion David French continued his winning streak, taking down his fourth regular season win in as many weeks. French and Lars McElravy made up the front row for the start, and French immediately grabbed the top spot. McElravy was forced to settle into second as French powered his way away from the field, building up a comfortable cushion as the laps clicked off in the caution-free, 15-lap event. After leading every lap, French was first to the checkered flag, followed by McElravy and Teddy Bowen.
Joey Aungst picked up his second consecutive win in the rain-shortened Beginner Bandolero event. Aungst started the race on the outside of the front row, with Tyler Dachenhausen on the pole. Dachenhausen got out to the early lead, but it was short-lived, as Aungst took over the lead with just three laps complete. Dachenhausen then had to contend with Conner Piasecki for second. Rains began to fall as the race reached the halfway point, and the race was deemed complete, with Aungst being declared the winner. Dachenhausen was second, and Piasecki was third.
Early season Pro Stock points leader Kenny Atkins continued his winning streak, picking up his third victory in as many weeks after starting eighth. Steve Vasey and Gene Morton sat on the front row for the start, with Vasey leading his first laps of the year. Morton charged past him for the lead on lap three, but contact between the two just two laps later brought out the caution and forced both to restart at the rear of the field. Mac Crawson then inherited the top spot, with Skip LaPolt second. Atkins had already worked his way up to third, and he took over the second spot with seven laps in the books. Over the next six laps, the battle for the lead heated up, as Atkins and Greg Cohen both tried to make bids for the position. Atkins finally claimed the spot on lap 13, and never looked back. With three laps remaining, Cohen moved into second, and Larry O’Donnell followed through to take third. The pair had to be content with chasing Atkins to the checkered flag, as Atkins was first to cross the line. Cohen was second, and O’Donnell finished third.
For the fourth week in a row, Gary VanOrden beat his daughter, defending Street Stock division champion Amber VanOrden, keeping the elder VanOrden undefeated. Walt Henry and Steve Smalley started on the front row, and Henry nosed out front to lead the first lap before the spot was claimed by Smalley. Smalley held on at the front of the field until lap eight, when A. VanOrden shot from third to the lead in a single lap. A. VanOrden looked to be on her way to her first win of the year, but her father came to second with just three laps remaining and then shot past her for the lead one lap later. G. VanOrden took down the win, followed by A. VanOrden and Smalley.
Joe Smith claimed his second 4 Cylinder Advanced win of the season, coming from the seventh starting spot to grab the victory. Patty Falkena started on the pole, with Jerry Kingeter to her outside. Falkena took the lead when the green flag waved, and JB Morris jumped to second, swapping the spot with Dan Curry in the early laps. Smith made his way to third by lap five, and shot past both Morris and Falkena to take over the lead one lap later. With eight laps in the books, 2014 4 Cylinder Novice champion Brian Bauernfeind laid claim to second, and Morris worked his way back into the top three two laps later. The top three was remained unchanged over the remainder of the race, and Smith grabbed the checkers over Bauernfeind and Morris.
Heavy rains forced the postponement of the 4 Cylinder Novice race, which will kick off the racing program this coming Saturday, May 23rd. Also on the schedule for the night are the BMS Modified, Legends, Bandolero, Pro Stock, Street Stock, and 4 Cylinder Advanced classes. Gates open at 2:30 pm, with hot laps at 4:30 pm, and racing action set to go green at 6 pm. As part of the celebration of the track’s 55th anniversary, grandstand admission will once again be only $5. More information, including a complete 2015 schedule, can be obtained online at www.bethelmotorspeedway.com, or by calling (845) 319-7908.
BMS MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. John Cote (Danbury, CT), 2. Ed Dachenhausen, 3. George Rudinas Jr., 4. Steve Galgano. DNS – Mike Bryant.
358/SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Kyle Redner (Pine Bush, NY), 2. Greg Morgan, 3. Mark Levy, 4. Matt Curry, 5. Bill Deckelman, 6. Dan Dulin, 7. Jerry Curry, 8. Paul Knox.
LEGENDS FEATURE FINISH (18 laps): 1. Joseph Graf (Mahwah, NJ), 2. Joe DeGracia, 3. Richie Coy, 4. Matt Evans, 5. Teddy Hodgdon, 6. Wayne Hajek, 7. Joe Graf, 8. Drew Bottge, 9. Max Evans, 10. Gillian Kirkpatrick, 11. Eugene Drew, 12. Jerry Sprague, 13. Rob Rafferty, 14. Russell Montevechi, 15. Matt Maring.
BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. David French (Rome, PA), 2. Lars McElravy, 3. Teddy Bowen, 4. Jessica Ricci, 5. Sean Verwys, 6. Eugene Drew, 7. Jade McElravy, 8. Bryan Chirico.
BEGINNER BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (8 laps): 1. Joey Aungst (Pompton Lakes, NJ), 2. Tyler Dachenhausen, 3. Conner Piasecki, 4. Jeff Darrah, 5. Katie Verwys, 6. Nick Archiere.
PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Kenny Atkins (Grahamsville, NY), 2. Greg Cohen, 3. Larry O’Donnell, 4. Gene Morton, 5. Vinny Stanton Sr., 6. Steve Vasey, 7. Daniel Pawlicki, 8. Jim Helt, 9. Skip LaPolt. DQ – Mac Crawson.
STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Gary VanOrden (Hawley, PA), 2. Amber VanOrden, 3. Steve Smalley, 4. Kyle Welsch, 5. Ryan Brockner, 6. Walt Henry. DQ – Vinny Stanton Jr.
4 CYLINDER ADVANCED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Joe Smith (Harris, NY), 2. Brian Bauernfeind, 3. JB Morris, 4. Joe Morris, 5. Michael Weiner, 6. Patty Falkena, 7. Tasha Curry, 8. Kody Welsch, 9. Jerry Kingeter, 10. Robert Clarke, 11. Charles Hummell, 12. Cody Houghtaling, 13. Mike Travis, 14. Dan Curry.