BETHEL, NY – Plenty of prestige always accompanies the annual LegendStock INEX Asphalt Nationals qualifier at Bethel Motor Speedway, but this year’s event was particularly rewarding, with a $10,000 purse that offered $3,000 to the winner, making it the highest-paying Legends race in the Northeast. When the smoke cleared and the dust settled, Young Lions competitor Alex McCollum emerged as the winner of the coveted guitar trophy and big payday.
While several of the Bethel Moor Speedway regulars put down fast lap times during practice, qualifying was dominated by “invaders” Carson Ferguson of North Carolina and Matt Mead of Pennsylvania, who competes primarily in North Carolina. Ferguson – who had the fastest lap of the day – put down a lap of 14.215. Less than two-tenths of a second separated the top seven cars in qualifying times, which set the lineups for heat races. The heat races were won by Artie Pedersen III, Eric Hersey, McCollum, and Brad Lowmaster.
Drivers were awarded points for their qualifying efforts and heat race finishes, and the top 18 were locked into the A-main, with the next 16 cars having to compete in the B-main for a last chance to qualify. Dusty Summers pulled off the B-main win by mere inches over Jerry Macchia, Dylan Hoffman, Allan Pedersen, Brendon Bock, and Artie Pedersen III, who transferred to the A-main. Brad Lowmaster – who had secured a spot in the A-main earlier – experienced mechanical issues while in the pits and withdrew from the event, giving the final starting spot to Stephen Brewer.
When the 26-car field took to the track, Ferguson was on the pole, with 2009 Bethel Legends champion Mike Alcaro to his outside. At the drop of the green, Ferguson put his car out front, setting the stage for an intense battle between the two Pro division competitors that lasted nearly the entire race length, while Masters driver Joe Graf looked on from the third spot. Graf tried to use the “choose cone” to his advantage on restarts, but Ferguson and Alcaro quickly found themselves back in the front after each restart. With 13 laps to go, Graf surrendered the third spot to Noah Korner, who tried to get in on the battle for the top spot, while Ferguson and Alcaro swapped the lead several times a lap as the checkered flag drew closer.
With just eight laps to go, McCollum – who had started in the 11th position – was able to break into the top three, and set his sights on the lead. His shot came when the caution waved with only four laps remaining. McCollum was able to get past Alcaro for the second spot following the restart, and he wrestled the lead from Ferguson with three laps to go. McCollum was first to the checkered flag, followed by Ferguson, the highest finishing Pro division driver. Alcaro crossed the line third. Teddy Hodgdon – last year’s overall race winner – was the highest finishing Semi Pro driver, and Richie Coy was the highest finishing Masters driver.
The long trip from North Carolina to New York was well worth it for Bandolero driver Bryson Ruff, who took home to overall guitar trophy and Bandit division win in the Bandolero feature. Eugene Drew and Teddy Bowen won their respective heat races and qualified on the front row, but Bowen found himself unable to report to the track for the start of the race after having mechanical difficulties in the pits. Drew took the lead at the drop of the green, but faced several restarts alongside Ruff in the early laps. With five laps in the books, Ruff put his car out front, and never looked back. With only one caution after that point, Ruff was able to distance himself from the rest of the field, leaving Drew to protect his position from the challenges of former division champion Rudy Roth IV.
Ruff took home the win, while Drew crossed the line second and was awarded the Outlaw division trophy.
Teddy Cranmer started on the pole and led every lap of the caution-free Beginner Bandolero race to collect his eighth win of the season. Katie Verwys ran second over the entire race distance, but was unable to mount a successful challenge for the top spot. Nick Archiere crossed the line third.
Mikey Travis grabbed the lead on the final lap of the 4 Cylinder Advanced race to grab his eighth win of the season. Jerry Kingeter started on the pole, with Joe Morris to his outside. Kingeter got the jump at the drop of the green, but surrendered the top spot to Morris with six laps in the books. Morris’ time out front was short-lived, as Travis took the lead for a single lap before 2014 4 Cylinder Novice champion Brian Bauernfeind took over. Bauernfeind looked to be well on the way to his third win in as many races until lapped traffic came into play in the caution-free event. On the final lap, Travis was able to use a lapped car as a “pick”, and he beat Bauernfeind to the checkered flag in a close drag race to the checkered flag. Tim Curry was third.
John Houghtaling took down the 4 Cylinder Novice win and the point lead after Kayla Curry experienced mechanical difficulties while in staging and was unable to take the green for the feature. Nicole Nelson and Nick Curry started on the front row, with Nelson getting the early lead. Nelson led the first four laps before being overtaken by Houghtaling. Nelson settled into second, holding off the challenges of Eddie Jones and Vinny DeGraw before finally surrendering the spot to Danny Houghtaling with just three laps to go. J. Houghtaling was first to the line, followed by D. Houghtaling and Jones. J. Houghtaling will head into the division’s next event – scheduled for Saturday, August 20 – with a 38-point lead in the standings over K. Curry.
This coming Saturday, August 13, the jam-packed night of action at Bethel includes both the third and final race of the Pro Stock Power-Up Series, as well as twin 25-lap features for the Street Stock class. Also on the schedule are the BMS Modified, 358/Sportsman, Legends, Bandolero, and 4 Cylinder Advanced class. Gates open at 2:30 pm, with hot laps at 4:30 pm, and racing set to go green at 6 pm. Grandstand admission is just $8, and children age five and under are admitted free of charge. More information, including a complete 2016 schedule, can be obtained online or by calling (845) 319-7908, Tuesday through Friday from 9 am until 6 pm.
LEGENDSTOCK IX FEATURE FINISH (50 laps): 1. Alex McCollum (YL), 2. Carson Ferguson (P), 3. Mike Alcaro (P), 4. Teddy Hodgdon (SP), 5. Noah Korner (SP), 6. Richie Coy (M), 7. Joe Graf (M), 8. Gillian Kirkpatrick (SP), 9. Eric Hersey (P), 10. Matt Mead (SP), 11. Brendon Bock (P), 12. Chris Hammett (SP), 13. Dylan Hoffman (SP), 14. Dusty Summers (P), 15. Stephen Brewer (SP), 16. Giovanni Bromante (YL), 17. Allan Pedersen (SP), 18. Artie Pedersen III (P), 19. Jerry Macchia (YL), 20. Joseph Graf (P), 21. Andrew Molleur (YL), 22. Matt Maring (P), 23. Stephen Hershey (P), 24. Jim Sylvester (M). DNS – Brad Lowmaster (SP).
LEGENDSTOCK B-MAIN FINISH (12 laps): 1. Dusty Summers (P), 2. Jerry Macchia (YL), 3. Dylan Hoffman (SP), 4. Allan Pedersen (SP), 5. Brendon Bock (P), 6. Artie Pedersen III, 7. Stephen Brewer (SP), 8. Glenn Korner (SP), 9. Thomas Everson (YL), 10. Mikey Policastro (SP), 11. Jerry Curran (M), 12. Jake Lowe (YL), 13. Timothy DePizzol (SP), 14. Eugene Drew (P). DNS – Lars McElravy (YL), Jeff Lefcourt (M).
BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Bryson Ruff (B), 2. Eugene Drew (O), 3. Rudy Roth IV (O), 4. Mike Roth (B), 5. Tyler Dachenhausen (O), 6. Isabella Macchia (B), 7. Sean Verwys (O), 8. Joey Aungst (B), 9. Jade McElravy (O), 10. Aliyah Neale (O), 11. Andrew Morin (O), 12. Gage Stull (B), 13. Jeff Darrah (O), 14. Conner Piasecki (O). DNS – Teddy Bowen (O).
BEGINNER BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Teddy Cranmer (B), 2. Katie Verwys (B), 3. Nick Archiere (B), 4. Ryan Bille (O).
4 CYLINDER ADVANCED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Mikey Travis, 2. Brian Bauernfeind, 3. Tim Curry, 4. Cody Houghtaling, 5. Joe Morris, 6. Jerry Kingeter, 7. Matt Curry, 8. John Hager, 9. Ben Babcock.
4 CYLINDER NOVICE FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. John Houghtaling, 2. Dan Houghtaling, 3. Eddie Jones Jr., 4. Nicole Nelson, 5. Johnny Bankich, 6. Nick Curry, 7. Felicia Reichenbaugh, 8. Cameron Reichenbaugh, 9. Vinny DeGraw, 10. Lee Cogswell, 11. Travis Cogswell, 12. Gene Helms. DNS – Kayla Curry.