Bethel Motor Speedway opened its gates for the second night of racing in the 2017 season this past Saturday. Despite a few technical delays, the racers of all eight divisions saw the green flag wave as their crews and fans cheered them through to the finish in yet another exciting night of racing on the quarter mile asphalt oval located in White Lake, New York.
Before the races went underway, the speedway hosted its Fan/Crew Uniform Contest where many showed their support for their favorite drivers. The family and fans of Pro Stock driver Kenny Atkins came in first place, the supporters for Bandolero driver and Bethel Motor Speedway newcomer Dominic Abbatiello came in second place, and in third place were driver Eric Moon’s supporters. We applaud everyone else who also showed their support and wore team apparel this week, the effort was much appreciated by the drivers and their teams!
The night began with the Bandolero class, where Anthony Bello quickly gained the number one spot over pole sitter Teddy Cranmer. Bello quickly accelerated, gaining car lengths ahead of the field as Cranmer and Joey Aungst battled for spots two and three, with Mikey Roth close behind. Aungst soon took over the second position, while Cranmer and Roth continued to battle for position. Soon the caution flag was flown for an incident in turn two. With the race back underway, the battles continued as drivers fought their way to the finish, and after the final caution of the race a green to checkered flag was given. Bello took the win, followed by Aungst, Cranmer, Roth and Katie Verwys.
The Four Cylinder Novice division took to the track following the Bandolero race. Vinny Degraw and Gene Helms took the field by nearly a straighaway, running side by side in a battle for first and second. In just mere laps, Helms took over the number one spot, followed by Degraw and Nick Curry. From the time he captured the lead, Helms lead every following lap until the checkered flag flew, capturing his second win in the division this season. He was followed by Degraw, Curry, Dan Houghtaling and Eddie Jones Jr.
INEX Legends were next on the grid. Chris Hammett held onto his number one starting spot once the race began, with Brad Lowmaster in the second position. This left Gillian Kirkpatrick and Mikey Policastro in the battle for third, Kirkpatrick successfully capturing the position. The field formed a single file “nose to tail” formation around the speedway, with Hammett holding onto his first place position, Lowmaster in second, and Kirkpatrick in third. With ten laps in the books and ten to go in, Hammett, Lowmaster and Kirkpatrick held their positions, until an intense run between Kirkpatrick and Lowmaster brought both cars sideways, resulting in both their divergence to the rear. Once caution lifted, the second and third positions were held by Steve Chapman and Policastro. Lowmaster was able to regain a spot in the top three as laps wound down. Hammett took the checkered, followed by Chapman, Lowmaster, Kirkpatrick and Policastro.
The Pro Stock division followed the Legends, with Kenny Atkins taking the lead on lap one. Eric Moon and Ed Butler ran side by side, battling for the second and third positions. Butler quickly scooped up the second spot. Moon and fellow driver Brent Shaddock’s third position efforts became a three wide situation as Vinny Stanton Sr. swooped in on the inside, resulting in his capture of spot three. Shaddock’s car seemed to be having a mechanical issue, bringing the Pro Stock race into caution as he pulled off the track. With two laps to go, the field remained single file, the final result being Kenny Atkins claiming his first Bethel Motor Speedway victory of 2017, followed by Butler, Stanton, Moon, and Jim Helt.
With Saturday night racing in full swing, the division bearing the namesake of Bethel Motor Speedway, the BMS Modifieds, took to the field. Front runners Blair Culhane and Skip LaPolt immediately began to engage in the fight for first place. Rob Rafferty and Steve Galgano also had a side by side run in their efforts towards the top spot. Galgano soon took over spot three. Culhane continued in an effortless lead, followed by a determined LaPolt and Galgano. These positions were held as they came to the checkered flag finish, Culhane bringing in his second win of 2017 at Bethel. He was followed by LaPolt, Galgano, the 52L, and Rafferty.
After BMS Mods came the fan-favorite voted Street Stock division. Walt Henry nabbed the number one spot from Gary VanOrden Sr. early on in the race, with JB Morris and Amber VanOrden running door to door for spot three. Amber soon cinched spot three. The caution was brought about when contact was made with former 4 Cylinder driver and champion Brian Bauernfeind’s #07 street stock. When the caution lifted, the street stocks were lined up single file and the race was back underway. Walt Henry took home the first place win, followed close by Gary VanOrden Sr., Amber VanOrden, JB Morris and Phil Funcheon Jr. rounding out the top five.
Second time was the charm in the Sportsman feature. After caution was thrown on the first half lap, the race began and Jeff Richardson was off to a rocket start. Battle ensued between frontrunners Rick Mill, Kyle Redner and Paul Martin for coveted positions. Mill took over spot two, leaving Redner and Martin to duke it out for third. Two additional cautions halted progression of the race before cars were lined back up to give it another go. At the green flag, Mill stayed close on Richardson’s tail, determined for the lead position. It would be very soon though, that each of the top five cars would be having their own run of the track, all untouched in their positions. Following the final caution, with five laps to go the running order remained. Veteran racer Jeff Richardson won after leading all 20 laps, followed by Mill, Martin, Redner and Dan Dulin.
The 4 Cylinder Expert division put on an eventful show as the final race of the evening. As the race began, the top 4 remained side by side in their starting order for quite a handful of laps, before Mikey Travis captured the third position. Positions were traded as Dan Curry grabbed Travis’ running position. Curry persisted behind Jerry Kingeter, who started on the pole. Given a few more laps, Curry, Kingeter and Tim Curry went three wide down the back stretch, running an entire lap until contact was made during this all-or-nothing 4 cylinder race. The Dan Curry piloted car took quite the hit and rolled over, landing back on all four wheels, thankfully which at said moment the track team, devoted to the safety of all drivers, responded instantly to ensure Curry was able to exit the car unharmed. Once the red flag lifted, the new running order would be Tim Curry, Travis, and John Houghtaling in the top three spots. Travis maneuvered quickly to spot one, with Curry close behind. Curry soon made his move, resulting in a door to door run with Travis until Curry succefully scooped up first as laps began to wind down. Curry won the race, followed by Travis and Houghtaling.
This upcoming Saturday, May 6 will be “Little League Night” at the speedway. Admission will be free to all kids who wear their baseball uniform to the track. All regular classes are set to race, with a bonus Big Wheel Race (the first of the season here at Bethel) for two age groups as follows: ages 5-8 and ages 9-12. Preliminary big wheel races are to be held between hot laps and the beginning of racing, and the big wheel finale race will be held at intermission. There will be prizes awarded to all participants, thanks to Jessey & Marisol Torrens. Children under 5 may compete in a separate race with a tricycle and parental guidance. Registration for the big wheel races will be free, and will take place from 3-5 p.m. next to the grandstand ticket booth near turn 1.
Gates will open this Saturday at 2 p.m., with hot laps at 4 and racing beginning at 6. General admission pricing is as follows: children under 3 are free, children ages 16 and under are $5, adults (age 17+) are $10, and seniors (age 65+) are $8. We hope to see you all at Bethel Motor Speedway this Saturday night for more short track racing action, and as always we thank you for your support!