This past Saturday was Lajoie’s Auto Wrecking ‘Remembering Danbury’ Night at the speedway. The evening was highlighted by the BMS Modified 50 Lap ‘Ev Pierce Memorial’ race. Ev Pierce was a proven winner and fan favorite at both Danbury RaceArena and Bethel Motor Speedway. The Ev Pierce Memorial race began when the outside pole sitter who is also a former Danbury racer, John Cote began what appeared a strong run in the 50 lap race as he seized first ahead of Skip LaPolt once the race was underway. Another Connecticut Top Gun, Blair Culhane worked high from his fourth place starting spot to achieve the second place run, capturing it from LaPolt and beginning what would be a showdown between himself and Cote for the lead. Joe DeGracia was able to squeeze low enough to take over third from LaPolt, which set him into a steady rhythm as the 50 lapper continued. Culhane and Cote ran lap after lap in a door to door clash, until Culhane was able to expertly clear Cote from the outside. Culhane locked down the lead that he would be able to successfully grasp until completion of the race. DeGracia had a profound run of his own in third, as he tirelessly attempted to capture multi time track champion modified driver Cote’s second place spot. Well past the halfway point and without looking back, Culhane continued his charge by a full straightaway with the battle still hot for second between Cote and DeGracia. Culhane, whose family was also deep rooted participants of Danbury, victoriously brought home the glory of the Ev Pierce Memorial win, followed by the ever powerful Cote and a fiery DeGracia rounding it out in third.
Ryan Tidman of the ATQMRA TQ Midgets has found a liking to Bethel Motor Speedway as his consecutive winning streak continued this past Saturday. The feature started off with third placing starting Matt Janisch jumping out into the early lead and seemed to be pulling ahead of the field while ninth place starting Tidman methodically worked his way towards the front cracking into third on Lap 6. On a restart, Tidman got the jump and was able to get by Jeff Kot for second with Joey Bailey capitalizing as well moving into third. While Janisch was contending with lap traffic is when Tidman was able to close in the gap and pass Janisch for the lead on Lap 16. Janisch was then fighting off the pressure of Bailey until Lap 20 when the red flag came out simultaneously for Dave Gorbatuk’s nasty flip down the back stretch and for Janish leaking oil out the side of car which resulted in both drivers having to drop out of the event. Gorbatuk was able to get out of the car and wave to the crowd that he was okay. When the race resumed green Tidman was able to keep the close pursuit of Bailey at bay across the finish line. Matt Roselli rallied to take third place home.
In Sportsman action, for their regularly scheduled feature event found second generation Danbury race Al Archiere winning the early goings of the race as he had many of his hometown crowd cheering him on but hard charging Rick Mill worked his way up thru the pack form his sixth starting position and was able to make a move for the lead stick on Lap 7. Another second generation driver from Danbury, Ed Dachenhausen worked his way past Archiere for second on Lap 11 and set his sights on the fast running leader. Dachenhausen was determined to bring the gold back to Danbury but didn’t have enough on this night to reel the leader in. Dachenhausen then got his hands full with former track champ Jeff Richardson challenging for second. Dachenhausen did a great job holding him off but Richardson was able nip by him on the last lap. Mill was able to pick up his second feature win of the season as he crossed the finish line ahead of Richardson and Dachenhausen.
The Sportsman holdover feature provided plenty of action as well. The exciting start of the race found Mike Dutka jumping out front into the lead from the outside pole. Dutka looked strong early on in this race but veteran driver Rick Mill was able to make a pass for the lead on Lap 7. Mill opened up a large lead as the race went with no yellows. However, when Mill received the white flag it appeared his car was fishtailing and was slowing down, as he exited turn two it was soon well aware to many in the audience that Mill indeed was and had a tire going flat. Second place running Jeff Richardson was able to quickly reel him in and made the winning pass coming out of turn four as they were approaching the checkers. Richardson was able to pick up his third win of the season, Mill struggled to limp his care home second just beating third place running Mike Dutka at the finish line.
All eyes were once again on Alex McCollum in the regularly scheduled Legends feature as the full field formed a single file run. McCollum lead the pack, with a determined Teddy Hodgdon hot on his trail and Jim Sylvester establishing a solid run as well. Hodgdon, a young driver from Danbury, who has raced in the Legends division in past years at Bethel, and making his 2017 debut at the speedway, was up for the challenge against McCollum as he charged along in second. Jim Sylvester, whom had some trouble in the first feature of the night, held a steady third as laps wore along. After leading every lap of the caution free race, an exuberant McCollum took the checkered in his seventh win of the season and pulled off back to back wins in the night’s racing excitement. Hodgdon pulled off second after a steady run, and Sylvester claimed third.
Top-notch Legends driver Alex McCollum took the lead of the holdover race from June 24 at the drop of the green, with Joe Graf Sr. prepared for the challenge for first in this exciting division as he eventually gained more than half a straightaway ahead of third place runner Peter Bennett. With five laps to go, Joe Graf Jr. grabbed second from Graf Sr. whom had expertly held onto the position until that point. McCollum, having lead every lap of the race, brought it in for his sixth Legends win at Bethel this season. An interminable Graf Jr. brought home second, and Graf Sr. pulled off third by about a bumper’s length ahead of Danbury, Connecticut native Teddy Hodgdon.
The first 602 Light Modified race was held this past Saturday as a special race. Stafford Speedway guru Paul French, held the lead for the first 24 laps until the close running second and third place cars made a run for the lead. Long Islander Artie Pedersen muscled his way by French for the lead as they came out of turn four and took the checker first over a close finish French for second. Another well known Danbury racing family followed French closely to the finish line in the return of Chris Bottge.
In the regular Bandolero division feature, Teddy Cranmer shot into the lead with Joey Aungst right in tow. Mikey Roth, the latest hotshoe of the Bandolero class, quickly gained on the leaders from third and soon took over the second spot from Aungst. His sights were ultimately set on Cranmer, as he slid low to take over the lead, a move which proved him capable of branching away from the rest of the pack. With two laps to go, Cranmer and Aungst were engaged in a door to door fight for second place when Anthony Bello made it a sudden eye-opening three wide effort. Bello made a clean dive and secured second as the race neared its final laps. Roth is red hot in recent weeks and pulled off win number five, followed by an astounding Bello, and an awesome run was had by Aungst who took third.
Third Generation of a Danbury racing family, Nick Archiere grabbed an early lead in the Beginner Bandolero race, a lead in which he would rocket four car lengths ahead of Justin Aungst. Dylan Abramo, a driver who has shown an impressive effort in the beginner division, was able to work his way into second over Aungst. Abramo stayed right on the bumper of Archiere, taking over the lead before the caution was brought out. Upon lift of the caution, Abramo was reverted back to the third position, which put Archiere back into the lead. Taking off on the restart, Archiere carried himself to the win in a green white checkered finish, his first win of the season at Bethel. It was also Nick’s first career win at Bethel which made his family and friends proud, doing so on Remembering Danbury Night. Abramo crossed the line in second, followed by Aungst in third.
Allen Benincasa and Al Knapp picked up their respective feature and semi-feature wins in the Danbury Vintage Modified races. Both drivers have close ties with the famed track in Danbury.
Rick Casario and Gary Mondshien were both victorious as the TQ Vintage Midgets brought out a good showing of cars for their events.
BMS Modifieds Ev Pierce Memorial Feature 50 Laps : 1. Blair Culhane (Brookfield, CT) 2. John Cote 3. Joe DeGracia 4. Paul French 5. Tyler Dachenhausen 6. Skip LaPolt 7. Frank James 8. Kyle Redner 9. Bill Lucchesi DNS. Rob Konikowski DNS. Chris Bottge
ATQMRA TQ Midgets Feature: 1. Ryan Tidman (Holland, PA) 2. Joey Bailey 3. Matt Roselli 4. Geoffrey Sutton 5. Buddy Sload 6. Mark Yoder 7. Ronnie Mullen 8. Cole Mullen 9. Bill Force Jr. 10. Matt Janisch 11. Dave Gorbatuk 12. Jeff Kot 13. Eric Corum 14. Dave Williams 15. Tim Proctor
Sportsman Feature: 1. Rick Mill (New Windsor, NY) 2. Jeff Richardson 3. Ed Dachenhausen 4. Mike Dutka 5. Kyle Redner 6. Rich Coons 7. Matt Curry 8. Al Archiere 9. Kevin Krom DNS. Paul Martin
Sportsman Holdover Feature: 1. Jeff Richardson (Goshen, NY) 2. Rick Mill 3. Mike Dutka 4. Kyle Redner 5. Al Archiere 6. Matt Curry DNS: Paul Martin DNS. Dan Dulin DNS.
Legends Feature: 1. Alex McCollum (Phillipsburg, NJ) 2. Teddy Hodgdon 3. Jim Sylvester 4. Allan Pedersen 5. Joe Graf Sr. 6. Artie Pedersen 7. Eugene Drew 8. Steven Chapman 9. Joseph Graf Jr. 10. Glenn Korner 11. Mikey Policastro 12. Paul Dodorico 13. Peter Bennett 14. Sean Verwys 15. Bill Johnston 16. Jonathan Parsons 17. Matt Maring
Legends Holdover Feature: 1. Alex McCollum (Phillipsburg, NJ) 2. Joseph Graf Jr. 3. Joe Graf Sr. 4. Teddy Hodgdon 5. Peter Bennett 6. Eugene Drew 7. Glenn Korner 8. Mikey Policastro 9. Artie Pedersen 10. Steven Chapman 11. Paul Dodorico 12. Jonathan Parsons 13. Allan Pedersen 14. Matt Maring 15. Sean Verwys 16. Jim Sylvester DNS. Gillian Kirkpatrick
602 Light Modified Feature: 1. Artie Pedersen (Center Moriches, NY) 2. Paul French 3. Chris Bottge
Bandolero Feature: 1. Mike Roth (North Branch, NY) 2. Anthony Bello 3. Joey Aungst 4. Conner Piasecki 5. Teddy Cranmer 6. Katie Verwys 7. Philip Abramo
Beginner Bandolero Feature: 1. Nick Archiere (Danbury, CT) 2. Dylan Abramo 3. Justin Aungst 4. Joey Lamontagne
Danbury Vintage Modified Feature: 1. Allen Benincasa (Trumbell, CT) 2. John Hager 3. Jim Torok 4. Jeff Hager 5. George Cleveland 6. Art Knapp
Vintage TQ Two Stroke Feature: 1. Rick Casario 2. Billy Hughes 3. Tom Arntz Jr. 4. Sam Cifelli 5. Drew Fornoro 6. Joe Klein Sr.
Vintage TQ Four Stroke Feature: 1. Gary Mondshein 2. Lou Zrinski 3. Jim Leys 4. Joe Klein Sr. 5. Dave Williams