June, 16th 2018:
Saturday night was action packed at Bethel Motor Speedway as it paid homage to Pine Brook Stadium; which was a small paved oval in Pine Brook, NJ and was designed specifically for TQ Midget racing. The track was in operation from 1962 to 1989. Many former racers and fans of the speedway came out and relived memories while watching the on track action as much was themed for Pine Brook with active ATQMRA racing along with vintage open wheel racing from ATQMVC and ACOT along with the World Formula Micro Stock tour which was a class that was designed for the Pine Brook track. New Jersey racer, Mike Tidaback along with his family were the Grand Marshalls for the evening. Tidaback’s racing roots go back to the Pine Brook track but he also was always a threat to win and was successful racing at Bethel in the past as well. All in attendance were pleased to see Mike and his family at the speedway in good spirits, as he recovers from a severe injury that occurred to him when racing six months ago.
The highlighted race of the night was the ATQMRA TQ feature which found polesitter Cole Mullen jumping out to the early lead as the yellow quickly flew for a frontstretch jingle involving Kris Graver, Buddy Sload, and Matt Janisch. Both Graver and Sload retired to the pits with mechanical trouble. When racing resumed, Joey Bailey began to quickly pressure Mullen for the lead. On Lap 4, Bailey captured the lead but had Ryan Tidman in hot pursuit as he moved into second on lap 5. As the two leaders battled for the lead, another contender emerged from the back of the pack as Janisch recovered from his early race trouble to move into third on lap 7. Janisch then reeled in the leaders and began to challenge Tidman for second. While negotiating lap traffic, Janisch found his opportunity at the race halfway mark as a lane opened. Janisch jumped in it and overtook second position from Tidman. The second half of the race proved to be nerve-wracking for Bailey as both Janisch and Tidman ran inches from his rear bumper. Bailey never slipped despite contending with lap traffic and came across the finish line barely ahead of Janisch and Tidman. The win for Bailey was extra savory as the victory proved to be a well-earned birthday present and victory lane was quite celebratory afterwards.
Extreme Kleaner Sportsman racing proved to be full of excitement in the nightcap. Veteran racer, Bill Papula jumped out to the early lead from his second position and looked strong out of the box. The yellow quickly came out on lap 2 as former champion Kyle Redner brushed the turn 3 wall. On the restart, Papula again propelled from the pack and looked very comfortable in the lead. Meanwhile, Connecticut hotshoe Ed Dachenhausen was methodically coming up through the pack from his seventh starting position. Dachenhausen’s machine outhandled Dan Dulin and took over the second position and began to try and close the gap with leader Papula who was now starting to emit traces of smoke. On Lap 16, bad luck bit Papula as the smoke turned to mechanical failure dropping him out of the lead and the event as well. Dachenhausen inherited the lead but now had to contend with Rick Mill who was now running in second. On the restart, Mill tried to nip under Dachenhausen but couldn’t get the real estate opened with Dachenhausen defending his lead. Mill made one final attempt on the inside down the frontstretch on the white flag lap but again just fell short going into turn one and was hard on the brakes as Dachenhausen sped off with his Brookside Glass #18s to collect his second feature win of the season. Mill held on for second with Redner collecting a third-place finish after a valiant run from early race troubles.
Long time Legends racer Matt Maring returned to a familiar place and picked up a victory in his first start of the season. The race started with Eugene Drew taking the lead until Sean Verwys found a power burst down the backstretch to capture the inside lane along with the lead going into turn 3 on Lap 7. Verwys looked smooth on this night as he held a comfortable lead over Chris Gall until a turn 2 spin on Lap 15 for Joe DeGracia brought out the caution. On the restart, Gall challenged S.Verwys hard for the lead but the sleeper was Maring as he was able to pass third place running Mike Policastro on the restart and two laps later was able to get by Gall for second. The final yellow flew on lap 18 for a turn 4 tangle between Gall and Policastro. When racing resumed, Maring proved to be too strong too hold off as he muscled his way past Verwys in the final corner of the final lap to beat Verwys by a car length at the checkers. Drew came across the line in third.
The fan favorite Shakelton Auto Parts street stocks lived up to its name as it was a barnburner to the wire which saw Kyle Welsch picking up an emotional first victory of the season. The first half of the race found long time versatile driver Jeff Hager leading away despite heavy pressure from Welsch. The two drivers ran hard door to door for several laps until Welsch’s outside charge proved complete on lap 9. One lap later, a returning Kevin Skelly picked it up a notch and passed Hager for second. Skelly then began to challenge Welsch for the lead. The leaders put on a royal battle for several laps as Skelly tried Welsch both high and low many times but couldn’t get a pass to stick. In the races final two laps, Skelly upped the ante and began to nip at Welsch’s rear bumper trying to get him to slip. However, Welsch was in the zone to victory and was unphased with Skelly’s attempts and took the win by half a car length. Both Skelly and Hager contently finished second and third in the thrilling feature.
Another new winner emerged in the Four Cylinder Pure Stock ranks as John Houghtaling picked up a much-earned victory. J. Houghtaling’s win made him the sixth different feature winner in as many races so far this year. Veteran driver Jerry Kingeter jumped out to the early lead and looked very strong on this night. He easily led until about the halfway point when sixth starting John Houghtaling began outside pressure on the leader. The drivers ran wheel to wheel for many laps which had many fans cheering, with five laps to go J. Houghtaling got command of the lead but now had fourteenth place starter Dan Curry quickly overtaking second position from Kingeter. D. Curry then began pressuring J. Houghtaling high and low but quickly ran out of time as J. Houghtaling crossed the checkers a car length ahead of D. Curry. Kingeter took home a third over a strong field of cars.
In Bandolero action, Mike Roth outpowered Brian Rygielski on Lap 5 to take the lead and cruise to his sixth win of the season in another dominating performance in the Sullivan Engine #8. Katie Verwys and Nick Archiere took home strong finishes in second and third respectively.
Former slingshot racer, Colton Geary came from the back to pick up his second Beginner Bando feature win of the season. He easily outdistanced second and third place finishing Monica Deckelman and Ty Smith as they put on a multiple lap battle for those positions.
World Formula Micro Stocks put on a clinic of exciting racing for their feature. The top four cars swapped the lead several times with veteran driver Bob Wagner capturing the lead from Tom Ervin with two laps two go. At the checkers, B. Wagner was a nose ahead of Ervin with early race leader Harry Burd in hot pursuit to finish third.
Graham Hughes and Mike Casario picked up the vintage TQ feature events at the speedway.
TQ Midget (ATQMRA) Feature: 1. Joey Bailey, Monroe, NJ 2. Matt Janisch 3. Ryan Tidman 4. Tim Proctor 5. Cole Mullen 6. Ronnie Mullen 7. Mark Yoder 8. Paul Dodorico 9. Dave Williams 10. Buddy Sload 11. Kris Graver
Sportsman Feature : 1. Ed Dachenhausen, Danbury, CT 2. Rick Mill 3. Kyle Redner 4. Dan Dulin 5. Matt Curry 6. Bill Papula 7. Rich Coons 8. Paul Martin DQ. Jerry Curry
Legends Feature: 1. Matt Maring, Hampton, NJ 2. Sean Verwys 3. Eugene Drew 4. Joe DeGracia 5. Pat Verwys 6. Chris Gall 7. Mike Policastro
Street Stock Feature : 1. Kyle Welsch, Narrowsburg, NY 2. Kevin Skelly 3. Jeff Hager 4. Joel Murns 5. Bill Deak Jr. 6. Bill Deak Sr. 7. Walt Henry 8. Eddie Jones Jr. 9. Patty Falkena 10. Frank Maiori 11. Dan Houghtaling
Four Cylinder Feature: 1. John Houghtaling, Monticello, NY 2. Dan Curry 3. Jerry Kingeter 4. Jeffrey Tubbs 5. Nicole Nelson 6. Cliff Levinson 7. Cody Houghtaling 8. Josh Wilbur 9. Richard Smith 10. Larry O’Donnell 11. Jessey Torrens 12. Brandon Conklin 13. Willie DeGraw 14. Marisol Torrens DNS. Tom Cavagnino DNS. Felicia Reichenbaug
Bandolero Feature: 1. Mike Roth, North Branch, NY 2. Katie Verwys 3. Nick Archiere 4. Justin Aungst 5. Joey Aungst 6. Brian Rygielski 7. Joey Lamontagne
Beginner Bandos: 1. Colton Geary, Waymart, PA 2. Monica Deckelman 3. Ty Smith 4. Kaden Rogers 5. Leland Oefelein 6. Jordan Smith
Micro Stocks (World Formula) Feature: 1. Bob Wagner, Chester NJ 2. Tom Ervin 3. Harry Burd 4. Tyler Wagner 5. Noel Scheffen 6. Jeff Weinacher 7. Jim Counterman 8. James Counterman 9. Keith Mellors DNS. Pat Owens DNS. Andy Crane DNS. Darrell Kreider
Vintage Midgets Four Stroke (ATQMVC) Feature: 1. Mike Casario, Denville, NJ 2. Hank Rogers Jr. 3. Rick Casario 4. Mike Corigliano 5. Bill DiMatteo 6. Keith Majka 7. Joe Klein Sr. DNS. Billy Hughes
Vintage Midgets Two Stroke (ATQMVC) Feature: 1. Graham Hughes, White Haven, PA 2. Mark Pritchard 3. John Leombruno 4. Rick Casario 5. Billy Fischer 6. Mike Casario