July 21 st , 2018:
It was a perfect night of reliving old racing memories along with making new ones as LaJoie’s Auto Wrecking along with Joe’s Bar and Grill presenting ‘Remembering Danbury Racearena Night’ at Bethel Motor Speedway. Over forty vintage racers came out to support the event in honor of the prestigious SNYRA’s paved oval which was situated on the fairgrounds in Danbury, CT until it’s unfortunate closing in 1981. Many of Danbury’s former racers and their families found Bethel Motor Speedway to their liking after their speedway had closed and continue to compete there today.
The night was highlighted by the Ev Pierce Memorial Race, a 40 Lap Interstate Batteries Modified feature, was in honor of the racer who had the much success at both Danbury and Bethel speedways. The race was paced by Danbury racing legend Nicky Giardina in his famed vintage modified #25. At the start, Mike Dutka jumped out into the lead for the outside pole, while Stephen Kammer battled hard on this inside to regain the lead. In turn 3, Kammer locked the brakes hard and spun bringing out the early yellow. On the restart, Dutka outpowered former Danbury racer John Cote to retain his control on the lead. Cote stayed glued to his outside lane trying to get ahead but soon found his position being challenged on the inside by veteran driver Skip LaPolt. LaPolt who started from the sixth position waged a multi-lap battle with Cote before he prevailed on an inside move going into turn one. LaPolt began to set his sights on the leader, Dutka who was clicking the laps off and looking for his first feature win of the season. On Lap 18, LaPolt began pressuring Dutka as he was coming off turn four better than the leader. Three laps later, LaPolt got a solid run on Dutka going into turn 1 and made an inside swoop to pick up the lead coming out of turn two. As LaPolt began to check out on the field, all eyes began watching the battle for second and third positions. Third generation Danbury racer, Tyler Dachenhausen moved into third position getting by the veteran Cote. Dachenhausen then went to work on Dutka to try
and obtain second position as current point leader Wayne Kirkpatrick maneuvered by Cote for fourth position. Dutka, Dachenhausen, and Kirkpatrick diced it out for several laps swapping positions several times before Kirkpatrick got sole control of third place on Lap 27. On Lap 35, was a big change in the running order as the spirited wheel to wheel action got too intense resulting in a tangle between Dutka and Kirkpatrick for second position which brought out the caution sending both drivers to the rear. The restart found LaPolt outpowering Dachenhausen as he lost the handle going in turn one and drifted high. Cote capitalized and captured second position back from Dachenhausen but could not find the speed to challenge LaPolt. At the checkers, LaPolt picked up one of the biggest wins of his career in the DeGracia Contracting # 5 over Danbury racers John Cote and Tyler Dachenhausen.
Whenever the ATQMRA midget racing club comes to town, most know that driver Ryan Tidman is a pre-race favorite to win the feature. The driver has taken a liking to Bethel’s pavement and has put on some thrilling racing over the years along with picking up several feature victories. This past Saturday, Tidman was not to be denied victory lane as he came from his fifth starting position to grab the lead on Lap 8 from early race leader Joey Payne and never looked back. Payne put forth a strong run but gave in to the advances of Matt Janisch after battling for position for several laps. At the checkers, it was Tidman picking up the victory over Janisch and Payne.
Rookie driver Chris Cook pulled off an upset win as he wired the field to lead every lap in the Crate Dirt Sportsman feature. Cook cruised his West Point Tours # 272 to a first ever feature victory over another rookie Shawn Maloney and Matt Curry.
Interstate Battery Pro Stock action found Glenn Richard jumping out to the early lead over Josh Wilbur. Mac Crawson then moved into second position and quickly reeled in Richard. The two leaders battled for several laps before Richard bobbled ever so slightly on the outside in turn 2. Crawson took sole control of the lead on Lap 7 and found himself being pressured by defending track champion Ed Butler at the halfway point. Butler pursued Crawson for the entire second half of the race making several outside charges to take the lead but couldn’t get the traction to make a pass stick. At the checkers it was Crawson picking up his second victory of the season over Butler and Richard in second and third respectively.
The month of July is treating long time Legends driver Eugene Drew well as he picked up his second win of the season after surviving a turn two crash that saw several contenders headed to the pits with problems. Drew than outdistanced Jeffrey Lefcourt and James Anderson to bring the car home in Victory Lane for the second time in July.
Four Cylinder Pure Stock feature found veteran racer Dan Curry the benefactor after some early race skirmishes saw other competitors headed to the pits with problems. However, Curry came through the pack unscathed from his tenth starting position to earn his fourth victory of the season. At the halfway mark, Curry moved ahead of former champion Ivan Guerra to take the lead. Guerra continued to chase Curry for the lead hoping for a miscue in lap traffic but at the finish line it was Curry over Guerra with Richard Smith finishing a strong third position.
Defending Champion Mike Roth easily outgunned the Bandolero field to pick up his tenth feature win of the season. Katie Verwys and Joey Aungst chased the leader throughout the race but were unable to catch him. Kaden Rogers was awarded his second win of the season in Beginner Bandoleros as apparent winner Monica Deckelman was found with a restrictor plate infraction.
Rick MacDowell powered his 69 Camaro to victory over the 37 Chevy Coupe big block modified of John Hager and a very fast looking asphalt vintage modified of New Jersey’s El Herbert in the Asphalt Vintage Modified feature. MacDowell’s car was originally a Lebanon Valley Speedway racer.
Mike Houghtaling mastered the Dirt Vintage Modified feature to pick up the win over the coupe modifieds of Jim Halpin and Bob Harless. Houghtaling who runs an 80’s style dirt modified has been a longtime racer at the speedway.
In ATQMVA vintage midget racing found Rick Casario cruising to victory in his beautiful # 7 machine. The ACOT vintage feature found Connecticut racer Gary Collucci in victory lane with his red six machine.
Modified Feature: 1. Skip LaPolt, Swan Lake, NY 2. John Cote 3. Tyler Dachenhausen 4. Mike Dutka 5. Wayne Kirkpatrick 6. Gary Van Orden Jr. 7. Stephen Kammer 8. Scott Quick DNS. Steve Conklin
ATQMRA Midget Feature: 1. Ryan Tidman, Levittown, PA 2. Matt Janisch 3. Joey Payne 4. Joey Bailey 5. Buddy Sload 6. Cole Mullen 7. Paul Dodorico 8. Ronnie Mullen
Crate Sportsman Feature : 1. Chris Cook, New Windsor, NY 2. Shawn Maloney 3. Matt Curry 4. Jerry Curry 5. Bryan Jones
Pro Stock Feature: 1. Mac Crawson, Long Eddy, NY 2. Ed Butler 3. Glenn Richard 4. Josh Wilbur 5. Porter Crawson 6. Brian Bauerfeind 7. Larry O’Donnell
Legends Feature: 1. Eugene Drew, West Milford, NJ 2. Jeffrey Lefcourt 3. James Anderson 4. Mike Policastro 5. Sean Verwys
Four Cylinder Feature: 1. Dan Curry, Swan Lake, NY 2. Ivan Guerra 3. Richard Smith 4. Dan Houghtaling 5. Cliff Levinson 6. George VanAken 7. Tabitha Riordan 8. Gene Chariott 9. Ethan Cogswell 10. Jeff DeGroat 11. Jeffrey Tubbs 12. David Donovan 13. Cody Houghtaling
Bandolero Feature: 1. Mike Roth, North Branch, NY 2. Katie Verwys 3. Joey Aungst 4. Evan Rygielski 5. Nick Archiere 6. Justin Aungst 7. Brian Rygielski 8. Joey Lamontagne
Beg. Bandos Feature: 1. Kaden Rogers, Binghamton, NY 2. Leland Oefelein DQ. Monica Deckelman
Asphalt Vintage Modified Feature: 1. Rick MacDowell, Sheffield, MA 2. John Hager 3. El Herbert 4. Angie Bullock 5. Spanky Bancroft 6. George Cleveland 7. Alex Kitzen 8. Bill Kemp DNS. Nicky Giardina
Dirt Vintage Modified Feature: 1. Mike Houghtaling, White Sulpher Springs, NY 2. Jim Halpin 3. Bob Harless 4. Doug Atkins 5. Scott Stephenson 6. Paul Knox DNS. Jon Atkins DNS. Mark Braun DNS. Eddie Stevens
Vintage Midget ATQMVA Feature: 1. Rick Casario, Denville, NJ 2. Bob Ferick 3. Frank Mammana 4. Paul Koch 5. Mark Pritchard 6. Vinny Testanero 7. Bill Fisher 8. Graham Hughes 9. Keith Majka 10. Mike Frey 11. Drew Fornoro 12. Mike Casario 13. Joe Klein
ACOT Vintage Feature: 1. Gary Collucci, Milford, CT 2. Dennis White 3. Keith Majka 4. Ken VanWert 5. Bill Goodfellow 6. Ken Goewey 7. John Cahill 8. Richard Martin 9. John Leombruno