September 1st, 2018:
This past Saturday found many former racers and past officials returning to their old stomping grounds for their racer’s reunion in honor of the legendary Dick Crumley who was a long time popular racer at the speedway with his famous # 7x machines and served in various roles including being the head flagger. Crumley who also loved his hometown of Bethel, NY served in several roles on the local government and was always a staunch supporter of the speedway along with running his automotive business Seven-X Motors. Fans were delighted to see the return of the former racer’s and to learn more about the history of the speedway as numerous memories were relived with many stories told.
On track feature action found hotshoe Ed Dachenhausen marching from ninth starting position to pick up his sixth feature win of the season and extend his point lead in the very tight championship battle with veteran Rick Mill. The Extreme Kleaner feature found Rich Coons getting by early race leader Matt Curry on lap 3. Coons continued to lead after a couple of restarts for two melees that occurred in turn 3. At the halfway point, Dachenhausen had charged through the pack and knew he had to take the high side to get around the quick Coons. It took several laps of wheel to wheel racing between the two leaders before Dachenhausen powered ahead on the outside of turn two. The Scot Sanford owned Brookfield Glass # 18s then cruised to victory over Coons and Jeff Richardson who made some wise decisions in the race to come home third.
John Cote is Bethel’s ‘Ole Master’ who has been competing in the same car at the track for the past twenty years with extraordinary success. Cote and his car have its own chapter in speedway lore at the track so it seemed so right for the long time campaigner to pick up his second win of the season in the Interstate Batteries modified feature in front of the former racer’s reunion in attendance. Cote quickly moved from his fourth starting position and began to pressure another long time racer Steve Conklin who was the early race leader. Conklin who was rolling off the corners high, found Cote pinching the inner most lane of the track off turn four to make an inside pass for the lead down the front chute and was able to pull away from Conklin. Current point leader, Tyler Dachenhausen made a turn 2 pass on a strong running Stephen Kammer to take third on the final lap. At the checkers, it was Cote over Conklin and Dachenhausen to take the popular win.
The fan favorite Shakelton Auto Parts Street Stocks were rewarded with a purse increase due to strong car count on this night at the speedway. The feature proved to be thrilling to the drivers and even more for the fans as rookie Dan Houghtaling jumped out into the early lead but found the caution quickly coming out for a frontstretch jingle. Lap 4, found Houghtaling under heavy pressure by veteran Joel Murns and a returning Mike Skelly who hadn’t competed in a street stock race since 2009. The three drivers went three wide down the front chute with Skelly on the inside, they continued three wide into turn one, but by turn two Skelly found command of the lead. Soon after Skelly has his hands full with current point leader Walt Henry and three time winner Kyle Welsch who both had hard charged for their deep starting positions. The second half of the race had the fans on the edge of their seats as the best street stock drivers in the region continued to provide much action with many focused on the tight high speed chase at the front of the pack. Henry known as the Hurricane ran hard on the highside of Skelly for many laps door to door while Welsch continued to nip away on the inside of Skelly. Skelly soon found lapped traffic headed in his direction and negotiated it in his favor and was able to pull ahead ever slightly which waged Henry and Welsch in a fierce battle for second swapping position several times. On the last lap, Henry made a gusting dive going into turn 3 to blow ahead of Welsch for second. At the checkers, it was Mike Skelly picking up his first feature win of the season with Henry beating Welsch by a fender for second. Skelly picked up the crowd roaring victory with the Deckelman Trucking # 67. Charlie and George Deckelman were popular top drivers at the speedway in the 1980’s to much applause for those taking part in the reunion.
Interstate Battery Pro Stock action found Ed Butler on a hot streak picking up his fifth win in a row and eighth on the season with his Tavern on Main # 32. Gene Morton jumped out to the early lead with Joe Barnes in quick pursuit running in second. Ed Butler moved into third getting by a stout running Josh Wilbur. Butler then went to work on the veteran Barnes and passed him for second on lap 4 and began to track down the leader. Morton soon had Butler pressuring him to give up the lead. Morton continued to maintain his line while Butler went to the highside and began building momentum. Just prior to halfway, as Butler ran up high he cleanly nosed ahead of the ford powered Morton to take the lead as he motored away. The crafty Morton continued to run second until two laps to go when third place running Mac Crawson made an inside dive on Morton in turn 4 which resulted in a crash knocking out several running in the top five bringing out the yellow. The last lap found second place running Josh Wilbur making a late race surge and challenging the leader Butler. At the checkers, Butler was able to hold off Wilbur by a car length. Porter Crawson came across the line in third.
Rich Coons was on a Sunday drive as he easily cruised home to his third Crate Sportsman feature of the season with his West Point Tours # 27. Coons darted from third position to first position when Shawn Maloney and Matt Curry drifted high in turn 2. At the checkers, it was Coons over Maloney, Curry, and Charlie Houghtaling.
In racing there has always been a saying that your second career win comes much quicker than the first. Sean Verwys proved that in the Legends feature as he now has won back to back features. Verwys rallied from an early race spin to capture the lead from leader Eugene Drew on lap 13. Current point leader Mike Policastro moved around Drew for second on lap 17 and began closing the gap on Verwys. At the checkers it was Verwys in the Corvino & Verwys Tax Service # 88v just ahead of Policastro. Eugene Drew held on for third.
The win streak continues in the Four Cylinder Pure Stock class as Dan Curry picked up his ninth feature win of the season. Richard Smith chased closely for the duration of the race making several charges on the inside and outside to make a winning pass but at the finish line it was D. Curry by half a car length over the ever persistent Smith. A returning Tasha Curry came from last to take third position at the line.
Bandolero feature action had a photo finish at the checkers as Brian Rygielski put forth his strongest run to date at the speedway. Rygielski ran a flawless race and if the race had been one lap shorter he would have collected his first career feature win the class. However, defending champion put forth an outstanding run coming from the back of the pack. Roth worked by Evan Rygielski for second place on lap 5 and began to chase down the leader who had opened up a large lead. Lap after lap, Roth concentrated on narrowing the deficit. Lap 13, showed Roth right on the rear bumper of B. Rygielski as he was able to erase his comfortable lead margin. Roth then used the inside and was able to pinch into the corners and make the winning pass going into turn three on the last lap. B. Rygielski kept the momentum quick on the highside as they came speeding to the checkers wheel to wheel. At the line it was Roth winning by a bumper in his Sullivan Engine # 8 over the ever close B. Rygielski. Joey Aungst finished third.
In Beginner Bandoleros, Monika Deckelman looked poise to pick up another feature victory but got bit by bad luck when a lapped car made contact and caused her to spin bringing out the yellow. Ty Smith inherited the lead and went on to pick up his sixth victory of the season over Kaden Rogers and Jordan Smith.
Local hotshoe Mike Houghtaling picked up the feature win in Vintage Modified racing. Houghtaling whose family traces back to the early years at the speedway worked exceptionally hard on this night as his father Ray Houghtaling Sr. was in attendance for the racer’s reunion along with many other family members. It was no easy task to win on this night as Darral Hulbert who is also the son of legendary modified racer Mert Hulbert was the early leader and battled Houghtaling throughout the race staying glued to his rear bumper. Mike’s brother, Charlie Houghtaling also challenged his older brother several times but could not overtake the lead. At the checkers it was M. Houghtaling in the family # 03 beating Hulbert by a car length to take the savory victory. C. Houghtaling finished a strong third.
Former dirt modified racer Keith Majka picked up the victory in the Atlantic Coast Old Timers exhibition race.
Sportsman Feature: 1. Ed Dachenhausen, Danbury, CT 2. Rich Coons 3. Jeff Richardson 4. Rick Mill 5. Dan Dulin 6. Al Archiere 7. Matt Curry 8. Jerry Curry 9. Bill Papula
Modified Feature: 1. John Cote, New Milford, CT 2. Steve Conklin 3. Tyler Dachenhausen 4. Mike Dutka 5. Stephen Kammer 6. Scott Quick
Crate Sportsman Feature: 1. Rich Coons, Montgomery, NY 2. Shawn Maloney 3. Matt Curry 4. Charlie Houghtaling
Street Stock Feature: 1. Mike Skelly, Liberty, NY 2. Walt Henry 3. Kyle Welsch 4. Larry O’Donnell 5. Brian Bauerfeind 6. Joel Murns 7. Bill Deak Jr. 8. Dan Houghtaling 9. Bill Deak Sr. 10. Frank Maiori 11. Ernie Millen 12. Corey Stanton 13. Ray Tarantino 14. Patty Falkena 15. Jessica Ricci 16. A.J. Atkins
Pro Stock Feature: 1. Ed Butler, Bethel, NY 2. Josh Wilbur 3. Porter Crawson 4. Joe Barnes 5. Gene Morton 6. Mac Crawson DNS. Mark Sylvester
Legends Feature: 1. Sean Verwys, E. Stroudsburg, PA 2. Mike Policastro 3. Eugene Drew 4. Conner Piasecki 5. Jeffrey Lefcourt
Four Cylinder Feature: 1. Dan Curry, Swan Lake, NY 2. Richard Smith 3. Tasha Curry 4. Tisha Curry 5. Cody Houghtaling 6. Tim Curry 7. George Van Aken 8. Cliff Levison
Bandolero Feature: 1. Mike Roth, North Branch, NY 2. Brian Rygielski 3. Joey Aungst 4. Evan Rygielski 5. Katie Verwys 6. Justin Aungst 7. Brandon LaVoie
Beg. Bandos Feature: 1. Ty Smith Eldred, NY 2. Kaden Rogers 3. Jordan Smith 4. Monika Deckelman
Vintage Modified Feature: 1. Mike Houghtaling, Wht. Sulphur Springs, NY 2. Darral Hulbert 3. Charlie Houghtaling 4. Doug Atkins 5. Jim Halpin 6. Car # 37J 7. John Hager 8. Jon Atkins 9. George Cleveland
ACOT Feature: 1. Keith Majka, Bloomingdale, NJ 2. Gary Collucci 3. Ken Goewey 4. Bill Goodfellow 5. Jake Morgan