September 29th, 2018
This past Saturday was Champions Night at Bethel Motor Speedway as the cool crisp autumn air replaced summer time weather in the region and reminded many that the point season was winding down at the speedway with their final night of points..
Al Archiere is hot like the sun in Extreme Kleaner Sportsman feature racing. Archiere who picked up his first career win last Saturday again proved he has the car to beat as he came from ninth starting position to pick up his second victory of the season in the McCarthy Aluminum #21x machine. The race started out with late season addition, veteran driver Craig Pritchard taking the early lead in his sharp looking sportsman over rookie racer Bryan Jones. Pritchard continued to power ahead until just prior to halfway when fifth starting Rich Coons made his charge stick to overtake the lead. At the halfway point there was a couple of cautions which found second place running Pritchard getting spun and having to go to the rear of the field with Jones, Chris Cook, and Dan Dulin thus moving Archiere and veteran dirt modified racer Jimmy Johnson into the top three running order. On the restart, Coons continued to lead the field in strong late season form but Archiere was pursuing the leader closely. Then on lap 13, Archiere amped up his challenge for the lead and worked feverishly on the high side to get around Coons while Johnson contently watched from the catbird seat in third. Lap 16, found Archiere changing his strategy and ducked low on the inside to try and get by the rapid sportsman driven by Coons. Archiere pinched hard in the corner several times but was hard on the binders until he prevailed wrestling the lead from Coons as they accelerated out of turn two with two laps remaining. At the finish line it was Archiere, Coons, and the impressive Johnson in his first feature start at the speedway. Ed Dachenhausen picked up his first career sportsman championship at the speedway off the strength of a model consistency along with the strength of eight feature wins in the Scot Sanford owned Brookfield Glass # 18s.
You could feel the air was charged with energy when the Interstate Batteries Modifieds entered the track for their feature as three drivers, ole master John Cote, sophomore phenom Tyler Dachenhausen, and proven racer but rookie in the modified class, Mike Dutka squared off in their points finale. These three drivers each with two feature victories each, all came into the feature with a legitimate shot at taking the title. On the first lap, Nascar Whelen Tour rookie Joe DeGracia out powered veteran campaigner Steve Conklin to take the lead. Dachenhausen one lap later maneuvered his way by third place running Mike Dutka. Lap 4; found Dachenhausen capturing the second position from Conklin with Cote working by Dutka to take fourth. The leader DeGracia tried to open up a large gap from the pack but found it hard to achieve as his ride began to show symptoms of a handling issue. Dachenhausen closed in and began to pressure the leader at the halfway point while Cote marched his way by Conklin for third spot after a multi lap battle. Dachenhausen knew the pressure was on and was seeking a pass high and low on the ill handling DeGracia but the leader persevered and would not waiver. Third place running Cote caught up to the two leaders and stayed within striking distance of the two leading drivers while they battled for position. With the dual checkers waving, it was DeGracia driving hard to his second feature victory of the season in his Kona Ice # 23 by one car length over Dachenhausen and Cote. The championship battle came down to the very last lap and to the very last position with Cote picking up the track championship by only one point over Dachenhausen with Dutka finishing third in the final point standings.
It was a bittersweet night for master pro stock driver Ed Butler as he had clinched his third pro stock championship but blew the motor on lap 2 in his Tavern on Main # 32 machine. However, a recently returned local racing veteran Vinny Stanton Sr. led every lap of the Interstate Battery pro stock feature despite pressure from John Roese and Glenn Richard to nail down his first feature win of the season. The highly contested feature found much passing but at the finish line it was all Stanton with his Uptown Auto Repair #41 over impressive runs by Richard and rookie Porter Crawson in second and third respectively.
Legends feature racing action was all Matt Maring as he made quick moves in the early laps to secure his lead over James Anderson and Brad Lowmaster. While Maring enjoyed a comfortable lead Legends racing veteran Mike Alcaro methodically worked his way through the field and captured second from Lowmaster at the halfway point. Daniel Carter was sneaking in Alcaro’s tracks and came up through the field as well to get by the quick Lowmaster for third. Lap 13, erased Maring’s lead as the yellow came out for the tangle between Anderson and Pat Verwys. On the restart, Alcaro pressured his fellow racing friend Maring to try and get him to slip. With two laps remaining Alcaro upped the ante some more and began to use bump and run tactics. On the last lap, in turn 3 found Alcaro making one final charge as he bumped the leader into the corner and was able to get the steadfast Maring to slip just enough to squeeze by on the inside coming off turn 4 to take his third victory of the season by half a car length in his Alcaro Metal Plating # 8 coupe. Sean Verwys was credited for third after post race technical inspection. Former Bandolero Champion, Mike Policastro picked up his first career Legends championship of the strength of four feature wins and consistent finishes over S. Verwys who stayed in contention to win the title all the way to the final points race of the season.
The fan favorite Shakelton Auto Parts Street Stock always delivers their exciting brand of racing to eager race fans who love their feature racing. Newcomer, dirt racer Jeff Meltz set the early pace as he took the lead at the drop of the green over rookie AJ Atkins. Meltz continued to look strong as the leader despite a couple of restarts for some early stage cautions while the hardchargers were working their way up through field from deep in the pack. The first top gun emerging from the field to challenge Meltz was Kevin Skelly. Skelly who came from tenth on the starting grid overtook the lead at the halfway point and began to pull away from Meltz. As Skelly dealt with lapped traffic, Meltz had his hands full as Hurricane Henry was coming with a fury. Walt Henry who started in the nineteenth position made it through a late race tangle between Larry O’Donnell and Brian Bauernfeind which gave him third position. On the last lap, Henry put on an exciting outside display of power as he wheeled his way past Meltz coming off turn two on the final lap. At the crowd cheering checker flag it was Skelly picking up his second victory of the season in the Deckelman Trucking # 67 over Henry and Meltz. Henry picked up the hard earned championship in his JBM Truck Repair # 171 built off five feature wins and consistent finishes throughout the season in the ultra-competitive field.
It was a fairybook ending to the points season for Four Cylinder racer Cliff Levison this past Saturday. Last year’s rookie of the year who has used the strategy of driving level headed all season long racked up numerous top five finishes but was shutout of victory lane. It was in the stars on this night for Levison as he inherited the lead when second place running Todd Gadoury spun the leader Eddie Jones Jr. and sent both drivers’ pitside for repairs. Levison then outran Cody Houghtaling to not only win his first career feature victory but also allowed him to pick up the elusive track championship in his sophomore season of racing. Cool, calm, and collected got Levison to achieve the title.
The gamechanger, Mike Roth continued his mastery in the Bandoleros class as he outgunned Evan Rygielski early on to take the lead on lap 4. Roth looked strong on this night and cruised home to victory with his Sullivan Engine # 8 over the quick Joey Aungst and E. Rygielski in second and third respectively. Leland Oefelien picked his first win of the season in the Beginner Bandolero class.
Get your fill of some more exciting post season racing on Saturday, October 13th for the Catskill Clash and then again for Bethel’s racing season finale on the two day weekend of November 3rd and 4th
Sportsman Feature: 1. Al Archiere, Danbury, CT 2. Rich Coons 3. Jimmy Johnson 4. Dan Dulin 5. Jerry Curry 6. Bryan Jones 7. Chris Cook 8. Craig Pritchard 9. Harry Hindley 10. Ed Dachenhausen
Modified Feature: 1. Joe DeGracia, Lyndhurst, NJ 2. Tyler Dachenhausen 3. John Cote 4. Mike Dutka 5. Steve Conklin 6. Stephen Kammer 7. Steve Galgano 8. Jim Fugel DNS. Willie Nickerson DNS. Blair Culhane DNS. Bill Luchessi
Pro Stock Feature: 1. Vinny Stanton Sr. Liberty, NY 2. Glenn Richard 3. Porter Crawson 4. Mac Crawson 5. John Roese 6. Jim Helt 7. Gary Gamble 8. John Rood 9. Ed Butler 10. Josh Wilbur DNS. Gene Morton
Legends Feature: 1. Mike Alcaro, Fredon, NJ 2. Matt Maring 3. Sean Verwys 4. Brad Lowmaster 5. Jeffrey Lefcourt 6. Mike Policastro 7. Quinn Trimmer 8. Chris Gall 9. Pat Verwys 10 James Anderson DQ. Daniel Carter (Ride Height)
Street Stock Feature: 1. Kevin Skelly, North Branch, NY 2. Walt Henry 3. Jeff Meltz 4. Kyle Welsch 5. Bill Deak Jr. 6. AJ Atkins 7. Patty Falkena 8. Bill Deak Sr. 9. Larry O’Donnell 10. Frank Maiori 11. Ernie Millen 12. John Hager 13. Mike Mergendahl 14. Jessica Ricci 15. Brian Bauernfeind 16. Phil Funcheon 17. Tom Ciluruso 18. Dan Houghtaling 19. Joel Murns DNS. Scott Sepe
Four Cylinder Feature: 1. Cliff Levison, Waymart, PA 2. Cody Houghtaling 3. Tisha Curry 4. Tabitha Riordan 5. Eddie Jones Jr. 6. Todd Gadoury 7. JW Gannon DQ. Jeffrey Tubbs (Spring Shim)
Bandolero Feature: 1. Mike Roth, North Branch, NY 2. Joey Aungst 3. Evan Rygielski 4. Ty Smith 5. Katie Verwys 6. Justin Aungst 7. Monika Deckelman 8. Brian Rygielski 9. Kaden Rogers 10. Dylan Dowe; Beginner Bando Winner: Leland Oefelein