BETHEL, NY – The BMS Modified race certainly kept fans on the edges of their seats at Bethel Motor Speedway this past Saturday, as multi-time champion John Cote held off two-time 2015 winner Ed Dachenhausen to collect his first win of the season in a caution-free, 20-lap event.
Cote took off from the pole, with Dachenhausen to his outside. The two jostled for position in the early laps of the race, swapping the spot by mere inches lap after lap, as the pair pulled away from George Rudinas and Blair Culhane, who were battling just as intently for the third spot. Dachenhausen got loose coming off of turn four, opening the door for Cote to put his car solidly out front. Once out front, Cote was untouchable, as Dachenhausen did his best to get close enough to mount a challenge for the top spot but was unsuccessful.
Cote drove on to the win, and Dachenhausen had to be content with second. Rudinas claimed third by a narrow margin over Culhane.
Heading into the next event, Dachenhausen holds a mere three-point lead over Cote, whose last championship came in 2013. Rudinas sits 15 points out of the lead.
For 2012 Sportsman champion, it has been a perfect season, as he won his third 358/Sportsman race in as many weeks this past Saturday. Curry started on the pole and led every lap on his way to the win, but not without a hard-fought battle with Greg Morgan.
Curry and Morgan started side-by-side on the front row, and Curry took the immediate lead. While Curry never surrendered the top spot, he felt constant pressure from Morgan, including during several early-race restarts. Kyle Redner had made his way from the fifth starting spot to third by lap five, and attempted to make his own bid for the front, but was halted as the top three was unchanged over the remainder of the event.
Curry crossed the line first, followed by Morgan and Redner.
Curry heads into the next event with a 21-point advantage over 2014 Rookie of the Year, Dan Dulin. Morgan and Redner are tied for third, just three points behind Dulin.
Legends driver Matt Kurzejewski made his first appearance of the 2015 season at Bethel, and he made it a memorable one as he topped the field in the Legends Pro/Masters/Semi Pro race.
After coming from the fourth starting spot in his heat race to take down the win, Kurzejewski started on the pole for the feature event, with Eugene Drew on the outside pole. Kurzejewski took the lead at the drop of the green, and Jim Sylvester followed to take over the second spot. With just four laps in the books, 2014 Legends Pro/Masters champion Richie Coy overpowered Sylvester for second. Sylvester then had to contend with Joe DeGracia for third, until Brad Lowmaster took the fourth position from DeGracia at the halfway point of the race. Lowmaster continued his march towards the front by taking third on lap 12, and second with three laps remaining. Kurzejewski proved to be unstoppable, as Lowmaster was unable to successfully challenge for the lead.
Kurzejewski claimed the victory over Lowmaster and Coy.
Going into the next race, Lowmaster holds a 12-point lead over Coy. Matt Evans, who has two Legends titles at Bethel Motor Speedway, heads into the next event third, 20 points out of the lead.
In Legends Young Lions action, Alex McCollum scored his second regular-season event win in convincing fashion. With only one caution to slow the pace of the race, McCollum took off from the pole and led every lap to score the win.
Gillian Kirkpatrick started on the outside of the front row, with McCollum on the pole. Teddy Hodgdon came from third to take over second on the initial lap, but heartbreak struck for Hodgdon when he spun with just five laps remaining. This boosted Kirkpatrick up to the second spot, and Max Evans inherited third. Hodgdon quickly rebounded, grabbing third from Evans as the laps wound down.
McCollum was first to the checkered flag, followed by Kirkpatrick and Hodgdon.
McCollum holds a slim eight-point lead over Kirkpatrick in the early season standings. Max Evans sits third, 20 points out of the lead.
Defending Bandolero champion David French continued his undefeated streak, capturing his third consecutive win of the regular season.
Lars McElravy stared on the pole, with French on the outside. McElravy led the first two laps, as the rest of the field aggressively sought position behind him. By lap three, French had grabbed the top spot from McElravy, leaving the rest of the field to chase him. McElravy held second, in spite of pressure from Matt Addona that lasted the entire race distance. The leaders began to contend with lapped traffic with four laps remaining, and French showed the way past. The checkered flag flew for French, with McElravy second and Addona third.
French holds the early-season points lead, with a 12-point advantage over Eugene Drew. Teddy Bowen and Addona sit evenly in third, 20 points back from French.
Joey Aungst claimed his first win of the season in the Beginner Bandolero race, after starting on the outside pole.
Tyler Dachenhausen, who won the previous two events, started on the pole after winning the heat race, but was overtaken by Aungst on the initial lap of the feature event. Conner Piasecki, in only his second start in the class, held the third spot as Dachenhausen chased Aungst.
Aungst distanced himself from the competition and went on to score the win. Dachenhausen crossed the line second, and Piasecki was third.
Kenny Atkins grabbed his second consecutive win in a competitive Pro Stock feature event. Atkins started on the pole, alongside Greg Cohen. While Atkins took the lead at the drop of the green, an intense battle for the second spot took place between Cohen and Larry O’Donnell that lasted almost the entire race distance. O’Donnell wrestled the spot from Cohen on lap two and was able to hold the position until lap 18, when Cohen got past. Caution flew for Ed Butler with just two laps remaining, setting the stage for an exciting finish. On the final lap of the race, contact between O’Donnell and Jim Helt as they fought for third resulted in a yellow-checkered finish saw Atkins cross the line first, with Cohen second. Skip LaPolt was credited with third in the final rundown.
Atkins holds an 11-point lead over Cohen, with Skip LaPolt 20 points out of the top spot in the standings.
For the third week in a row, Gary VanOrden topped the field in the Street Stock event, holding off his daughter, defending division champion Amber VanOrden, for the win.
Both VanOrdens sat on the front row for the start of the race, with G.VanOrden taking the lead at the drop of the green. As father and daughter competed for the top spot, Kyle Welsch held the third spot, waiting for the opportunity to make a move. The race went green to checkered with no cautions, allowing the pair of VanOrdens to pull away from the field as the laps clicked off. Even as the pair began to contend with lapped traffic with three laps to go in the event, the elder VanOrden maintained his position over A. VanOrden.
G. VanOrden scored the victory, followed by A. VanOrden and Welsch.
G. VanOrden enters the next event with a six-point cushion over his daughter and a 17-point lead over Welsch in the standings.
The 4 Cylinder Advanced race saw the third different winner in as many weeks, as Andrew Lovric rebounded from a disqualification the previous week to score the win in this week’s caution-free race.
Lovric and Joe Smith took off from the front row, with Lovric nosing out front when the green flag waved. Smith ran second over the entire race distance, while Mike Travis took the third spot from JB Morris. Travis, driving a borrowed car after his primary car suffered damage the previous week, challenged the pair ahead of him but was unable to advance his position. The top three remained unchanged over the length of the race, in spite of close quarters. When the checkered flag fell, Lovric notched the win. Smith had to settle for second, and Travis was third.
Smith holds the points lead heading into the next event, 17 points ahead of Travis. Joe Morris is third in the standings, just nine points behind Travis.
For the third time in as many weeks, David Donovan walked away with the win in the 4 Cylinder Novice feature.
Donovan and Brittany Curry made up the front row for the start of the race, and Donovan wasted no time putting his car out front. Curry and Gene Helms traded the second spot before Curry laid solid claim to the spot, leaving Helms to battle with Jessey Torrens for third. In spite of his best efforts, Torrens was unable to work his way past Helms as Donovan continued to pace the field.
Donovan was first to cross the line, followed by Curry and Helms.
Donovan, who is undefeated so far this season, holds a 23-point lead over Ryan LaMantia heading into the next event. Dan Houghtaling sits just two points behind LaMantia in third.
This coming Saturday, May 16th, Bethel Motor Speedway will once again swing open the gates for an action-packed night of racing action that includes the first appearance of the Outlaw 4 Cylinder class. Also on the schedule are the BMS Modified, 358/Sportsman, Legends, Bandolero, Pro Stock, Street Stock, and 4 Cylinder Advanced and Novice divisions. Gates open at 2:30 pm, with hot laps at 4:30 pm, and racing set to go green at 6 pm. As part of the celebration of the track’s 55th anniversary, grandstand admission is just $5 through May 23rd.
More information, including a complete 2015 schedule, is available online at www.bethelmotorspeedway.com, or by calling (845) 319-7908.
BMS MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. John Cote (Danbury, CT), 2. Ed Dachenhausen, 3. George Rudinas Jr., 4. Blair Culhane, 5. Steve Galgano, 6. Chris Bottge, 7. Mike Bryant. DNS – Frank James.
358/SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Jerry Curry (Neversink, NY), 2. Greg Morgan, 3. Kyle Redner, 4. Eric Moon, 5. Dan Dulin, 6. Kimberlee Morgan, 7. Paul Knox, 8. Guy Harby.
LEGENDS PRO/MASTERS/SEMI PRO FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Matt Kurzejewski (Mansfield, PA), 2. Brad Lowmaster, 3. Richie Coy, 4. Jim Sylvester, 5. Joe DeGracia, 6. Matt Maring, 7. Matt Evans, 8. Dylan Hoffman, 9. Eugene Drew, 10. Wayne Hajek, 11. Drew Bottge. DNS – Mark Foster.
LEGENDS YOUNG LIONS FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Alex McCollum (Phillipsburg, NJ), 2. Gillian Kirkpatrick, 3. Teddy Hodgdon, 4. Max Evans, 5. David French.
BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. David French (Rome, PA), 2. Lars McElravy, 3. Matt Addona, 4. Eugene Storm Drew, 5. Teddy Bowen, 6. Jessica Ricci, 7. Sean Verwys, 8. Jade McElravy, 9. Bryan Chirico.
BEGINNER BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Joey Aungst (Pompton Lakes, NJ), 2. Tyler Dachenhausen, 3. Conner Piasecki, 4. Jeff Darrah, 5. Katie Verwys.
PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Kenny Atkins (Grahamsville, NY), 2. Greg Cohen, 3. Skip LaPolt, 4. Gene Morton, 5. Mac Crawson, 6. Steve Vasey, 7. Vinny Stanton, 8. Ed Butler, 9. Larry O’Donnell, 10. Jim Helt, 11. Darwin Moon.
STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Gary VanOrden (Hawley, PA), 2. Amber VanOrden, 3. Kyle Welsch, 4. Steve Smalley, 5. Vinny Stanton Jr., 6. Jay Smalley, 7. Walt Henry, 8. Kenny Hopkins.
4 CYLINDER ADVANCED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): Andrew Lovric (Livingston Manor, NY), 2. Joe Smith, 3. Mike Travis, 4. JB Morris, 5. Dan Curry, 6. Joe Morris, 7. Vinny Lovric, 8. Patty Falkena, 9. Michael Wiener, 10. Jerry Kingeter. DNS – Cody Houghtaling, Josh Wilbur.
4 CYLINDER NOVICE FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. David Donovan (Grahamsville, NY), 2. Brittany Curry, 3. Gene Helms, 4. Heather Porter, 5. Ryan LaMantia, 6. Dan Houghtaling, 7. Jessey Torrens, 8. Felicia Reichenbaugh, 9. Lee Cogswell, 10. Jim Wilbur, 11. Dan Bryant, 12. James Curry, 13. John Houghtaling, 14. Travis Cogswell, 15. James Sweeney. DNS – Marisol Torres.