Steigerwalt Snags Big One Enduro

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Nov 10, 2013 09:57 AM EST

Ray Bliss Claims Crate Classic at Black Rock

By RICH VLECK


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Steigerwalt Snags Big One Enduro

Rich Vleck, DUNDEE, NY, (November 9, 2013)- Ray Bliss is known for driving Orange and Yellow race cars, which after this Autumn may be for his dominance in the Fall.


Bliss, of Warsaw, NY, drove up threw the pack late in the event to pass Dave Marcucilli on a lap 177 restart to take command of the sportsman field and hand on to claim the $4,000 top prize of the 200-lap Crate Classic for his second win in as many weeks at Black Rock Speedway.

 

The veteran affectionally known as “Zeke the Streak” started off the day strong, timing sixth in time trials and finishing second in his heat, but after redrawing the 13th starting position, he knew he had to be patient.

 

While Dave DuBois, Chris Daugherty and Rocky Warner each took a turn at leading the event, Bliss ran near the back of the top 10.  Just before the halfway break, Bliss’ teammate Billy VanPelt took the lead from Warner while Bliss got shuffled back to 10th; as they went back to their adjacent pits, they made very different changes.

 

Both Bliss and VanPelt put new rear tires on their orange No. 12 cars, but Bliss went to a harder comound while VanPelt decided to go softer; the results were pronounced,

 

“The first half we had (a softer) tire on and it really didn’t burn it up but it kind of feathered it a little bit and we didn’t get much bite so we put on (a harder) tire on for the second half and it took off,” said Bliss in Victory Lane.

 

Even though the top of the track appeared to be gaining speed for drivers like Warner and Brady Fultz, Bliss began picking off spots on the bottom.  Despite leading for the 23 laps following the halfway break, VanPelt would fade back and eventually pit to swap back to the harder compound.

 

From lap 142 to lap 177, the race would run uninterrupted, allowing the harder compound tire to really come to life.  Bliss would charge up to second place and on the ensuing restart, Bliss would get by Dave Marcucilli and would not look back.

 

“The car was good on the top but I was just better on the bottom,” noted Bliss afterwards.  “At that point, I was just hoping it would get over pretty soon.”

 

Brady Fultz would get his way around Warner as well in the final 20 lap segment and apply pressure, but Bliss was able to work by some key lapped cars with four laps remaining and build just enough of a buffer to claim his third win of the year at BRS in 2013.

 

Fultz, who turned the quickest lap in time trials with an impressive 15.535 circuit, also drove from the back of the lead lap field at half way to get up to the front.  Fultz, like Bliss, also found tire compound much more critical during the second half of the race.

 

Chris Daugherty completed the podium sweep for Black Rock regulars.  Daugherty, who won the season opener more than six months ago, book-ended a solid season with a performance that included leading a race-high 60 laps early on.

 

Billy VanPelt’s decision to pit under caution to swap to a harder compound rear tire paid off, as he drove back up to finish fourth.  VanPelt led the race for 24 laps.

 

Rocky Warner was the first true outsider to cross the line, coming home in fifth.  In his second appearance at BRS, and first in a sportsman, the Gloversville, NY resident was the only driver to lead on multiple occasions, showing the way for a total of 42 laps.  Warner recognized after the event that his tire choice hurt him over the final 50 circuits.

 

After being with 23 laps of victory, Dave Marcucilli hit a “turtle” hard in the infield and would have to pit to be able to drive back to finish sixth.  Rob Humphries, who won the consolation event, had a quality event, finishing seventh, while former asphalt competitor Ed Dachenhauser from Connecticut completed the top 10.

 

2013 BRS Track Champion Donnie Lawson was battling for second on lap 32 when he and Dave Marcucilli got spun around, which resulted in a slow leak in Lawson’s right rear tire.  Without the aid of a quick caution, Lawson would lose a lap and finish ninth.  Ronnie Davis III also lost a lap early on but was strong throughout, as he completed the top 10.

 

Amazingly, a race that started 25 cars featured 20 of them still running at the end.  Only eight cautions occurred in the first 175 laps and a total of 170 laps of green flag racing were turned.

 

Once the sportsman race was complete, the track got a dousing and the 4-cylinder enduro cars went to work in the 100-lap Big One Enduro.

 

Five red flags slowed the first half of the featuring, eliminating more than half of the field by lap 50.  Joe Boylan appeared to lead much of the first half, but once the scoring sheets were evaluated, it was Brandon Vline who was the first of eight cars to stay on the lead lap.

 

After the halfway break, the track crew really got the 4/10-mile oval wet and made the surface a skating rink.  Joe Boylan would get back in front of Vline on lap 53 but Vline would take the top spot back on lap 64 and began to drove away from the pack.  With just five laps remaining Vline had nearly a half-track lead, but suddenly his car came to a stop on the front stretch, throwing the balance of the race in to a tail spin.

 

With Vline out, Justin Steigerwalt would inherit the lead and hold off a hard-charging Craig Mahrt to claim the win.

 

Steigerwalt, of Bechtelsville, PA, was in a 4-cylinder car for only the second time, but used the experience he has running in V8 Enduros at his hometown Grandview Speedway, where the track is also setup to be extremely slippery.

 

Craig Mahrt, of Penn Yan, NY, would hand on for second, the same position he finished in in the point standings in the BRS FWD Class in 2013.

 

Rich Sharpsteen II would be the first RWD 4-Cylinder across the line, as the former track champion would finish in third in the Kreidler No. 77, despite falling two laps down.

 

Collin Brown scored the win in the Novice Sportsman feature to kick off the day of racing action under sunny skies.  The teenager had the quick time but handed over the lead to Chris Mangerelli upon the drop of the green flag.  Mangerelli held the lead through the races only caution on lap nine but on the ensuing restart, Brown reeled in the 11x and made the pass with 10 laps remaining and never looked back.

 

Crate Classic Sportsman Feature (200 Laps)- RAY BLISS, Brady Fultz, Chris Daugherty, Billy VanPelt, Rocky Warner, Dave Marcucilli, Rob Humphries, Ed Dachenhausen, Donnie Lawson, Ronnie Davis III, Loren Lincoln, Chris Fisher, Bob Buono, A.J. Lloyd, Ryan Susice, Fran Hilton, Bill Clark, Brent Ayers, Brandon Ford, Mike Jackson, Alan Fink, Dave DuBois, Stacey Jackson, Frank Burnell, Scott Brown.

 

Lap Leaders- DuBois 1, Daugherty 2-61, Warner 62-99, VanPelt 100-123, Warner 124-132, Marcucilli 133-177, Bliss 178-200.

Heat Winners- Marcucilli, Fultz, Warner, Daugherty.

Consi Winner- Humphries.

 

Did Not Qualify: Matt Smith, James Henry, John Austin, Eric Bell, Rich Swarthout, Brett Buono, Tim Sears Jr.

 

Time Trial Results:

 

Group

Number

Name

Time

1

2

70

Brady Fultz

15.535

2

1

m1

Dave Marcucilli

15.630

3

4

45

Chris Daugherty

15.686

4

4

12

Billy VanPelt

15.819

5

3

79

Rocky Warner

15.836

6

3

12z

Ray Bliss

15.860

7

3

32R

Ron Davis

15.909

8

4

57b

Frank Burnell

16.034

9

3

37

Chris Fisher

16.113

10

2

2L

Matt Smith

16.172

11

2

33

Tim Sears Jr

16.172

12

1

OO7

Donnie Lawson

16.189

13

2

18s

Ed Dachenhausen

16.290

14

2

60

Alan Fink

16.308

15

4

18

Brandon Ford

16.311

16

2

6x

Dave DuBois Jr

16.370

17

1

99c

Bill Clark

16.411

18

3

77

Fran Hilton

16.421

19

3

88

Mike Jackson

16.424

20

1

64*

Bob Buono

16.437

21

1

1F

AJ Lloyd

16.481

22

4

6

Eric Bell

16.515

23

2

113

Rich Swarthout

16.566

24

4

29x

James Henry

16.752

25

3

85

Rob Humphries

16.821

26

4

1D

Ryan Susice

16.842

27

1

L1

Loren Lincoln

16.871

28

1

64B

Brett Buono

16.872

29

1

O6

Stacey Jackson

16.973

30

3

26

Brent Ayers

17.317

31

4

53a

John Austin

17.523

32

2

77x

Scott Brown

17.573

 

Big One 4-Cylinder Enduro Top-20 (100 Laps)- JUSTIN STEIGERWALT, Craig Mahrt, Rich Sharpsteen II, Phil Levering, Chris Willis, Mike Wahl, Brandon Vline, Joe Boylan, Nate Freeland, Jayson Smart, Bradon Ameigh, Sandy Hand, TJ Poyer, James Hays, Al Alvorado, George Rushlow, Luke Rutsky, Jason Shenendoah, Andrian Bigelow, Justin Hilliard.

 

Novice Sportsman Feature (25 Laps)- COLLIN BROWN, Chris Mangerelli, Adam DePuy, Tate Mangerelli, Kurt Stebbins.

 

Lap Leaders- C. Mangerelli 1-14, Brown 15-25.

 

Time Trial Results- 1. Brown 16.543, 2. C. Mangerelli 16.611, 3. DePuy 16.837, 4. T. Mangerelli 18.216, 5. Stebbins 19.386