Rich Vleck, DUNDEE, NY (April 20, 2012)- Billy Van Pelt is always a favorite to win every time he comes to the Black Rock Speedway, but after the heat races even Billy was wondering if he had what it took to win the feature. By the end of the night though, the veteran and his team had the car figured out and going to the front.
Van Pelt, of Harrison Valley, PA, inherited the lead on lap eight when leader Brian Weaver pulled off under caution with a mechanical issue and would command the field the rest of the way for his first modified win in Dundee since April of 2006.
“In the heat I thought ‘man I’m barely holding my own’,” admitted Van Pelt in Victory Lane. “I got a couple of breaks to get up to the front (in the feature) and once I got to the front I felt that someone was going to have a good car to drive by me.”
With a solid contingent of 21 cars on hand for the second of five modified races at BRS this season, Van Pelt could only manage a fourth place showing in his heat race, barely making his way into the redraw, where he pulled the sixth starting spot.
Van Pelt had the Chilson-owned No. 24 up to the runner-up spot by lap five and was starting to reel in Weaver for the lead when the first caution flag of the event flew on lap seven. While under caution, Weaver took his No. 1a to the pits, allowing Van Pelt to restart on the top of the track and power down to pull out to a healthy advantage on each of the final five restarts of the event.
“It’s a ball coming up here,” declared Van Pelt after the feature. “I couldn’t make it here three weeks ago because I had a prior commitment but I am glad we could be here tonight.”
As Van Pelt held command, Eric Fisher and Tyler Siri duked it out for second place, with Siri strong on the bottom on each restart and Fisher prevailing each time on the top. Fisher would cross in second and Siri would settle for a solid third.
Derrick Podsiadlo, from nearby Penn Yan, struggled in his heat but would drive up to finish fourth in the feature, holding off Ron Cartwright, who had a handful of random issues in the feature, would go to the back, but still drive back forward to round out the top five.
A host of strong competitors were forced pitside early, including Justin Haers, Todd Milton, Dave Rauscher, Donnie Lawson, Dave DuBois and Randy Chrysler; the final three cars were in the top five late before various issues knocked them out.
Mike Smith added fluorescent streamers to the back of his No. 96 IMCA Modified, which did not disrupt performance at all, as he found his way to the front of the feature just before half way and held on for his first win of the year.
Smith, of Arkport, took the lead from local competitor Rich Karlnoski on lap 10. Karlnoski had taken the lead from Josh Sawyer on lap four, but could not hold off the defending track champion.
When the event started, heat winner Scott Bennett led the field into turn one but lost control of his No. 18s. He would drive back up to second by lap 16 and begin to close on the leader, but would have to settle for the runner-up spot.
Phil Yaw, who also won a heat, drove by Rich Karlnoski on the final lap to finish in third. Dave Yehl rebounded from a mid-race incident to round out the top five.
In the Front Row Qualifying Heats run for each of the other weekly divisions, Donnie Lawson and Ross Vleck took the checkered flags in the sportsman division. In the late model heats, 2010 champion Jason Knowles earned the pole while 2011 champion Mikey Wonderling will start to his outside. Defending 4-cylinder champion Dylan Cecce dominated the street stock heat, while Rich Sharpsteen II, who is driving Cecce’s championship car, will share the front row of the 4-cylinder feature with Jayson Smart. Lance Irwin will start his No. 1 in position No. 1 in the bandit division on May 4.
Next up at Black Rock will be the first of three 360 sprint shows at BRS in 2012 with the Patriot Sprint Tour and United Racing Company joining forces for the Insinger Race Fuels Spring Sprint Nationals. The May 4 show will also be the first point race for every weekly Black Rock division that has not started in addition. For more information, visit www.BlackRockSpeedway.com.
Black Rock Speedway Results: 4/20/2012-
Front Row Night
Big Block/Small Block Modified Shootout Feature (25 Laps)- BILLY VanPELT, Eric Fisher, Tyler Siri, Derrick Podsiadlo, Ron Cartwright Jr., Fran Hilton, Brady Fultz, Dave Allen, Chris Ostrowsky, Tim Currier, Dale Welty, Dave DuBois, Donnie Lawson, Randy Chrysler, Eldon Payne Jr., Scott Boudinot, John Juhl, Brian Weaver, Todd Milton, Justin Haers, Dave Rauscher (DNS).
Lap Leader- Weaver 1-7, Van Pelt 8-25.
Heat Winners- Fultz, Fisher, Juhl.
IMCA Modified Feature (20 Laps)- MIKE SMITH, Scott Bennett, Phil Yaw, Rich Karlnoski, Dave Yehl, Josh Sawyer, Steve Twigg, Bruce Tinsley, Jared Spalding, Rob Wilcox (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Sawyer 1-3, Karlnoski 4-8, Smith 9-20.
Heat Winners- Bennett, Yaw.
Hoselton Auto Mall Crate Sportsman Front Row Heat Winners- Lawson, Vleck.
Late Model Front Row Heat Winners- J. Knowles, M. Wonderling.
Street Stock Front Row Heat Winner- Cecee.
Signs Plus of Kanona/ Watkins Glen NAPA 4-Cylinder Front Row Heat Winners- Sharpsteen, Smart.
Home Necessities Bandits Front Row Heat Winner- Irwin.