Saturday, April 14, 2012
Hearne Takes Mountain’s Sport Mod Opener
by Gene Ostrowski
ST. JOHNS, Pa. -- Following time trials that were held on Saturday, Mountain Speedway’s official 2012 racing season took the green flag on Sunday. Following a quick timed lap the day prior, Jason Hearne of Jacobstown, NJ held off Rusty Smith to claim the Sport Modified feature event. Austin Kochenash of Danielstown, PA Held off his competition to notch the Late Model victory and Mark Martini of Effort, PA notched his first career Factory Stock win. Kevin Nowak of Long Island took top honors in the INEX Legends and Kyle Fuatesi notch the Bandolero victory.
The top five fastest Sport Modified time trials redrew for starting spots in the 40-lap main event and Jason Hearne, who ran the fastest lap, pulled the pole position. Hearne led the opening circuit over Anthony Sesely, Dave Brigati, Tommy Wanick III and Todd Baer.
Two quick yellow flags slowed the early going of the event when Frankie Althouse spun in turns one and two. Green flag racing resumed and Sesely kept his car in the high groove and led the second lap. Hearne fought back and recaptured the lead before Sesely led another lap following a lap seven restart.
Once again, Hearne regained the top spot and Sesely settled in line. Meanwhile, Brigati retained third, followed by Chip Wanamaker and Wanick.
Rusty Smith joined the action with the top five and grabbled the fifth position a handful of laps before halfway. With Hearne still in command at halfway, the yellow flag waved when Jim Bojohnny touched Nick Pecko and got him out of shape. Pecko slowed to regain car control and was then slammed from behind by Althouse, who had nowhere to go. Both drivers were unable to continue, as their cars sustained significant damage.
In odd fashion, most of the field headed into the pits to work on their racecars during the extended yellow flag, including Sesely, who had some sort of leak and never returned to the speedway. Brigati joined other in the pits and when green flag racing resumed, Hearne continued to lead over Smith, Wanick, Bojohnny and Paul Frantz.
Although Smith gave Hearne a run for his money in the closing laps, the leader protected the bottom groove to notch his first Mountain Speedway victory since the 2010 season. Smith settled for second, followed by Wanick and Frantz. Brigati overtook Scott Adams in the closing laps to score the fifth spot.
Austin Kochenash time trialed as the quickest Late Model, but following the redraw, Joe Burns led the field to the drop of the green flag in the 30-lap feature. Burns led the first circuit over Kochenash, Kyle Harvell, Larry Fisher and Brad Brown. Fisher battled with and then overtook Harvell on the next circuit for third.
Kochenash grabbed the top spot from Burns on the second lap and six laps later, Fisher moved by Burns and into second.
The yellow flag waved on lap 13 when Harvell and Burns ran side by side for third. The pair began to work under the lapped car of Mark Tyson on the backstretch, making it a hairy three-wide situation. Burns and Tyson touched and the end result was a hard hit into the wall by Burns.
Green flag racing resumed and Fisher appeared to have something for the leader. As the duo ran side by side off turn two, Kochenash’s car pushed up the track and rubbed Fisher, who then slapped the backstretch wall. The change of events moved Harvell to second, followed by Lorin Arthofer, Brown and Stone Phillips.
Kochenash was untouchable over the closing laps and went on to score the opening day victory and also his second career Late Model victory at the track over Harvell, Brown, Arthofer and Fisher.
Mike Moyer, Sr. turned the quickest factory Stock lap in time trials but Keith Frankenfield pulled the pole position for the 20-lap feature. Frankenfield led the opening circuit over Mark Martini, Rich Paciotti, Moyer and Kenny Kleppinger.
Martini, who started in the third position, hounded the leader. However, Frankenfield wasn’t about to give it up easily. As the pair raced for the lead, Moyer, Kleppinger and Paciotti battled for third.
Martini finally made a run on the bottom for the lead and grabbed the top spot on lap 12. On the next lap Moyer got by Frankenfield for second and Paciotti followed suit.
Martini continued out front and took the checkered flag for his first career win in the caution-free event. Paciotti battled back to finish in second, followed by Moyer and Frankenfield. Last place starter, Paul Morgan Sr, rounded out the top five.
Twenty-two INEX Legends took the green flag in the 25-lap feature. Brandon Michael started from the pole position but Todd McCollum overtook him before a single lap was scored. With one lap complete, Kevin Nowak ran third behind the top two, followed by Raven Schrantz and Andy Stotler.
Nowak charged to the second spot on the second circuit and then challenged McCollum for the lead. McCollum bobbled just a bit on the third lap, which gave Nowak the opportunity to scoot by take the lead.
With ten laps complete, Nowak continued out front over McCollum, B. Michael, Cole Fuatesi and Schrantz.
The yellow flag waved on lap 13 when Fuatesi and Tony Hanbury tangled on the front stretch. Miraculously, Schrantz was right in the mix but found her way through to avoid contact.
Green flag racing resumed and one lap later, tenth place starter, Scott Hubler, overtook McCollum to take the second spot. Hubler then ran down Nowak and gave the leader a bump or two.
Nowak seemed to be immune to the pressure from Hubler and held on to take the opening day verdict. Hubler crossed the stripe in second, followed by McCollum, B. Michael and Schrantz.
Brandon Michael, Todd McCollum and Raven Schrantz were heat race winners.
Alex McCollum started from the pole in the 15-lap Bandolero feature and led the first few circuits before he was overtaken by Kyle Fuatesi. Fuatesi never surrendered the lead and took the victory over McCollum and Christian Eckes.
Mountain Speedway is just minutes from Hazleton, Pa, located on St. John’s Road, between Routes 93 and 309. Grandstand admission for all regular events is just $12 for ages 11 and older. Children 10 years of age and younger are admitted for free.
Please visit www.mountainspeedway.com for the entire 2012 schedule, point standings and up to date news and information.
Sport Modified (40-laps) 1. JASON HEARNE 2. Rusty Smith 3. Tom Wanick 4. Paul Frantz 5. Dave Brigati 6. Scott Adams 7. Todd Baer 8. Chip Wanamaker 9. Cam Ayres 10. Jim Bojonny 11. Anthony Sesely 12. Nick Pecko 13. Frankie Althouse 14. Mike Kline
Late Model (30-laps) 1. AUSTIN KOCHENASH 2. Kyle Harvell 3. Bradley Brown 4. Lorin Arthofer 5. Larry Fisher 6. Stone Phillips 7. Rick Smith 8. Joe Burns 9. Mark Tyson 10. Jennifer Kutz
Factory Stock (20-laps) 1. MARK MARTINI 2. Richard Paciotti 3. Mike Moyer Sr. 4. Keith Frankenfield 5. Paul Morgan Sr 6. Ken Kleppinger 7. Dan Pawlicki 8. Todd Gadoury 9. Kendall Foulk 10. Eric Banashefski 11. Greg Concert
INEX Legends (25-laps) 1. KEVIN NOWAK 2. Scott Hubler 3. Todd McCollum 4. Brandon Michael 5. Raven Schrantz 6. Van Michael 7. Carl Jones 8. Andrew Stotler 9. Brad Lowmaster 10. Rob Hyer 11. Eugene Drew 12. Russell Sniffen Jr. 13. Cole Fuatesi 14. Jim Hoffman 15. John Bacon 16. Dylan Hoffman 17.Jason Sendlewski 18. Stephen Gaul 19. Sam Pickford 20. Butch Boyle 21. Mitchell Dowd 22.Tony Hanbury
Bandoleros (15-laps) 1. KYLE FAUTESI 2. Alex McCollum 3. Christian Eckes