Saturday, June 2, 2012
Chips Fall into Place for Matt Hirschman at Mountain Speedway
by Gene Ostrowski
ST. JOHNS, Pa. -- After nearly getting lapped with eighteen laps remaining in the 50-lap Modified feature Saturday night at Mountain Speedway, Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA made a charge to the front and went on to take his first win of the season in his first start at the speedway. Chip Wanamaker of Walnutport, PA took the Street Stock checkers for the second time this season and Frank Hughes of Pittston, PA notched his first career Four Cylinder feature victory. Raven Schrantz of Slatington, PA scored her first ever INEX Legends victory, becoming the first female driver in that division to do so, and Nick Harnage of Calverton, NY also visited victory lane for the first time in the INEX Bandoleros.
With twenty-two cars registered for the 50-lap cone style Modified feature, it was deemed to be a great show. The top six heat qualifiers redrew for feature starting positions and Wayne Szerencsits started from the pole position. Szerencsits led the opening lap over Austin Kochenash, Harry Buchman, Dave Brigati and Nick Pecko until a quick caution flag waved on lap six.
Kochenash shot by the leader and into the top spot on the restart and Pecko and Bobby Jones slipped by to take second and third. With 20 laps in the books, Kochenash continued out front over Pecko and Jones. Todd Baer made his way to fourth and Zane Zeiner held fifth.
Pecko worked on the leader and tried to use a lapped car to make his bid for the lead on lap 28. The tactic almost paid off, but the pair touched wheels and Jones slipped by to take second from Pecko. Five laps later the yellow flag waved when Kochenashís great run came to an end, as he slowed on the speedway, giving up the lead to Jones on lap 31. The culprit was clutch problems. At that point in the race Kochenash was getting ready to put Matt Hirschman a lap down.
Following a trio of lap 32 yellows and after choosing inside or outside for the restart, Jones continued out front over Pecko, Zeiner, Ken Vogel, Jr. and Baer. Luckily for Hirschman, the yellow flags kept him on the lead lap.
With the green flag back out, Vogel overtook second from Pecko on lap 33 and then set sail for Jones. Vogel tried to make a turn two pass for the lead stick with 10 circuits remaining, but the duo bumped wheels and Vogel spun from contention.
Green flag racing resumed and Jones led. However, Hirschman had patiently climbed all the way to second, with Pecko, Zeiner and Baer in tow. Hirschman overtook the leader following the restart and continued on to take the victory. Pecko finished as the runner up, followed by Zeiner, Jones and Baer.
Heat race victories went to Harry Buchman, Austin Kochenash and Nick Pecko. Tommy Wanick was the consi victor.
Bernie uphold started from the pole and led the opening circuit of the Ramada Inn sponsored 25-lap Street Stock feature over Chris Burge, Alan Schlenker, Chip Wanamaker and Robert Fink. Following a quick lap two caution, Uphold continued out front and Tony Hilliard cracked the top five.
Fink moved by Uphold for second on lap four and Wanamaker climbed to third and then the yellow waved on lap six when Daryl Swartz, Mike Garris, Sr. and Schlenker tangled in turns three and four. Green flag racing resumed and Wanamaker, who ran in second for the restart, took the race lead.
With the green back in the air, Wanamaker continued out front and on lap nine, Hilliard took third from Uphold. Shortly after, Brian Wozniak and Kevin Higgins made their way into the top five.
Wozniak overtook Hilliard for third on lap 11 and then shot by Fink for the runner up spot on lap 15. Following a lap 17 caution for a spin by Fink, Wozniak glued himself to Wanamaker, but the leader would not be denied, as Wanamaker held off Wozniak to take his second feature win of the season. Burge worked back up to finish in the third spot, followed by Hilliard and Uphold.
Heat race victories went to Bernie Uphold and Aaron Higgins.
From the pole position, Chris Burge, Jr. led the Four Cylinder drivers to the drop of the green flag in the 20-lap feature. Frank Hughes wasted no time and took command of the event from the start. Noah Fassman ran second, followed by Jay Skupski, Jake Oswald and Larry Spencer III.
With Hughes still out front, Oswald overtook Skupski for third on lap 13 and then both he and Skupski shot by Fassman for second and third with five laps remaining.
With nearly a straightaway lead over his competition in the caution-free event, Hughes went on to take his first career victory. Oswald was forced to settle for second, followed by Skupski, Fassman and Tony Hilliard.
Frank Hughes and John Smith were heat race winners.
Scott Hubler started from the pole position and led the opening circuit of the 20-lap INEX Legends feature over Raven Schrantz, Dane Schwarz, Jim Hoffman and Butch Boyle.
The yellow flag waved following the first lap when Mitch Dowd spun in turn two. Schrantz lined up along side of Hubler for the restart and the pair dueled side-by-side for the lead. However, while trying make the pass stick, Schrantz spun from contention in turns three and four on the third lap.
With plenty of laps remaining, Schrantz quickly worked back toward the front. She overtook Schwarz for second on lap five and then climbed to Hublerís bumper. Hubler motioned Schrantz to the outside and she made the pass for the lead stick on lap 12.
Without a challenge over the closing laps, Schrantz made track history as being the only female to visit victory lane in the division, not to mention that it was the first win of her career.
Trying to turn his luck around this season, Hubler was content with second. Schwarz, Dylan Hoffman and J. Hoffman completed the top five.
Heat race wins went to Scott Hubler and raven Schrantz.
Following a second place finish last weekend, Nick Harnage went on to take the checkers in Bandolero action at the speedway.
Mountain Speedway is just minutes from Hazleton, Pa, located on St. Johnís 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.
Modified (40-laps) 1. MATT HIRSCHMAN 2. Nick Pecko 3. Zane Zeiner 4. Bobby Jones 5. Todd Baer 6. David Brigati 7. Justin Gumley 8. Ken Vogel Jr 9. Alan Creveling 10. Brandon Oltra 11. Tom Wanick 12. Randall Richard 13. Harry Buchman 14. Scott Adams 15. Joe Mooney 16. Brian Sones 17.Wayne Szerencsits 18. Austin Kochenash 19. Matt Higgins 20. Jim Bojonny 21. Tom Casagrande DNS: Brian DeFebo
Street Stock (25-laps) 1. CHIP WANAMAKER 2. Brian Wozniak 3. Chris Burge 4. Tony Hilliard 5. Bernie Uphold 6. Alan Schlenker 7. Aaron Higgins 8. Kevin Higgins 9. Robert Fink 10. Darryl Schwarz Jr 11. Harry Sager 12. Sam Danaher 13. Mike Garris Sr
Four Cylinder (20-laps) 1. FRANK HUGHES 2. Jake Oswald 3. Jay Skupski 4. Noah Fassman 5. Tony Hilliard 6. Larry Spencer III 7. John Smith 8. Chris Meeker 9. Chris Burge Jr. DNS: Bill Price Jr DNS: Tom Cavagnino 12
INEX Legends (20-laps) 1. RAVEN SCHRANTZ 2. Scott Hubler 3. Dane Schwarz 4. Dylan Hoffman 5. Jim Hoffman 6. Mitchell Dowd 7. Butch Boyle 8. Barry Schrantz
INEX Bandoleros (8-laps) 1. NICK HARNAGE