Saturday, August 11, 2012
Wayne Robertson Holds off Hard Charging Bryce Davis for $3,000 'Emipre State Classic' Win At Black Rock
by Mike Leone
DUNDEE, N.Y. -- The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Pace Performance FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series made its maiden voyage to Black Rock Speedway on Saturday night for the inaugural “Empire State Classic” presented by NAPA of Watkins Glen and Doug Gross Construction. Race #16 of 25 on the 2012 slate drew a New York Touring record high car count of 32 cars from all over Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and West Virginia despite being the furthest event ever contested away from the home base in the six-year history of the Series! It was the richest crate Late Model event ever held in the state of New York.
When the inaugural FASTRAK event at Black Rock speedway was announced this winter, probably the driver most excited about the show was Wayne Robertson. The second year FASTRAK racer was the closest competitor to Black Rock hailing from Corning, NY, and considers the speedway his home track from his days competing in the Super Stock/360 Late Model division.
Robertson’s experience paid off on the tricky, racey oval as he passed fellow former BRP Can-Am 360 Late Model racer Steve Dixon on a lap nine restart and then held off a valiant charge by another former 360 Late Model racer in Bryce Davis for the 30-lap, $3,000 victory. Robertson became the fourth new Touring winner of the season in the past five races and ninth different overall on the 2012 campaign. Robertson’s second career Tour win came in just his 13th career Tour start.
“I have to thank Dean Hoag and FASTRAK for bringing us year,” expressed the 30-year-old winner. “I didn’t used to like this place, but now I love it! I was just putting around the bottom and getting off turn two real good, but Davis was making the outside work. I tried going up there, but wasn’t any good.”
Robertson started alongside pole-sitter Steve Dixon, but dropped to third behind Dixon and fourth starting Mike Pegher, Jr. and ahead of John Over. The top four cars quickly began to distance themselves from the field. It was three-wide for second racing off turn four with Pegher holding on. Robertson was able to regain second on lap three driving by Pegher down the backstretch and into turn three on the bottom of the speedway.
Robertson caught Dixon and began to pressure the leader. He got under Dixon down the backstretch and into turn three on lap six, but Dixon had the momentum to maintain the lead. The duo ran side-by-side for the lead on lap seven just before they entered lapped traffic on lap eight. As action was heating up in lapped traffic, Butch Lambert slowed to bring out the first caution with eight laps scored. Lambert made it back out for the restart, but then immediately pulled off the speedway. He was given The Brake Man “Tough Brake of the Night”.
When racing resumed, Dixon and Robertson raced side-by-side on lap nine with Robertson powering by on the bottom off turn four for the lead. Davis started in sixth and passed Matt Latta on the opening lap for fifth, but hadn’t made any progress. Davis decided to try the outside line and began to make it work. He drove around Over for fourth on lap 11 then rim-rided past Pegher one lap later off turn two for third.
Robertson pulled away from the pack on lap 13; meanwhile Davis drove by Dixon off turn two on lap 14 for second. Robertson had nearly a straightaway lead, but lapped traffic on lap 16 allowed Davis to close the gap in half. Robertson was in heavy traffic on lap 17 as it appeared Davis was primed to make a pass for the lead. Robertson though did a masterful job in traffic as he created separation on lap 19.
The traffic allowed Dixon and Pegher to close back in on Davis. Dixon would get back by for second on lap 20. Brian Knowles started seventh and entered the picture taking fifth from Over. The three-car battle for second continued as Davis regained runner-up on lap 26. Pegher then took third from Dixon on lap 27.
The event’s second caution occurred for a spin by Lauren Longbrake with 28 laps scored. Knowles then overtook Dixon and Pegher for third on lap 29. Up front, Davis was trying to get by his good friend Robertson. The duo ran side-by-side on the last lap; however, the race for the win ended when Adam Sixt spun in turn one. Robertson was able to get a good restart on the final lap shootout and held off Davis in the Phil Knapp-owned, Roberts Stone/Wilkins RV/Conklin Solutions/Tri-City/BFR Fabrication-sponsored #20.
Davis earned $1,500 for his runner-up, which was just his third career Tour start in his first full season of FASTRAK competition. “We gave it our all,” acknowledged the Hornell, NY racer. “I couldn’t go anywhere on the bottom so I gave the top a shot. It was a hell of a night, but I can’t complain. We were scrambling for tires and had to borrow some off of Wayne (Robertson) for qualifying after we grooved ours too much.”
On the final restart, Knowles got shuffled out as Pegher crossed the line in third. “This is definitely a nice track,” said Pegher. “I never thought you’d be able to pass on the outside. I have to thank my crew because without them I wouldn’t be here.”
Over had a solid night finishing fourth in his first ever race in New York and received the $100 Genesis Shocks “Top Dog of the Night” certificate. Dixon, who was looking for a clean sweep of the night, faded to fifth. Dixon set fast time with a lap of 16.490, won his heat race then drew the zero inversion for the K&N Dash in which he led all four laps to earn the pole for the feature. It was his first dash win in his third start.
Completing the top 10 were 13th starting Justin Tatlow, Latta, point leader Max Blair, Dan Angelicchio, and Knowles, who lost seven spots on the final restart. Junior Peters earned his first $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger certificate for advancing the most positions with his 13th place effort. Ryan Montgomery was the final car on the lead lap in 14th and received the Utsinger’s Towing free Hoosier Tire.
Craig Dean led wire-to-wire in the non-stop six-lap non-qualifier event for his first ever victory. The $200 win came in his TSL Inc./Duffy Inc./Mountain Top Excavating/Big Dog Henry Hauling/CRS Racing Supply/GTS Welco-sponsored #21. Dean became the 24th different non-qualifier victor in the 30 races run all-time! Zack Carley passed Dale Caswell on lap four to finish second. Caswell dropped to third in his first ever Tour start. Art Halliday, another newcomer to the Series, finished fourth over Justin Smith.
Besides Dixon, Robertson, Over, and Pegher won the heat races to earn K&N Dash starting spots. Dixon’s K&N Dash win was worth a $100 K&N certificate, while Robertson received a $50 K&N certificate for runner-up. Over and Pegher received $25 cash for finish third and fourth. The B mains were won by Peters and Doug Ricotta.
Marsha Hunt of Addison, NY was the winner of the K&N “Cold Air Induction” system fan giveaway, which is valued at up to $500.
The following top 10 participating Touring members received $150 travel money: Blair, Chad Ruhlman, Pegher, Ryan Montgomery, Angelicchio, Over, Lambert, Latta, Shane Weaver, and Brad Kling.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Pace Performance FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series Race #16 (30 laps, $3,000 to-win): 1. WAYNE ROBERTSON (Knapp 20) 2. Bryce Davis (94) 3. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 4. John Over (K2) 5. Steve Dixon (50) 6. Justin Tatlow (81) 7. Matt Latta (Bidwell B1D) 8. Max Blair (111) 9. Dan Angelicchio (14) 10. Brian Knowles (4) 11. Chad Ruhlman (Suppa 4s) 12. Paul Grigsby (14G) 13. Junior Peters (00) 14. Ryan Montgomery (12) 15. Jamie Brown (135) 16. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x) 17. Lauren Longbrake (27) 18. Doug Ricotta (01) 19. Brad Kling (Powell 100) 20. Brad Mesler (24B) 21. Matt Cobb (75) 22. Jason Genco (29J) 23. Adam Sixt (6T) 24. Doug Horton (46) 25. Butch Lambert (27) (Note: Lauren Longbrake took a Series provisional).
Non-Qualifier (6 laps, $200 to-win): 1. Craig Dean (21) 2. Zack Carley (8) 3. Dale Caswell (Halliday R19) 4. Art Halliday (87) 5. Justin Smith (22) 6. Garrett Mott (43x)-DNS 7. Harry Halliday (13Too).
Fast Qualifier: Steve Dixon 16.490
Heat Winners: Dixon, Robertson, Over, Pegher.
K&N Cold Air Induction Dash: 1. Steve Dixon 2. Wayne Robertson 3. John Over 4. Mike Pegher, Jr.
B Main Winners: Peters, Ricotta
Feature Lap Leaders: Dixon (1-8), Robertson (9-30)
Car Count: 32
Genesis Shocks “Top Dog of the Night”: John Over
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger: Junior Peters (+8)
Utsinger’s Towing Hoosier Tire Giveaway: Ryan Montgomery
Brake Man “Tough Brake of the Night”: Butch Lambert
2012 Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series Results
Date/Track/State/Winner/# of Wins/To-Win Amount/Car Count
April 1 Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex (PA)/Max Blair (1)/$3,000/47
April 20 Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex (PA)/Mike Pegher, Jr. (1)/$1,200/42
May 13 Eriez Speedway (PA)/Max Blair (2)/$1,200/32
May 20 Humberstone Speedway (ON)/Max Blair (3)/$2,000/26
May 26 Sharon Speedway (OH)/Max Blair (4)/$1,500/34
May 27 Sharon Speedway (OH)/Feature to be made up 8/18/12/$1,500/31
June 8 Dog Hollow Speedway (PA) /Max Blair (5)/$1,200/32 (41 between the 2 nights)
June 16 McKean County Raceway (PA)/Ryan Montgomery (1)/$1,200/24
June 23 Sharon Speedway (OH)/Joe Martin (1)/$2,000/35
July 4 Expo Speedway (OH)/Will Thomas III (1)/$2,000/30
July 5 McKean County Raceway (PA)/Max Blair (6)/$1,200/49
July 6 Raceway 7 (OH)/Max Blair (7)/$1,200/33
July 7 Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway (PA)/Chad Ruhlman (1)/41
July 8 Eriez Speedway (PA)/Matt Latta (1)/22
July 14 Mercer Raceway Park (PA)/Will Thomas III (2)/24
July 21 Sharon Speedway (OH)/Sammy Stile (1)/42
Aug 11 Black Rock Speedway (NY)/Wayne Robertson (1)/32
The next race for the Sweeney Chevrolet FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series will be this Thursday at McKean County Raceway as part of the 107th annual McKean County Fair. The event will pay $1,200 to-win.
2012 FASTRAK Northeast marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tires, Original Pizza Logs, K&N Filters, The Brake Man, Utsinger’s Towing, Precise Racing Products, Genesis Shocks, VP Fuels, Beyea Custom Headers, H&H Racing Equipment, High Gear Speed Shop, Hyperco, Jake’s Golf Carts, Lincoln Electric, Wrisco Aluminum, and Wylie Race Cars.
You can reach co-directors Vicki Emig and Mike Leone at the FASTRAK Northeast office at 724-964-9300. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and snail mail to 4368 Route 422, Pulaski, PA 16143. The office is open daily late mornings and after 1:30 p.m. For more information, check out the FASTRAK Northeast website at www.fastraknortheast.com. Become our fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fastraknortheast.