By Tracy Chirico
The temperatures at Bethel Motor Speedway (BMS) were nearly as hot as the action on the quarter-mile track this past Saturday as points battles heated up in the second half of the season and every driver was looking for a cool win to add to their resume.
Sportsman driver Rich Coons was under the weather the previous weekend and missed the event. This past weekend, however, Coons did his best to make up for the lost night. He accomplished just that when he wound up in Victory Lane for the fourth time this year.
Mike Houghtaling and Dave Gorbatuk, who are each seeking their first win of the season, ran one-two in the opening laps of the event as Coons was working his way up from his eighth place starting spot. At the drop of the checkered flag, Coons led Jerry Curry and Houghtaling to the line.
Legends driver Matt Pappa has become a familiar face in the BMS Victory Lane and he made his seventh 2011 trip there this past weekend. Pappa finished second to David Schilling in his heat race and started behind him in third for the feature event. Schilling got out front at the drop of the green, but Pappa was hot on his heels. On Lap 8, Pappa made the pass for the lead and never looked back.
Second-year Bandolero driver Max Evans has been on a roll in recent weeks and he rode the momentum to his fourth feature event win of the 2011 season. It was Evans’ third win in the past four weeks. Evans took over the lead on the final lap and crossed the line ahead of Mikey Policastro and Jordan Lamothe.
Pro Stock rookie Larry O’Donnell has already amassed the resume of a division veteran and he added a fifth 2011 win to that resume in a caution-free event. O’Donnell started fourth and began challenging Jim Helt for second almost immediately. When the checkered flag flew, O’Donnell was first to the stripe, followed by Ron Lane and Gene Morton.
Bobby VanBlarcom continued to leave his mark on the Street Stock class with his sixth feature win of the season Saturday. VanBlarcom started the event ninth and faced some tough competition on his way to the front. Jonathan McGibbon chased VanBlarcom to the line and rookie Kyle Welsch was third.
BMS Modified driver Norman Barnes has had his share of mechanical struggles and bad luck so far in 2011, but he was able to shake the monkey off of his back long enough to capture his first feature win of the season. Barnes, the 2009 division champion, sat on the pole and got out to the lead at the drop of the green. On the final lap of the race, Barnes led defending division champion John Cote and Elliott Wohl to the line.
Teenager Steven Schmitz may have only led three laps in the 4-Cylinder Advanced feature event, but he led the one that counted the most and notched his fourth win of the season. The race turned out to be a battle up front between two champions Schmitz, the 2010 4-Cylinder Junior champion, and Eddy Lindstadt, the 2010 4-Cylinder Senior champion.
Lindstadt started on the outside pole and got out to the immediate lead. With six laps to go, though, Schmitz who started the event fifth grabbed second. With the laps clicking off, Schmitz went to work on Lindstadt and took the top spot away from him after four laps of trying. Schmitz was followed to the line by Lindstadt and Paul Curry.
While the car he normally drives crossed the line ninth, 4-Cylinder Novice driver Mike Travis was first to the checkered flag in a borrowed car. It was the third time this season that Travis was in the winners’ circle.
Travis led the race from start to finish, but he had to hold off some hungry competition to get the win. Brittany Curry held second at the outset, but she was passed by Keith Henry six laps into the event. As the leaders negotiated their way through lapped traffic, Henry was unable to catch Travis, who led Henry and Tasha Curry to the line.
Tomorrow night, BMS will once again keep fans on the edge of their seats with the most exciting short track racing in the area for just $5 grandstand admission.
On the schedule are the Sportsman, Legends, Bandolero, Pro Stock, Street Stock, BMS Modified, and 4-Cylinder classes. Grandstand gates open at 1 p.m. for spectators and early pit registration. Pit gates open at 3 p.m., and hot laps take to the track at 5 p.m. The wheel to wheel racing that BMS is known for hits the pavement at 7 p.m.
More information can be obtained at www.bethelmotorspeedway.com, or by calling (845) 319-7908.
Feature Race Results
Sportsman (20 laps): 1. Rich Coons, 2. Jerry Curry, 3. Mike Houghtaling, 4. Jeff Richardson, 5. Dan Conklin, 6. Roy Crespo, 7. Dave Gorbatuk, 8. Greg Morgan, 9. Bryanna Hurban, 10. Milton Mann, 11. Matt Curry, 12. Kimberlee Morgan, 13. Jason Houghtaling.
Legends (20 laps): 1. Matt Pappa, 2. David Schilling, 3. Richie Coy, 4. Johnny Demarmels, 5. Stephen Hershey, 6. Raven Schrantz, 7. Matt Evans, 8. Eugene Drew, 9. Ronny Conklin, 10. Joe DeGracia, 11. David Dempsey, 12. John Bacon, 13. Barry Schrantz, 14. Russell Sniffen, 15. Matthew Gaughan, 16. Rich Wheeler, 17. Jim Hoffman, 18. Bill Johnston.
Bandolero (15 laps): 1. Max Evans, 2. Mikey Policastro, 3. Jordan Lamothe, 4. Troy Houghtaling, 5. David French, 6. Courtney Lefcourt, 7. Christina Policastro, 8. Matt Forsythe, 9. Joshua Zieres, 10. Ryan Messer, 11. Joseph Graf Jr., 12. Jared Palmer, 13. Rudy Roth IV.
Pro Stock (15 laps): 1. Larry O’Donnell, 2. Ron Lane, 3. Gene Morton, 4. Ed Butler, 5. John Hager, 6. Charlie Howe Jr., 7. Jim Helt, 8. Gene Palmer. Did Not Start Kenny Atkins.
Street Stock (15 laps): 1. Bobby VanBlarcom, 2. Jonathan McGibbon, 3. Kyle Welsch, 4. Glenn Pallom, 5. Shawn Maloney, 6. Gary VanOrden Jr., 7. Brent Shaddock, 8. Amber VanOrden, 9. Vinny Stanton, 10. Jeff Hager, 11. Robbie Halstead, 12. John Brush Sr.
BMS Modified (20 laps): 1. Norman Barnes, 2. John Cote, 3. Elliott Wohl, 4. Skip LaPolt, 5. Dell Boyle.
4-Cylinder Advanced (20 laps): 1. Steven Schmitz, 2. Eddy Lindstadt, 3. Paul Curry, 4. Ivan Guerra, 5. Gary Magie, 6. Walt Henry, 7. Patty Falkena, 8. George Zeininger, 9. Charlie Houghtaling, 10. George VanAiken, 11. Jerry Kingeter, 12. Dave Nober, 13. Chris Kingeter, 14. Tim Curry.
4-Cylinder Novice (20 laps): 1. Mike Travis, 2. Keith Henry, 3. Tasha Curry, 4. Brittany Curry, 5. Josh Mendez, 6. Kody Welsh, 7. Scott Quick, 8. Kayla Curry, 9. Joe Smith, 10. Bill VanAiken, 11. William Smith, 12. Kip Gerow, 13. BobbiJo Smith, 14. Ryan O’Dell.