For Immediate Release
By Billy McKinney
BARBERTON OHIO: The skies may have been grey but the flags were green, and the drivers came to race! In a week where Barberton Speedway and its drivers told Mother Nature ‘NO!’, Nature decided to listen to their command. On hand was four divisions of racing and dollar hot dogs to treat the fans. As midseason championship nears, drivers are working to position their selves for a strong second half of the season! On the minds of everyone was the fact that we had not had a repeat winner up to this point in ANY division. Would that streak continue?
Aaron Prater decided to end that streak in the modified division as he captured his second win of the season. Prater had his modified on rails as he collected the heat win earlier. Prater started on pole and made the race his own. When the Ed Tenney green flag flew, Prater pulled ahead of Burden Racing teammate Bryce Allensworth and began to gap the field. The race ran mostly incident free with only a couple early quick yellows in the first five laps to address spins. Once the green flag fell after lap five, it was clean and green from there on out. Prater and Allensworth held the first two positions until about four laps to go when 2017 champion Bob Sibila worked around Allensworth on the outside to take the silver position. Sibila wanted gold and began reeling in the #44 of Prater but ran out of laps. Aaron took home the win and snapped the streak for modifieds.
The streak continued for the street stock division as heat winner Roger Arbogast snapped a 15-year feature winless streak in an emotional victory. When the green fell, it was Matt Hicks holding the point after passing Tim Likens on the outside. Hicks hauled the mail and held off challenges from Roger Arbogast and Richard Price. The trio battled hard until the race’s only yellow when Cyler Bertram and Jeff Kuykendall made contact sending Bertram through the infield and snapping his axle. The race went green quickly and it was Arbogast working around Hicks on the outside line. Once Arbogast got the lead, he began to yard himself from Hicks and Price. At the checkered flag, Arbogast took home the win and dedicated the win, trophy and pictures to the Wise family. He was greeted by the Wise family in victory lane and shared an emotional moment with Chad and Andrew Wise’s father.
Lightning struck twice for the Late Models as Tony Urdiales became the first to two wins. The green waved for modified winner and polesitter Aaron Prater as he drove the Burden Racing #10 Late Model against many of Barberton’s best late model drivers. Right from the get-go, Prater had a mirror full of nostalgia as Jeff Taylor kept his Cole Trickle/Days of Thunder 1990 throwback ride right on Prater’s bumper. Taylor and Prater worked on each other for many laps and tried every line to gin the advantage. At one-point Taylor had the inside going into turn three, but Prater powered on the outside line to keep the lead. The race’s first yellow came for a bizarre incident in turn one as a piece of brake fell off of a racecar and caught some grass on fire. Safety crews got it extinguished and the race got going again. Prater held Taylor off on the restart and suddenly had a mirror full of Tony Urdiales and Taylor. Playfully taking on the role of ‘Rowdy Burns’ from Days of Thunder, Urdiales raced Jeff Taylor side by side before pulling ahead. Chasing down Prater, the duo made contact in turn four sending Prater’s #10 around. Race control allowed Urdiales to keep his spot and sent Prater to the tail. This set up the Days of Thunder battle the fans wanted as Taylor and Urdiales began dogging it out for the win. Urdiales had a tad more car and took home the win.
The streak continued in the compacts with a new winner. 2008 champion Randy Cecil subbed for Bre Garrett and brought home her blue #5 to Summit Racing Victory Lane. When the green flag flew, rookie standout David Nester led the opening circuit. His lead was short lived as the Neons showed their muscle for yet another week as 2010 and 2017 champions Tim Farrar, Sheldon Sommers, and Cecil all worked to the front three positions. The trio battled it out lap after lap with Farrar showing the way. The trio was followed by fellow Neon driver Nicole Hrdlicka. Hrdlicka tried to catch the top three but could not as the first three were too strong. Cecil got around Farrar and began to stretch his lead. Coming home, the 2017 cavalcade champion took home the win with Sommers finishing close behind. Farrar got third, with Hrdlicka in fourth. Rookie Kylee Wood came in fifth place making it a 1-5 run for the Neons.