For Immediate Release
By Billy McKinney
BARBERTON OHIO: The skies looked bland, and radar showed a 60% chance of rain. The drivers that showed up had another forecast in mind. That forecast was 100% chance of great racing at Barberton Speedway. On hand was four weekly divisions and the newly formed Good’s Auto Repair Dwarf cars. The littlest cars in racing were the biggest talk of the pits. Every driver in the division still had a dirt setup, but all that arrived had several goals. They were to have fun after the untimely closing of their local track of Deerfield, and to show the fans what they were all about.
Starting off with the inaugural running of the Good’s Auto Repair Dwarf Cars, Carson Miller, great grandson of the legendry Pappy Miller, took the win over a hard charging Chase Nicols. When Ed Tenney dropped his green flag for the evening’s first event, the drivers, and fans knew history was being made. Leading the opening circuit was Nicols as he passed Jim Good early to lead the first ever Dwarf lap. Nicols stayed out for several laps while he and his fellow racers found faster and more efficient ways to navigate the Barberton paperclip. With faster laps came a spectacle familiar on dirt; the left front tires on every car came up off the ground. As the laps ticked away, Nicols found himself in the crosshairs of Miller. Carson Miller made a bold move high in turn two to take the lead. It looked to be his race until a spin by Good served the race’s only restart with five laps to go. When the green was re-displayed, Nicols gave Miller a hard run. The duo, joined by none other than Paul Miller Jr., Carson’s father, made it a memorable run to the finish. Carson found speed high and kept the momentum while Nicols tried the low side, using his dirt tires to get additional grip. With two laps to go, Carson poured on the coal and began to pull ever so slightly away from Nicols and took home the win. Not only did he get the prize money from Good’s Auto Service, but he has bragging rights now, as he can say he was the first winner on asphalt!
The Modifieds, headlined by Bob Sibila’s third win of 2018, came to play. With a larger field of cars, it was anyone’s race. With many area tracks shutting down due to the threat of rain, drivers flocked to Barberton to get their racing fix. The green flag fell for Sam Bigham and Tim Gulatta. Bigham held on to the lead for the opening laps while Gulatta found himself moved out of the racing groove, giving his position to defending champion and points leader Sibila, and Bryce Allensworth. Sibila sized up his counterpart and made his move five laps into the event. Knowing Bigham had a slight push, Sibila took advantage and moved past him in turn three. Following him was Allensworth. The duo then set up for another classic modified race. Nose to tail, with barely a newspaper’s width between the duo’s bumpers, they battled it out. Fans cheered and went wild for the two drivers. Sibila did everything in his power to find speed to pull from Allensworth, but Bryce had an answer for anything Sibila threw his way. As the laps wound down, the newspaper’s width between their bumpers became just the opening page’s width as business was picking up. Coming off of turn four to the checkers, Sibila took the win with Allensworth right there in 2nd place.
The Street stocks were down on numbers as mechanical problems and other issues kept some drivers pitside. Nevertheless, it was THE race of the night. Jim Raines III, using lessons from his two-time defending champion father Jim Raines Jr., picked up his first ever win in any division. When the green flag flew, Raines worked around Mark Kramer to take the early event’s lead. Kramer fell to second, and Tim Schmitt Jr. sat third. The trio ran nose to tail for many laps until Schmitt spun out in turn two. The caution put Raines and Kramer on the front row with two fast cars of Roger Arbogast and Cyler Bertram sitting shotgun in row two. The green fell and the block of cars ran for glory. Bertram snaked is way through his competitors and made a move to the silver position behind Raines. He went high and what followed will be talked about for years to come. The two ran side by side for ten laps, neither giving an inch. On the line for one was a first win, and the other was a season in need of turning around. Coming off of turn four, the two made contact, sending Bertram high enough that Arbogast worked low of the #55. Bertram did not give up as he battled back. He got beside Raines but ran out of time. Jim Raines III took home the win.
The Late Models followed the Street Stocks and Doug Sommers took hoe the season-reversing win. With many mechanical issues from him, he needed the run. With the green flag falling, Dino Campolito and Dave Martin led the field down. Martin worked to the lead from the high side and began leading. After five laps, Martin pushed high and Sommers worked low and passed him for the lead. Sommers began rolling out to an immense lead. Jeff Taylor moved to 2nd and began reeling Sommers in. The #39 reeled Sommers in from a straitaway back and was on his heels when a yellow for Campolito stacked the field up. Taylor slipped on the restart and fell behind Sommers. In turn one, the two made contact and spun around. Taylor was charged for the yellow and Sommers kept his golden position. Another driver needing a turnaround was Roger Smith. The 2017 champion found himself in second and was ready to pounce on Sommers. On the restart, he flexed his muscle and worked Sommer’s right side for a couple laps until Doug got a run off of turn two. Smith fell in second in line and ran out of laps to mount another charge. Sommers grabbed the win.
The compacts followed up the night with quite a race of their own! Natalie Collier took the win. Upon the display of the green, Paul Magnum led the field into turn one, but it was Rick Jones leading the opening circuit. Scott Kitchen worked high on Jones and took the lead on lap two. Kitchen was followed by Collier for a couple more laps until she motored by him. Collier got to leading while Kitchen fell into Tim Farrar and Sheldon Sommer’s clutches. Right as he looked to lose his position, Rick Jones was sent spinning, bunching up the field. When the green flew, Kitchen fell right in behind Collier. The four drivers ran nose to tail and had to endure several restarts. On one restart, Sommers was pushed high and lost his progress and fell to the back. He eventually pulled off the track. Collier kept in front of Kitchen and took home the win, her first since mid 2017.
Article and photo credit by Billy McKinney and Christie Hrdlicka.