For Immediate Release
BARBERTON SPEEDWAY: To win a championship, it takes laser sharp focus, a full season at one track, support from sponsors and team, and the ability to rebound from lackluster races. Tonight, September 15th, 2018, Barberton Speedway crowned six division champions.
-Ryan Bille took the Bandolero championship after a near perfect season.
-Cale Grimes used consistency to win the Legend championship.
-Bob Sibila used momentum and consistency to win his second Modified championship in two years.
-Roger Arbogast won the Street Stock championship 16 years after winning the 305 Hobby Stock championship.
-Tony Urdiales finally put together a great season and won the Late Model championship after a couple years of frustration.
-Sheldon Sommers put an exclamation point on his 2018 Compact season and won the season championship.
While the drama of championship racing was on the line, those not in the points battle knew there was one more week to send their season off with a win. They had to send everything in their bag of tricks to the table to make sure they had the right stuff. With drivers ready, a common story arose: Rain moved the finale back a week meaning the hype and anticipation of running one more race got the chance to build up even more! What transpired this tonight embodied what 2018 was all about!
Ryan Bille took the Bandolero feature and championship after his near perfect season. A driver wise beyond his years, he grabbed the lead of the Bandolero feature early from Madison Lengyel and wanted to never look back. With a less than spectacular start to his day that watched his qualifying effort and heat race both go less than expected, Bille needed the momentum to shift back his way. Grabbing the lead appeared to shift it his way but Breads lurked right behind. After just a couple laps, Breads was on top of Bille coming off of turn four. The two got together on the front stretch and Bille went around. Breads went to the rear and Bille kept his lead. He held off challenges from Lengyel and ‘Racin’ Mason Surgener for the rest of the race. He thought he was going to see the checkered flag, but a spin by Breads set up a dramatic one lap season-defining dash to the checkers. Bille commanded the field down to green and drove harder than ever to get the win.
Aaron Mulrooney took the final race of the season in the legend division with teammate Cale Grimes finishing off his points championship run finishing right behind him. When the green flag fell, Dylan Mehrl led the opening lap over Mulrooney but Mulrooney grabbed the lead the following lap. He set the race’s pace and laid some fast laps while others behind him battled for positions and bragging rights. Austin Tapia, Mehrl, and Grimes all worked one another over for the silver medal position while Mulrooney got smaller and smaller up front. Grimes made a bold move low off of turn four and passed Tapia for third place and set chase on second place Mehrl. While the laps ticked away, Grimes and Mehrl threaded the needle around lap traffic while trying to chase Mulrooney. When the white flag fell, Mulrooney capped off an expertly prepared race and took the dominating win while Grimes snuck past Mehrl to grab second.
Bryce Allensworth threw caution to the wind and put together a perfect night in hopes he would catch points leader Bob Sibila. He did it all. He qualified well, he won the heat race, and won the feature staying ahead of Sibila all night long. The deficit was too much to overcome and he still settled for 2nd in points. When the green flag fell, Allensworth grabbed the lead and began logging laps out front. Matt Marlowe shadowed the Burden Racing #1 and worked on passing him. The duo checked out front by a full straightaway and wanted to settle it out amongst themselves. Behind them, another two-car battle ensued as John White and points leader Sibila battled for third on track. White, the teammate to Allensworth, knew that commanding another position between Allensworth and Sibila might be what it took to have his teammate win the championship. That was not the case as Sibila kept White on the defensive lap after lap while watching the lead two cars duke it out. Allensworth led through halfway with the narrowest of margins. Less than 3 inches separated the two cars’ bumpers from touching in every corner. The hot slick Barberton surface hampered either driver from putting full power down and pulling away from one another. When the checkered flag fell, it was for Allensworth as he had the win.
The Street Stock division ended 2018 with a classic battle of the ages. Jeff Kuykendall capped off a great season with another win after a last lap pass on Scott Curto. Roger Arbogast took home the championship after a season of consistency. When the green fell for the field of street stocks, the racing got off to a fast start. Three wide racing was witnessed by all as drivers scraped and clawed for precious position. Scott Curto worked out front and led laps over Doug Mate and Dennis Wood. The trio worked to separate from the rest of the field and did a good job of doing just that until a yellow with five to go came out for a spin. Bunching the field up meant Curto had plenty of challengers on the restart with little laps to go. Dennis Wood pinched near Curto but could not complete the pass on the restart. Jeff Kuykendall worked on Curto’s rear and shadowed the #7 machine. When the white came out, Kuykendall got power down off of turn four and was able to get low on him and the two raced side by side for the final circuit. Coming off of the final turn, Kuykendall got bite and was able to pull away from Curto and he collected the win while Roger Arbogast took the points championship.
John Ambrose grabbed another win in the Late Model division after battling with 2018 champion Tony Urdiales. When the green flag fell, it was Dave Martin grabbing the early event’s lead. Racing for 40+ years, Martin was trying to go for another win and led many laps. Just before halfway, his car pushed high and allowed John Ambrose to get under him to take the lead. Martin battled with Urdiales for the next several laps for 2nd place but Urdiales worked past Martin. He set his sights on Ambrose and reeled the black and orange #24. The two cars became one as they ran identical lap times and lines hoping one may make a mistake that would allow the other to sneak around or ahead of the other. While the laps ticked away, Ambrose found a good line coming off of turn two and began to stretch his advantage. Though the advantage was less than a couple of inches per lap separating the two, it was enough to allow Ambrose to breathe and he began to command the event. When the checkers fell, Ambrose took home the win and Urdiales took the points championship.
Sheldon Sommers took home the compact race win and season point championship. When the green flag fell, his closest points competitor Kylee Wood led the opening laps and checked out. Sadly, she broke out from her time and was told to go to the back and her time reset. The drew the yellow to allow the positions to reset. On the green flag restart, Jimmy McKinley and Tim Farrar headed the field to green and began to battle. Going into three, McKinley got a shove and washed up and hit Farrar. The duo gathered their cars and kept on going, but the shuffle allowed Michael Scott to grab the lead. Scott led laps while Sheldon Sommers moved into 2nd place. When the race got into its waning stages, Scott and Sommers traded paint lap after lap. Sommers dove into the corner, but Scott got bite off of the corner. On the final lap, the duo amazed fans with a thrilling display of rubbing and racing. Scott came off with the win, but his race was derailed in technical inspection when his car was not to rules specifications. This handed Sommers the win.
Article and pictures courtesy of Billy McKinney and Christie Hrdlicka.