by Chris Kail

It started out to be a beautiful Saturday evening in small town Ohio. Then, it looked like we were destined to get pummeled by bad weather. That quickly blew over and we were able to complete Week #5 without a drop. Fifty Six cars and trucks were pit side and it was 76 degrees and sunny at race time.

The first feature to pull onto the Speedway was the Finlayson Towing Compact’s for their 20 lapper. Mike Stuber in the #44 and Gavin Roup in the #9 brought the field to Chief Starter Terry Colletti’s green flag. Stuber was able to take the top spot with the #86 of Josh Beall following. Brandon France in the #38 started 5th and was up to 3rd by the end of lap 2. France started to work on Beall for the second position and after a 3 lap battle, took that spot from the #86. Jeffrey Orr in the #8 dropped back a few spots on the start and then latched on to France, to get back to the front. The first and only caution flew on lap 8 as the #0 of Justin Renicker spun in turn one. Stuber and France would battle hard after the restart as the #78 of Kyle Lawson split Beall and the #75 of Kevin Renicker to take over 4th. As Stuber and France continued to argue over who was gonna lead, Orr ended the argument with a nifty inside move around them both on lap 11, to grab the race lead. France was able to take second from Stuber and then Lawson was able to take 3rd on lap 15. France continued to apply the pressure to Orr in the outside lane. The front 4 were 2 by 2 over the last two and a half laps. During that time, out of nowhere, came fastest qualifier Karl Phillips in the #23. He shot up to second and applied the chrome horn to Orr in turn three, but Orr was able to hang on. Orr was strong, but Phillips simply ran out of time with arguably the best car. Orr would pay a visit to Naak Tuning Victory Lane for the first time in almost 2 years. Following the New Philadelphia OH driver in the Buckey Mowing, Damsel In Defense Pro by Alicia Allison, Keith’s Cars and Bomb’s Away Bar & Drive Thru sponsored #8 was Phillips, France, Lawson and Kevin Renicker.

Next up was the McIntosh Oil Company Late Model’s for their 25 lap Feature. Bob “The Animal” Eichel in the #69 and Chris Grubbs in the #25 brought the field down for the start. Animal was able to lead lap 1 by inches over Grubbs, but was able to jump out front off turn two and lead early. John Sanquist Sr in the #66 was able to move around Grubbs and into second. Both of the front runners were looking for their first victories in many seasons. On lap 4, Sandquist was able to make the inside pass on Animal for the lead. Fastest Qualifier Bob Schneider Jr in the #17 was able to take over second on lap 5 and George Riddle in the #0 took over 3rd a lap later. Schneider would begin to apply the pressure to Sandquist, who was able to keep Schneider at bay. The only caution flew on lap 11 for a large hunk of metal in the groove off turn four. On the restart, Schneider was able to rocket around Sandquist in the outside lane. Following Schneider was the #07 of Todd Ripley. This was Ripley’s first time even sitting in the #07, let alone racing it. The Burcher Race team operates on a shoestring budget and it was great to see the Crafty Veteran giving that machine the best ride of its life. Schneider was able to sprint away with his first victory of the season as Sandquist was later able to get back around Ripley for second. Completing the top 5 behind the Landstar Recruiting Agent, Factory Street Pub & Grill, Alexis Building Systems, Guess Motors, Weathermakers Heating and Cooling and Randy Smith sponsored #17 was Sandquist, Ripley, Riddle and Grubbs.

Scott Lindell in the #19 and Barney Gerber in the #2 brought the Snap-on Tools by Doug Poole Mini Truck’s down for their 10 lap feature. Gerber was able to lead lap 1 by a few feet and just as he was able to clear Lindell off of turn two, something happened to Gerber and he slowed dramatically. He was forced to pull to the infield, ending his shot at victory. Lindell would take the lead with the #443 of Eddie McLean and the #95 of Michael Varnes all over him. McLean would shoot to the second groove and take over the lead on lap 5. On lap 6, Varnes was able to get by Lindell for second. Varnes quickly caught McLean and was looking for a way around, high or low. He even used the front bumper a few times, trying to make a way around. But McLean, who was the fastest qualifier, was just a little bit better. McLean was able to pick up his first feature win at Midvale in over a decade, after being out of the sport. Following the Carrollton OH driver in the Peebles Racing, Columbiana Auto Parts, JOMAC Truck Body’s, Jason Shaw at O’Reilly Auto Parts and Keith & Robin Brady sponsored #443 was Varnes, Lindell and Gerber. Ryan Schreffler broke in Hot Laps.

The Vanmeter Auto Repair Modified’s had Derek Grewell in the #99 and Phillip Cox in the #09, on the front row. Grewell was able to jump out front with the #331 of Mike Stone in second. On lap 2, the first caution came out for a quick spin by Nick Grubbs in the #24. Grewell was able to clear Stone on the restart. On lap 3, Cox and Stone made contact off turn two, bringing out the second caution, Stone was sent to the tail. On the restart, Cox and Grewell got together in turn one. Cox was sent to the tail for causing the accident, Grewell was sent to the pits for extracurricular activity. That put the #02 of opening night feature winner Rick Sibila on the front row, the #2 of Trey Williams was along side. After another quick and final yellow flag, Sibila was able to clear Williams off turn two. Lucas Ripley was able to follow Sibila to second. The fastest qualifier Brandon Bailey in the #55 and the #38 of Kevin McClintock were trudging their way up through the pack from the 8th and 9th starting positions and into the top 5. “The Rooster” was able to put his #55 on the high side with McClintock glued to his decklid. The duo drafted their way up to second and third with 2 laps to go. The handling was starting to go away on Sibila’s machine, but he was able to hold on for his second victory of the season by a just a few feet. It was an incredibly exciting race, all the way through. Rounding out the top 5 behind the Massillon OH driver in the Tim’s Custom Car Center, Keiffer Auto & Truck Parts, Bowers Racing and Sibila Fabrications sponsored #02 was Bailey, McClintock, Ripley and Williams.

Finally, The Buckey Mowing Street Stocks were up for their 20 lap feature. Colt Locker in the #118 and Robbie Kordiac in the #55 brought the field down to the stripe. After a complete restart, the front 3 rows stayed side by side for the opening 3 laps with Locker hanging on by a nose. Locker was finally able to clear Kordiac into turn one. The #75 of Bob Passwaters Sr was able to follow Locker up the inside to second a lap later. On lap 5, something happened to Locker and he slowed down the back straightaway, handing the lead to Passwaters Sr in his new Camaro. Lucas Ripley, pulling double duty in the #67, moved up to second. The #88 of Dennis Wood, who got to the track just prior to the start of the feature, moved up to 3rd and then to second on lap 7. The first caution flew on lap 10 as Wood and Passwaters made contact battling for the lead. Wood stopped in turn three and was charged with the caution. On the restart, the field got stacked up in turn four and Kordiac stopped, bringing out another quick yellow. Kordiac was charged and sent to the tail for stopping. On the restart, Passwaters Sr and Ripley battled for the lead hard in turn one. There may have been some contact, allowing the #8 of Kyle Grove to take them both on the inside for the lead. As the laps clicked away, Wood was able to work his way from the back to the front for a second time, putting the pressure on Grove for the lead. Wood was able to get around Grove on lap 16. Just as Wood took the lead, Grove got into the bumper and spun him around. Grove was disqualified for rough driving. Wood and Ripley would start side by side for a 4 lap shootout. Wood was able to prevail, but was disqualified in post race tech. Handing the win over to Ripley for his first win in the Tantarelli owned machine. Following the Uhrichsville OH driver in the Herron Heating and Cooling sponsored #67 was Kordiac, Passwaters Sr, Bob Passwaters Jr and Curtis Collins.

THANK YOU to all the Driver’s, Team’s, Official’s and FANS for coming out for another successful night at “Thunder In The Valley”!!

This Saturday Night June 8th is 99.9 WTUZ / Kid’s Club / Kid’s Ride in Race Cars Night at Midvale Speedway. Kid’s Club Members will get $2 off their admission with their Membership Card. Kid’s will also get up close and personal with the cars and drivers of Midvale Speedway as they will get to ride along in the cars for a few laps at intermission. All 5 regular Divisions will be in action with Racing taking the green flag at 6:30!
Bring you kids and have them bring a friend for a GREAT NIGHT OF FAMILY FUN!! Support you local race track!!!

– Story by Chris Kail

**Photo Credits to Shutterbug Photography by Dana**

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McIntosh Oil Company Late Model’s

Fast Time: Bob Schneider Jr 14.033

Heat: Bob Schneider Jr, George Riddle, John Sandquist Sr, Korey Herron, Bob Eichel, Chris Grubbs

Feature: Schneider Jr, Sandquist Sr, Todd Ripley, Riddle, Grubbs, Eichel, Tony Urdiales

Vanmeter Auto Repair Modified’s

Fast Time: Brandon Bailey 14.816

Heat 1: Bob Page, Lucas Ripley, Rick Sibila, Phillip Cox, Brandon Bailey, Kevin McClintock, Mike Stone, Trey Williams

Heat 2: Dan Gasser, Derek Grewell, Jerry Devore, Louis McGrath, Zack Leasure, Bobby Devore II, Nick Grubbs

Feature: Sibila, Bailey, McClintock, Ripley, Williams, Page, Gasser, Stone, Grubbs, Jerry, McGrath, Leasure, Bobby, Cox, Grewell.

Buckey Mowing Street Stock’s

Fast Time: Gabe Pringle 15.820

Heat 1: Colt Locker, Lucas Ripley, Kyle Grove, Bob Passwaters Sr, Bob Passwaters Jr, Curtis Collins, Robbie Kordiac

Feature: Ripley, Kordiac, Passwaters Sr, Passwaters Jr, Collins, Locker, Pringle, Grove. Dennis Wood – DQ

Snap-on Tools by Doug Poole Mini Truck’s

Fast Time: Eddie McLean 16.466

Heat: Eddie McLean, Scott Lindell, Michael Varnes, Barney Gerber. DNS – Ryan Shreffler

Feature: McLean, Varnes, Lindell, Gerber. DNS – Shreffler

Finlayson Towing Compact’s

Fast Time: Karl Phillips 17.354

Heat 1: Jeffrey Orr, Brandon France, Justin Renicker, Kevin Renicker, Karl Phillips, Kyle Lawson, Wes Ennis

Heat 2: Dan Buckey, Eddie McLean, Josh Beall, Marcus Cox, Gavin Roup

Heat 3: Toby Cook, Larry Ennis Jr, Howard Bartholow, Jimbo Roup, Laney Striejewske

Feature: Orr, Phillips, France, Lawson, Kevin, Mike Stuber, Beall, Wes, McLean, Buckey, Cox, Justin, Larry, Gavin, Cook, Striejewske, Jeremy Sallinger, Bartholow, Jombo