by Bill McKinney
BARBERTON SPEEDWAY: While Mother Nature wasn’t being much of a racing fan in 2019, she did like the idea of a big money race. The skies were clear, the track was prepped, the cars were tuned, and the fans were ready! A hot night with long features was on tap and action was guaranteed.
Mason Surgener kept his perfect season alive as he collected both the heat and feature wins. When the green flag fell for the Bandolero division, veteran Madison Lengyel sped out front from the outside pole position. She led the first couple laps but was passed by Surgener in turn three. Surgener began logging laps in the lead with Lengyel in tow. Behind them, Steve Mitch and newcomer Killian Mcmann battled it out for third on track. The duo kept pressure on one another lap after lap but contact brought out a yellow around halfway. The bunched up field was ready to try and dethrone Surgener but it was not meant to be. Mason Surgner took home the win with Lengyel in tow. In victory lane, Surgener thanked his family for all the support and help along the way in his career.
Tristan Borkoski took the Legend feature after a classic battle. When the green flag fell, Anthony Price took his legend to the front from Chuck Witt. His red #24 logged many laps in the front while the field behind him ran three wide trying to find their way toward Price. Aaron Mulrooney, Cale Grimes and Borkoski followed suit until a caution at halfway bunched up the field. On the restart, contact sent Price through the wet infield and officials re-racked the running order. Price stayed up front and a second attempt at a restart was done. Price stayed in the lead but the handling had gone away for his car. Borkoski sped around Price on the outside and took the lead with Grimes in tow. Grimes tried to work past Borkoski every lap after that but couldn’t get the drive off of the corner that Borkoski could. When the checkered flag fell, Borkoski took home the win by less than a car length over Cale Grimes.
The Compact feature was won by Clayton Oliver. When the green flew for the 21-car field, Alyson Smith and Mike Scott led the field and three and four wide racing started immediately. Kyle Gembus took the lead from Smith with Will Scott in tow. The two stayed out of trouble as yellows plagued the first half of the race. One by one, competitors went pitside with mechanical problems or wreck damage. When the race finally got into some sort of rhythm, Clayton Oliver took his ride to the front around the outside of Gembus. Erik Johnson followed suit in his #47 Painesville car and worked to get alongside Oliver. While they battled side by side, they had to do so by avoiding lap traffic. The duo amazed fans with a high-quality display of driving. When the white flag flew for Oliver and Johnson, Oliver was able to hold the inside and bring home the win. Sadly, in tech, Johnson and others were nabbed for technical rule infractions meaning they won’t get credit for their feature finishes.
Norm Taylor took the win and the money in the modified feature. When the green few for the sizeable field, Rick Elkins took his ride to the front and began leading laps. Taylor fell behind in second but was content to ride for much of the race’s opening laps. A yellow flew for a caution on the backstretch and the field bunched up behind Elkins and Taylor. When the green flag flew, Taylor muscled around Elkins and began logging laps out front. Behind them, drivers jockeyed for position to see if they could go an contend for the front. Intense side by side racing happened for third with Jeff Dunfee III, John White, and Shawn Lewis. The trio worked hard to get an advantage and thrilled fans over the last several laps. While they duked it out, Norm Taylor amassed a sizeable lead over Elkins. When the checkers flew for Taylor, it came with a nice pay. Norm thanked his help and the fans for coming out and said he was ready to go for another win the following day.
Jeff Kuykendall took home the Street Stock win after a hard fought battle with Dennis Wood. When the field got to racing, Cyler Bertram took the lead and enjoyed running out front. Bertram was followed by Jim Raines III and Kuykendall. The race got into a nice rhythm from the start but that rhythm was interrupted when Steve Mowery, subbing for Tim Westerfield, snapped a rear axle and went for a long and dizzying spin through the infield. The caution that fell spelled trouble for Betram as his car began to run off and eventually lose power. He was assessed as able to keep running but it was at limited power. He restarted in the front but was no match for Kuykendall and company as he fell back to third after a couple laps. Kuykendall took the front spot and was followed by Dennis Wood. Wood used the laps to reel Kuykendall in but he wasn’t able to best Kuykendall. At the line, it was Jeff Kuykendall taking the win.
Gary Whipkey took home the Late Model win and dedicated the win to one of his closest friends. When the green flag flew for the large field of late models, it was Tony Urdiales taking the lead from Dino Campolito in the race’s early stages. Urdiales was followed by Doug Sommers and Whipkey. The trio battled hard as the laps began to tick away. A yellow with twenty laps in spelled trouble for Sommers as he lost all power in the motor and went pitside. Whipkey moved into second and timed the restart perfectly. He took the lead on the outside from Urdiales and began leading. Urdiales fell in second place and Roger Smith moved into third. Smith tried on many occasions to pass Urdiales, but a broken shifter lever meant he had his hands full as he had to drive with one hand and hold the shifter in gear with the other with no power steering. He kept the pressure on Urdiales and fans cheered as the duo battled. While Whipkey took the win, Urdiales took second with Smith in tow.
88-Ryan Gardner (DNS)
83-Riley Tulley (DNS)
01- Mike Holewinski
59 Tim Farrar
68-Jerry Ward III
47-Erik Johnson* (DNQ)
H20-Kyle Gembus (DNQ)
72-Will Scott (DNQ)
2-Scott Kitchen (DNQ)
100-Jim Raines III