For Immediate Release
by Bill McKinney
BARBERTON SPEEDWAY: For the first time in what felt like forever, the sun shined on Barberton Speedway. With a very spaced out first half of the season, the points race in all of the divisions was still quite close. The drivers knew each week that rained out was a missed opportunity for a win and valuable points. This put a strong emphasis on winning the few events that were hosted. Regardless, midseason was on the schedule tonight and drivers, fans, crews, and track staff were ready to put the rainy first half of the season behind them. Nice fields of competitive cars were in the pits and each and every driver on hand wanted one thing: The Midseason Championship Win and the double points that came with it!
Racin’ Mason Surgener kept his dream season alive as he picked up another win on the year in his #42 Bandolero. The young driver has the points lead and knew winning on midseason night gives him that much more momentum as the season enters its second half. The green flag fell and the field roared into turn one. Headed by Steve Mitch and Madison Lengyel, the duo ran turn one and two side by side. Surgener in third got a nice run off of turn two and pulled even with the front two on the back stretch making it a three wide race for the lead going into the third turn on lap one. Surgener took position on the other two and led lap one. As he stretched out his lead on the field, Mitch and Lengyel battled for second on track and the valuable points that came with it. They duked it out lap after lap until Lengyel took the second position with Mitch falling in third. As the field stretched out, all drivers found the race to be incident free. A green flag race from pole to checkers was witnessed by fans and Surgener took the win by over half a lap.
The second race of the night was on tap. It was the Street Stock race, won by Jeff Kuykendall. When the green flag fell, Nicole Hrdlicka in her new ride and Jeff Mundell also in a new ride brought the field to green. They ran into turn one with Mundell getting the run off of turn two. He led the first three laps until his engine expired. As he was pushed off of the track, Greg Barnard had the newly inherited lead. Barnard restarted with Gary Hoopingarner to his outside. Going into turn one on the restart, a four car wreck halted the field. Hoopingarner and Tim Likens were taken pitside for repairs and others had to change blown out tires. The field was re-racked with Barnard still out front with Tim Schmitt Jr. now to his outside. The race resumed and this time a long run was playing out. Barnard led as Cyler Bertram moved around Schmitt to second with Kuykendall in third. Barnard had the car to beat as he pulled out by half a straitaway lead. Sadly for Barnard his night and transmission expired shortly after halfway. Kuykendall, who had passed Bertram a lap before for second found himself in the lead. He never looked back. He took the win and celebrated with a couple lucky young fans in victory lane by taking a ‘selfie’.
The Modifieds were in hand and Dave Dobbins took the win. Still looking for that elusive first championship, Dobbins was ecstatic! But to get there, he had to work hard! When the green flag fell for the field, John White took the lead from Mick Macko and set the early race pace. White was logging fast laps and had an insurmountable lead but a three car wreck off of turn four eight laps in brought the race under yellow, erasing the lead. On the restart, White started alongside last season’s champion Bob Sibila. Sibila and White ran hard on the ensuing restart with Sibila eventually besting his racing colleague and getting out front. Sibila also amassed a large lead but yet another yellow brought the field tight with him. Sibila restarted alongside Dobbins and fans knew this was going to be intense! Dobbins was on a mission as he worked through the field of fast cars and he knew he needed one more spot. Sibila and Dobbins ran side by side for five laps until Sibila lost the front end handling on his car in turn three, Dobbins made the pass and never looked back. When the Ed Tenney checkered flag fell, Dave Dobbins had taken yet another win on the year. He excitedly hopped out of his car and basked in the glory of his win!
With just a trio of Legends cars, fans were intrigued to see how the race would play out. SPOILER ALERT: It was fantastic, exciting, and worth the price of admission. Anthony Price took home the win in a photo finish over Chris Breads. When the green flag fell, Price and Breads started side by side and battled hard from lap one on. Breads had the high line and Price had the low line. The duo ran close, giving only an inch of room at any moment. Fans cheered as the two youngsters dazzled, battled, and raced hard. Coming off of turn two with five laps to go, Breads lost drive off of turn two and fell behind Price. Going into turn three, Breads misjudged his entry and made contact with Price drawing the race’s only yellow flag. Price retained his lead spot and Breads was put back to third. Breads worked quickly into second place over newcomer Derik Gacom. Breads used the high line to get outside of Price yet again. At the line, they were dead even. Price would stuff it into the turns, but Breads would power up to Price on the corner exit. At the line, Anthony Price took home the win with Breads coming home in second place by five inches!
The Late Models were on hand and Doug Sommers was looking for another championship to put on his trophy shelf. He helped his cause by winning the night’s feature. When the green flag fell, Jeff Taylor moved around Dino Campolito and took the early lead. Aaron Prater took second place and began to reel in Taylor. Laps ticked by with the duo using every trick in their respective books to gain an advantage on the other. Prater found grip on the high line and began to race side by side with Taylor Unfortunately, the two made contact in turn three which resulted in Prater going around. The yellow flew and Prater went pitside for a quick damage assessment and tire change. On the restart, Taylor brought the stout field to green with Sommers assuming the new second place position. Sommers sped around Taylor after a brief lap and a half battle and never looked back. He took the midseason championship win with Taylor in third place. 2017 champion Roger Smith came home in third with Prater rebounding for fourth and Campolito holding on for fifth.
The final race of the night was upon us. The Compacts were out fifteen strong and Tim Farrar took home the win. Looking for his second championship of the decade, the points made tonight will help his cause. When the green flag fell, Billy Miller in his taxi cab Pontiac and Paul Mangum’s Neon led the field. Cody Collmar, subbing for Alyson Smith took the #12 to the front and looked hard to pass. As he led, several competitors went pitside with mechanical failures or other troubles. Farrar got a run on Collmar and took the lead. A lap later, Chad Greenland spun off of turn four and hit the standing puddle of water in the infield. He got his car cleaned and the track was dried. Farrar and Collmar started the field back to speed and battled it out. Collmar slipped back to fifth with Sheldon Sommers (subbing for Doug) finding his way to second. Sommers tried to track down Farrar but fell victim to a battle of his own for second with Noah Patterson and Clayton Oliver. The Crislip Motorsports teammates passed Sommers and set sail for Farrar. They had a shot as a late race yellow fell for the field. On the restart, Patterson tried to dethrone Farrar but couldn’t get the drive off of the corner as well as Farrar. The laps ticked down and the checkers waved for the 2010 champion Farrar. An overjoyed Farrar pounded on his roof and celebrated with announcer Tim Philips.
FINISHING ORDERS (*denotes heat/dash win):
42-Tim Schmitt Jr.
100-Jim Raines III (DNS)
14-Ed Ellis (sub for Tim Likens)