By Bill McKinney

BARBERTON SPEEDWAY: The sun was out, the drivers were here to race, the fans were in the stands, and plenty of storylines were buzzing around the pits. Whether it was the points battles, the close racing, new drivers making noise, or drivers hoping to turn their seasons around, plenty of buzz was in the air. The anticipation was at an all-time high and drivers were ready to take the green flag!

On hand first was the compact feature won by Randy Cecil, subbing for Tim Farrar. When the green flag flew for the seventeen-car field, Paul Mangum and Kyle Gembus brought the field to speed. Gembus took command of the lead early in the event as drivers ran three wide behind them. As positions changed hands, one driver that benefitted nicely was Alyson Smith. She worked from her fourth place starting position to get to second and set her sights on Gembus. Smith sneaked around Gembus after several laps of battle and took command of the event. Just as she took the lead, the only incident of the race happened when Cecil took a long slide through the infield. On the restart, Smith found herself in a long and grueling battle with several drivers including Dustin Wyckoff, Gembus, Cecil, Scott Kitchen, and Mike Scott. The six drivers duked it out for the final fifteen laps trying to gain an advantage on one another. While Smith crossed the line first, post-race technical inspection found an infraction which denied her the shot at her first win. Randy Cecil was second across the line and was awarded the win, points, and pay. He and Farrar decided to award Smith the trophy and dedicated the win to her.
TOP FIVE: 1- Randy Cecil (59). 2- Michael Scott (117). 3- Scott Kitchen (2). 4- Sheldon Sommers (37). 5-Noah Patterson (8).
Heats went to Cecil (59) and Kitchen (2).

The Bandolero division was on track and ‘Racin’ Mason Surgener took home his fifth win of the year. Many fans wondered how Surgener would do this week as the competition was beginning to close in with closer laps and more drivers joining the ranks. This set the stage for a fun race for fans to watch! When the green flag flew, Ryan Gardner and Steve Mitch took the field to green and intense racing followed! Surgener made an intense three-wide pass on Gardner and Mitch on lap one and began leading the feature event. As he was leading laps, last year’s champion making his first start, Ryan Bille, followed closely behind in second with veteran Madison Lengyel in third. Bille lost the handling off of turn two and spun bringing out the race’s only yellow. After a couple attempts at a restart, Surgener kept his lead over Lengyel with Bille working through the field to get into third place. The trio raced hard over the final eight laps and Surgener took the win. He thanked the fans for coming to watch him race and thanked his family for their support.
TOP FIVE: 1- Mason Surgener (42). 2- Madison Lengyel (51). 3- Ryan Bille (29). 4- Steve Mitch (34). 5- Ryan Gardner (88).
Heat went to Surgener (42)

The Legend feature was on hand and Aaron Mulrooney took the feature win in dramatic fashion. When the green flag flew for the ten-car field, Dylan Mehrl and Dan Shively were the class of the field. Mehrl took the lead early and began stretch his lead on Shively. Shively used the crossover move to get low on Mehrl and made the pass on him. The yellow flew right as he took the lead but because the lap had not been completed, he had to fall back to second for the restart. Mehrl and Shively kept the intense battle going on the restart and thrilled fans lap after lap. The two made contact and Shively went flying through the infield. He was put to the back and Mehrl restarted on pole with just a few laps to go with Mulrooney to his outside. Mulrooney took the lead after two laps and checked out on the field. As he took the checkers, mayhem behind him shuffled the field ad Mehrl and Shively spun in turn four. Mulrooney thanked his father and mother for the help in getting him into victory lane.
TOP FIVE: 1- Aaron Mulrooney (2). 2- Dylan Mehrl (38). 3- Austin Tapia (17). 4- Derik Gacom (20). 5- Chris Breads (01).
Heat went to Shively (27)

The modified feature was won by Dave Dobbins. Dobbins is hunting his first season championship and is leading the points. Going into tonight, he was nursing a small lead on John White. The thirteen-car field came down to green and Tom Moran and Ryan Cypher began battling for the lead. Cypher got bite out of turn two and grabbed sole possession of the lead on lap one as drivers jostled for position behind him. Three wide instances of racing for position kept fans on the edge of their seats while Cypher led. An early yellow brought the field back to Cypher and the restart didn’t disappoint. Cypher found himself in the middle of a three wide battle with the #60 of Sam Bigham and #3 of Jeff Dunfee III. Bigham took the lead for two laps while Dunfee was able to sneak around for the lead. While he began to stretch his advantage on the field, Dobbins moved into second place and set his sights on the lead car of Dunfee. A late yellow flew for the field when a car broke off of turn four helping Dobbins get close to Dunfee. Dobbins took advantage of the high line on the restart and led the final few laps on route to yet another win.
TOP FIVE: 1- Dave Dobbins (53). 2- Sam Bigham (60). 3- Doug Mate (14). 4- Bob Sibila (82). 5- Shawn Lewis (17 sub for John White).
Heats went to Sibila (82) and Mounts (64)

The Street Stock race was won by Jeff Kuykendall in a thrilling photo finish! Rich Satola and Nicole Hrdlicka brought the field to green with Satola leading lap one. Cyler Betram took the lead from Satola and began logging laps out front. While he led, Greg Barnard was looking to pass him both for position on track and for the points lead. Running second to Bertram, the two barely gave an inch on track. Going into turn three, slight contact sent Bertram around. Barnard took blame and Bertram kept his lead. On the restart, Bertram battled with Tim Schmitt and Jeff Kuykendall for the top spot. Kuykendall worked past Schmitt and set his sights on Bertram. A yellow flew for a spin by Schmitt with two laps to go which set up a dramatic two-lap dash to the finish. On the restart, Kuykendall used the high line to get just in front of Bertram. The two slammed, slid, and raced hard for the final moments and Kuykendall edged Bertram by only a foot at the line in a photo finish.
TOP FIVE: 1- Jeff Kuykendall (12). 2- Cyler Bertram (55). 3- Tim Schmitt (42). 4- Greg Barnard (21). 5- Gary Hoopingarner (68).
Heat went to Bertram (55)

The Late Model feature capped off the night and Aaron Prater won a commanding race. When the green flag fell, Jeff Taylor and Dave Martin began battling hard for the top spot. Jeff Taylor would lead the first five laps before trouble broke out. He spun in turn three, hitting the wall head on and got t-boned by Roger Smith and Dave Martin. Taylor was amazingly able to continue as was Martin, but Smith was not as lucky. Even with fellow drivers and team owners lending hands, tools, and expert knowledge on quick repairs, the car was unable to continue. On the restart, Prater and Doug Sommers restarted after the yellow and raced side by side. They amazed fans due to their side by side racing and cool saves. Sommers and Prater’s cars were loose, but the hard racing by the duo kept everyone wondering if any of the two would take the lead for good. Sommers looked to have advantage on Prater but lost the nose off of turn two allowing Prater to get past him just past halfway. The race ran green from there on out and Prater was able to take home the feature win. It was his first of the year. Oddly enough, the heat of the day dissuaded Prater from racing. It wasn’t until after qualifying that Prater’s family urged him to race. The move paid off.
TOP FIVE: 1- Aaron Prater (44). 2- Doug Sommers (3). 3- John White (10). 4- Dino Campolito (83). 5- Scott Sandquist (99).
Heat went to Sommers (3)

Article and pictures contributed by Bill McKinney and Christie Hrdlicka.