Story credit: Barberton Speedway Facebook page
By Bill McKinney
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BARBERTON SPEEDWAY: With only seven events remaining after this week’s racing events (counting this week), crunch time was upon the drivers of Barberton Speedway. With few races remaining meant there was less opportunities to get wins. From the moment cars took to the track at 3 P.M. for hotlaps, drivers in all divisions scrambled to squeeze precious tenths of a second out of their cars. After the chaos of hotlaps and mechanical work was done, drivers had a minute to breathe as they got to sign autographs for fans during the always popular autograph night. After that, focus shifted from signing pictures to signing their name in the 2019 history book at Barberton as a winner!
Michigan’s Racin’ Mason Surgener kept his perfect season alive as he took the heat and feature. When the green flag fell, Surgener and the marvelous Madison Lengyel started on the front row and began slugging it out from the moment they got to speed. On the back stretch on lap one, Lengyel and Surgener made contact sending Lengyel around into the wall. Surprisingly, she and her car were both unharmed and she continued. The race restarted and Surgener found himself battling with Ryan Bille, last year’s champion. They made contact on the restart sending both around and sending Bille pitside with damage. Once again, the race restarted and Bille and Lengyel were battling once again. Lengyel got the jump on Surgener and passed him on lap two. From there, she would lead from lap two until two to go when a yellow for a spin set up a green-white-checkered finish. On the restart, Surgener got a run on Lengyel and was able to pass her. In the end, he took home the win. In his victory speech, he apologized and took blame for the two on-track incidents and thanked his competitors for racing him.
Michigan’s Greg Rudzik took home the Legend feature win after a long battle with Austin Tapia. When the green flag flew for the nice sized field, Tapia passed polesitter Chuck Whitt on lap one and began to stretch his lead out. Behind him, it was pandemonium as three and four wide racing was witnessed in all areas of the track. Some of the benefactors of the intense racing was Chris Breads, Rudzik, and Dan Shively. They were in positions 2,3, and 4, respectively. Rudzik would pass Breads for second and set his sights on Tapia. As Rudzik’s red #17 began to reel in the black #17 of Tapia, Shively would pass Breads, setting himself in third. He would have a front row seat to the battle of the night as Rudzik and Tapia raced hard, never giving an inch. After several laps, Rudzik would take advantage of some grip off of turn four to take the lead from Tapia. Shively would follow suit a lap later and he would begin to reel in Rudzik. Shively, battling car and parts troubles, needed a good run to cap off his night and he knew he was one spot from glory. With a few laps to go, Shively looked to have Rudzik in his sights, but the laps were waning. He would run out of laps and only be able to watch as Rudzik took the win. He would thank the Barberton Ohio crowd for their hospitality and thank his competitors for the great race!
Tim Schmitt got his second win since the reopening of Barberton in a chaotic Street Stock race. When the green flag flew, Cameron Curto and Tim Likens would lead the field to green. Curto would squirt ahead but the promising run would end early as he spun off of turn four in front of the field. He would get blasted in the nose by Schmitt, who would, himself, get hit by Bertram and others. Curto was okay, but his race was over. Crews would scramble to cut fenders, doors, fix suspension, and tend to the needs of their respective drivers following the melee. Surprisingly, only Curto’s car was the only one to not be able to continue. Schmitt, Bertram, and others were good to go. On the restart, Gary Hoopingarner took the lead from Tim Likens and would begin to run away with the feature. He would lose the lead on a restart to Greg Barnard ten laps later and pull pitside with a broken rear end/trailing arm. Barnard, needing points to get back in the championship hunt, would begin leading but would get wrecked on yet another restart. After the field settled it out, Schmitt found himself on the front row with Nicole Hrdlicka in second position. On the restart, Schmitt took advantage of a good restart and would get the win nicely over the remaining cars. He would thank his dad, and everyone who helped pull fenders off of his car after the wreck.
After the dust settled, the Modifieds were on track and it was John White getting his first win in nearly a decade! When the green flag flew, Tim Gullatta and Bernie Minnick would bring the large field to green. Minnick and Gullatta would swap the lead a couple times until a yellow came out with Gullatta leading. On the restart, Gullatta would get passed by Shawn Lewis and John White. The two teammates, Lewis and White, would battle for the lead for several laps until White was able to get bite off of turn two and get passed Lewis on the outside. While White would begin logging laps in clean air, Lewis found himself in the clutches of points leader Dave Dobbins. Lewis and Dobbins would slug it out for second over the next twenty laps. With two laps to go, Dobbins and Lewis would make contact and set up a dramatic run to the finish. On the restart, White would pull from the field and take home his first win in nearly a decade. He would thank his family, fans and teammates and extend his gratuities to Dan Burden, car owner.
The Compacts were on track, and Tim Farrar would continue his winning ways. When the green flag flew, Scott Kitchen would pull out with the lead from Bobby Stewart and would lead many of the race’s opening laps. Behind him, the plethora of compacts raced in every groove of the track as competitors tried to make passes on one another. Tim Farrar would weave his way through the group of cars and find himself in second place. He would take the lead from Kitchen on lap seven and begin logging laps in the lead as chaos ensued behind him. Several wrecks and cars breaking kept the field tight on Farrar for the next stage of the race meaning that the field had opportunities to try and take advantage of Farrar. One of those drivers who was there with Farrar on every restart was Alyson Smith. After being denied a win last week, she was looking for redemption, and she had a fire lit under her. She would match Farrar on every restart but would lose second to Sheldon Sommers on the race’s second to last restart. Sheldon would begin reeling in Farrar and would even get to Farrar’s outside on a couple occasions. He would run out of laps and Tim Farrar would bring home the win.
The Late Models were on track and Dino Campolito would get his first ever career win after 20+ years of racing! When the green flag flew, Campolito and Dave Martin would drag race for the lead with Campolito taking it after a lap. Campolito would lead Doug Sommers by less than a car length for the next few laps. Campolito found some grip after ten laps and began to flex his muscle on Sommers. Just when it looked like Campolito was ready to cash in the winning check, the crossed flags were displayed in front of his #83, and his mirror was suddenly filled with a big black #3 of Sommers yet again. Sommers had quietly reeled in Campolito and was poised to make a pass. Campolito answered by upping his pace and pulling on Sommers again. And yet again, Sommers would begin to make up lost ground. With three laps to go, Campolito missed his marks going into turn three leaving himself vulnerable to an attack by Sommers. Lucky for Campolito, Sommers slipped up in the next corners. The slip up was all Campolito needed and he was able to prevail over the final three laps and get the win! He thanked his fans, team, family, and competitors who all did a celebratory victory lap with him to congratulate him.
FINISHING ORDER (*denotes Heat win):
1- Greg Rudzik*
11-Jim Raines III
Article and pictures contributed by Billy McKinney and Christie Hrdlicka.