For Immediate Release

By Bill McKinney

BARBERTON SPEEDWAY: With the season winding down, months of work and just as many months of racing were beginning to enter its final stages. 2019 is quickly coming to an end with only four races remaining after this week and the pressure to get a potentially season defining win mounts with each and every passing lap. Whether it’s the slowest car on track, or the fastest, drivers want to end 2019 on the best note they possibly can. With long hours in the garage come long hot hours testing their cars and tuning to take everything the track and car will give them. That preparation in mind, fans knew that with everything on the line, the racing tonight was going to be worth the price of admission. If the racing wouldn’t get them in the stands, perhaps the always favored dollar hotdog night would.

The first feature on track was the Bandolero division, and Mason Surgener kept his perfect season alive. With Madison Lengyel winning the heat and making points up on Surgener, the Jackson Coffee #42 of Surgener knew that he had to deliver in the feature or his final few races in the 2019 season could head in a disastrous direction. On the flip side, Lengyel’s win meant that keeping the momentum up meant that she could make up some points and close in the gap between her and points leader Surgener which stood at 29 points.

When the green flag flew for the field, rookie Ryan Gardner and young Steve Mitch brought the field to speed. The duo would swap the lead for the first four circuits while a smear of yellows for spins and mechanical failures kept the field close. One of those failures came in the form of a blown tire on Lengyel’s #51 Excalibur Auto Body machine. Once the race got into a manageable race pace, fans watched as Surgener and 2018 champion Ryan Bille zigged and zagged through the field toward the front. They did everything from running high, to low, to splitting lap traffic three wide as they went toward the front and began to wage war for the top spot. As Bille looked to have a car able to compete with Surgener, his race would also end in disaster as he broke a right front suspension component, sending him pitside. Surgener would survive several late yellows and take the win over Mitch. This would be his ninth win in a row.

The 2019 campaign for the Legends was an intriguing one and Dan Shively knotched another chapter in the season’s history book as he won his third race of the year. With much of the weekly competition racing at big money shows, the smaller field of competitors showed that size did not matter. With both first and second place points drivers Anthony Price and Chris Breads answering the call, the slim 13 point margin was destined to change and potentially, so would the lead points position. Price and his #24 Broken Wings Adult Services machine led the #01 of Breads, but every point counted. Price won the heat, so the feature put some pressure on Breads.

The green flag fell and Price and Breads led the field to green. Price began leading while Breads fell back in third. While Breads was battling with Derik Gacom, the two made contact and spun through the infield. Thankfully neither driver or car was hurt, and they continued the race. Knowing the small field would draw few cautions, the restart was chaotic as drivers jockeyed for positions. One such benefactor was Dan Shively and his #27 El Jalapeño neon Legend. He squirted past some of his competition and went from fourth to second. A lap later, Shively used drive off of turn four to pass Price for the lead of the race. Price kept the pressure on Shively as the laps began ticking away but began to lose momentum entering the corners. Shively took the win and exclaimed he was setting his sights on winning five features this year. He has three, so he only needs two more.

The Compact feature was one full of fantastic racing, some daring passes and a mix of chaos and energy as drivers of all backgrounds wanted to hoist the hardware. Sheldon Sommers was just that individual to do so. Running his father’s #37 Old Stone Jail Bar and Grill Neon for points while Doug tended to his Late Model, Sommers knew a good run could potentially begin to cut into the 154 point cushion that Tim Farrar’s #59 Ron’s Paint and Body Neon had amassed over the course of the year. With neither driver winning the heat (That went to Alyson Smith) all pressure was on the feature to make up points on the other.

When the green flag flew for the field, it was second year driver Chris Kennedy and third year driver Sierra Stewart bringing the field to green. Kennedy would squeak out to the lead with Stewart siting in 2nd but running the high line while Kennedy stayed low. The two ran side by side for the first eight laps until Alyson Smith worked past both on a restart to take the overall lead. Smith led while her competition ran three and four wide behind her. She would get passed by Randy Cecil, filling in for Farrar, and Cecil began logging laps in clean air. As Cecil led, Will Scott and Sommers would pass Smith for the 2nd and 3rd spots, respectively. A late yellow for a blown motor meant that the field was close and a final dash to the finish was going to happen. On the restart, all three drivers, Cecil, Scott, and Sommers made contact sending Cecil spinning with a blown tire, Scott pitside with damage, and Sommers to the lead. Sommers would hold off Alyson Smith and Chase Skeens for the win. He apologized for the incident and thanked his family for betting him take over his father’s ride during weeks where Doug couldn’t pull double duty.

The Street Stock feature was won by Cyler Bertram. Battling a rash of poor luck, Bertram recently found success and good fortune as he took command of the points lead in his #55 RPM Auto Sales Street Stock. He led Gary Hoopingarner by only 62 points markers. Much like the other divisions, heat race success made the features easier to run. Both Bertram and Hoopingarner did not win the heat (Ron Miller won it in a photo-finish) so the feature mad more at stake.

The green flag fell and Bertram quickly passed polesitters Nicole Hrdlicka and Jeff Mundell for the top spot. He would begin leading pretty much from the get-go but Hoopingarner filled Bertram’s mirror full with his #68 Perfection Fabrication machine. While he looked to have the race put away even before flagman Ed Tenney displayed the halfway flags, a yellow for a piece of debris erased Bertram’s large lead. Ron Miller made a bold move to take 2nd from Hoopingarner and Miller put his patriotic #83 in the slipstream of Bertram’s #55. A few yellows for spins kept the two in close quarters and the two raced hard dazzling fans as they both kicked the cars out sideways as they were losing handling. With a lap to go, the lead was only a quarter of a car length. Miller tried to make a pass in turn one but lost the handling in the middle. He gathered it back up and tried in turn three. He packed it down in to the corner but couldn’t get to Bertram. Cyler Bertram took home his 2nd win in as many starts and Miller matched his career best finish in his rookie season.

The Late Models were on hand and the big story (aside from Doug Sommers’ 104 point lead over Roger Smith) was the fact the track had plenty of dust on it from the earlier features and the previous week’s night of destruction. While track owner Mike Mazzagatti and his dedicated staff worked all week to make it as good as they could, there was less rubber on the track between midweek storms and the remaining dirt acted like mini roller bearings meaning the track was looser than normal. This meant that the handling would be off on all cars, and the already tough Barberton track would be even harder to navigate successfully. Gary Whipkey drove his #59 TWR Racing machine to the win, but it was not without incident.

The green flag fell, and Dino Campolito took his unsponsored #83 to the point and led while Roger Smith and Doug Sommers sat in 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Smith tried to track down Campoito and got a break near halfway when a yellow for a spin gave him the opportunity to overtake Campolito on the restart. While Smith did get the lead on the restart, his #43 G&R Auto Care machine made contact with Campolito sending him sideways. The out of shape Campolito hit the dirt low on the track, slid through the infield and took out several cars as competitors tried to scramble to avoid the wreck. Involved were both of Campolito’s teammates Jeff Taylor and Gary Whipkey. While Taylor and Whipkey were able to continue without much incident, Campolito was done with a broken ball joint and upper control arm. On the restart, Doug Sommers overtook Smith and Smith battled with Jesse Adams. Adams and Smith made contact on the back stretch sending Smith head on into the wall, almost flipping the #43 of Smith. Smith was done and Adams had his car towed in too far. While Adams restarted in 2nd to Sommers, he was quickly overtaken by Whipkey. Whipkey, who was quiet in his quest to the front, passed Sommers with two laps to go and won the event. Not only did he get to flash a smile in victory lane, but he got to show off his new firesuit that he and Jeff Taylor got last week.

The final event of the night was the Modifieds won by Dave Dobbins. With the track looking nicer from the hard racing all night, all eyes turned to the points battle yet again. Dave Dobbins led John White by 46 points, but the lead was shrinking. With recent success by John White and his #17 Moon’s Auto Recycling machine, and the recent slew of bad luck on Dobbins’s part, the points battle was heating up. Dobbins knew that a win in his #53 D&K Oil Field Modified would swing the pendulum of momentum in his favor once again in his quest for his first championship.

When the green flag flew, Mick Macko and Bernard Mcquillen brought the large field to green and the competitors showed that the track was racey. Three and even four wide open wheel racing amazed fans and put a cap on the night’s excitement. Sadly, with excitement can come disaster and early wrecks took a lot of competitors out. One such was pre-race favorite Shawn Lewis. With a broken suspension part, his #43 Automotive Electric machine was done. While competitors went pitside, Dave Dobbins quietly positioned himself in a spot that had been all too familiar. He was up to first with a fast Bryce Allensworth in 2nd. Allensworth and Dobbins waged a fierce battle for the top spot when the race resumed, and Dobbins kept the lead. While they slugged it out for the lead, 3rd place driver Sam Bigham stayed in contention to capitalize if either driver made a mistake. The three drivers duked it out, but Dobbins found another gear with five laps to go and began to stretch his lead. He took the win by multiple car lengths and won the feature. This was his fourth of the year. His best season has seen him in Summit Racing victory lane five times meaning one more win ties that record.

FINISHING ORDERS: (*Denotes Heat/Dash win)

1-Mason Surgener (42)
2-Steve Mitch (34)
3-Killian McMann (18)
4- Ryan Gardner (88)
5-Ryan Likens (14)
6-Ryan Bille (29)
7-Madison Lengyel (51)*

1-Dan Shively (27)
2-Anthony Price (24)*
3-Austin Tapia (17)
4-Chris Breads (01)
5-Derik Gacom (20)

1-Sheldon Sommers (37)
2-Alyson Smith (12)*
3-Chase Skeens (93)
4-Sierra Stewart (13)
5-Dustin Wyckoff (38)
6-Randy Cecil (59)
7-Tim Likens (14)
8-Brandon Donley (1)
9-Chris Kennedy (317)
10-Billy Miller (75)
11-Will Scott (72)
12-Paul Mangum Jr. (69)
13-Melvin Martin (68)*
14-Mike Scott (117)
15-Paul Mangum III (11)

Street Stocks:
1-Cyler Bertram (55)
2-Ron Miller (83)*
3-Jim Raines III (100)
4-Gary Hoopingarner (68)
5-Jeff Mundell (50)
6-Tim Schmitt Jr. (42)
7-Nicole Hrdlicka (53)
8-Tom Powell (79)
9-Robert Summers (47)

Late Models:
1-Gary Whipkey (59)
2-Doug Sommers (3)*
3-Jesse Adams (1)
4-Jeff Taylor (39)
5-Dave Martin (3)
6-Larry Baker (6)
7-Roger Smith (43)
8-Dino Campolito (83)

1-Dave Dobbins (53)*
2-Bryce Allensworth (21)
3-Sam Bigham (60)
4-Bob Sibila (82)
5-John White (17)
6-Wayne Mounts (64)
7-Christian Bailey (37)
8-Bernard Mcquillen (45)*
9-Mick Macko (83)
10-Shawn Lewis (43)
11-Mike Walsh (22)
12-Doug Mate (14)

Photos contributed by Bill McKinney and Christie Hrdlicka.