For Immediate Release

BARBERTON SPEEDWAY: Four races remained. That meant that in order to turn the 2019 season from good to great, drivers in all divisions at Barberton Speedway only had four opportunities to win, finish well, make up points, or simply add to their career stats. In the battle for the points championship, there was an added pressure on drivers to make up points on their fellow competitors. In the battle for winning, there was even more pressure. Drivers not in the points battle wanted to get a win or add more wins before the final checkered flag fell. Because of this, drivers worked extra diligently to make sure their machines were ready!

The first division on hand was the Compact division and the feature was won by Tim Farrar. Going into the night, Farrar had amassed a large sum of points over his closest competition which was Doug Sommers. Sommers answered the challenge by qualifying well and winning the fast heat over Farrar. While the gains were small, any little bit can help as racing is unpredictable. This meant that if Farrar wanted to make up lost ground, he would need to beat Sommers. If Sommers wanted to chip in, he had to beat Farrar. These two heavyweights were poised to go toe to toe this week, and they did!

When the race started, Tim Likens and Sierra Stewart brought the field to speed. Stewart would pass Likens and lead the first four laps until she would get passed by Farrar, who was moving through the field in his #59 NAPA Neon. Farrar began leading when the race’s first caution fell for a spin by Stewart and Dustin Wyckoff. Because Stewart had to change a tire and fell back and Wyckoff pulled off, this moved Sheldon Sommers from fourth place up to second. On the ensuing restart, began battling side by side for the next ten laps. They thrilled fans as they never gave an inch and battled hard. While they put on a show up front, positions and hard battles behind them made the race exciting in all areas of the track. Unfortunately, a battle for position near the middle of the pack sent Mike Tulley spinning and Melvin Martin T-boning Tulley. This drew the race’s second and final yellow. Farrar and Sheldon Sommers were suddenly not the only two battling for the lead. The elder Doug was right there in the mix and knew what to do to help his big for a championship. Farrar and the duo of Sommers battled over the race’s final several laps with Sheldon even getting an advantage on Farrar. But when it was all said and done, Farrar was able to squirt past Sheldon and extended his lead in lap traffic. He would pick up the feature and pad his points lead.

Cyler Bertram won the Street Stock feature. After a season were Bertram had poor luck, the young driver went on a tear shortly after midseason. He had won two races in a row up until this point and had began to gain a nice points lead over Gary Hoopingarner. With Hoopingarner cutting into the points lead slightly with the dash win, the pressure was on Bertram. Would he lose some of his lead in the feature to Hoopingarner, or would he make up some lost ground?

The feature started with an all-female front row with Lindsey Fade and Nicole Hrdlicka bringing the field to green. Hrdlicka would pass Fade and lead up until the race’s first yellow just three laps in. On the restart, Hrdlicka would be passed by Rick Jones and Jeff Mundell. Jones and Mundell battled hard for the lead until the race had to go red for a hard wreck involving Tim Schmitt, Hrdlicka, and Lee Bonnell near lap eight. While all three cars and drivers were okay, the cleanup had been the factor that stopped the field. On the restart, Cyler Bertram grabbed the lead from Mundell and Jones and he began to lead laps. Several yellows for spins and mechanical failures near halfway kept the field close to Bertram and drivers like Mundell and Jeff Kuykendall both took shots at passing him for the lead. While Kuykendall stalked the tire tracks of Bertram, a yellow for a blown engine from Tim Likens with six laps to go resulted in yet another cleanup. On the ensuing restart, Bertram used a cleaner lower line to gain an advantage on Kuykendall. He held off a couple challenges from Kuykendall and took home his third win in a row.

The Modified division saw Dave Dobbins match his best season with a fifth win. With him leading the points over John White, the duo thrilled fans with their on track battles! John White took the dash win over Dobbins in a photo finish so fans were excited to see if this would happen yet again! Dobbins and White had plenty of competition so the battle would not just be a two-man deal. Rather, it was anyone’s race and fans were thrilled to see the field of competitive hard racing, ground pounding Modifieds pull onto the Batberton Speedway Racing surface!

The race started with Jeff Fade and Wayne Mounts on the front row. Fade would be joined by teammate Chad Lemmerman quickly as Lemmerman leapfrogged from fourth to second in the first lap. The duo ran side by side until they made contact and drew a caution. Lemmerman went to the tail and Fade restarted with Mounts and Shawn Lewis right on his tail. Lewis would get second place from Mounts but could not get his car to stick on the high side of Fade. He would lose second to Dobbins on lap ten and watched as Dobbins and Fade began to slug it out for the lead. Dobbins was able to pass Fade off of turn two and took the lead. Over the next five laps, Dobbins amassed a large lead which was nearly the entire back stretch. While he looked to have the race put away, John White had scraped and battled his way from almost dead last to second and had Dobbins in his crosshairs. He would slowly begin reeling in Dobbins and was to his back bumper with seven laps to go. A final yellow waved for a spin near the back and White and Dobbins were on the front row. Dobbins got the advantage over White and led him through the final few laps. Dave Dobbins took the win and John White finished less than a car length away from Dobbins.

The final race of the night was the Late Model division and Dino Campolito took the win after managing the entire race. While he owned the race, he had quite some competition as points leader Doug Sommers was looking to win and add more points to his already large points lead. Teammate Jeff Taylor also looked quite sporty and was quite a factor. Seasoned veteran Bryan Baker, subbing for Roger Smith looked to redeem his performance from last week which saw him wreck out. These four drivers all had a common goal: Win!

The race started with Dave Martin and Campolito on the front row. Campolito would take the lead from Martin and stretched out his lead to nearly half of a lap. While this feature looked to go the same way as the last one with a driver checking out, a battle was brewing. Sommers had worked from nearly last and worked his way to second place. When flagman Ed Tenney displayed the halfway flags, Sommers had already began to cut into Campolito’s lead. After five laps, Sommers was right on Campolito’s tail. They duked it out for the lead and fans rose from their seat and cheered the duo on. Sommers attempted to pass Campolito on the bottom but couldn’t seem to get drive off of the corner. He would try high, low again, entering the corner shallow, throwing it through the corner, and everything else he had amassed in his nearly 30 year career to try and dethrone Campolito from the lead but it couldn’t work. With a lap to go, Campolito missed the entry into turn three opening the door for Sommers. Sommers would try to drag race Campolito off of turn four but nearly spun out as the car lost grip. Campolito would win a wild Late Model race. In victory lane, he invited a young superfan named Layla down into the winners’ circle. She had been cheering and jumping up and down the entire race and Campolito wanted to make sure her fun night at the races was capped off with a picture and a high-five in the winners’ circle.

Article and Pictures provided by Bill McKinney and Christie Hrdlicka

FINISHING ORDER (*Heat Winner)

Compacts:
1- Tim Farrar
2- Sheldon Sommers
3- Doug Sommers*
4- Scott Kitchen
5- Alyson Smith
6- Chuck Scott
7- Mike Tulley*
8- Brian Miller
9- Sierra Stewart
10- Melvin Martin
11- Tim Likens
12- Billy Miller
13- Todd Daniels
14- Chad Greenland
15- Dustin Wyckoff
16- Rick Price
17- Chase Skeens
18- Paul Mangum (DNS)

Street Stocks:
1- Cyler Bertram
2- Jeff Kuykendall
3- Tim Schmitt
4- Gary Hoopingarner*
5- Lee Bonnell*
6- Rick Jones
7- Lindsey Fade
8- Tom Powell
9- Jeff Mundell
10- Tim Likens
11- Nicole Hrdlicka
12- Tom Early

Modifieds:
1- Dave Dobbins
2- John White*
3- Shawn Lewis
4- Jeff Fade*
5- Barnard McQuillen
6- Wayne Mounts
7- Mike Walsh
8- Ron Ridenour
9- Chad Lemmerman
10- Doug Mate
11- Roger Miller

Late Models:
1- Dino Campolito
2-Doug Sommers*
3- Bryan Baker
4- Jeff Taylor
5- Jeff Walker
6- Dave Martin
7- Larry Baker
8- Rick Grudie