It took two days, thanks to mother nature, but the 2019 Ohio Invitational presented by the Rolling Thunder Ohio Chapter II is in the record books. DLP Commercial Maintenance Qualifying and Heat races took place on Sunday evening before dangerous lightning moved in about 7pm. The stands were cleared and the event was delayed until about 7:30, when the skies opened up. So, Monday it was!! And what exciting event from start to finish.
The first race to hit the 3/10 mile oval was the Outlaw Super Late Model’s for their 60 lap, $2000 to win Feature. A.P Ren in the #577 and Rich Rohrer in the #7 brought the field down to Chief Starter Terry Colletti’s green flag. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s all about quality and not quantity! The forecast kept a few machines away, but that didnt mean we had a boring race. Rohrer scooted out to the lead with Brandon Short in the #18 and fastest qualifier Emerson Huffman in the #90 following in his tire tracks. On lap 2, Bud Perry in the #10 took over fourth, as Ren slid backwards in his brand new ride. On lap 7, Huffman dropped to the bottom of Short to take over second and Perry followed him thru to third. Huffman was all over the rear decklid of the black #7. It looked like Rohrer was struggling with front grip coming off the corners. Huffman continued to try to find a way around. On lap 12, George Riddle in the #0 was able to take over 5th from Ren. On lap 17, Perry got loose off turn two and Short took advantage, moving to second. A lap later, the two switched again, as Perry took second back. The first caution flew on lap 21, as Ren looped his machine off turn four. On the restart, Huffman got sideways off turn two and spun, as he battled Rohrer for the lead. That put Bud to the outside of Ritchie for the restart. After a few hard fought laps, Rohrer prevailed in the bottom lane, as Perry settled in behind. Bob Schneider Jr in the #17, moved up to the 4th spot, around Riddle. At the halfway point, The front three were nose to tail, with Schneider about 7-8 car lengths back. Huffman would be forced pit side with a rear end issue. On lap 33, Short was able to pass Perry for second in traffic. Two laps later, Perry shot back into second with a power move into turn one on the inside. This was the point where Perry knew it was time to go. He started to really pressure Rohrer. The future Midvale Hall of Famer and the All-time wins leader in the Main Event Outlaw Tour, was using all of his experience to hold Perry off. Perry had a good run to the outside of Rohrer and he got along side. The two battled hard. Perry had a fender alongside on lap 44, but slipped in turn two. The car went up the hill and he made contact with the back straightaway wall, bringing out the second caution and ending the night for Smokin’ Bud. On the restart, Rohrer and Short battled side by side with Schneider and his “the little crate motor that could”, right with them. On lap 46, the 3rd and final caution waved as Short made contact with the left rear quarter panel of Rohrer, sending him around. Short admitted fault and went to the tail. Rohrer had a bad tire rub under caution and many wondered if the Left Rear American Racer tire would hang on. As the green waved, Rohrer jumped back out front as Short got by Ren and Schneider to take second back. With 10 to go, the Rookie was making the Veteran work hard out front. Short looked high and low. Rohrer made his car wide but still fast. As the laps wound down, one of the winningest drivers in Midvale Speedway history, did something he hasnt done in a very long time. Win two features in a row. Rohrer would hold on to make his second trip to Naak Tuning Victory Lane, in 9 days. Following the Canton OH driver in the Esber Beverage, Miller Lite and Black Diamond Earthworks sponsored #7, was Short, Schneider, Ren and Bob “The Animal” Eichel.
The next Feature to pull onto the Speedway was the $1500 to win OPEN Modified 50 lapper. Prior to the green flag, Scott Archer in the #28 had oil issues and had to give up his 4th starting spot, ending his afternoon before it even got started. The #0 of Lucas Ripley and the #66 of Tyler Knuckles brought the field down for the start. Ripley would lead lap 1 with Knuckles hanging on in the high lane. On lap 2, “The Big Dawg” was clear out front with Knuckles, TJ Stineman in the #37 and the #20 of Brad Copen following behind. As the front three started to pull away just a little bit from Copen in 4th, Todd Ripley in the #00 was moving up from his 8th starting spot, taking over 6th on lap 7. The first caution flew on lap 13 as the #86 of Zach Miller spun off turn two. Under caution, Bryce Allensworth in the #21 was checked for possible fluid coming from his machine. He was indeed leaking fuel and was sent pit side to correct the issue. Officials determined that the fluid from Allensworth was the cause of the Miller spin, so he was given his spot back. On the restart, Lucas was able to take the top spot with Knuckles and Stineman right behind. On lap 15, Todd moved to 4th, with an outside pass of Copen and Kenny Phillips in the #15, who had problems in qualifying and had to start 22nd, cracked the top 10. The second and final caution flew on lap 16, as the #10 of Nathan Embree got into the back of Copen, sending him spinning. Embree had some right front damage and was done for the day. Knuckles had another shot at the restart, but again Lucas was too strong. Todd in the #00, slipped off turn two, allowing Copen to take back 4th for a moment. On lap 18, Todd shot back past on the outside. At the halfway point, the front four were all nose to tail as fastest qualifier Doug Meyer in the #31, moved up to 5th, after starting 10th. On lap 30, Stineman was able to squeeze under Knuckles for second. After a three lap battle, Stineman took the spot. Phillips was impressively ripping through the field. He was up to 6th and catching the top 5 by lap 36. With 10 to go, Stineman was all over Lucas, but the two started to put some distance between themselves and Knuckles. With less than 6 laps to go, Stineman got all the way alongside Lucas off turn two. They made contact, getting both of them out of shape. Stineman was able to gather his car up first and he took over the lead. “The Big Dawg” tried to run him back down, but this one belonged to TJ. Completing the top 5 behind the LaGrange OH driver in the Young & McCarthy, Direct Detail, D&S Color Supply and 137 Race Cars sponsored #37, was Lucas, Todd, Meyer and Knuckles.
The OPEN Compacts were next to hit the Speedway for their 25 lap Feature. Mike McDonald in the #16 was scheduled to start on the pole, but he couldnt make it back for day 2, so Kyle Finlayson substituted, but had to start at the rear. That put Billy Hilliker in his new #27 and Don Rufener Jr in the #7 on the front row. Hilliker led the opening circuit as Noah Patterson in the #8 pulled along side Ruefner for second. Toby Cook in the #41 and the #19 of Clayton Oliver were side by side for 4th. On lap 3, Patterson was able to clear Rufener and Hilliker to take the top spot, bringing Cook with him to second and Oliver to 3rd. On lap 4, Dan Buckey in the #69 was able to take 4th away from Hilliker. On lap 6, Oliver was able to work his way around Cook for second, to put the team cars 1 and 2. On lap 7, Buckey took over third from Cook as fastest qualifier Brent Shreffler in the #24, took over 5th from his 12th starting spot. By lap 13, Shreffler was up to third behind the Crislip Motorsports duo. Shreffler was able to split the duo just prior to the only caution on lap 14, as Hilliker spun in turn four. On the restart, Shreffler was able to shoot out to the lead and set sail. On lap 17, Oliver was able to take second away from Patterson, but Shreffler was long gone. Rounding out the top 5 behind the New Philadelphia OH driver in the Canton Auto Salvage, Bowling’s Used Cars, About Your Comfort Pest Control, Shutterbug Photography by Dana, Stock Boarding Kennels, Finlayson Towing and Paw Print Vinyls sponsored #24 was Oliver, Buckey, Patterson and Bart Busby, subbing for Mike Stuber.
The final Feature of the day was for the 40 lap Vanmeter Auto Repair Modified’s. The #99 of Derek Grewell and the #65 of Dan Harding led the field down for the start. Harding would lead lap 1 by a nose. He got high in turns 3 and 4 on lap 2, allowing Grewell to slip by to lead the lap. Rick Sibila in the #02 would get to the outside of Grewell and after a few hard fought laps, he took over the race lead, bringing Ryan Tedesco in the #27 and the #3 of Jeff Dunfee III with him. On lap 6, Tedesco was able to make the outside move on Sibila for the lead. The first yellow waved on lap 7, as the #331 of Mike Stone spun in turn two. After a quick spin by Jerry Devore in the #4 on the restart, Tedesco would lead with Sibila tucked in behind. The #66 of Rookie Louis McGrath was able to make the outside pass of Dunfee for the 3rd and a lap later, he took second from Sibila. Tedesco was able to build up a small gap, while McGrath battled to get to second. On lap 12, McGrath got high in turn four and almost hit the outside wall, but was able to hang on to second. A lap later, he got high again. This time, he was able to keep it off the wall, but speared the #55 of Brandon Bailey in the right rear. That sent Bailey head on into the front straightaway wall, collecting several cars. The #87 of Zack Leasure and Bailey were done for the afternoon. Doug McMillen in the #54, Bob Page in the #67 and McGrath all went pit side to repair damage as Fastest qualifier Phillip Cox in the #09, Kevin McClintock in the #38 and Bill Aubihl in the #31 were able to continue with minor damage. On the restart, the scariest incident of the day and maybe of the year, took place. Aubihl entered turn one and it appeared as if his throttle stuck. He pounded the turn two concrete, sending him up on 2 wheels. He then impacted the yuke tires and the end of the wall at the pit entrance. After several minutes, Aubihl climbed from his destroyed machine and walked to the ambulance. He was taken to a local hospital for observation and at the time this story was posted, he was run through a battery of tests and everything checked out ok. We are all glad he was uninjured and just very sore. After a lengthy cleanup, Tedesco restarted with Sibila alongside. Tedesco was able to continue in the lead with McClintock moving into second. On lap 15, Cox was able to move into 3rd, bringing Dunfee and Stone with him. McClintock filled up the mirror of the #27, looking high and low, trying to pick up his first win of 2019. But on lap 27, the left front suspension broke from the contact he received in the lap 13 accident, ending his day. Cox was able to close the gap on Tedesco in the closing laps, but this 40 lapper belonged to the future Midvale Hall of Famer. Following the T & S Mowing and South Philly Pizza #27 was Cox, Dunfee III, Stone and Sibila.
THANK YOU to all the Driver’s, Team’s, Official’s, Volunteers, Track Crew and FANS for sticking out the two days with us. You guys put on a whale of a show!
Also a HUGE THANK YOU to Young & McCarthy and 137 Race Cars for boosting the purse for the OSLM and OPEN Modified Features and to the FANS for purchasing Laps!!
Coming up this Saturday Night is Mini Truck Season Championship Night and the Wild and Crazy Skid Plate Race presented by Canton Auto Salvage and Finlayson Towing. All 5 regular Divisions will be in action.
-Story by Chris Kail
Outlaw Super Late Model’s
DLP Commercial Maintenance Fast Time: Emerson Huffman 13.447
60 Lap Ohio Invitational: Rich Rohrer, Brandon Short, Bob Schneider Jr, A.P Ren, Bob “The Animal” Eichel, George Riddle, Bud Perry, Emerson Huffman, Korey Herron. DNS – Tony Urdiales
DLP Commercial Maintenance Fast Time: Doug Meyer 14.367
Heat 1: Spencer Stineman, Rick Groetsch, TJ Stineman, Rick Elkins Jr, Doug Meyer
Heat 2: Zach Miller, Dave Dobbins, JR Webb, Brad Copen, Sam Bigham, Tyler Knuckles
Heat 3: Kenny Phillips, Jason Drew, Greg Miller, Brent Vallee Jr, Cristian Bailey, Tom Moran, Brian Whetnall, Bob Sibila Jr
50 Lap Feature: TJ, Lucas, Todd, Meyer, Knuckles, Phillips, Elkins Jr, Copen, Dobbins, Sibila Jr, Zach, Bigham, Spencer, Greg, Moran, Groetsch, Allensworth, Drew, Bailey, Embree, Vallee Jr. DNS – Archer, Webb, Whetnall, Brandon Bailey
Vanmeter Auto Repair Modified’s
DLP Commercial Maintenance Fast Time: Phillip Cox 14.744
Heat 1: Bob Page, Jeff Dunfee III, Doug McMillen, Kevin McClintock, Brandon Bailey, Phillip Cox, Mike Stone
Heat 2: Dan Harding, Rick Sibila, Ryan Tedesco, Derek Grewell, Zack Leasure, Louis McGrath, Brandon France
Heat 3: Trey Williams, Jerry Devore, Marty Powers, Bobby Devore II, Bill Aubihl, Don Rufener III
40 Lap Feature: Tedesco, Cox, Dunfee III, Stone, Sibila, France, McMillen, Page, Harding, Powers, Jerry, Grewell, Rufener III, Bobby, Williams, McClintock, McGrath, Aubihl, Bailey, Leasure
DLP Commercial Maintenance Fast Time: Brent Shreffler 17.152
Heat 1: Toby Cook, Clayton Oliver, Dan Buckey, Mike Stuber, Gavin Roup, Brent Shreffler, Don Rufener III, Curtis Finlayson, William Custer, Eugene Kopp
Heat 2: Billy Hilliker, Don Rufener Jr, Noah Patterson, Allen Clark, Mike McDonald, Kaitlyn Ridenour, Shawn Donnalley, Larry Ennis Jr
25 Lap Feature: Shreffler, Oliver, Buckey, Patterson, Bart Busby, Rufener Jr, Cook, Curtis, Kyle Finlayson, Eugene Kopp, Clark, Roup, Hilliker, Custer, Donnalley, Rufener III, Ennis Jr