For Immediate release:

Article and pictures contributed by Bill McKinney and Christie Hrdlicka.

With everything that mother nature threw at the track this season from viruses, to excruciating heat, to rainouts, Greg Prunty and his team at Barberton Speedway decided to roll the dice on today’s racing program. With rain in the forecast for much of the early morning, it appeared that as long as it didn’t rain out so much that the track was lost, racing could happen. Thankfully mother nature complied and allowed the racers that made the call to race. And as the Four Seasons sung back in 1975, Oh what a night it was!

On hand first was the Bandolero division and Ayden Kitchen got the night’s momentum of excitement going. With many competitors taking a week off to either repair their motors, or run in the Charlotte Bojangles Shootout, fans were surprised to see only two competitors make the call in Kitchen, and points leader Ryan Gardner. Gardner, the odds-on favorite and season points leader, had recorded two wins and a 2nd place finish in three starts and he had swept the preliminary heat races up until this point. Kitchen, on the other hand, was still battling handling throughout much of hotlaps. Regardless, two competitors were here, a storyline was here, and the race was on. When the green flag flew, the duo started side-by-side and raced for destiny. Kitchen was able to get good bite down in the shaded and gripper turn’s one and two and pulled Gardner by five car lengths. Gardner did not back down and began tracking Kitchen down. On lap two, just as Gardner was to attempt the lead in the slightly slipperier turns three and four, the rear of his car broke loose. Gardner spun, gathered his #88 up, and he and Kitchen got ready to keep going. On the restart, Kitchen once again pulled Gardner in turns one and two. Gardner would catch him in three and four. And that was how the race went on, two drivers duking it out with two different skillsets, and two different ends of the track to their liking. Fans watched as Kitchen and Gardner duked it out in an old school cat-and-mouse style shootout. Coming to the checkers, Gardner tried one more shot high in turn three and four, but it was to no avail. Ayden Kitchen crossed the line first and showed the racing world that it isn’t over until it’s over.

The Legends were on deck, and much like the Bandoleros, many were sitting idle due to repairs or the Charlotte Shootout, but that didn’t stop Mr. Consistency Aaron Mulrooney who made it four wins in four starts. When the green flag flew, Mulrooney didn’t waste any time. From his last place starting position, Mulrooney quickly passed Derik Gacom, Chris Breads, and Chuck Witt. He then worked past the pole sitters Hogan Zigerelli and Bill Lyden to take the lead before lap three. From there, Mulrooney was on a Sunday drive. As he racked off laps at near qualifying speeds, the field behind him could only watch as Mulrooney’s #2 got smaller in the windshield, and bigger (for some) in their mirrors as he began to lap Lyden and Zigerelli. Near the front, Breads and Gacom began to slug it out for 2nd on track. Breads had it and Gacom wanted it. Much like the feature before, the duo had their areas of the track they were good at and areas where they were not, making for a good battle. Fans could focus on Mulrooney’s rocket-like run and then tune in to the slugfeat for 2nd. Aaron Mulrooney took the win by nearly three quarters of a lap while Derik Gacom was able to use some late-race trickery to best Breads for second.

Up next was the street stock division and the feature was won by modified ace Preston Walker after an absolute grueling race. When the green flag flew, Walker quickly passed Rookie of the Year candidate Gerald Altizer for the lead. Walker appeared to have an easy Sunday drive going much like Mulrooney did the feature before. While he began leading, the competitors began to settle into their own rhythm. Cyler Bertram, last year’s champion, worked forward and set his sights on Walker. Altizer sat in third, and Rich Satola, making his first start of the year, was fourth. Jeff Mundell in his ‘Bud’ Crum throwback was fifth but battling an issue with the rear end and pulled off after six laps. This left a quartet to settle the race out. For much of the race, it was clean and green. Satola would pull off a little after halfway with presumed overheating issues and Altizer would break with three laps to go drawing the race’s first yellow. This left two competitors on track for a three-lap shootout. When the race restarted, the battle got downright grueling as Bertram attempted a bump and run on the Walker machine. He would lead that lap but Walker would retaliate for the aggressive move the following lap. Walker pushed Bertram clear into the infield. Bertram got sideways, spun up toward the wall, corrected without making contact, spun through the infield and came to rest in turn two with a flat left rear tire. His crew quickly changed his tire and the duo were re-racked for a two-lap dash. Once again, Walker got the jump on last year’s champion, but Bertram tried the bump and run again in turn three. This time, the bump was a little too ‘intentional’ and the track deemed that the racing was getting out of hand. Officials black flagged Bertram for the aggressive driving and handed the win presumably to Walker. Walker would note that he did not quite enjoy how the outcome came to be, even if he was the benefactor of the call. He would take the trophy, but several sources stated that he apparently was handed a penalty in post-race tech for a small infraction regarding rules. If this is true, then this could hand the win to Altizer who was third. While I can not confirm or deny either reports, Walker loaded up with the trophy and pay for 1st so I would assume that he was still the winner for the division. If this changes, I will be sure to update the article and lineup.

Up next was the Modified division and Bryce Allensworth took the win over a heavyweight allstar field. With the drama of the street stocks becoming a memory, fans were relieved to see some honest racing with minimal issues on track. Joey Miller brought the field to green next to Nathan McCauley. McCauley took the lead and began to log laps out front of Miller. After four laps of green, Miller broke loose off of turn four trying to pass McCauley and would spin into the infield. McCauley would restart as the leader but quickly would be passed by the #57 of Tyler Knuckles. Knuckles appeared to have quite a fast hot rod as he began to log laps in clean air while the field wrestled for positions. One such driver to win the wrestling match was none other than ‘Storming’ Norm Taylor. Taylor found himself second and had his heat seekers set on Knuckles. Taylor attempted to make the pass on Knuckles in turn three, but the duo made contact. Knuckles got loose but went around after trying to spike the gas to keep it strait and both he and Taylor were sent to the rear as both parties had some fault in the incident. This meant that third place driver John White and his ex-teammate from last year Doug Mate who was fourth would start on the front row. White jumped out front to the lead and Mate would fall back to third as Allensworth had made his way up from almost dead last to quietly slip into second. Allensworth’s quite charge ignited and he set his sights on White. The duo got side by side off of turn two just before halfway and Allensworth was able to muscle his way past White in turn three and four for the lead. White kept chase and the duo battled it out for several more laps until the handling appeared to leave White’s car. Allensworth began to pull away and White found himself in the clutches of Mate and Norm Taylor, who had worked from last to third. With a lap to go, Taylor went high of White and was able to get alongside of him. Allensworth, several car lengths out front, would take the win as Norm Taylor would beat White by mere inches!

Jeff Taylor began the 2010 decade with a points championship and ended the decade with a season championship race win. Now in a new decade, he sat fourth in points, just 39 out of the lead of his teammate Gary Whipkey. After today, Taylor not only took home both the heat and feature wins but also made up some crucial points on teammate/points leader Gary Whipkey and 2nd in points Jesse Adams (with Tony Urdiales as sub) encountered issues early in the day. When the green flag flew for the field, Larry Baker brought the field to speed. Baker’s lead would last a couple laps until Taylor would pass Baker on the outside. Taylor began to check out while Roger Smith worked into second on track. Smith, just 14 markers out of the points lead was also the benefactor of today’s events as he had finished 2nd in the heat and set respectably fast times in hotlaps. Smith’s quiet pursuit of the points lead was helped by his arrival into 2nd on track for the feature. He began to set his sights on Jeff Taylor but it appeared that the gap that Taylor had amassed was too much to overcome. But just as Taylor appeared to have the win put away, Smith began to settle into a rhythm and ever so slightly began to catch Taylor. Lap after lap Smith would chip away at the lead, but it appeared that there was just too much ground to cover in too little time. Jeff Taylor took home the win and the bounty of points while Smith would get 2nd. Smith’s good run may just be enough to give him the points lead (by a slim margin over Taylor). A multi-time track champion, yet another championship would ignite talks of Smith getting into the hall of fame.

Finally, it was time for the final feature, and Sheldon Sommers racked off yet another professional drive in the compact division. When the green flag flew, Dustin Wyckoff took the lead from pole over Chris Kennedy. Wyckoff, the only Chevy driver to not have an ecotech motor in his car, held his own against the torrid of competitors for several laps. Just as it appeared that Wyckoff could start to settle into a rhythm and play offense, Kennedy got a monster run over Wyckoff and sped to the lead. Kennedy would lead two laps until he would get passed by Mike “Great” Scott. Scott would lead Kennedy and the evening’s heat winner Kenny Betts for several laps until his car lost power down the back stretch. Scott would relinquish the lead to Kennedy yet again. Kennedy appeared to have a career night going as he led Betts and his teammate Sheldon Sommers. The momentum changed quickly just before halfway as Betts lost 2nd to Sommers. Sheldon set his sights on Kennedy and quickly would make the race-winning pass for the lead just as the Ed Bailey halfway flags were displayed. Sommers set sail while Betts, Kennedy, Cody Collmar, and Dennis Garrett all slugged it out for position behind him. Collmar would muscle past everyone for 2nd and attempted to wrangle Sommers in. Much like the feature before, it was just too much distance to cover and too little time to do it. Collmar could only watch as Sommers lapped fellow competitors and left Collmar, Garrett, Kennedy and Betts to settle it out for 2nd. Sommers would take the win and Collmar, and Garrett would finish 2-3 with Kennedy barely edging Betts out for fourth.

 

RESULTS: (*Denotes dash/heat win)

Bandoleros:

  1. Ayden Kitchen
  2. Ryan Gardner*

Legends:

  1. Aaron Mulrooney*
  2. Derik Gacom
  3. Chris Breads
  4. Chuck Witt
  5. Hogan Zigerelli
  6. Bill Lyden

Street Stocks:

  1. Preston Walker
  2. Gerald Altizer
  3. Rich Satola
  4. Jeff Mundell
  5. Cyler Bertram*
  6. Jeff Kuykendall (DNS)

Modifieds:

  1. Bryce Allensworth
  2. Norm Taylor*
  3. John White
  4. Doug Mate*
  5. Bob Sibila
  6. Lucas Ripley
  7. Mike Walsh
  8. Joey Miller
  9. Sam Bigham
  10. Nathan McCauley
  11. Tyler Knuckles
  12. Todd Ripley
  13. Shawn Lewis

Late Models:

  1. Jeff Taylor*
  2. Roger Smith
  3. Larry Baker
  4. Jeff Walker
  5. Dave Martin
  6. Gary Whipkey (DNS)
  7. Tony Urdiales (DNS) (Sub for Jesse Adams)

Compacts:

  1. Sheldon Sommers
  2. Cody Collmar
  3. Dennis Garrett
  4. Chris Kennedy
  5. Kenney Betts*
  6. Dustin Wyckoff
  7. Paul Mangum (Sub for Don Howe)
  8. Chad Greenland
  9. Jerry Ward
  10. Bill Miller Sr.*
  11. Brian Miller
  12. Mike Scott
  13. Billy Miller (DNS)
  14. Sierra Stewart (DNS)
  15. Scott Kitchen (DNS)
  16. Cheston Collmar (DNS)