For Immediate Release

BARBERTON OHIO: 2020 has been an emotional challenge for many. Between disease, issues both national and local, and just an overall sense of longing for good times, another tough hand was dealt to many when news broke early Thursday of legendary Scott Baker’s passing to Cancer. Baker supplied advise, cars, parts, and help to many drivers and was THE guy to go to when something seemed off. A tough racer in his own right, Baker was someone that was almost unbeatable. If you were able to beat him, your season was made! Running second to Scott didn’t mean you lost, it meant you got to follow THE guy who knew every Ohio track like his own family. Scott wasn’t only tough, but a sportsman, never driving into risky territory around his competitors. While he will be dearly missed, fans and drivers knew that today’s racing program was for him! Many of tonight’s winners in both heats and features made sure to dedicate their wins to Scott. Many racers had special stickers on their car showing support for Scott and others held up four fingers as Scott ran the #4 car throughout most of his career. A moment of silence was noted and many fans had special little memorial traditions set up for Scott, like holding up four fingers on lap four.

After driving four hours from Michigan to a track that he had never been on, Eric Wisniewski took home the Bandolero win over a hungry Ryan Gardner. When the green flag flew for the field of Bandoleros, Ryan Likens and Ayden Kitchen (fresh off of his first ever win) brought the field to speed. Kitchen got the initial jump on Likens but lost control of his car, sending him spinning in front of the field. Everyone missed him to the relief of the fans. Likens restarted the race as the leader and would go on to lead the first four circuits. Behind him was Wisniewski and Gardner. On lap five, Wisniewski went low off of turn two and Gardner went to the extreme high side and the duo split Likens down the back stretch. The three-wide display of driving acrobatics stunned fans and cheers could be heard as the three kids gave it everything they had for the lead. Going into turn three, Wisniewski took the lead and Gardner fell back as Likens in 2nd and Kitchen in 3rd were able to sneak away. Gardner had work to do. As points leader, it’s worth it to finish races, but winning is even better! With a couple laps to go, Kitchen passed Likens for 2nd and Gardner followed suit in 3rd. The next lap saw Gardner pass Kitchen, who would spin after getting into the marbles made by the bigger cars. No harm, no foul, but a restart with only a couple laps left met that fans got to see if the division points leader could pull off the ultimate comeback from last to first, or if the ultimate underdog story would unfold. The final few laps saw Gardner using every line to pass Wisniewski, but it was to no avail for the points leader. Wisniewski took home the win and Gardner finished a close 2nd.

Aaron Mulrooney got his kicks driving for six wins in a row after he took home the Legend feature. Joining elite company with drivers like Mark Lushes, Pappy Miller, Scott Baker and a couple others in winning six in a row, Mulrooney showed that he might just be unbeatable this season. When the green flag flew, Chuck Witt led Chris Breads and company to green. Austin Tapia would quickly get past both drivers before long and take the lead. Being second in points meant that Tapia bringing home a win would begin to eat away at Mulrooney’s advantage. While Tapia led, Mulrooney quietly bided his time. Passing Witt and Breads, he sat in 2nd and began to see how he was going to set Tapia up. A couple laps before halfway, Mulrooney saw his opening. Going low in turn three, he got inside of Tapia and took the lead. With the electrical issues of last week a distant memory, Mulrooney poured on the coal and set sail for the win. He would end up winning by a significant margin over Tapia.

The Barberton portion of the Compact feature was won by multi-time track champion and 2020 points leader Sheldon Sommers. With the announcement that there would be a full field invert, this meant that Sommers’s fast time meant he had to start last and work his way up through the field. Meanwhile, at the front, Jerry Ward Sr. in his 2nd start and veteran Leeza Moore got the large field of hungry drivers going. Moore shot out to the front with fellow female driver Sierra Stewart and Dustin Wyckoff right on her tail. The three leaders wasted no time making the track multiple grooves as Wyckoff and Stewart both shot high on Moore and made it a three wide race for the lead on many occasions. Behind their three wide battle was a four wide, several row deep, battle of the ages. Resembling Interstate 76 just five minutes away, competitors shot around one another as they all jockeyed for position and an advantage on one another. One such driver to take advantage of the ‘Interstate 76’ style of racing was Sheldon Sommers. While frowned upon on the highway, yet totally legal at the track, Sommers sped, zigged, zagged, rooted, gouged, and worked hard to gain positions (much to the amazement of fans). Just before halfway, Sommers was fourth behind the top three who had begun to run nose-to-tail. Sommers was not content to add onto the train and quickly shot high. Passing Wyckoff, Stewart, and Moore in one swooping move in turn three, he took the lead. While he led, Scott Kitchen used many of Sommers’ moves to also work his way to 2nd on track. He began to track Sommers off, but the fast paced racing and only one yellow for a late spin met that Kitchen had simply too much work to do. He tried to catch Sommers, but it was to no avail. Sheldon would win with Kitchen pretty close behind. ‘Big Money’ Erik Johnson worked from near last to third. Being a Painesville regular subbing for Dennis Garrett, this is significant as many of Johnson’s colleagues were pitside in yet ANOTHER compact feature.

That’s right, with the two-week closure of Painesville and Lorain, many drivers looked for a track to run, and Greg Prunty allowed them to come and race as their own division at Barberton with their own rules. Bobby Krause took the win in thrilling fashion. 13 drivers made the call and made history. Brandon White led his Painesville colleagues to green and the field got to speed quickly. If the Barberton Compact race resembled Interstate 76 with close racing and no bad wrecks, then the Painesville race was Interstate 480 at rush hour with no wrecks as drivers made quick time going three and four wide. Before lap one was complete, Tim Bryan passed White in a three wide move. Bryan led Brandon Nails for a couple laps but Nails would take the lead after a fierce battle on the edge of control. NIck Randolph followed Nails in 2nd place and the field behind him zigged and zagged behind them for third on back. A yellow for an innocent spin brought the field back close together. On the restart, Randolph took the lead from Nails after a savage fight for the lead, which lasted three laps. Randolph led up until five laps to go when Krause began to make his move for the lead. Krause went high and the duo began to battle for the lead. Side by side, the duo never touched and thrilled fans with their battle. Even going three wide with lap traffic, they still never made contact. Krause would take home the win over Randolph and really showed that the Painesville cars could thrill anywhere they went.

The monkey was finally off of his back, and Justin Alexander took home his first ever feature win after winning the Australian Pursuit and feature. When the green flag flew, Jeff Mundell and Alexander started on the front row. Alexander quickly muscled his way to the lead and took off with race in his hand. Mundell sat in 2nd but got passed by Ron Miller after a couple laps. Miller set chase on Alexander while Mundell, Jeff Kuykendall, and points leader Gerald Altizer III slugged it out to see who would get third. Kuykendall moved past Mundell for third and set his sights on Miller and leader Alexander who was half a lap ahead. Altizer would pass Mundell later on and the five drivers would run that way for quite a while. Alexander had a nice lead over Miller, Jeff Kuykendall was beginning to stalk Miller, Altizer sat in fourth and Mundell fifth. Kuykendall would pass Miller near halfway but was unable to catch Alexander. While the race may not be seen as very eventful as it ran green to checkered and Justin Alexander led every lap in both the pursuit and feature, that is for the better for Alexander. He had been snakebitten in previous seasons. You name it, it happened to him. Broken motors, popped tires, wrecks, last lap passes, cautions, and poor luck derailed several promising weeks where he led late in races. Finally, the weekend was uneventful. No broken parts, wrecks, or poor luck. Just a good week finally for Justin. He was ecstatic and soaked in the fruits of his labor.

After pulling a two pill for the redraw, Todd Ripley used the high side and experience to win big in the Modified feature over his son Lucas. When the green flag flew, Bob Sibila, who had drew the pole pill, led Todd to speed. Todd quickly used the high line on turn two to pass Sibila for the lead and the duo ran nose to tail for several laps while the field behind them settled their affairs. A spin early met that the field was stacked back up for a restart. Todd Ripley brought Sibila and company back to speed and used grip off of turn two to pull away from Sibila. Sitting 2nd to Ripley, Bob Sibila was under attack from Lucas Ripley and Bryce Allensworth. Both young Ripley and Allensworth passed Sibila and set their respective sights on the elder Ripley. Sibila stayed content in fourth and waited to see what may happen up front. A quick yellow for Jeff Dunfee met that the lead quartet would get a chance at a restart. Young Lucas Ripley sneaked around his father and took the lead. Coming off of a win last week, Lucas Ripley was the odds-on favorite to win and it appeared he was in position to win yet again. This was, until a yellow for a spin by Shawn Lewis set up a mad dash for the finish. Todd used turn two and the high side to once again take the lead from Lucas and he began to run away with the lead. Lucas sat in 2nd and Allensworth and Sibila rounded out the quartet. The final five laps would be run with minimal contest from Lucas as Todd showed that he had a good long run car. Todd Ripley would win with Lucas finishing three car lengths behind.

The Late Model field was small, but the action was immense, and Jeff Taylor became the first three-time winner this year. When the green flag flew, Jesse Adams led Dave Martin to green and took off with the win in his hand. Behind the duo was Larry Baker, Roger Smith, and Taylor. Jeff Taylor used the low line and a little luck to get a run on Dave Martin and Roger Smith to run from last to 3rd on track behind Baker and leader Adams. On lap five, Taylor and Larry Baker were battling for 2nd when Taylor made contact with Baker. This sent Baker’s #6 around and Jeff Taylor took blame for the incident. On the restart, Adams led Baker and Roger Smith to green with Smith sneaking past Baker for 2nd. Adams checked out with Smith in distant tow, Baker a little further behind and Taylor on Baker’s rear bumper. Taylor would pass Baker and move to third near halfway. With five laps to go, Dave Martin’s car came to rest setting up a pivotal five lap dash to the finish. On the restart, Adams and Smith got going at the same time with Taylor right on their heels. Going into turn three, Adams car went around from the lead position causing many to question if he had been helped around. Track officials checked video cameras and could not find anyone hitting Adams and had him serve the penalty for drawing the yellow. This met that Roger Smith had the lead and Jeff Taylor moved up to the front row next to Smith and they had a four lap dash to the finish. On the restart, the duo ran side by side with Jesse Adams close behind in third (after passing Baker in turn one). Adams tried to drive deep into turn three but sadly made contact with Taylor sending him around. Adams was sent pitside for the maneuver and this left just Smith, Taylor, and Baker to settle the score. On the restart, Smith led with Taylor high. They ran side by side for the final couple laps, but in turn three on the last lap, Taylor finally got bite up high to bring home the win in a near photo finish!

 

FINISHING ORDER: (*Denotes heat/pursuit win)

Bandoleros:

1- Eric Wisniewski

2- Ryan Gardner*

3- Ayden Kitchen

4- Ryan Likens

 

Legends:

1- Aaron Mulrooney*

2- Austin Tapia

3- Chris Breads

4- Chuck Witt

 

Compacts Barberton:

1- Sheldon Sommers

2- Scott Kitchen

3- Erik Johnson

4- Chris Kennedy*

5- Cody Collmar

6- Kenny Betts

7- Leeza Moore*

8- Jesse Knox

9- Dustin Wyckoff

10- Sierra Stewart

11- Chad Greenland

12- Todd Daniels

13- Paul Mangum III

14- Jerry Ward Sr.

15- Cheston Collmar (DNS)

16- Tim Likens (DNS)

 

Compacts Painesville:

1- Bobby Krause

2- NIck Randolph*

3- Hayden Nails

4- Brandon Nails

5- Tim Bryan

6- Jordan Sandli

7- David Nester

8- Hunter Cunningham

9- Brandon Weigel

10- Brandon White

Editor’s note*** There were three other cars, one was #00 who only ran heats, and two others. I believe they broke before the start of the heat, so I am unsure of who made the race, correct me if you know who the other two were and their car numbers.

 

Street Stocks:

1- Justin Alexander*

2- Jeff Kuykendall

3- Ron Miller

4- Gerald Altizer III

5- Jeff Mundell

 

Modifieds:

1- Todd Ripley

2- Lucas Ripley

3- Bryce Allensworth

4- Bob Sibila

5- Bubba Smith

6- Shawn Lewis

7- Steve Jones

8- Brad Copen*

9- John White

10- Kurt Hennings

11- Mike Walsh

12- Jeff Dunfee

13- Doug Mate*

 

Late Models:

1- Jeff Taylor

2- Roger Smith

3- Larry Baker

4- Jesse Adams*

5- Dave Martin