For Immediate Release

Article and pictures provided courtesy of Billy McKinney and Christie Hrdlicka

BARBERTON SPEEDWAY: Seven weeks of racing have been run up until this point, and with this being week eight, the ‘crossed flags’ were displayed on the season. Midseason championship night was upon us and the fans came out in force with the advertised five dollar fan appreciation night. Plenty of storylines led into tonight. From the threat of rain, to double compact features, to a spectacular intermission show by the Chapparells Drum Corps, to simply who could get the job done and take home the win tonight, the mandated track capacity grandstands were in for a show!

Ryan Gardner started off the regular night of features by bringing home the win over Ayden Kitchen. When the green flag flew, Ryan Likens sped toward the lead from the pole position. Kitchen and Gardner followed close behind with Chloe Mazzagatti making her first ever start in a respectably close fourth place. Kitchen made the high line work down the back stretch and made the pass for the lead in the East end of the track (turns 3+4). Kitchen sped past and looked to have his second career win in hand as he had established a comfortable lead over Gardner, who had passed Likens a lap later. As the race began to settle into a rhythm, Gardner began to pick up a little ground over Kitchen. Going into turn three, Gardner dove low on Kitchen. Kitchen came down to take the lane and the two came together, sending both parties around in a series of loops. Kitchen was charged with the maneuver and Gardner would take the lead. On the restart, Gardner sped away from the field while Kitchen zigged up to second. Kitchen tried to wrangle in Gardner’s #88, but simply ran out of time. Gardner won and Kitchen got second on track. Likens and Mazzagatti rounded out the field.

The Street Stock division was second on the program for the night and Justin Alexander took home his second win. When the green flag flew, John Tantarelli’s #67 station Wagon and Brandon Donley’s #44 headed up the front row. Tantarelli would pull away by a little over the field while Justin Alexander would begin to make the high line work. Making passes at both ends of the track both high and low, Alexander found himself from nearly dead last to second when the first yellow flew for a spin. On the restart, Alexander looked to have an advantage but would have to wait as the race would be stopped for a wreck involving Jeff Mundell and Donley. Alexander used the information learned from the first restart to nail the next restart and, by the time that lap had been over, Alexander had taken the lead. The race would run green and incident free until four laps to go when a spin brought the field together. Alexander would start alongside perhaps the most successful Street Stock driver in the past half-decade in Jeff Kuykendall. This set up an epic dash to the finish. When the race resumed, Kuykendall hung tough on the high side for about a lap until Alexander hooked the bottom end of turn two. Kuykendall slid in behind Alexander and tried to set up a pass, but he was unable to with the little time remaining. Justin Alexander (after taking last week off but winning the week before that) had his second win in a row.

The Modifieds were rallied and ten drivers answered the call to duty with John White taking his first ever midseason championship race win. When the green flag flew, White zoomed around polesitter Nick Grubbs and began to let his #17 fly in the clean air. Behind him by half a straitaway was his former Burden Racing teammates Shawn Lewis and Doug Mate. Lewis began settling into a rhythm and moving forward, inching ever close toward the back bumper of White. Mate, on the other hand, was pushing a little in the center of the corners and falling into the clutches of Lucas Ripley and Bob Sibila. Those three and Steve Jones began to throw down for the bronze position while Lewis looked to improve from silver to gold. By the race’s halfway mark, Lewis had already eaten away at White’s lead and was just a couple car lengths back. Pushing his car hard enough to apply pressure to White, but not hard enough to upset the balance and tires, Lewis tracked White’s tire tracks. With just two laps to go, White had only a few inches of breathing room before Lewis’ front bumper entered the picture. As a result, White began to pour on the coal and pull away a little from Lewis, but Lewis was stubbornly close. When the checkers flew, White took the win by about a car length with Lewis close behind in the caution free race.

Aaron Mulrooney was in heaven as he collected win seven in 2020 in a caution free Legends feature. When the green flag flew, journeyman driver Chuck Witt sped to the front and led Chris Breads (who had had a nasty barrel roll in turn two in the heat) and Derik Gacom. Gacom would speed past Breads for second after five laps of intense battle and would set his sights on the now checked out Witt. While Witt led Gacom, Mulrooney worked from last to third and was working on Gacom. He would pass Gacom quickly and settled into the distant tire tracks of Witt. By halfway, the story was slightly different as Mulrooney had reeled Witt in. After a couple laps of Mulrooney sizing Witt up, he made his move. Off of turn two, Mulrooney made the pass and set sail on the lead. Gacom would take second from Witt a few laps later and began to try and reel Mulrooney in. With no yellow flags, this was easier said than done, and Mulrooney used tire management to keep his advantage over Gacom. When the race ended, Mulrooney took home the win by Gacom.

Late Models were on track and Mike Mazzagatti took the win. When the green flag flew, Dave Martin sped to the lead and settled into a rhythm. Resembling his epic runs of dominance from the mid-1980s and the entirety of the 1990s to the mid-2000s where Martin collected nearly a hundred wins, Martin’s magic run to the front was celebrated by fans young and old. While his black #3 set the pace, Larry Baker’s #6 ran in a respectably close second place with Mazzagatti in third. Mazzagatti passed Baker after five laps of racing and began to set Martin up. Martin stubbornly kept the lead despite many advances from Mazzagatti’s #87. Laps ticked away, and with every move Mazzagatti attempted, Martin denied him the lead. Three laps of ‘cooldown’ would be used for Mazzagatti each time to regroup and set up another move. This happened many times as the race continued. Halfway saw Martin take the crossed flags. Ed Tenney’s ‘five laps to go’ signal saw Martin still out front. But with three laps to go, Mazzagatti made something stick on corner exit. ‘Mazz’ passed Martin coming to two laps to go and began to sail away. He would win by a slim margin over Jeff Taylor (who snuck past Martin as well).

Sheldon Sommers swept both the makeup Compact feature and weekly midseason championship race. Sommers’ first win came after a seven-lap battle with Dennis Garrett. But going into midseason, nothing was guaranteed as both racers and fans alike knew that with the sun setting, several out of town drivers in the field for this race, and Sommers showing his hand, that meant the door to victory was potentially open for anyone. The green flew for David Nester and Jerry Ward with Nester taking the lead. He would lead the first several circuits until Mike Taylor in his first Barberton start sped past for the lead. Taylor would lead through several yellows early on but would be passed by Dustin Wyckoff by lap five. Wyckoff, the only Cavalier driver not using the powerful Chevy EcoTech motor showed that setups can determine wins as well as he sped away to half of a track lead. Behind him, positions swapped with each inch covered on track with drivers going side-by-side, three and even four wide. In the middle of this was Sommers. Sommers wiggled his #3 Neon around competition with relative ease and found himself in second place just before halfway. Sommers began to reel Wyckoff in and found himself battling Wyckoff with several laps to go. Sommers made the pass and set sail to take home the win with Will Custer passing Wyckoff with a lap left to get second.

 

FINISHING RESULTS (*Denotes heat/dash win)

**RESULTS TAKEN FROM RACE MONITOR AND NAMES MAY NOT BE OFFICAL

Bandoleros:

1- Ryan Gardner*

2- Ayden Kitchen

3- Ryan Likens

4- Chloe Mazzagatti

 

Street Stocks:

1- Justin Alexander

2- Jeff Kuykendall

3- Dennis Wood

4- Preston Walker

5- John Tantarelli

6- Gerald Altizer

7- Rob Kordiac

8- Brandon Donley

9- Jeff Mundell

 

Modifieds:

1- John White*

2- Shawn Lewis

3- Lucas Ripley

4- Steve Jones

5- Bob Sibila

6- Doug Mate

7- Mike Walsh

8- Chris Grubbs

9- Bryce Allensworth

10- Todd Ripley (DNS)

 

Legends:

1- Aaron Mulrooney*

2- Derik Gacom

3- Chris Breads

4- Chuck Witt

5- Brett Bogner

6- Logan Huckeba+

+Huckeba traveled all the way from Louisville Kentucky to join our racing program, which is to date, the furthest someone had driven to run at Barberton. He received guidance from Mulrooney and had a competitive car. This was also his third ever Legend start after making the move from Karts.

 

Late Models:

1- Mike Mazzagatti

2- Jeff Taylor

3- Dave Martin

4- Larry Baker*

5- George Riddle

6- Brian Erikson

7- Jeff Walker

8- Chris Grubbs

9- John White (sub for Roger Smith)

 

Compacts (makeup finish in parenthesis if they ran):

1- Sheldon Sommers (1)

2- Will Custer

3- Dustin Wyckoff (13)

4- Scott Kitchen (4)

5- Kenny Betts (8)

6- Cheston Collmar (7)

7- Jesse Knox* (6)

8- Katie Wood (11)

9- Mike Taylor

10- Chad Greenland (12)

11- Sierra Stewart (9)

12- Don Howe (17)

13- David Nester

14- Data unavailable

15- Tim Likens* (3)

16- Chris Kennedy (5)

17- Jerry Ward (14)

18- Cody Collmar (10)

19- Dennis Garrett (2)

20- Paul Mangum III (18)

21- Isiah Truss (DNS) (19)

22- Billy Miller Sr. (DNS) (16)

23- Billy Miller Jr. (DNS) (15)

24- Hayden Nails (DNS)

25- Todd Daniels (DNS) (20)

 

Article and pictures provided courtesy of Billy McKinney and Christie Hrdlicka