For Immediate Release

Article and pictures provided by Billy McKinney and Christie Hrdlicka

BARBERTON OHIO: The 2020 season picked up some momentum following a wild and memorable midseason championship race the week prior. Drivers began to shift their thinking from the world events around them to points battles. In several divisions, the driver second in points had dethroned the points leader. The battle was on, the heat was on, and fans were getting ready to be treated to one hot night! Six divisions were on hand, and the stars were here to shine!

2019 champion Racin’ Mason Surgener, in a one-off start at Barberton, took home the Bandolero feature win after a lengthy battle with Ayden Kitchen. When the green flag flew for the field of six drivers, Kitchen quickly jumped high on his competition to speed toward the lead. Surgener, fellow Michigan driver Erik Wisniewski, Ryan Likens, and Chloe Mazzagatti followed suit and began to work one another over for position. With points leader Ryan Gardner pitside with brake troubles, valuable positions would assist drivers in catching him in the points battle. By lap five, Surgener got bite off of turn two and would work past Kitchen and it appeared that the 2019 champion was off to the races with yet another impressive victory. Much to the fans’ collective surprise, a yellow flag and subsequent restart actually got many to the edge of their seats. Surgener had the preferred line on the restart, but Kitchen was able to pull a few car lengths down the stretch. With the duo battling it out, Wisniewski sat in third waiting for one of the front two to run into a mishap. But time was running out as the laps ticked away. Surgener finally pulled around the low side of turn one and regained sole position of the lead with Kitchen beginning to fall behind. Wisniewski attempted to catch Kitchen, but it was all Surgener up front and the Jackson Coffee Company #42 was the winner this week! Surgener typically runs limited junior Late Models in Michigan but elected to run Barberton and is glad he made the choice.

The driver for eight did not have to wait for Aaron Mulrooney as he took home the feature win yet again in the Legends division. With a meaty field of eight drivers on hand and close qualifying times being posted, Mulrooney (while being the odds-on favorite) had work to do. Finishing third in the heat was his lowest finish of the season. Considering how much he has accomplished, many seasoned drivers in other divisions agreed a third as the lowest ever finish is not a bad thing. Regardless, there was work to be done for the #2. When the green flag flew, Chuck Witt worked to the front and began to lead, heading the field for four circuits. He would be passed by heat winner Derik Gacom just before the first yellow for a spinning Chris Breads. The restart saw Witt get shuffled back to fourth with Gacom still out front. Austin Tapia had worked to second and Mulrooney third. The top three drivers ran under a blanket while Witt, Breads, and Brett Bogner had a trio of their own battling out. If any of the front three were to run into troubles, it was highly likely all three drivers would get involved, so the battle in the second trio was almost as important as the first. Mulrooney appeared to not be content with third as he made a muscle move low in turn two and used the run to bypass both Tapia and leader Gacom by the time the lap had been completed. The clean and green completion of the race continued until Gacom would spin off the front of Tapia. This opened the door for Mulrooney to cruise away to an easy yet well-deserved victory. He thanked fans for coming out and basked in the glory of another win in what could be perhaps the perfect dream season.

From one open wheel division to another, the Modifieds pulled on to the track following the Legends with Lucas Ripley pulling into the winners’ circle. When the green flag flew, eleven drivers sped off into the first turn and John White had the lead by the time the field had navigated turn two. White led the race while Mike Walsh, Stevie Jones, Bob Sibila, and Lucas Ripley all thrashed and threw down for position. Jones was the first to make noise as he moved up to second with Lucas in third after a restart. White stayed out front of Jones for many laps and was looking to have a potentially easy drive to a second consecutive victory until Jones broke loose in turn four. He slid down the track and made contact with Lucas Ripley. Jones went to the back while Ripley kept his second position. On the restart, Ripley showed that his car was unhurt as he sped around White on the high side for the lead. Ripley would begin to pull away from White and roll away with an easy win. As he took the win, Todd Ripley would roll past White for second, making it yet another son/father 1-2 finish.

Street Stocks pulled off small in numbers but large in competitive stamina and Preston Walker seized the right moves at the right time to collect win #2 on the season. When the green flag flew, Jeff Mundell, in his #91 A.V. “Bud” Crum throwback and Gerald Altizer started on the front row. Altizer snuck to the lead by a fender to lead lap one but Mundell took the advantage on lap two. Altizer took the lead again on lap three with Mundell leading lap four. This side-by-side battle lasted many laps as the duo swapped advantage almost on a lap by lap basis. Just before hafway, the aging tires on Mundell’s machine began to give up and Mundell slid off of turn four, he gathered the car up but took a shot by Ron Miller in third. While the contact was not an issue, debris that fell off of Mundell’s car drew the caution. Mundell was scored as second on the last scoring loop meaning Altizer was the event leader. Altizer would take sole possession of the lead on the restart but get passed after two laps by Walker. He would be followed by Jeff Kuykendall and the two would wage war. Kuykendall attempted to try to pass Walker many times, much to the excitement of the fans. But laps were running out and Kuykendall decided to not take the swipe at Walker. Walker would take home the win after the hotly contested battle against Jeff Kuykendall.

Mike Mazzagatti took home the Late Model win after holding off a hungry Jesse Adams. When the green flag flew, Dave Martin had the lead but would get passed by Jeff Taylor. Taylor would lead through the first caution but would watch his lead dwindle away as Mazzagatti would use the high line to secure the lead before lap ten. Mazzagatti was on rails while Taylor followed in an ever distancing second place. Behind Taylor was Jesse Adams and points leader Roger Smith. Taylor began to show glimpses of hope as his car began to come to life throughout the long run while Adams began to fall back just a little bit into the clutches of Smith. Going into turn one, Adams and Smith came together, and Adams spun, resulting in Smith taking blame for the yellow. The race resumed with Mazzagatti taking off with the lead and Adams moving around Taylor for second. Adams tracked Mazzagatti for several laps but began to push with three laps to go. Mazzagatti had the track to himself while Adams slid back several car lengths. When the dust settled, Mike Mazzagatti took home yet another ‘dub’ on the year with Adams in second.

Chris Kennedy took home the win in perhaps the wildest race of the night, both on and off track as he picked up Compact career win number 1. After several quick spins, the race began with Todd Daniels taking the lead in his #0 Neon. Daniels led the first couple haps until Randy Cecil took the lead. Cecil would lead while positions swapped behind him. Two of the drivers to take advantage of the grip and fast track were Dustin Wyckoff and Scott Kitchen. Wyckoff would catch Cecil and run side-by-side with the ageless champion while Kitchen followed in third. Erik Johnson, Sheldon Sommers, and Kenny Betts would follow suit and make it a six-car battle. Running side by side for three rows, the battle resembled an accelerated pace lap and the fans cheered the drivers on. No one was giving an inch and more drivers were catching the slick six. Chris Kennedy made his way into the fray and looked to have the car to beat. That was, until he would spin off the front of Sommers. He would go to the back while Sommers stayed in the front six. The race resumed with Wyckoff taking control of the race for several laps until he would get passed by Scott Kitchen. Kitchen did everything in his power to hold on to the lead but would lose it with just a couple laps to go to Sheldon Sommers. Sommers would speed away with the win with Erik Johnson in tow, but the race was far from over. In technical inspection, Sommers, Johnson, Kitchen, Wyckoff, Betts, and Jesse Knox would all be found to be on the wrong side of the rulebook. With six drivers of the top ten not able to win, many wondered who won!? The answer came from the scraped and beaten Kennedy who was in the process of loading up. He had finished in the top ten and was the first driver who was legal. Surprisingly, his car going to the back may have been his saving grace as several DQ’s were due to height issues. This happens when cars beat and bang and suspension parts bend. With Kennedy going to the back, he wasn’t in the hornets’ nest and his car was not as damaged.

FINISHING ORDER: (*denotes heat win) (Pulled from Race Monitor)

Bandoleros:

1- Mason Surgener*

2- Ayden Kitchen

3- Erik Wisniewski

4- Ryan Likens

5- Chloe Mazzagatti

6- Ryan Gardner (DNS)

Legends:

1- Aaron Mulrooney

2- Austin Tapia

3- Chris Breads

4- Chuck Witt

5- Brett Bogner

6- Hogan Zigarelli

7- Bill Lyden

8- Derik Gacom*

Modifieds:

1- Lucas Ripley

2- Todd Ripley

3- Bob Sibila

4- Brad Copen

5- Sam Bigham

6- Stevie Jones*

7- Mark Lushes

8- Mike Walsh*

9- John White

10- Kurt Hennings

11- Rich Kapple

Street Stocks:

1- Preston Walker*

2- Jeff Kuykendall

3- Ron Miller

4- Gerald Altizer

5- Jeff Mundell

Late Models:

1- Mike Mazzagatti

2- Jesse Adams

3- Roger Smith

4- Jeff Taylor

5- Larry Baker

6- Dave Martin

7- Jeff Walker

Compacts:

1- Chris Kennedy

2- Randy Cecil*

3- Chad Greenland

4- Todd Daniels

5- Don Howe

6- Jerry Ward Sr.

7- Jason Morris

8- Chuck Scott

9- Cheston Collmar

10- Will Scott

11- Sheldon Sommers (DQ)

12- Erik Johnson* (DQ)

13- Scott Kitchen (DQ)

14- Dustin Wyckoff (DQ)

15- Kenny Betts (DQ)

16- Jesse Knox (DQ)