Shep­pard takes first Thun­der race of the sea­son

Oley’s Duane Howard wins the 30-lap NASCAR 358 Mod­i­fied event

The Community Connection - - SPORTS - By Ric Webb ed­webb@berksmont­news.com @berksmontsports on Twit­ter

Against the odds of Mother Na­ture, the NAPA Auto Parts Thun­der on the Hill Rac­ing Se­ries pre­sented the 18th run­ning of the TRAF­FIC JAM for Big Block Mod­i­fieds un­der the sanc­tion­ing body of DIRT­car. The NASCAR 358 Mod­i­fieds were also on the pro­gram that went on even af­ter a few rain showers hov­ered over the Grand­view Speed­way.

Matt Shep­pard of Waterloo, NY, en­joyed a big night at Grand­view win­ning the 60 l ap Su­per DIRT­car Se­ries fea­ture event, earn­ing $6,000 for the win. Shep­pard ran a flaw­less race, first bat­tling with Billy Dunn, ne­go­ti­at­ing the lapped traf­fic then hold­ing off a side by side chal­lenge for the lead from Billy Decker on lap 58.

“They don’t call this the Traf­fic Jam for noth­ing”, com­mented Shep­pard on the point that he raced in traf­fic most of the fea­ture event. Shep­pard took the win in the 60 lap fea­ture that had one cau­tion and was com­pleted in just twenty-min­utes.

In the 30 lap NASCAR 358 Mod­i­fied fea­ture, Duane Howard of Oley was the win­ner af­ter a hard fought bat­tle with MeMe DeSan­tis. Howard earned $3,000 for the win.

Forty nine cars took part in the dou­ble header event split­ting a to­tal purse of $42,000. A strong crowd turned out de­spite the vari­able, threat­en­ing and un­pre­dictable weather through­out the day that saw two rain showers pass through af­ter the gates were open.

The ALL MOD­I­FIED, ALL NIGHT of rac­ing started off with VonDohren set­ting fast time and in the process, he es­tab­lished a new one lap track record of 14.298 earn­ing a one­hun­dred dol­lar bonus. The well-pre­pared rac­ing sur­face was de­scribed by sev­eral driv­ers as be­ing scary fast.

Quaker Steak & Lube of­fered a $50 bonus to each of the heat race win­ners. In the Su­per DIRT­car Se­ries qual­i­fy­ing events, vic­to­ries went to Craig VonDohren, Ryan Watt and Ryan Godown. The NASCAR 358 Mod­i­fied qual­i­fy­ing events were won by Brett Kress­ley, MeMe DeSan­tis and Jared Um­ben­hauer.

At the start of the 18th An­nual Traf­fic Jam Ryan Watt was the early race leader w ith chal­lenges from Billy Dunn from the drop of the green flag. The one and only cau­tion of the fea­ture came on lap two when Larry Wight lost a wheel go­ing down the back­stretch. Wright was towed to the pits and un­able to restart the race. When green flag rac­ing re­sumed, Watt re­tained con­trol of the top spot and opened a slight ad­van­tage over run­ner-up Billy Dunn. Matt Shep­pard was rac­ing in third and well within strik­ing dis­tance of the lead­ers.

On lap ten, Dunn made a bid for the lead but Watt was able to hold the top spot. As Dunn and Watt bat­tled for the lead, Shep­pard was inch­ing closer to the top two. Billy Dunn took the lead on lap thir­teen fol­lowed by Watt, Shep­pard who was now be­ing chal­lenged by Decker with Stewart Friesen mak­ing up the top five. The ac­tion was fast and on lap four­teen, Matt Shep­pard mo­tored passed Ryan Watt for sec­ond. One lap later, Billy Decker moved into third and the hunt for Billy Dunn was un­der­way.

The bat­tle for the lead was shap­ing up on lap six­teen as Shep­pard was pres­sur­ing Dunn for the lead. Af­ter a few side-by- side laps, Shep­pard pow­ered to the lead on lap nine­teen. Decker was on his charge and on lap twen­tytwo, Shep­pard, Dunn and Decker were in a three car race for the lead. Shep­pard pre­vailed as the race leader as Dunn and Decker con­tin­ued the chase.

At the half­way sign, Shep­pard was on top as Dunn and Decker raced side-by-side for sec­ond fol­lowed by Friesen and Watt.

Billy Decker moved into sec­ond on lap thirty-three and now had to chase down the race leader.

Lapped cars were now in the pic­ture for race leader Matt Shep­pard. Decker took ad­van­tage and be­gan to close in on the leader who had at least a ten car length lead. Stewart Friesen moved to third on lap thirty-eight and now he was chas­ing down the front run­ners. Decker moved closer to Shep­pard with each lap and with just five laps to go, the crowd was well aware that Decker was within strik­ing dis­tance of the leader. On lap 57 Decker was on the rear bumper of Shep­pard with slower traf­fic weav­ing ahead.

Off turn four with just two laps re­main­ing, Shep­pard crossed the line side- by-side. In turn one, Shep­pard drifted high, Decker squared off the cor­ner and took another run at Shep­pard us­ing the in­side line. Go­ing into turn three, Shep­pard was able to put a lapped car be­tween him­self and Decker. With just one lap re­main­ing Shep­pard needed to drive just one per­fect lap. The leader drifted slightly high en­ter­ing turn three, Decker dove to the bot­tom lane and with the run off of turn four, Shep­pard darted un­der the checker flag, earn­ing his first ca­reer vic­tory in Thun­der on the Hill com­pe­ti­tion at the Grand­view Speed­way. Decker, a pre­vi­ous Traf­fic Jam win­ner fin­ished a well-de­served sec­ond fol­lowed by Stewart Friesen, Billy Dunn and Ryan Watt.

The NASCAR 358 Mod­i­fied fea­ture came onto the track and at the drop of the green flag MeMe DeSan­tis was the early race leader. Duane Howard and Jeff Strunk fol­lowed DeSan­tis but were well within strik­ing dis­tance. On lap seven Howard nosed ahead of DeSan­tis as they crossed the line, then in turns one and two, DeSan­tis re­gained the lead. Howard came back as race leader as they com­pleted lap eight. Side-by-side the Howard and DeSan­tis show con­tin­ued to play out as Howard fi­nally set­tled in as race leader on lap ten.Two laps later, Strunk passed DeSan­tis for sec­ond and now set his sights on race leader Duane Howard.

At the half­way point, Howard held a com­fort­able lead over Strunk as DeSan­tis, Jared Um­ben­hauer and Doug Man­miller rounded out the top five. Also on a charge was Craig VonDohren.

Steal­ing the show at this point was Doug Man­miller who ad­vanced to fourth on lap twenty-two. One lap later, Man­miller and DeSan­its were door-todoor with Man­miller now rac­ing in third. Howard main­tained his solid lead over Strunk as Man­miller was clos­ing in quickly on Strunk With just five laps re­main­ing, VonDohren moved into the top five.

With the checker f lag waiv ing, Duane Howard took the win and the $3,000 first place prize over Jeff Strunk, Doug Man­miller, MeMe DeSan­tis and Craig VonDohren.

SU­PER DIRT­car SE­RIES 60 LAP FEA­TURE - - - $6,000 To Win! MATT SHEP­PARD, BLLY DECKER, STEWART FRIESSEN, BILLY DUNN, RYA N WATT, BRETT HEARN, DANNY JOHN­SON, DUANE HOWARD, PAT WARD, TIM FULLER, CRAIG VONDOHREN, ANTYONY PER­REGO, PETER BRIT­TEN, DANNY CREEDEN, JIMMY PHELPS, JIMMY HOR­TON, KEITH FLACH, RICH SCAGLIOTTA, ADAM ROBERTS, RYAN GODOWN, RICH LAUBACH, MARK FORTE JR, RYAN FORTE, LARRY WIGHT.

NASCAR 358 MOD­I­FIEDS 30 LAP FEA­TURE - - - $3,000 To Win! DUANE HOWARD, JEFF STRUNK, DOUG MAN­MILLER, MEME DESAN­TIS, CRAIG VON DOHREN, RYAN WATT, JARED UM­BEN­HAUER, BRETT KRESS­LEY, DANNY JOHN­SON, FRANK COZZE, JOHN WILL­MAN, RICK LAUBACH, KYLE WEISS, TIM BUCK­WAL­TER, KEVIN HIRTH­LER, JARED MILLER, BRIAN HOUSEKNECHT, MIKE GU­LAR, KYLE BOR­ROR, MIKE BAI­LEY, RUSTY SMITH, RYAN GRIM, DANNY ERB, JOE MODNEY, GLENN STRUNK

New One lap Track Record Big Block Mod­i­fieds: 14.298 Craig VonDohren

358 Mod­i­fied Quaker Steak & Lube Heats: Brett Kress­ley, MeMe DeSan­tis, Jared Um­ben­hauer

Big Block Modif ied Quaker Steak & Lube Heats: Craig VonDohren, Ryan Watt, Ryan Godown

PHOTO BY RICH KEPNER

Duane Howard wins te 358 fea­ture at Grand­view Speed­way June 16.

PHOTO BY RICH KEPNER

Matt Shep­pard cel­e­brates his vic­tory of te 18th rnning of the TRAF­FIC JAM for Big Block Mod­i­fieds at Grand­view Speed­way on June 16.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.