First SpeedSTR win for Bealer; Bright lights up 600 Sprints

The Community Connection - - SPORTS - By Barry Angstadt

KUTZTOWN » His best fin­ish of the sea­son (fourth on July 11) re­ally did not show just how much progress Pat Bealer has made in his first year of USAC All Pro SpeedSTR com­pe­ti­tion. On Wed­nes­day, Au­gust 1, how­ever, in the Troy Moyer Me­mo­rial, Bealer’s im­prove­ment was on dis­play for all to see as the Wal­nut­port, PA throt­tle-jockey won his first SpeedSTR main event in a thriller over Steve Buck­wal­ter at Cham­pi­onship En­ergy Ac­tion Track USA on the Kutztown Fair­grounds.

The wing­less 600 Sprints opened Hyper Rac­ing 600 Speed­week at Ac­tion Track USA on Wed­nes­day, with

“the Phe­nom”, Alex Bright, tak­ing ad­van­tage of Tim Buck­wal­ter’s mis­for­tune to win his sec­ond race of the sea­son.

The All Star Sling­shots

tried to kick off their Speed­weeks Tour, too, but Mother Na­ture had other plans as tor­ren­tial rain hit the speed­way with five laps com­plete in the Sling­shot main, forc­ing its post­pone­ment. A make-up date, on which the race will re­sume with five cir­cuits in the books, is be­ing dis­cussed and will be an­nounced on Au­gust 3rd. Cody Kline had just taken the lead from Nick Vin­ciguerra when the yel­low flag waved, and the mas­sive storm moved in while the cars were cir­cu­lat­ing the speed­way un­der the yel­low.

Shelby McLaugh­lin, last year’s Ju­nior Sling­shot Na­tional Cham­pion, cap­tured the 15-lap fea­ture for the Ju­niors on Wed­nes­day evening.

The Troy Moyer Me­mo­rial for the SpeedSTRs quickly turned into a clas­sic, with Steve Buck­wal­ter start­ing on the pole and lead­ing the early laps. Matt Janisch, Jeff Hart­man, and sixth-start­ing Pat Bealer bat­tled for the run­nerup po­si­tion, with Bealer emerg­ing from a three­wide en­gage­ment to snare the spot on lap four. He then stalked the race leader for sev­eral laps be­fore pulling along­side S. Buck­wal­ter to chal­lenge for the top spot.

On lap 14, teenager Alex Yankowski slipped past Janisch for third, then watched as Bealer be­gan to swap the lead with Buck­wal­ter. They took turns lead­ing laps 15 through 17, with Bealer nos­ing in front on the 17th, 18th, and 19th cir­cuits. Buck­wal­ter, run­ning the top at both end of the race track, forged ahead once again to lead laps 21 and 22, but Bealer would not go away. The 270cc Mi­cro Sprint vet­eran shoved the nose of his No. 4 back in front the 23rd rev­o­lu­tion, but Buck­wal­ter was scored as the leader on the 24th trip around the oval.

Steve Buck­wal­ter would set the pace for the next three tours, but Bealer roared off the in­side lane of turn four to lead the 27th lap. He kept the nose of his car ahead of Buck­wal­ter barely - dur­ing the fi­nal three cir­cuits to score the pop­u­lar win by a scant mar­gin - 0.045-sec­onds - over Buck­wal­ter’s Rita’s Ital­ian Ice No. 56b.

Yankowski was right be­hind the lead duo for sev­eral laps, but he could not find the open­ing he needed to make it a three-car tus­sle for the win. He set­tled for third in just his third start in a SpeedSTR, with Matt West­fall rum­bling from 13th to fourth and Tom May­berry slic­ing his way from 19th on the start­ing grid to a fifth-place fin­ish.

The Hyper Rac­ing 600 Speed­week Opener, a 35lap jaunt with $1,500 await­ing the win­ner (with Gam­bler’s Fee), had a front row of Tim Buck­wal­ter and Billy Pauch Jr. lead­ing the field to green. While they du­eled for the race lead, Ja­son Swavely was fend­ing off at­tacks from Alex Bright, Kenny Miller III, and Jay Hart­man to main­tain third po­si­tion. Swavely then moved up to dice with the lead pair be­fore Pauch pulled away by a few car lengths. Buck­wal­ter fought off the as­saults from Swavely, then launched his No. 71 off turn four, dash­ing past Pauch and lead­ing laps 11 and 12.

Bright in­her­ited the lead at lap 25, but Miller wouldn’t let the Col­legeville wheel-twister waltz to the tri­umph. The pair ran side by side for a few laps un­til Bright mo­tored away, win­ning by sev­eral car lengths over Miller, Pauch, Jay Hart­man, and 20th starter Kyle Spence.

“We set the car up to be good at the end, and we cer­tainly were,” ex­plained Bright. “But Timmy (Buck­wal­ter) was re­ally fast, and I’m not sure we would have caught him if he didn’t have trou­ble. Adam Huff (his car owner) gives me a great piece each week and I’m happy to drive it for him.”

Scran­ton’s Shelby McLaugh­lin has come very close to win­ning at Ac­tion Track USA, fin­ish­ing among the top three on sev­eral oc­ca­sions when the Ju­nior Sling­shots are on the sched­ule. On Wed­nes­day, she fi­nally broke the ice, lead­ing all the way in the 15-lap Ju­nior Slinger fea­ture to win hand­ily over Tyler Ulsh.

Ja­cob Tay­lor and Kasey Huf­f­cut bat­tled for third through­out the race, with Tay­lor even­tu­ally sep­a­rat­ing him­self from Huf­f­cut near the end to fin­ish third. Huf­f­cut and Lo­gan Bau­man com­pleted the top ten.


USAC All Pro SpeedSTRS (30 Laps) — 1. Pat Bealer 2. Steve Buck­wal­ter 3. Alex Yankowski 4. Matt West­fall 5. Tom May­berry 6. Tyler Ross 7. Billy Pauch Jr. 8. Brad Bright­bill 9. Tim Iulg 10. Matt Janisch 11. Steve Dre­vicki 12. Tim Buck­wal­ter 13. Kevin Woody 14. Ed Ken­der­dine 15. Jeff Hart­man 16. Briggs Dan­ner

17. Kevin Graver Jr. 18. Josh Dal­rym­ple

19. Billy Pauch Sr. 20. TJ May­berry 21. Joe Vac­caro 22. Tommy Kun­sman 23. Steven Nederostek.

Hyper Rac­ing 600cc Sprint Cars (35 Laps) — 1. Alex Bright 2. Kenny Miller

3. Billy Pauch Jr. 4. Jay Hart­man 5. Kyle Spence 6. Nash Ely 7. Colin White 8. Heath Henley 9. Jesse Mau­rer 10. Bobby But­ler 11. James Mor­ris 12. Da­mon Paul 13. Joey Aman­tea 14. Jim Rod­ney

15. Ja­cob Sev­ern 16. Chad Sandt 17. Brad Brown 18. Dan Schu­maker 19. Austin Quick 20. Eric Ankiewicz 21. Luke Thomas 22. Danny Buc­ca­fusca 23. Tim Buck­wal­ter 24. Kyle Lick 25. Ryan Groff

26. Ja­son Swavely 27. Richie Hart­man 28. Billy Koch 29. An­drew Layser 30. Aaron Bollinger.

Ju­nior Sling­shots (15 Laps) — 1. Shelby McLaugh­lin 2. Tyler Ulsh 3. Ja­cob Tay­lor

4. Kasey Huf­cut 5. Lo­gan Bau­man 6. Wy­att Taschler 7. Makayla Kohler 8. Pay­ton Nemeth 9. Mor­gan La­boda 10. Ai­den Don­ald­son.


In­vader Holden Eck­man (#11) and reg­u­lar Shawn Rooney (#97) tan­gle ex­it­ing turn four dur­ing their 600 Mi­cro Sprint qual­i­fier send­ing Eck­man into the trac­tor tire, ul­ti­mately flip­ping his racer. The driver emerged un­scathed.


Alex Bright is pic­tured here duel­ing with Kenny Miller (#23B) in the Wing­less 600 Mi­cro Sprint fea­ture. When the check­ered flag fell, it was Bright notch­ing the win with Miller shad­ow­ing the leader in sec­ond place.

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