Ma­haney works magic at SpeedSTR main event

The Southern Berks News - - SPORTS - By Barry Angstadt For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

KUTZ­TOWN » Mike Ma­haney, of Kings Ferry, N.Y., dropped a new en­gine in his USAC All Pro SpeedSTR around 1 p.m. on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. Roughly eight hours later, he was stand­ing in Weaknecht Archery Vic­tory Lane at the Jef­freyHogueReal­tor.com Ac­tion Track USA af­ter the fourth fea­ture win of his ca­reer at the Berks County oval.

Join­ing Ma­haney in the win­ner’s cir­cle on A Night at the Races with Weaknecht Archery were Kyle Spence, who tri­umphed in the Hy­per Racing 600 Sprints King of No Wing Shootout, and All Star Sling­shot victor Seth Spayd from Shilling­ton.

“Af­ter the week I had last week, this is es­pe­cially sweet,” smiled Ma­haney dur­ing his vic­tory lane in­ter­view. “I flipped my Mod­i­fied and blew the en­gine in the SpeedSTR. It was not a good week at all, but it makes this win so much more sat­is­fy­ing. I al­most gave it away, though... did you see me bicycle over there in (turn) two?

“I love com­ing down here to race; the track is al­ways real racey and there’s al­ways a big crowd, and the crowd is re­ally into it. So thanks to all the fans for com­ing out.”

The sec­ond gen­er­a­tion driver had to work hard for his vic­tory, as he tried time and time again to wres­tle the top spot from front row starter Jeff Hart­man. Hart­man led (al­most) the en­tire first half of the 30-lap­per, while Ma­haney threaded his way from fifth on the grid to run sec­ond over Brad Bright­bill by the time lap ten was scored.

Af­ter sev­eral at­tempts to take the lead from Hart­man, Ma­haney fi­nally zipped around the bot­tom of turns one and two on a restart with 14 tours com­pleted, then slid up in front of Hart­man as they ac­cel­er­ated onto the back­stretch. He had the lead, but the race was far from over...

Ninth-start­ing Tim Buck­wal­ter, the pre­vi­ous week’s Meit­zler Me­mo­rial Race win­ner, weaved his way to third just past the half­way point. Buck­wal­ter then dis­posed of Hart­man with seven to go, set­ting his sights on race leader Ma­haney. The two throt­tle-jock­eys waged an epic bat­tle over the fi­nal seven trips around the clay with Buck­wal­ter try­ing high and low to pull along­side Ma­haney’s Shop Crane Equip­ment No. 33.

Ma­haney re­pelled ev­ery chal­lenge and beat Buck­wal­ter to the check­ered by less than one-quar­ter of a sec­ond (0.208 sec­onds). Matt Janisch fin­ished third for the sec­ond straight week af­ter bat­tling with Steven Nederostek for most of the race. Nederostek wound up fourth and Billy Pauch Jr., who slid far back in the field in the early go­ing, ral­lied for a fifth place pay­day.

The Hy­per Racing Win­g­less 600 Sprints took part in the an­nual King of No Wing Shootout, a 40-lap af­fair that has pro­duced some wildly in­tense racing over the past few years. And Wed­nes­day’s edi­tion did not dis­ap­point, ei­ther, as it was chock full of three and four-wide ac­tiv­ity and lots of ebbs and flows dur­ing the long dis­tance event.

Danny Buc­ca­fusca, the “Rock­away Rocket” from New Jersey, set the early pace with Tommy Kun­sman and Mike Rutherford duk­ing it out for the run­ner-up po­si­tion. Three cau­tion pe­ri­ods, each spaced about seven or eight laps apart from one an­other, dot­ted the first 18 cir­cuits and tem­po­rar­ily slowed the in­cred­i­ble, multi-car slid­er­fest that kept the fans on the edge of their seats.

Kun­sman slowly pulled away from Rutherford and moved in to chal­lenge Buc­ca­fusca. But Kun­sman had to be a bit de­fen­sive, too, be­cause open­ing night win­ner Alex Bright, Ed­die Strada (the de­fend­ing King of No Wing win­ner), Bran­don Az­za­lina, Rutherford, and now Kyle Spence were us­ing ev­ery inch of the pro­gres­sively banked speed­way and trad­ing po­si­tions lap af­ter ex­cit­ing lap.

Tommy Kun­sman even­tu­ally made the most of his op­por­tu­ni­ties to snatch the lead from Buc­ca­fusca. On a restart with 21 com­plete, Kun­sman rode the bot­tom groove to the lead, and Spence, who took the orig­i­nal green in tenth, fol­lowed him into the run­nerup spot. On lap 25, Spence, from Bear, DE, pow­ered past his good friend Kun­sman to take the top spot as they blasted down the front chute and into turn one.

Spence man­aged to pull away over the fi­nal ten tours, but the ac­tion be­hind him re­mained fierce. Alex Bright passed Kun­sman for sec­ond and Billy Pauch Jr. was mak­ing a big charge from the back of the pack into the top five.

When the check­ered flag waved, Spence was $1,000 richer (he took the Gam­bler’s Chal­lenge, thereby in­creas­ing his win­ner’s share) as he crossed the stripe with a com­fort­able mar­gin over Bright. Kun­sman, who won the Mad Scram­ble (a race for the pre­vi­ous week’s non-qual­i­fiers) on Wed­nes­day, trans­fer­ring di­rectly to the fea­ture as a re­sult. Af­ter lead­ing four laps, Kun­sman had to set­tle for a third place pay en­ve­lope. Pauch Jr. and B. Az­za­lina rounded out the top five.

Seth Spayd cel­e­brated his 17th birth­day on Wed­nes­day by win­ning the All Star Sling­shot fea­ture. But it was a nine year-old who stole the crowd’s hearts...and al­most stole a vic­tory.

Tan­ner VanDoren, just be­gin­ning his sec­ond full sea­son of Sling­shot com­pe­ti­tion, took off with the early lead and it wasn’t long be­fore de­fend­ing track cham­pion (and two-time National Sling­shot Cham­pion) Dy­lan Hoch sliced his way from 12th to sec­ond. Hoch pulled even with VanDoren but young Tan­ner held his ground, fend­ing off Hoch’s chal­lenge.

Spayd, who started the race in 11th, shot past Hoch to snare the run­nerup spot on the eighth rev­o­lu­tion. VanDoren held him off, too, for two laps be­fore Spayd mus­cled by and into the lead at the half­way point of the 20-lap fea­ture.

Spayd went on to win his sec­ond Ac­tion Track USA fea­ture of the sea­son, with VanDoren scor­ing an ex­tremely pop­u­lar run­nerup fin­ish over Hoch, Travis Bieber, and Lee Schantzen­bach. Last week’s win­ner, Marc Daniels, wound up sixth. Ac­tion Track Sideb­ites: A to­tal of 113 cars took part in A Night at the Races with Weaknecht Archery. There were 31 SpeedSTRs, a whop­ping 58 Win­g­less 600 Sprints, and 24 All Star Sling­shots.

Billy Pauch Jr. was the quick­est of the SpeedSTRs in the Timed Dashes, with teenager Briggs Dan­ner set­ting sec­ond fastest time. Both driv­ers trans­ferred di­rectly to the main event as a re­sult of their times.

SpeedSTR heat races were won by Brad Bright­bill, Tim Buck­wal­ter, and Matt Janisch. The B-Main went to Ray Nemeth.

The Hy­per Racing Win­g­less 600’s be­gan their night with the Mad Scram­ble, a race for the pre­vi­ous week’s non-qual­i­fiers where the win­ner moves to the main event. Tommy Kun­sman was the Mad Scram­ble win­ner on Wed­nes­day.

Six heat races were needed to pare down the large field, and the six win­ners were Alex Bright, Ed­die Strada, Danny Buc­ca­fusca, Jay Hart­man, Ja­son Swavely, and Tim Buck­wal­ter. The C-Main win­ners in­cluded Da­mon Paul and Joe Kay, while Kenny Miller III cap­tured the BMain. It should be noted that Da­mon Paul qual­i­fied through the B-Main as well, so the youth­ful charger from Stoney Point, NY ran the al­pha­bet on Wed­nes­day, go­ing from the C to the B to the A-Main, where he fin­ished 16th.

Sling­shot heat race win­ners were Travis Bieber, Matt Miller, and Alex Yankowski.

Fred­die Rah­mer Jr., driv­ing Dave Bo­dine’s No. 99, rode out a wild flip in the 600 Sprint B-Main. Rah­mer ap­peared to get pinched into the out­side wall on the back­stretch, launch­ing his car into a se­ries of bar­rel rolls. Rah­mer quickly crawled out of the up­side­down car and walked away.

Weaknecht Archery is your one-stop shop for all your archery hunt­ing ques­tions and needs. They are lo­cated at 159 Kutz Mill Road in Kutz­town, PA. They of­fer very com­pet­i­tive pric­ing and un­par­alelled ser­vice, mak­ing Weaknecht Archery the place to go for archery equip­ment and sup­plies. You can also check them out on­line at www. weaknechtarchery.com.

On Wed­nes­day, May 31, Ac­tion Track USA will honor all First Re­spon­ders, who will get in for free when show­ing a valid I.D. It’s also Glick Fire Equip­ment NIght with a fire truck on dis­play and live demon­stra­tions all night long.

The USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs, Hy­per Racing Win­g­less 600 Sprints, and the All Star Sling­shots will be joined by the Ju­nior Sling­shots, who will be mak­ing their first ap­pear­ance of the sea­son at the Kutz­town oval.

Warm-ups be­gin at 6 p.m. with qual­i­fy­ing heats go­ing green im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the hot lap ses­sions.

Come get your mid­week motorsports adren­a­line rush at the Jef­freyHogueReal­tor.com Ac­tion Track USA...where the su­per­stars come to race!

Kyle Spence, near, pic­tured racing along­side Logan Sny­der, had his No. 25 Win­g­less 600 Mi­cro Sprint di­aled-in early at Ac­tion Track USA on May 24. (Carl Hess - For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia)

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