Kutztown >> “Us old guys need shorter races like these; we can handle these short ones,” smiled Billy Pauch Sr. after winning the first of six main events run at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds.
All six features were just 17 laps in distance; they were the highlight of the Fourth Annual Ronnie Tobias Memorial at Action Track USA, and this fact backs up Pauch’s statement: in the four-year history of the event, he’s won three of the eight mains run for the USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs. Wednesday’s victory was also the third of the season for the Frenchtown, N.J., veteran.
In the closest finish of the season, Mike Bednar nipped Steve Buckwalter by a scant 0.035-seconds to record his very first Action Track USA feature win in the second 17-lapper for the SpeedSTRs.
Tim Buckwalter, of Douglassville, became the first driver (in any division) to win both of the Ronnie Tobias Memorial main events on the same night as he swept the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint features on Wednesday.
Mertztown’s Dylan Hoch and Kunkletown’s Dale Kober split the twin 17’s for the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots. The triumph in the hotly contested first Slingshot main was the second of the year for Hoch, while Kober notched his first career Action Track USA win in the second feature.
The JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA is back in action this Wednesday, June 22nd, in the final event before the speedway’s forced summer break. There will be no racing at the Kutztown Fairgrounds on June 29 and July 6, due to the annual Folk Festival that takes over the facility. Racing returns on Wednesday, July 13, with the running of the Tri-Track Challenge for the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints Powered by Hyper Fuel Injection Technology, worth $1,000 to the winner (provided he/she takes the Gambler’s Challenge). The SpeedSTRs and All Star Slingshots will also be on the July 13 menu.
This week, June 22nd, is the rescheduled “Night at the Races with Weaknecht Archery” that was rained out on June 8. The Moonshine Camo Apparel Trailer will be present, and fans will be able to take turns shooting a crossbow at the mobile indoor archery range. There will be prizes and giveaways, courtesy of Weaknecht Archery, along with some terrific racing as the All Star Slingshots participate in a Mid-Atlantic Silver Tour event. The Junior Slingshots will also make their second appearance of the season, joining their All Star counterparts as well as the USAC SpeedSTRs and Hyper Racing 600 Sprints.
The Ronnie Tobias Memorial kicked off its main event buffet with the USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs. Earl Paules set the pace on lap one, but it was point leader Billy Pauch Sr. snaring the top spot on the second tour of the progressively banked oval.
Billy Pauch Jr. moved up from his fifth starting spot, slipping into third position in the opening laps, then waging a nip-and-tuck battle with a strong running Matt Janisch. Billy Jr. prevailed in that battle and quickly set his sights on the race leader...who happened to be his father. Billy Sr. was committed to the bottom while his son rolled the top, and Junior pulled alongside his dad on a number of occasions before Pauch Sr. eased ahead by a few car lengths once again.
On the final lap, Billy Jr. sailed into turn three on the outside, then shot down off the banking and got under his dad as they made the dash to the checkered. Billy Sr. had just enough to hold off Junior for the victory - the second time this season he’s narrowly defeated his son at Action Track USA. In the process, Billy Sr. earned his ninth career SpeedSTR triumph at the speedway, tying him with Billy Jr. for the most all-time wins in the division at the track located directly across the street from Kutztown University.
Janisch finished a strong third and Kenny Brightbill picked up his best finish of the year with a fourth-place effort. Steve Buckwalter earned fifth place cash.
And Buckwalter would figure prominently in the outcome of the second main, as he came oh-so-close to his first ever feature win in a SpeedSTR.
Mike Bednar, the defending National SpeedSTR Champion, leaped from his pole starting spot to lead the early laps. Buckwalter pulled into fourth, then buzzed past the two cars in front of him to become the runner-up as the second circuit was scored.
Janisch and Brightbill, who ran so well in the first feature and were up front again in race No. 2, became involved in a wild pile-up that saw Janisch flip several times from the flagstand into turn one. He climbed out of his mangled race car unhurt, but both he and Brightbill were knocked out of the race with just two tours complete.
Billy Pauch Sr. started eighth in the second main, but he was the man on the move in the early going, threading his way to fifth, then third prior to the halfway point.
That is where his run ended, though, because the lead duo of Bednar and Steve Buckwalter were pulling away from him as they tussled relentlessly for the race lead. Buckwalter wheeled his Rita’s Italian Ice No. 56 around the bottom while Bednar stuck to the high groove, and they were dead eve-n on the straightaways before Buckwalter would nose ahead in the corners before Bednar came roaring back off the top of the banking to pull even or edge back in front.
It came down to the final lap and a drag race off turn four to decide the outcome. Earlier in the season, Pauch Sr. squeaked out a photo-finish victory over Billy Jr. by just 0.054-seconds. This one was even closer, as Bednar willed his way to his very first Action Track USA triumph by a whisker-like 0.035-seconds over Buckwalter.
“I wanted the top because I could look left and see him,” explained Bednar, from Whitehall, Pa., afterward. “If I was on the bottom, I couldn’t see him if he pulled up alongside me. And besides, the top was really good in that second feature. My wife, who doesn’t get to come to a lot of my races, is here tonight and so is my oldest son, so to win tonight is really sweet.”
In 2016, Bednar is donating all his race winnings, as well as proceeds from the sale of t-shirts and other apparel, to Autism Speaks.
Pauch Sr. completed a terrific points night by finishing third, with Billy Jr. chasing his dad to the checkered flag in fourth. Steve Nederostek completed the top five.
In this year’s season opener, Tim Buckwalter became the first Action Track USA competitor to win in two different classes (SpeedSTR and 600 Sprint) on the same night. Last Wednesday, Buckwalter wrote another piece of history as the first driver to win both ends of the Ronnie Tobias Memorial on the same night. He has now registered three consecutive victories in the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint division and has four wins overall for the season at the Kutztown Fairgrounds clay playground.
In the first main for the 600 Sprints, T. Buckwalter rumbled up to second on the fifth trip around the oval, then blasted by Brandon Azzalina to take the lead on a restart with six circuits complete. While he cruised out front, some fierce and frantic racing took place behind his Greth Racing No. 71, as Billy Pauch Jr., Eddie Strada, and Robbie Hocker challenged Azzalina for the runner-up spot.
At the finish, it was Buckwalter claiming his third win of the year over Azzalina, who drove his brother Zac’s car to a second place payout. Pauch Jr., Strada, and Hocker wound up third through fifth.
Race number two for the wingless 600’s had the first nine revolutions go caution-free. Jacob Severn set a torrid pace out front with Will Butler nipping at his heels and Strada moving to third. Colin White, Hocker, Buckwalter, and Pauch Jr. were swarming over each other in an entertaining battle for fourth until the first yellow flag slowed the pace with nine circuits in the books.
On the restart, Buckwalter charged to second and began exchanging slide jobs with Severn. on laps nine through 11. A red flag for a flipping Danny Buccafusca put a temporary halt to the exciting race for the lead, and on the restart, it was Buckwalter leaping in front of Severn. Buckwalter motored away to sweep both 17-lap mains for the 600’s.
After some incredibly close racing for positions two through six over the last six tours, Will Butler pulled off the runner-up effort with Severn, Jay Hartman, and Strada finishing in positions three, four, and five. Pauch Jr. was sixth when the checkered flag waved.
The first main event for the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots was a dandy as two National Slingshot Champions diced inches apart for the top spot over most of the 17-lap distance.
Dylan Hoch led from the pole, but Brett Bieber got the jump on him to grab the lead on a restart with six laps complete. Hoch hounded Bieber as he fended off the attacks of the leader’s brother, Travis, for several laps. Hoch finally cleared the Travis Bieber machine and began another assault on the race leader as the laps clicked off in a hurry. Hoch ran a lower line than Brett Bieber, drawing even with the No. 32 in the corners only to have Bieber keep a nose in front on the straightaways. Both cars repeatedly drifted up the banking in turn four as they used one another as a buffer to help their cars to turn and muscle off the corner.
On the final lap, Hoch wrestled the top spot from B. Bieber in three and four, holding on for the narrow victory as they accelerated down the homestretch to the checkered flag.
B. Bieber finished an oh-so-close second while his brother, Travis, collected the third place payout. Seth Spayd and Anthony Raisner rounded out the top five. Dave Burns turned in a great ride, slicing his way from 22nd at the start to a solid sixth place finish.
The second Slingshot feature was all Dale Kober as the Kunkletown chauffeur wheeled the S&S Speedways No. 5s to a first career Action Track USA feature win.
Kober passed Matt Miller to snatch the top spot on a lap three restart and was never headed. Miller ran a steady race to finish as the runner-up, while Travis Bieber notched another third place payday, grabbing that position from Anthony Raisner on a restart with one to go. Seth Spayd wound up fifth.
Action Track SidebitesAnother terrific turnout of race cars for the Ronnie Tobias Memorial, as 34 SpeedSTRs, 44 of the 600 Sprints, and 39 All Star Slingshots took part in the evening of high speed competition. That’s a total of 117 racers in action on Wednesday!
Many members of the Tobias family, including Ronnie’s mother Mary Tobias, were on hand to honor the memory of Ronnie Tobias, who was carving out a stellar career in the dirt Modifieds when he suffered a fatal heart attack in 1998 at the young age of 42. Several former crew members were also in attendance on Wednesday night, along with two restored Modifieds that were driven to many wins by Ronnie.
With double features for all three divisions, the qualifying format was altered. Group time trials were run for each class, with a certain number of cars locked into the first main event based on time. Everyone else had to run last-chance qualifier races to make the field.
Billy Pauch Jr. set quick time for the USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs, with Kenny Brightbill, Matt Janisch, Billy Pauch Sr., and Earl Paules making up the Fast Five.
In the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, Tim Buckwalter turned the quickest lap. Second through fifth in group time trials were Billy Pauch Jr., Will Butler, Brandon Azzalina, and Alex Bright.
The NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots were paced by Dave Carraghan. Brett Bieber, Matt Miller, Cole Stangle, and Dylan Hoch comprised the Fast Five.
SpeedSTR B-Mains were claimed by Tim Buckwalter and Steve Drevicki. The 600 Sprints ran a pair of C-Mains, with victories going to Jesse Maurer and Austin Quick. The 600 B-Main triumph went to Danny Buccafusca. A pair of B-Mains were contested by the All Star Slingshots, with wins going to Lee Schantzenbach and Jeff Kemp.
The first race of the night, the Mad Scramble for the 600 Sprints, was won by Nate Brinker. He transferred directly to the first main event, but still had to run in the group time trials to determine his starting position in the first 17-lap feature.
This Wednesday, June 22nd, is the last chance to see the ground-pounding, heart-stopping excitement produced at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA before the speedway takes its annual summer break on June 29 and July 6. Come on out for A Night at the Races with Weaknecht Archery and get your midweek motorsports adrenaline rush in Slide Job City...also known as Action Track USA, where the Superstars come to race!
USAC All Pro SpeedSTR Feature I, 17 laps: 1.Billy Pauch Sr., 2.Billy Pauch Jr., 3.Matt Janisch, 4.Kenny Brightbill, 5.Steve Buckwalter, 6.Earl Paules, 7.Steve Nederostek, 8.Mike Bednar, 9.Brad Brightbill, 10.Tom Mayberry, 11.Jay Hartman, 12.Frank Yankowski, 13.Andy Haus, 14.Louden Reimert, 15.Jeff Hartman, 16.Briggs Danner, 17.John Bockhorn, 18.Dylan Hoch, 19.Steve Drevicki, 20.Joe Mooney, 21.Damon Paul, 22.Tim Iulg, 23.TJ Mayberry, 24.Jason Musser, 25.Tim Buckwalter, 26.Phil Meisner. DNS: Doug Manmiller. DNQ: Keith Prutzman, CJ Faison, Joe Vaccaro, Chuck Bowers, James Morris, Ray Nemeth, Jason Miller.
USAC All Pro SpeedSTR Feature II, 17 laps: 1.Mike Bednar, 2.Steve Buckwalter, 3.Billy Pauch Sr., 4.Billy Pauch Jr., 5.Steve Nederostek, 6.Earl Paules, 7.Tom Mayberry, 8.Brad Brightbill, 9.Louden Reimert, 10.Jay Hartman, 11.Tim Buckwalter, 12.Briggs Danner, 13.John Bockhorn, 14.CJ Faison, 15.Tim Iulg, 16.Jeff Hartman, 17.Damon Paul, 18.Joe Mooney, 19.Dylan Hoch, 20.Jason Musser, 21.Andy Haus, 22.Matt Janisch, 23.Kenny Brightbill, 24.Frank Yankowski, 25.Steve Drevicki, 26.Phil Meisner, 27.TJ Mayberry.
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, Feature I, 17 laps: 1.Tim Buckwalter, 2.Brandon Azzalina, 3.Billy Pauch Jr., 4.Eddie Strada, 5.Robbie Hocker, 6.Colin White, 7.Will Butler, 8.Jacob Severn, 9.James Morris, 10.Danny Buccafusca, 11.Jay Hartman, 12.Jarid Kunkle, 13.Sam Kravitsky, 14.Kyle Spence, 15.Tommy Kunsman, 16.Doug Snyder, 17.Austin Quick, 18.Joey Jarowicz, 19.Jesse Maurer, 20.Zack Bealer, 21.Bobby Butler, 22.Alex Bright, 23.Greg Stevens, 24.Dan Schumaker, 25.Nate Brinker, 26.Shelby Harper. DNQ: Kameron Morral, Brooklyn Gable, Devin Gundrum, Austin Bishop, Dustin Stotzfus, John Vreeland, Joe Kay, Justin Schraden, Steve Reynolds, Dan Leaper, Molly Chambers, Jordyn Mohr, Ryan Quackenbush, Wayne Scott Jr., Jackson Ring, Mike Meyers, Matt Roselli, Dylan Licklider.
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, Feature II, 17 laps: 1.Tim Buckwalter, 2.Will Butler, 3.Jacob Severn, 4.Jay Hartman, 5.Eddie Strada, 6.Billy Pauch Jr., 7.James Morris, 8.Brandon Azzalina, 9.Colin White, 10.Kyle Spence, 11.Sam Kravitsky, 12.Jarid Kunkle, 13.Jesse Maurer, 14.Doug Snyder, 15.Joey Jarowicz, 16.Bobby Butler, 17.Austin Quick, 18.Tommy Kunsman, 19.Shelby Harper, 20.Nate Brinker, 21.Danny Buccafusca, 22.Robbie Hocker, 23.Greg Stevens, 24.Ryan Quackenbush, 25.Zack Bealer, 26.Alex Bright, 27.Dan Schumaker.
PPB/ Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic 600 Sprints Mad Scramble: 1.Nate Brinker (Advanced to Feature Event), 2.Dan Schumaker (RR Hoosier Tire), 3.Alex Bright (Vahlco Wheel), 4.Austin Bishop (10 Gallons Fuel), 5.Steve Reynolds (RTS Gift Certificate), 6.Brooklyn Gable (TSL Shocks Gift Certificate), 7.Jackson Ring (Krietz Gift Certificate), 8.Justin Schraden (4 FK Rod Ends), 9.Danny Buccafusca (Saldana Gift Certificate), 10.Mike Meyers (Free Registration), 11.Dan Leaper (Pyrotect Gift Certificate), 12.Joey Jarowicz, 13.Jordyn Mohr, 14.Molly Chambers, 15.Zack Bealer, 16.Dylan Licklider, 17.Will Butler, 18.Matt Roselli, 19.JT Brotosky.
NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots, Feature I, 17 laps: 1.Dylan Hoch, 2.Brett Bieber, 3.Travis Bieber, 4.Seth Spayd, 5.Anthony Raisner, 6.Dave Burns, 7.Cole Stangle, 8.Dale Kober, 9.Erik Jones, 10.Matt Miller, 11.Austin Silfee, 12.Nick Delcampo, 13.Henry Anderson, 14.Austin Stufflet, 15.Mike Glass, 16.Joe Nemeth, 17.Alex Yankowski, 18.Lee Schantzenbach, 19.Mike Taylor, 20.Jeff Kemp, 21.Kyle Smith, 22.Brianna James, 23.Dave Carraghan, 24.Nick Vincigura, 25.Blaire Schoenly, 26.Chris Kurtz. DNQ: Jordan Knepp, Taylor Schoenly, Bridget Conti, Natasha Henn, Dakota Kohler, Joey Vaccaro, Chuck Whary, Ryan Davey, John Arms, AJ Gerhart, Matt Miller (57), Steve Svanda, Zac Kistler.
NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots, Feature II, 17 laps: 1.Dale Kober, 2.Matt Miller, 3.Travis Bieber, 4.Anthony Raisner, 5.Seth Spayd, 6.Dylan Hoch, 7.Chris Kurtz, 8.Jordan Knepp, 9.Austin Silfee, 10.Henry Anderson, 11.Dakota Kohler, 12.Nick Delcampo, 13.Kyle Smith, 14.Matt Miller (57), 15.Mike Glass, 16.Jeff Kemp, 17.Brett Bieber, 18.Dave Burns, 19.Erik Jones, 20.Cole Stangle, 21.Alex Yankowski, 22.Nick Vincigura, 23.Brianna James, 24.Austin Stufflet, 25.Lee Schantzenbach, 26.Blaire Schoenly, 27.Mike Taylor, 28.Joe Nemeth, 29.Dave Carraghan.