Kutztown, PA – Momentum builds confidence, and right now, Billy Pauch Jr. has plenty of both.
Family in victory lane in Kutztown; Billy Pauch Jr. won the race over his dad, Bill Sr. (Track Facebook photo)
The third generation racer from Frenchtown, NJ captured his second triumph of the season on Wednesday in the 30-lap USAC Championship SpeedSTR main event at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds. Making the win even more special, he held off his dad, Billy Pauch Sr., to earn the $2,000 winner’s share. The younger Pauch also has three dirt Modified victories at Big Diamond Speedway, a single triumph at Grandview Speedway, and one Wingless 600cc Sprint victory in addition to his pair of SpeedSTR wins in what has been a stellar 2014 campaign.
Collegeville’s Alex Bright, in probably his final start aboard Rich Glosser’s No. 70G, gave his car owner a memorable send-off with a late race charge that resulted in a Wingless 600cc Sprint victory. The Pioneer Pole Building Wingless 600’s were competing in the finale` of the 2014 Tri-Track Challenge, a mini-series conducted at Linda’s Speedway on July 4, Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway on July 5, and the Action Track USA on Wednesday the 9th. On the strength of a pair of third place efforts in the first two events, along with a runner-up finish in the finale` at Kutztown, Douglassville’s Jason Swavely notched the $250 bonus for winning the overall Tri-Track Challenge Championship.
The USAC Championship SpeedSTR main began with Pauch Jr. on the pole and the always exciting Kyle Lick flanking him on the front row. Lick outgunned Pauch to grab the early lead.
John Kovatch IV started tenth and quickly moved forward, charging to fourth in the first few laps before he wrestled third away from Earl Paules. Right behind Kovatch was one-time winner Frank Cozze, who lined up ninth for the initial start. Cozze sliced his way to fourth, then snatched third from Paules shortly after a restart with 12 circuits complete. Kovatch faded later in the race and Cozze was involved in a couple of skirmishes that caused him to fall back in the field.
As the cars lined up in double-file fashion after those incidents, as well as a few others that temporarily halted the furious battles throughout the pack, race leader Lick chose the inside lane for each restart. Pauch Jr. challenged on the high side, but time and time again Lick managed to keep his Firetruckparts.com No. L1 in front. Until a fateful restart with 17 laps scored, that is…
Pauch Jr. finally found the bite he needed in the higher groove, throttling ahead of Lick’s machine. It was the move that won him the race, but afterward, Junior was thinking that something else was the key to his victory.
“I have to thank that little girl who picked the pole for me tonight,” he smiled as he recalled the re-draw among the top two in timed hot laps and the top three finishers in the heat races. “I know Kyle got the jump on me there, but starting up front is always a key factor here because the competition is so tough.”
Billy Pauch Sr. moved into contention during the second half of the event, dueling with Paules before he secured the runner-up position for good. He had one final shot at overtaking his offspring, on a couple of restarts near the end, but “the Kid’s Kid” pulled away each time the green reappeared, and he wound up beating his dad to the finish line by almost a half-second.
Paules, the asphalt racing expert, finished an impressive third with Lick and Steve Yankowski completing the top five.
The Pioneer Pole Buildings Wingless 600cc Sprint feature was another dandy, with Jason Swavely shooting into the lead over polesitter Bobby Scherff as the green flag waved. Earlier in the evening, Swavely captured the Mad Scramble victory, securing a guaranteed starting spot in the main event – a most important factor for him as he entered the night with just a one point lead over James Morris, and a two point advantage over Tyler Walton, in the Tri-Track Challenge standings.
On a restart with two tours complete, Tony DiMattia roared past Swavely to take the top spot, as Ryan Greth (in Mike Dicely’s No. 44) and Tim Buckwalter scuffled for third.
On the 11th trip around the clay, Swavely darted back in front as DiMattia jumped the cushion in turn four. Greth took advantage of DiMattia’s bobble to sneak into second and Rhett Long made his presence known, powering by Buckwalter and DiMattia to claim the third position.
Alex Bright lined up 16th on the grid when the race began, and he was stuck in heavy traffic for nearly two-thirds of the 30-lapper, slowly but steadily
picking off cars until he found himself in the top five with the laps winding down.
Bright, driving one last race for car owner Glosser (who plans to sell off all his 600cc equipment), flew by Buckwalter, Greth, and Long to move into second place, then immediately set his sights on Swavely, the race leader. Bright ran down the No. 14, then threw a slide job on Swavely in turns three and four. Swavely was ready for the maneuver, diving to the inside and shoving his nose back in front as the duo completed lap 26 and drag raced into the first corner.
Bright was able to maintain his momentum by running the higher line in turns one and two, and he pulled Swavely off the corner to become the new leader. The ARDC Midget star then pulled away, rumbling to the finish line with a margin of 0.812-seconds over Swavely, whose runner-up effort was enough to lock up the Tri-Track Challenge title over Tyler Walton, who finished fifth in a rare wingless appearance at Action Track USA.
Long raced home in third, with Jay Hartman finishing fourth ahead of Walton.
Action Track Sidebites:
Due to a lengthy delay caused by a heavy shower that hit the facility around 5:30 p.m., the All Star Slingshot feature fell victim to the track’s mandated curfew. That race will be first on this week’s menu, with 31 Slingers eligible to take the green in the 20-lap event.
With the speedway returning from its annual two-week holiday hiatus, the racers were hungry for action as proven by another incredible car count: 55 Wingless 600cc Sprints, 31 All Star Slingshots, and a full field of 24 SpeedSTR’s. That’s 110 racecars; combine that total with the delayed start (due to the rain), and it’s no wonder that the fast-moving program ran up on the appointed curfew time.
Pauch Jr. pocketed $2,000 for the SpeedSTR triumph on Wednesday, and he attempted to (almost) double that amount by taking the Hump Day Challenge, meaning he would start 18th in the Wingless 600cc Sprint main. Combining the Hump Day Challenge, Gambler’s Fee, a $100 bonus from the Quality Shoppe in Kutztown, and the basic purse, Pauch could have earned another $1,900 if he’d been able to win the 30-lap Tri-Track finale`.
Unfortunately, as he was carefully climbing through the talent-laden field, Junior was pinched into the backstretch wall and his LHS Racing Engines No. 91s began a series of high-flying, end-over-end tumbles, finally crashing back down onto the racing surface near the entrance to turn three. Pauch Jr. emerged from the car unhurt, but angry, disappointed, and done for the night.
It was a good points night for father and son Pauch in the SpeedSTR division, though, as point leader Jeff Strunk was an early retiree (he finished 22nd) and Billy Sr., who entered the evening just 12 tallies behind Strunk, finishing second to his son, who was third in the point standings when the night began.
“I go for wins,” stated Senior when asked if a SpeedSTR title was part of his 2014 plans. “When you focus on winning a championship, then you start to ‘points race’, and that’s not my style. I race to win but yeah, a championship would be nice.”
Several special awards were up for grabs as part of the 600cc Tri-Track Challenge event. Alex Bright’s drive from 16th to victory earned him the Hard Charger Award (a new right-rear tire from American Racer Tires) and Jermain Godshall won a similar prize as the Hard Luck Driver of the event.
Godshall failed to transfer out of his heat race, but was victorious in one of the C-Mains. That put him near the back of the B-Main starting lineup, and he staged an exciting run to the front before finishing third – making him the final qualifier for the 30-lap feature.
Unfortunately, Godshall was involved in an incident after just nine laps, flipping wildly on the frontstretch and landing at the base of the flagstand. He was uninjured, thankfully, and received a new right-rear tire as the Hard Luck recipient.
Several 600cc drivers from Florida were in the field on Wednesday, led by Eddie Moss and his daughters Raelynn and Paige. Dirk Miller, John Crowder, and David Hall accompanied the Moss family to Kutztown. All are very successful racers in the Florida Mini-Sprint Association. Eddie Moss was the only member from the Sunshine State to make the feature, where he finished 20th after falling out with 12 laps in the books.
This Wednesday, July 16, will see the All Star Slingshots take center stage in the second running of the Kutztown Komet 100, honoring the late, great Freddy Adam.
The Slingers will start the night by making up their 20-lap feature from last week, then run timed warm-ups to determine the starting order for the 100-lap grind. Co-promoters Rich Tobias and Doug Rose decided that everyone who takes part in the timed warm-ups will start the Kutztown Komet 100.
There will be a five-minute break at the halfway point of the race. The cars will be stopped on the track, and crews will be permitted to change anything they want, as long as it can be completed in the five-minute time period. Anyone going to the pits will have to restart in the rear of the field.
The SpeedSTR’s and Wingless 600 Sprints will be part of the July 16 menu as well, with warm-ups beginning at 6:15 and qualifying getting underway after the make-up Slingshot feature at 6:35.
Come get your midweek motorsports adrenaline rush at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds…where the superstars come to race!
USAC Championship SpeedSTR Feature, 30 laps: 1.Billy Pauch Jr., 2.Billy Pauch Sr., 3.Earl Paules, 4.Kyle Lick, 5.Steve Yankowski, 6.Wayne Weaver, 7.Kyle Weiss, 8.Mike Bednar, 9.Brittany Wixon, 10.Larry Solomon, 11.John Kovatch IV, 12.Jason Miller, 13.Brad Brightbill, 14.Frank Cozze, 15.Nick Baer, 16.JJ Grasso, 17.Pancho Lawler, 18.Mike Vermuelen, 19.Kenny Brightbill, 20.Frank Yankowski, 21.Joe Sanfillippo, 22.Jeff Strunk, 23.Dale Planck. DNS: Ryan Krachun.
Pioneer Pole Building Wingless 600cc Sprints (Tri-Track Challenge Finale`), 30 laps: 1.Alex Bright, 2.Jason Swavely, 3.Rhett Long, 4.Jay Hartman, 5.Tyler Walton, 6.Brandon Azzalina, 7.Jeff Hartman, 8.Tony DiMattia, 9.Eddie Strada, 10.Frank Cozze, 11.James Morris, 12.Billy Ney, 13.Brittany Brown, 14.Kyle Lick, 15.Tim Buckwalter, 16.Ryan Greth, 17.Blaine Emery, 18.Jarid Kunkle, 19.Mike Rutherford, 20.Eddie Moss, 21.Jermain Godshall, 22.Billy Pauch Jr., 23.Joe Kay, 24.PJ Williams, 25.Bobby Scherff, 26.Shelby Harper, 27.Zach Bealer, 28.Dan Souder.
DNQ: Paige Moss, Daniel Schumaker, Mackenzie Harper, Dirk Miller, Rob Adams, Robbie Hocker, Jacob Severn, Austin Burke, Raelynn Moss, John Crowder, Molly Chambers, Tommy Kunsman Jr., Jessica Weiss, Ryan Neil, Tex Snyder, Ron Bosga, Chris Stockham, Dave Dimaio, Zach Fisher, Austin Bishop, Brandon Edgar, Marty Gorr, David Hall, Mark Conrad Jr., Donny Smith, Peter Michael, Eric Whitby.
TRACK PR – Photo Credit (wreck) Schaible Shoots & Track Facebook page