Despite some afternoon sprinkles that frustrated competitors and officials during practice and qualifying, the 2014 Season Championships were completed this past Saturday night at Midvale Speedway. Point battles were tight going into the final night, with four of the five championships up for grabs and two of them extremely tight.
The McIntosh Oil Company Late Models was one of the races within a race due to the point battle. Entering the night, 7-time Midvale Speedway Late Model champion, Mike Miller, led Bob Schneider, Jr. by just 16 points in this year’s title pursuit. Miller had a sizable lead at one point this season, but mechanical issues created a barn burner. This night would be no different, as Miller’s car started spewing oil while in line to qualify. The #22 went back to its pit stall and was unable to make it back in time to get a time trial lap. With Schneider’s decent qualifying run, he then took the lead heading into the racing action. The Dennison, Ohio driver extended his advantage over Miller with a fast heat race win, while Miller’s Jaberg Racing Crew continued to work to stop the leak. On to the feature event, Miller would need bad luck from Schneider and a great run from his #22.
On to the feature event itself, it was the Kirkpatrick Racing Team of Joe Linard and Ron Kirkpatrick making up the front row. Kirkpatrick raced into the top spot with Linard dropping into second at the conclusion of lap one. Schneider, needing just a decent finish to secure his first career point championship, was pretty racy early on, getting to the outside of Linard and racing for the runner-up spot. On lap five, Schneider drove hard into the first corner and while trying to pull back alongside Linard, spun his ride out. Somehow, oncoming traffic did a great job avoiding the stopped racecar. It looked at first like Miller had a chance to get back into championship contention, however, under caution it was quite noticeable that the Clinton, Ohio driver’s #22 had put about five trips of sheen on the track, causing slick conditions. With the oil still pouring out of the Miller ride, his championship hopes had slipped away, while Schneider continued.
A few cautions slowed the pace around the lap five mark. Some could be attributed to less than favorable track conditions while some could be from no give and all take. Much of the issues happened right up front. The first involved Kirkpatrick who lost the lead and went to the tail. One of the next restarts, slated Bryant Smith on the inside and Randy Smart on the outside. Entering the first turn, Smart tried to get to the bottom, maybe to avoid the slick outside groove. However, not having Smith cleared, contact ensued creating a spin. Smart restarted from the tail. That put Alex Rosenberry outside of Smith for the next restart. The New Philadelphia, Ohio youngster raced into the lead and many were thinking, “game over”. However, Rosenberry’s car wasn’t handling to his liking and Smith was applying pressure. After looking to the inside a couple of times with Rosenberry shutting the door, a frustrated Smith decided not to back out as the two were coming down the frontstretch. The two traded paint and Rosenberry slid quickly through the infield and rearranged a yuke tire. Rosenberry’s car was damaged and went pitside for work, while Smith restarted from the tail. That put top qualifier Bubba Smith and Rick Sibila up front for the next restart. From that point on, the race only saw one more caution and the final 20 laps went clean without a caution. Smith pulled away with a convincing win, while Sibila finished a solid second. Also following the Finish Line Motors/Smith’s Auto Sales #12 of Smith to his first win this season were Smart in third, Bryant Smith fourth, and Schneider fifth. Rosenberry, Matthew Mills, Kirkpatrick, Roger Smith, and Dave Martin were top ten finishers.
For Schneider, he only led the points one night this season. Fortunately, for the Late Model driving veteran, it happened to be on the last point night. It was the first championship for the Landstar By Jeff Secrest/Gathering Place #17.
Points were not a big topic in the Summit Racing Economy Modified division, as Kevin McClintock had his second straight championship locked up entering the evening. The feature itself got a little dicey at times with one of their rougher races of the season. 18 cars took the green with Tyler Noeske leading the first lap. Don Boron, Jr. snuck by him right after the completion of lap one and was able to close the door. However, a spin by a car at the back of the field brought a caution out and negated the pass for the rookie. On the ensuing restart, Boron tried to close the door heading into turn one. He had the slight advantage but didn’t quite have Noeske cleared and a spin occurred. Boron’s great chance at his first Modified win came to an end as he restarted from the tail, while Noeske continued up front. The majority of car damage came just after a lap five restart when outside polesitter Mike Bowers slid high going into turn two. Opening up the middle lane, McClintock filled it. Bowers slid sideways, trying to get his car back down the track as he, McClintock, Jason Grewell, and Bob Sibila, Jr. all got crossed up. The hardest hit came to Bowers’ car as he ended up slamming the outside wall in turn three. All drivers were okay but Sibila and Bowers were done and Grewell retired after a few more laps.
Noeske went on to lead through lap 15 but after the next to last restart with ten to go, Glen Jewell used the outside lane to take over the race lead. Jewell set the pace lap-after-lap, however, top qualifier Preston Walker was lurking closely behind. Coming to the white, Walker gave it a last stitch effort and drove it deep on the outside of turn one. Amazingly, it almost stuck, but a brief bobble coming off of two kept Jewell out front. For Jewell, it was his second win of the season in the Texas Roadhouse/J.D. Byrider #24. The 64-year old racing veteran had Walker, Noeske, Mike Green, and McClintock in the top five. The rest of the top ten were Shawn Marder, Bubba Smith, Chris Piehl, Boron, and Brandon Bailey.
For McClintock, he clinched his 2nd straight Modified championship and his 7th career Midvale championship overall. It was a season that saw just one feature win for the Dover, Ohio driver, but consistency week-after-week helped him garner top honors. McClintock was frustrated that his Glass Lumber/Broadrun Cheesehouse #38 didn’t find victory lane on the final point night but was pleased with the efforts of he and his team throughout the season.
The tightest point battle and arguably the best racing came in the J.D. Byrider Street Stock division. Coming into the night, Mike Martin had a four point lead over Dennis Wood in the championship chase. Wood outqualified Martin by a few spots, which ended up giving him a two point advantage heading into the heat. In that race, the point lead would change hands again, as Martin edged Wood by two spots in a great battle to take a two point lead back. That set up a championship race where all that either driver had to do is finish ahead of the other guy in the feature to take the title.
When the green dropped on the 20-lap event, Bob Passwaters, Jr. set the early pace. Passwaters led the first lap, while Martin worked quickly around him one lap later to take the lead and become the favorite for the championship again. Wood was patiently working through the field while being held up by fellow competitors. After one yellow period, Wood eventually moved into second on the seventh lap but Martin had built a comfortable lead. Wood was turning laps slightly better than Martin, but a lap eleven caution helped his cause tremendously. After caution flew for a stopped Waylon Orr car, a double file restart slated the two championship finalists on the front row. Martin took the lead but Wood started applying pressure to the lowside right away. Martin held him off on a couple of advances but with twelve complete, Wood got the run he needed to squeak by. Down the stretch, the Barberton, Ohio driver ran a smooth lane and kept Martin in his tire tracks to claim the Season Championship race and the title. It was the seventh win in the last eight features for Wood. Following the Right Priced Motors/Carpenter Asphalt #41 were Martin, Bob Passwaters, Jr., Scott Archer, and Josh Moss. The rest of the top ten were Bob Passwaters, Sr., Gary Hoopingarner, Don Boron, Sr., Orr, and Brian Lewis, Sr.
It was the first Midvale championship for Dennis Wood, after running a number of seasons at Barberton Speedway. The Petrus Motorsports cars has been dominant in the second half of 2014.
A miracle would’ve been needed for anyone to knock Canton Auto Salvage Compact point leader Dan Buckey off of his pedestal. His closest challengers, Clayton Oliver and Tim Frederick both were strong and Oliver had good track position early. Buckey led the first lap, though, before Kyle Rector was able to squeeze by him. Behind him, Kyle Finlayson moved into second. Finlayson was running some strong laps but Rector was too quick as the race went clean and green down the stretch. At the checkered, it was the fourth win of the year for New Philadelphia, Ohio driver Kyle Rector. The Wissman Trucking/South Phila Pizza #22 was followed by Finlayson, Clayton Oliver, Justin Renicker, and Dan Buckey. Other top ten finishers were Chase Beatty, Zack Cogar, Laney Striejewske, Brad McClain, and Gage Jaberg.
For Dan Buckey, it was his third straight championship at Midvale Speedway. His previous two were the Stock Compacts in 2012 and the Funpacts in 2013. The Dennison Yard/Parkway Auto Group #69 and Buckey was joined by his wife and car owners Craig and Crystal Mishler in victory lane.
Cyler Bertram raced by Keith Anderson on the first lap of the 12-lap Finish Line Motors Mini Truck feature. Point leader, Mike Martin, who clinched by starting the event, moved into second with five laps complete, however Bertram proved to be too strong down the stretch. At the checkered, the Tony Newman Roofing/Falls Auto Body #155 was followed by Martin, Anderson, Derek Cordia, and Cody Jaberg.
For Martin, it was his first championship since 2001 when he claimed the Pure Stock title. He lost the Street Stock championship earlier in the night by just two but claimed the Truck championship by a comfortable margin in the Canton Car Connection/Shelbi’s Sweets & Treats #5.
21 vehicles lined up for the wild skid plate race at the end of the night. Just a couple of laps into the ten lapper, Bubba Smith had worked his way from the back into the lead, avoiding spins and other competitors. Smith raced to the victory while younger brother, Bryant, and Dan Buckey finished second and third.
Up next is the 2014 season ending Fall Classic. It is scheduled for this coming Saturday, September 13. All five weekly divisions will be there in addition to a Figure 8 race for Compacts and an official’s race. A fan favorite, the trailer race, will be held at the end of the night.
Pit gates will open at 2:30, hotlaps and grandstands at 3:00, qualifying at 5:00, and racing will begin at 6:30. Grandstand admission is $15 for adults and seniors and $10 for kids 6-15. Children five and under are free. Pit admission is $25 for members and $30 for non-members.
For more information, visit midvalespeedway.com.
Track PR and Photos
Results For Midvale Speedway
McIntosh Oil Company Late Models
Top Qualifier – Bubba Smith 13.781 NTR
Heat #1 – Bob Schneider, Jr., Bryant Smith, Randy Smart, Emerson Huffman, Bubba Smith
Heat #2 – Roger Smith, Larry Baker, Joe Linard, Ron Kirkpatrick, Dave Martin
Feature – Bubba Smith, Rick Sibila, Randy Smart, Bryant Smith, Bob Schneider, Jr., Alex Rosenberry, Matthew Mills, Ron Kirkpatrick, Roger Smith, Dave Martin, Larry Baker, Joe Linard, Bob Eichel, Mike Miller
Summit Racing Economy Modifieds
Top Qualifier – Preston Walker 14.627
Heat #1 – Mike Bowers, Glen Jewell, Bryce Allensworth, Bob Sibila, Jr., Kevin McClintock
Heat #2 – Bubba Smith, Will Walker, Mike Green, Don Boron, Jr., Tyler Noeske
Heat #3 – Shawn Marder, Chris Piehl, Brandon Bailey, Jeff Bowling, Mike Hutson
Feature – Glen Jewell, Preston Walker, Tyler Noeske, Mike Green, Kevin McClintock, Shawn Marder, Bubba Smith, Chris Piehl, Don Boron, Jr., Brandon Bailey, Jeff Bowling, Mike Hutson, Lee McCreery, Jason Grewell, Bryce Allensworth, Bob Sibila, Jr., Mike Bowers, Will Walker
J.D. Byrider Street Stocks
Top Qualifier – Dennis Wood 16.113
Heat #1 – Bob Passwaters, Sr., Mike Martin, Waylon Orr, Dennis Wood, Scott Archer
Heat #2 – Bill Aubihl, Josh Moss, Vince Martin, Brian Lewis, Sr., Robert Douglas
Feature – Dennis Wood, Mike Martin, Bob Passwaters, Jr., Scott Archer, Josh Moss, Bob Passwaters, Sr., Gary Hoopingarner, Don Boron, Sr., Waylon Orr, Brian Lewis, Sr., Bill Aubihl, Robert Douglas, Teddy Oliver
Finish Line Motors Mini Trucks
Top Qualifier – Mike Martin 17.120
Heat – Cyler Bertram, Mike Martin, Keith Anderson, Derek Cordia, Cody Jaberg
Feature – Cyler Bertram, Mike Martin, Keith Anderson, Derek Cordia, Cody Jaberg
Canton Auto Salvage Compacts
Top Qualifier – Justin Renicker 17.534 NTR
Heat #1 – Kyle Finlayson, Kyle Rector, Clayton Oliver, Dan Buckey, Laney Striejewske
Heat #2 – Daniel Risley, Zack Cogar, Chase Beatty, Gage Jaberg, Anthony McClintock
Feature – Kyle Rector, Kyle Finlayson, Clayton Oliver, Justin Renicker, Dan Buckey, Chase Beatty, Zack Cogar, Laney Striejewske, Brad McClain, Gage Jaberg, Daniel Risley, Anthony McClintock, Tim Frederick, Allen Clark
Skid Plate Race
Feature (21 Cars – Top 3) – Bubba Smith, Bryant Smith, Dan Buckey