Kutztown, PA – Wednesday’s win in the USAC All Pro SpeedSTR main at the JefferyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA may have meant just a bit more than normal to Billy Pauch Jr. It may have tasted just a little sweeter because of who he had to pass, then hold off, in order to record the triumph.
That’s because the younger of the Pauch family racers had to wrestle the top spot from his dad, the legendary Billy Pauch Sr., then hold off his pop over the final seven circuits to score the victory, his second of the season at Action Track USA.
“I tried for 12 years to beat him like that (pass his dad for the lead and the eventual victory), and I finally did it,” exclaimed a relieved but exhausted Pauch Jr. in victory lane. “He’s still a heckuva racer, I can tell you that. He’s not easy to pass.”
Joining Pauch Jr. in Wednesday’s winner’s circle were Tim Buckwalter, who notched his second win of the young season in the Pioneer Pole Building Wingless 600cc Sprints, and the Pride of Bohemia, NY, Dylan Steuer, who triumphed in the Mid-Atlantic Silver Tour event for the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots. Cole Stangle executed a last lap, final corner pass to record the Junior Slingshot win on Armed Forces Night at the speedway.
Pauch Jr. utilized the high groove to storm forward after starting eighth. Kevin Graver Jr. held the early lead while Billy Pauch Sr. and Jay Hartman tussled for the runner-up spot, and they were soon joined by Doug Manmiller and the Wayne Subaru No. 1 of Pauch Jr.
Billy senior bolted in front of Graver to grab the top spot on a restart with ten tours complete. Pauch Jr. moved into the runner-up position just past the halfway point of the 30-lapper and immediately began his assault on the race leader, who just happened to be his father.
On the 23rd revolution, Pauch Jr. pulled even with his dad as they twisted their mounts through turns one and two. Billy Jr. then slid up in front of Senior as they exited the corner and throttled onto the back chute.
“I used the outside to move through the pack early, because no one else was up there and I could go around people. But the car was good everywhere, low and high…I could put it anywhere on the track,” noted the victor.
Billy Jr. raced to the win by just over a half-second, beating Pauch Sr. to the checkered flag. Jay Hartman continued his impressive string of top-ten efforts with a third place showing, while Graver Jr. and Kyle Lick finished fourth and fifth.
The Pioneer Pole Building Wingless 600cc Sprints Powered by Engler Injection presented another exciting main event on Wednesday, with several drivers coming from deep in the pack to notch top-ten pay envelopes. And one wheel-twister tried so hard to get the victory that he climbed the homestretch wall and flipped as he and the eventual winner blasted toward the checkered flag.
While numerous drivers battled up front throughout the 25-lap affair and contended for the triumph, many eyes in the large crowd were focused on the high-flying Eddie Strada, who navigated his way from 24th on the starting grid to run inside the top five by the time lap ten was scored.
James Morris dashed into the lead on a lap 12 restart and Tim Buckwalter, who had so much difficulty in the qualifying events that he was forced to start 25th in the feature, sliced through the field and moved into the top five as the race entered its final stages. He took over the runner-up spot with five to go.
Jeff Hartman, Billy Ney, Billy Pauch Jr., Heath Hehnly, and Brandon Azzalina all jostled for the number one position throughout the main event, but in the end, it all came down to a duel between Tim Buckwalter and James Morris.
Buckwalter, the winner of the King of No Wing Shootout a few weeks earlier, hustled his Greth Racing/ Hyper Chassis No. 71 underneath the leader in turns three and four on the final lap. As Morris battled back on the high side, he climbed the wall on the front stretch, breaking his momentum and allowing Buckwalter to shoot out ahead of him and take the win.
Morris rode the wall across the line to claim second place money, then flipped just after he passed by the flagstand. Morris was unhurt in the incident.
Buckwalter arrived in victory lane to a chorus of boos as some in the crowd thought that he was gaining positions during the feature by jumping several cars on each restart.
“At Kutztown it’s always been that you go, the race is on, when the green reappears,” said Buckwalter .”I can’t help if the cars in front of me don’t want to take off; I’m goin’ when I see green!”
Strada wound up third (from 24th) and Brandon Azzalina finished fourth. Azzalina also had to come from the rear of the field after he was involved in an early race incident. Hehnly finished fifth.
Brett Bieber started the Mid-Atlantic Silver Tour event for the All Star Slingshots on the outside of the front row. Bieber darted to the early lead, then looked to have things well in hand as the race moved through its second half.
On a restart with seven to go, Dylan Steuer powered around the outside of Bieber and snatched the lead away from the Oley, Pa. accountant. Bieber offered numerous challenges but Steuer, from Bohemia, NY, was up to the task and steadily eased away from Bieber over the final five laps.
Steuer, competing with the All Star Slingshots for the first time this season, cashed in for the victory.
Bieber hung on for second with Seth Spayd, Dylan Hoch, and 17th starter Kurt Bettler rounding out the top five.
Cole Stangle muscled to the inside of race leader Jared Silfee on the final lap of the Jr. Slingshot feature as both cars pushed up the turn four banking. Stangle was able to get back into the gas before Silfee and drove to the win over Silfee, Reece Nowatarski, Kyle Smith, and Alex Yankowski.
Action Track Sidebites…
The four divisions produced a total car count of 128 on Wednesday, with the breakdown as follows: SpeedSTR = 35, W/L 600’s = 41, All Star Slingers – 37; and the Junior Slingshots = 15.
It was Armed Forces Night at the speedway and several veterans joined the Jr. Slingshot division in front of the grandstand to celebrate and pay tribute to our brave men and women who serve both overseas and here at home.
Next Wednesday is the final race before the track is forced to take its annual mid-summer break. There will not be any racing at the Action Track USA on June 24 and July 1 due to the Kutztown Folk Festival taking over the fairgrounds.
Wednesday, June 10 will be the Ronnie Tobias Memorial. Twin 17-lap features are scheduled for all three of our weekly divisions. No qualifying heats on the 27th; just time warm-ups, C and B-Mains if needed. Then it will be time to kick off the six big main events.
Billy Pauch Sr. set quick time for the SpeedSTR and Billy Jr. had the second-quickest lap.
-Action Track USA Press Release & Photo
USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs, 30 laps: 1.Billy Pauch Jr., 2.Billy Pauch Sr., 3.Jay Hartman, 4.Kevin Graver Jr., 5.Kyle Lick, 6.Doug Manmiller, 7.Mike Mahaney, 8.Anthony Perrego, 9.Matt Janisch, 10.Ryan Smith, 11.Larry Solomon, 12.Dale Planck, 13.Steven Nederostek, 14.Frank Cozze, 15.Mike Bednar, 16.Andy Haus, 17.John Bockhorn, 18.Joey Thompson, 19.Frank Yankowski, 20.Damon Paul, 21.Jeff Strunk, 22.Tim Buckwalter, 23.Kenny Brightbill, 24.Nick Baer, 25.Rick Kirkendall, 26.Kris Graver. DNS: Brad Brightbill, Jason Miller.
DNQ: Jason Esterly, Mike Vermeulen, Joe Vaccaro, Phil Meisner, Brandon Grosso, Ray Nemeth, Earl Paules.
Pioneer Pole Building Wingless 600cc Sprints, 25 laps: 1.Tim Buckwalter, 2.James Morris, 3.Eddie Strada, 4.Brandon Azzalina, 5.Heath Hehnly, 6.Kyle Lick, 7.Billy Pauch Jr., 8.Joey Jarowicz, 9.Jarid Kunkle, 10.Zach Bealer, 11.Shelby Harper, 12.Nate Brinker, 13.Tommy Kunsman Jr., 14.Skylar Sheriff, 15.Jay Hartman, 16.Colin White, 17.Sam Kravitsky, 18.Dan Schmaker, 19.Blaine Emery, 20.Jermain Godshall, 21.Mackenzie Harper, 22.Jeff Hartman, 23.Billy Ney, 24.Robbie Hocker, 25.Rob Adams, 26.Jacob Severn.
DNQ: Kameron Morral, Greg Stevens, Rick Perone, Danny Buccafusca, Eric Ankiewicz, Matt Roselli, Doug Snyder, Tim Bauer, Steve Bull, Joe Kay, Dan Leaper, John Smith, Shawn Rooney, Jordan Mohr, Joe Plunkett.
NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots Mid-Atlantic Silver Tour, 25 laps: 1.Dylan Steuer, 2.Brett Bieber, 3.Seth Spayd, 4.Dylan Hoch, 5.Kurt Bettler, 6.Erik Jones, 7.Anthony Raisner, 8.Austin Stufflet, 9.Kassidy Kreitz, 10.Joe Nemeth, 11.Jeff Kemp, 12.Dakota Kohler, 13.Louden Reimert, 14.Chris Kurtz, 15.Dylan Swinehart, 16.John Gilroy, 17.Jordan Knepp, 18.Dave Galloway, 19.Travis Bieber, 20.Tayllor Schoenly, 21.Joe Toth, 22.Jake Bedell, 23.Andrew Kreis, 24.Taylor Santee, 25.Matt Miller, 26.Austin Silfee, 27.Dave Carraghan, 28.Don Schmidt.
DNQ: Lee Schantzenbach, Lindsey Garl, Blaire Schoenly, Bridget Conti, Nick Delcampo, Jerry Stark, Tim Roeder, Madyson Pacheco, Dawson Landis.
Junior Slingshot Finish, 15 laps: 1.Cole Stangle, 2.Jared Silfee, 3.Reece Nowatarski, 4.Kyle Smith, 5.Alex Yankowski, 6.Gavin Santee, 7.Ryan Graver, 8.Logan Bauman, 9.Tanner VanDoren, 10.Joey Vaccaro, 11.Justin Mills, 12.Rob Schlenker, 13.Autumn Ankiewicz, 14.Nicho Flammer, 15.Anthony Recchio.
Hoosier Tire Wingless 600cc Mad Scramble, 10 laps: 1.Rob Adams, 2.Joe Kay, 3.Shawn Rooney, 4.Steve Bull, 5.Dan Schumaker, 6.Skylar Sheriff, 7.Tim Bauer, 8.Joey Jarowicz, 9.Joe Plunkett, 10.Jordan Mohr.
NAPA All Star Slingshot Mad Scramble, 10 laps: 1.Kurt Bettler, 2.Lee Schantzenbach, 3.Taylor Santee, 4.Jerry Stark, 5.Joe Toth, 6.Bridget Conti, 7.Madyson Pacheco, 8.Lindsey Garl, 9.Kyle Smith.