Our Place Tavern in Monroeton, Pa. provided the sponsorship and bicycle givaways on what was to be one of the most competitive nights of the season at The Hill Speedway Friday. The qualifying events were filled with side by side racing and last lap passes for the win, setting the stage for a great show for the fans in the feature events.
The Rear Wheel Drive Four Cylinder Division was the first 20 lap feature to hit the track and the point standings were part of the night’s focus. Waverly’s Joe Lane and Troy speedster Larry Colton were tied for the points lead going into the the night’s events, with Scott Bump of Monroeton only one point back in third. The trio were prepped for action as Bump started on the front row, with Lane and Colton in the second and third rows at the green flag. Lane made an outside move in turn one, with the momentum putting him solidly in command at the end of lap one. Bump followed closely in second, but immediately had to deal with challenges from Colton and Alan Blackwell. Colton grabbed the second spot on lap five, but Lane had pulled out to a solid lead, and Colton needed to run some perfect laps to close the gap. The veteran slowly closed the gap, but only by small increments on each trip around the track. With no caution flags to bunch the field, Colton was unable to close in on the leader to challenge and had to settle for second at the finish. Bump and Blackwell battled for the third spot throughout the event, with Bump prevailing in third. Newcomer Anton Smith drove a steady race to round out the top five.
New Albany pilot Dalton Maynard was looking for his second feature win of the season as he brought the Snell Metalfab Crate Sportsman field to green, and set the pace for the first four laps. Rich Powell was working the outside lane and slipped past to lead lap five, as last week’s feature winner, Grant Hilfiger, put the pressure on Maynard for second. Hilfiger, who had put his pit crew to the test after sustaining damage in a qualifying race incident, powered into the runnerup spot on lap six, and set his sights on Powell. Mike Nagel, who also had problems in his heat race, joined the lead group and challenged Maynard for the third spot. As Hilfiger tried every lane, and ran inches off Powell’s rear bumper, Nagel made an inside move off turn four work to take third just past the halfway point. Powell was picture perfect through the closing laps and recorded his first feature win of the season, over Hilfiger, Nagel and Maynard in that order. Randy Fox finished fifth.
Harry Ely and defending Champion Gary Lamphere brought the Modified feature to the go signal with Lamphere leading the class forthe first three laps. Two time feature winner Jack Lamphere moved to the lead on the fourth circuit, as Brad Sites, Ray McClure, and Mark Griffin made it a five car lead group. Gary dropped from contention with a quick pit stop on lap five, as Keith Lamphere moved to fourth around Griffin. Griffin made an inside move to retake the position three laps later, with Jake Maynard following him into the top five. As Jack Lamphere continued to set the pace, with Brad Sites and McClure debating second, the battle for fourth heated up. Eddie Sites, who had started ninth, joined the lead group and moved into fifth as the field came around four the five to go signal. With two laps remaining, he slipped past Grifffin to take over fourth. At the checkered flag it was Jack Lamphere picking up his third win on the season followed by Brad Sites, McClure, Eddie Sites and Griffin.
The Front Wheel Drive Four Cylinder Division kept the fans on the edge of their seats for the entire 20 laps. Trevor Williams, Mike Ely, Devon Bailey, Burt Maynard, and Adam Delgrosso ran inches apart in the lead group, with Williams being scored the leader for the first four laps. Bailey took over the top spot, as Matt Browning joined the group, making it six cars battling for the lead. Delgrosso broke on lap 7, but on the restart it was still a tight five car battle for the win. Maynard won a three wide debate for second, and Browning moved to third as the field crossed the halfway mark. Maynard and Browning kept the pressure on, but Bailey perservered to record his second win of the season. Browning got by Maynard to take second, as Williams won the battle for fourth over Ely.
Buck Mills Jr. had never seen The Hill Speedway before Friday night, but towed nearly three hours to “try something new”. Starting eighth in the Pure Stock feature, he took over the lead from Les Smith on the fourth lap. Last week’s feature winner Mike Chilson snagged the second spot on lap six, and began to pressure the leader, as Smith, Dalton Decker, Kevin Garland, and Chris Woodard engaged in a four car debate for third. The four ended up in a four car accident on turn four as the field approached the halfway mark, moving Duane Bailey, Greg Crooker, and Joe Giardina into the top five. Chilson took the lead from Mills, as Woodard and Smith made their way back to the front, with Woodard taking fourth with six laps to go, and powering into third on the next lap. Smith and Bailey battled over fifth just a few inches off Crooker’s back bumper. On the final lap, Woodard made a move to the inside off turn two, and began to make a run on second place, but Chilson suddenly slowed on the back straight, dropping to the inside lane, forcing Woodard to take evasive action, and Mills cruised through the final two turns to take the victory. Second through fifth went to Woodard, Crooker, Smith, and Bailey.
Rich Sharpsteen and Donny Burgess paced the final feature of the night to the green flag as the Street Stocks provided their brand of entertainment. Bobby Maynard battled Doug Stack Jr. for the second spot early in the event, with Stack taking the position on the third circuit. Burgess slipped by Maynard for third a lap later, as Sharpsteen kept control of the lead. Three time feature winner Earl Zimmer was on the move from his seventh place starting spot, joining the top five on lap 5, moving to fourth two laps later, and taking over second on lap 8. He overpowered Sharpsteen on the ninth circuit to take the lead. Sharpsteen and Stack Jr. dropped from contention at the midpoint, with J.T. McKernan, Dustin Maynard, Doug Stack Sr., and Mike Koser filling in the top five. McKernan and Maynard kept the pressure on throughout the remainder, but Zimmer was able to hold on for his fourth win of the season. McKernan, Maynard, Doug Stack Sr., and Koser filled out the top five.