A season record eighty cars packed the pits at The Hill Speedway Friday night as Mid Season Championship awards were earned by feature winners in all six of the speedway’s highly competitive divisions. Propane and heating oil specialists WOC Energy, serving customers in twelve counties in northern tier PA and southern tier NY provided the hardware, and four of the classes picked up product certificates from Joe Wilcox Performance Automatics, a transmission specialist in Westfield, PA. The competition was fierce throughout the evening, creating some uncharacteristic “yellow fever” (more yellow flags than normal in a couple of divisions) but fans were treated to a great night of auto racing.
The Street Stocks were first up on the schedule, with Doug Slack Jr. and Abe Romanick bringing the field to green. The pair ran side by side for the first three laps, but points leader Earl Zimmer was on the move. Starting 7th, Zimmer quickly came to the front and took over the top spot on lap four, when the lead duo did a twin spin entering turn three. Mike Koser powered into the runnerup spot, with Brent Miller (subbing for Rich Sharpsteen in the number 19) and Jason Benjamin battling third just a couple feet off Koser’s rear bumper. Slack Jr. made his way back into the lead group by the midpoint and with Zimmer setting the pace, Koser and Benjamin debated second and a few car lengths back Slack and Miller battled for fourth. Koser succumbed to mechanical ills near the two thirds mark and Benjamin set his sights on reeling in the leader, while the remainder of the field fought for position. Zimmer cruised into Victory Lane for the fifth time this season, with Benjamin settling for second. Slack made a last lap pass to grab third, Miller was fourth, and Romanick came back to take third.
Going into the Rear Wheel Drive Four Cylinder feature, the gap between point leaders Joe Lane and Larry Colton was only four points, with both drivers earning multiple feature wins this season. The expected battle didn’t materialize, as Colton broke after winning his heat, and the car couldn’t be repaired in time to start the feature. Lane stepped out to lead all thirty laps, surviving a few restarts that put his other competitors in contention, and solidified his points lead. Alan Blackwell, Stan Mathews, Brett Gleason, and Anton Smith kept the fans entertained with a great battle for second through fifth throughout much of the . event. Blackwell retired to the pits on the twenty third circuit, and a caution flag with three laps to go bunched the field. Eric Ellsworth, who had twice gone to the rear after getting caught up in accidents, powered into second on the restart, and followed Lane to the finish line. Gleason hung on for third, pressured by Stan Mathews who had manhandled an ill handling car for the entire race. Smith recovered from a late race spin to record a fifth place finish.
Points leader Chris Clemens lead the first five laps of the Snell Metalfab Crate Sportsman feature, with Fifth place starter Rich Talada taking command as the field started lap six. Newcomer Kinser Hill put the pressure on Clemens for second during most of the event as Rich Powell, Marc Benson, and Dylan Robbins debated the remainder of the top five spots. Hill made the pass for second on lap twenty four, and set his sights on the lead as Clemens battled to keep Powell and Benson at bay. Dalton Maynard came back to the front after an early spin, and put on a great show with Benson for the fifth spot in the closing laps, as they both ran just a few feet behind Powell in fourth. Talada recorded his first win of the season, with Hill a close second. Clemens was a solid third, with Benson making a last lap pass on Powell for fourth.
Jason Benjamin and defending champion Gary Lamphere brought the IMCA style Modified feature to the initial green, with Benjamin powering into the top spot on the second lap. Logan Terry and Brad Sites challeged from second and third, and the trio began to open a gap on the rest of the field, with Lamphere and Eddie Sites debating fourth and fifth. On the tenth lap, Brad Sites made an inside move to grab second, at the same time Eddie Sites wrestled fourth away from Lamphere. Brad Sites and Terry pulled alongside the leader a number of times, but at the scoring line Benjamin continued to be scored as the leader. Eddie Sites, Gary Lamphere, Ray McClure, and Jake Maynard ran in a group vying for a top five through the midpoint of the race. Terry grabbed second from Brad Sites with five to go, but in the next turn the pair tangled and gathered up Gary Lamphere, McClure, Maynard, and Harry Ely, shuffling the top ten running order. Over the final four laps Eddie Sites tried everything he could try to overpower the leader, but Benjamin held steady to take the win. Keith Lamphere followed Sites across the line for third, and Chad Ely (driving Jack Lamphere’s car) finished fourth. Bobby Maynard rounded out the top five.
Matt Browning, Adam Delgrosso, and Trevor Williams put on a driving clinic for much of the Front Wheel Drive Four Cylinder feature, keeping the fans on the edge of their seats throughout. The trio ran in a tight group for all thirty laps, as Willams led the opening, and Browning taking over for the next nine. Delgrosso won the wheel to wheel battle on the eleventh circuit, with Browning regaining the lead three laps later. With Browning running the high groove, and Delgrosso pinned to the inside hub, Delgrosso retook the lead with ten laps to go, with Williams inches off the leader’s bumpers looking for an opening. The remainder of the pack debated the fourth spot with tight competition the norm. With three laps remaining, Browning pinned Delgrosso behind a lap car and grabbed the lead, and immediately dropped to the bottom to take away the fast lane. Browning recorded his second win of the season, followed closely by Delgrosso and Williams, with Devon Bailey closing fast in fourth, followed by Mike Ely in fifth.
Cole Burgess paced the Pure Stock field for the first three laps, until Buck Mills Sr. took over. Buck Mills Jr. powered into the runnerup spot on the next lap, as Les Smith and Duane Bailey debated third. Mike Chilson joined the top five on lap nine, moved to fourth two laps later, and in another two lap, moved to third and started closing in on the leaders. Chilson was able to catch Mills Jr, but no matter what he tried, he was unable to complete the pass. Smith, Bailey, Kevin Garland, and Daltyn Decker battled for the fourth spot for the remainder. Buck Mills Sr. crossed under the checkered flag with a convincing win, but post race inspection found illegal rear suspension, and the team was disqualified. Everyone moved up a spot, with Buck Mills Jr. recording the win, and Chilson awarded second.Smith finished third, Bailey was fourth, and Decker was fifth.
Earl Zimmer, Jason Benjamin, Doug Slack Jr, Brent Miller, Abe Romanick, Howard Bailey, Mike Koser, Cody Kershner, Bill Tice, Lou Sharpsteen, Dustin Maynard, Dylan Hinkley, Bobby Hall, Dan Force, Bobby Maynard(DNS)
Heats were won by Zimmer and Koser
Joe Lane, Eric Ellsworth, Brett Gleason, Stan Mathews, Anton Smith, Billy Groover, George Mathews, Alan Blackwell, Justin Hall, Mike Navone, Tyler Belcher(DNS), Larry Colton(DNS)
Heats went to Colton and Blackwell.
Rich Talada, Kinser Hill, Chris Clemens, Marc Benson, Rich Powell, Dalton Maynard, Dylan Robbins, Braden Buchanan, Dale Welty.
Maynard and Talada won heats.
Jason Benjamin, Eddie Sites, Keith Lamphere, Chad Ely, Bobby Maynard, J. W. Lamphere, Harry Ely, Jake Maynard, Gary Lamphere, Ray McClure, Logan Terry, Al Silvernail(DNS), Sonny Terry(DNS)
Heats were won by Logan Terry and Brad Sites.
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE FOURS
Matt Browning, Adam Delgrosso, Trevor Williams, Devon Bailey, Mike Ely, Greg Slater, John Maynard, Tim Johnson, Jeff Brown, Jeremy Warren, Phil Clapper, Burt Maynard, Dakota Decker, Josh Bailey, Matt McKernan.
McKernan and Browning won heats.
Bucks Mill Jr., Mike Chilson, Les Smith, Duane Decker, Daltyn Decker, Cole Burgess, Jerry Fassett, Kevin Garland, Chris Woodard, Matt Millard, Kenny Benjamin, Casey McPherson, Cliff Miller, Joe Bennett, Buck Mills Sr.(DQ)
Pure Stock heats were won by Burgess, Woodard, and Mills Jr.
Next Friday, August 9, is NAPA Auto Parts night, with the Wysox, Towanda, Troy and Sayre locations participating, and providing the bicycle giveaways, with twenty lap regular features scheduled for all divisions. Spectator and pit gates open at 5pm, practice starts at 6:30, and racing is scheduled to start at 7:00.
The Hill Speedway is a quarter mile dirt oval featuring six classes of auto racing on Friday nights throughout the summer. Unigue in that there are no grandstands, fans enjoy the action with their own viewing groups on a manicured grassy hillside overlooking the track. Drive in park and view spots are also available from turn four, up the front straight, around to turn two for your own tailgate parties.
The Hill is located at the intersection of Dunn Hill Road and Banks Road, just a couple of miles north of State Route 414 in Monroeton, Pa.