BETHEL, NY – For Bethel Motor Speedway’s 2012 Sportsman champion Jerry Curry, the 2014 season has been full of ups and downs – while he has scored a number of victories on the quarter-mile asphalt oval, he has also been plagued by mechanical woes and several DNFs. So far, however, the month of August has been kind to Curry, who scored his second consecutive win – and fifth of the season – this past Saturday.
Paul Knox and Dan Dulin started the race on the front row, and Knox got out to the early lead. Curry wasted no time getting to the front, as he took over second with a mere two laps in the books and found himself in the lead just one lap later. Knox then had to contend with defending division champion Bob Morris. Knox was able to keep Morris behind him for five laps before Morris overtook him for the runner up spot. Morris set his sights on Curry, and found himself right on Curry’s rear bumper for several restarts in the second half of the event, but Curry was spot on all night, not giving Morris the opportunity to get past. Curry drove on to claim the win over Curry and Knox.
Blair Culhane found himself in Victory Lane at the conclusion of the BMS Modified feature for the first time this season, making him the sixth different driver to win in the class so far this year. Culhane took full advantage of his outside pole starting spot, letting pole sitter Frank James only lead the first two laps before he was shuffled back to the second spot. Wilton Nickerson challenged James for two laps before 2013 Rookie of the Year Gary VanOrden Jr. came to third and applied pressure to James. On lap seven, VanOrden made his bid for second and took over the spot. Just prior to the halfway point, several cars – including James – were involved in a caution, and Chris Bottge inherited the third position. The top three remained unchanged over the remainder of the event, and Culhane scored the win over VanOrden Jr. and Bottge. With his runner-up finish, VanOrden Jr. took the lead in the point standings for the class, and he will head into the next event just six points ahead of Rudinas and nine points ahead of Joe McCarthy.
Joseph Graf grabbed his third win of the season in the Legends division, his first win since late June. Brad Lowmaster started on the pole alongside Dylan Hoffman, but Graf powered his way into the lead on the initial lap. Behind him, Richie Coy and Matt Maring battled for second, swapping the spot before Coy laid claim to it on lap four. The top three began to distance themselves from the rest of the field during the long green flag run, but the field was closed up by cautions twice during the final six laps. Graf was flawless on the restarts, eliminating any chance Coy or Maring had to unseat him. Graf was first to the line, while Coy had to be content with second and Maring was third.
All season long, David French and Nicholas Harnage have been at the front of the pack in the Bandolero class, amassing a combined total of 13 wins between the two of them headed into this past Saturday’s event. It was no surprise then, that the two spent the entire race distance in a three-way battle with Alex McCollum – who has two wins himself in spite of running a limited schedule – for the victory. When all was said and done, French made his ninth visit of the year to Victory Lane. French started on the outside pole, with Harnage on the inside. Harnage took the lead at the drop of the green and McCollum nosed his way into second, shuffling French back to third. All three ran in tight quarters, however, and French grabbed second following a lap six restart. Just two laps later, French edged out Harnage for the lead, but Harnage would reclaim it once again before French took the top spot over for good with five laps remaining. French brought home the win, with Harnage second and McCollum third.
Before making his debut in the regular Bandolero feature and grabbing the Bandit division win with a fourth place overall finish, Bryan Chirico claimed his sixth consecutive win in the Beginner Bandolero class. Chirico started on the pole and led every lap on his way to the win over Jessica Ricci and Joey Aungst.
For Pro Stock driver Kenny Atkins, this past Saturday’s race seemed – for the first half of the race – to be a replay of the previous week’s race, when he had to settle for third after eventual winner Gene Morton and Greg Cohen ran the entire race side-by-side. This time, however, Atkins found a little luck and an opening just big enough to allow him to claim his fourth win of the year. Jeff Hager and Gene Morton started on the front row, and the pair ran side-by-side over the first half of the race, swapping the lead at times by a matter of inches, as Atkins sat in third, looking for a way to get past. With 12 laps in the books, Atkins found his chance as Hager slid high and Atkins was able to make his move in the lower lane. Hager found himself out of the race after being involved in an incident just a few laps later, but by that time, 2012 division champion Mark Sylvester and 2012 Rookie of the Year Larry O’Donnell had already worked their way past to claim second and third, respectively. Neither Sylvester nor O’Donnell could mount a successful challenge, and Atkins grabbed the checkers. Sylvester finished second, and O’Donnell crossed the line third.
Defending division champion Amber VanOrden collected her fourth consecutive win – and 11th of the season – in the caution-free Street Stock feature, further padding her points lead in the process. Arthur McArthur and Chris Chirico started on the front row, and Chirico got out front early. By lap three, however, A. VanOrden catapulted herself out front. As she worked on distancing herself from the field, the battle to watch was that for the second spot between Gary VanOrden Sr. and Chirico. The pair swapped the position several times as the laps clicked off, but G. VanOrden came out on top just past the halfway point, as the leaders began to encounter lapped traffic. A. VanOrden drove on to the win, followed by G. VanOrden and Chirico.
Keith Henry took home his first career win in a caution-free 4 Cylinder Advanced race, and became the seventh different winner in the class this year in the process. Henry started on the pole, but that didn’t make the victory any easier, as he had plenty of competition behind him. Shawn Barschow quickly came to second, and 2011 4 Cylinder Novice champion Kody Welsh made his way to the third spot by lap two. With no cautions to slow the action, Henry spent all 20 laps working skillfully to stay out front. With just two laps to go, JB Morris nosed out Welsh for the third spot, but he was unable to advance any further. The checkered flag flew on Keith Henry. Following post-race technical inspection, Morris was awarded second place, and Joe Smith was credited with third.
Just one week after notching his first Twin Cam 4 Cylinder win, Brian Bauernfeind came from the sixth starting spot to claim his fourth win of the year in a nonstop 4 Cylinder Novice event. Lee Feldman and Brittany Curry made up the front row for the start, with Curry planting her car in the front when the green flag waved. Her time out front was short-lived, however, as Bauernfeind overtook her for the lead with three laps complete. Four laps later, Heather Porter made her bid for the second spot, and Lee Cogswell followed to take third. With seven laps to go, lapped traffic came into play, and the second and third spot swapped hands several times. When the checkered flag flew, however, Brian Bauernfeind was the winner, with Porter second and Mike Bryant third.
This coming Saturday, August 23rd, Bethel Motor Speedway will once again present a jam-packed night of racing action, with a schedule that includes the Sportsman, BMS Modified, Legends, Bandolero, Pro Stock, Street Stock, and 4 Cylinder Advanced and Novice classes. The speedway will also be collecting school supplies to be distributed to local children in need. Anyone donating school supplies will be entered into a drawing for a free race DVD, free driver photo, or two free grandstand passes. Gates open at 2:30 pm, with hot laps at 4:30 pm, and racing slated to go green at 6 pm. More information, including a complete 2014 schedule, can be obtained online at www.bethelmotorspeedway.com, or by calling (845) 319-7908.
SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Jerry Curry (Neversink, NY), 2. Bob Morris, 3. Paul Knox, 4. Greg Morgan, 5. Roy Crespo, 6. Dan Dulin, 7. Bernie Singer, 8. Matt Curry, 9. Guy Harby, 10. Kimberlee Morgan.
BMS MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Blair Culhane (Danbury, CT), 2. Gary VanOrden Jr., 3. Chris Bottge, 4. Joe McCarthy, 5. George Rudinas Jr., 6. Frank James, 7. David Demorest. DQ – Wilton Nickerson. DNS – John Cote.
LEGENDS FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Joseph Graf (Mahwah, NJ) (YL), 2. Richie Coy (P), 3. Matt Maring (P), 4. Brad Lowmaster (SP), 5. Matt Evans (P), 6. Eugene Drew (SP), 7. Collin Hoeffner (YL), 8. Wayne Hajek (SP), 9. Stephen Hershey (P), 10. Teddy Hodgdon (YL), 11. Dylan Hoffman (SP), 12. Wayne Kirkpatrick (M), 13. Max Evans (YL), 14. Jerry Sprague (SP), 15. Joe DeGracia (SP), 16. Mark Foster (P), 17. Joe Graf (M), 18. Drew Bottge (SP).
BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. David French (Rome, PA) (O), 2. Nicholas Harnage (O), 3. Alex McCollum (O), 4. Bryan Chirico (B), 5. Jessica Ricci (O). DQ – Kaci Stackhouse (O).
PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Kenny Atkins (Grahamsville, NY), 2. Mark Sylvester, 3. Larry O’Donnell, 4. Jim Helt, 5. Gene Morton, 6. Jeff Hager, 7. John Hager, 8. Greg Cohen.
STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Amber VanOrden (Hawley, PA), 2. Gary VanOrden Sr., 3. Chris Chirico, 4. Arthur McArthur, 5. Dick Shaddock, 6. Neil Rutt III.
4 CYLINDER ADVANCED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Keith Henry (Burlingham, NY), 2. JB Morris, 3. Joe Smith, 4. Kody Welsh, 5. Walt Henry, 6. Mike Travis, 7. Dan Curry, 8. Kyle Welsch, 9. Brent Shaddock, 10. Patty Falkena, 11. Joe Morris, 12. Jerry Kingeter, 13. Tim Bryant, 14. George VanAken. DQ – Shawn Barschow.
4 CYLINDER NOVICE FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Brian Bauernfeind (Jeffersonville, NY), 2. Heather Porter, 3. Mike Bryant, 4. Lee Cogswell, 5. Brittany Curry, 6. Felicia Reichenbaugh, 7. Brian Durbin, 8. Robert Clarke, 9. Dwayne Henry, 10. Lee Feldman, 11. Austin Zweck, 12. John Houghtaling. DNS – Dan VanAken.