BETHEL, NY – Since the beginning of August, the season has been kind to BMS Modified driver Frank James. James, who debuted a new car at the start of the year, spent the early part of the season adjusting to the car. Judging by the results, the work paid off, as James picked up his third win in six races this past Saturday during the Jerry Reigle Memorial race on the quarter-mile asphalt oval at Bethel Motor Speedway.
James and 2013 champion John Cote took off from the front row. Cote was scored as the leader on the initial lap, with James capturing the lead by mere inches after that as the pair ran side-by-side for the lead in the early laps. Lap after lap, Cote challenged on the outside before finally settling into line behind James at the halfway point of the race. Twelve-time 2015 winner and current point leader Ed Dachenhausen then tried his hand on the outside of James, as the top three ran in tight quarters. In the closing laps, Dachenhausen was able to hold Cote behind James on the inside, and James crossed the line ahead of Dachenhausen and Cote.
With three races remaining for the division, Cote is the only driver mathematically capable of challenging Dachenhausen for the championship, though the 80-point spread between the pair limits the likelihood.
Rick Mill also can’t complain about his record during the latter part of the 2015 season, as he picked up his second consecutive win – and fourth since the beginning of August – in the 358/Sportsman event this past Saturday. Dan Dulin and Jerry Curry made up the front row for the start, with Curry immediately putting his car on the point. Dulin ran in the second spot during the early laps, before being passed by Mill on lap five. Just prior to the halfway point, Mill was able to work his way past Curry and into the top spot. With just three laps remaining, heartbreak struck for Curry, as a blown tire forced him to retire from the event early. Dulin inherited second as a result, but he was unable to make a successful bid for the lead as Mill crossed the line ahead of Dulin and Kyle Redner.
Curry heads into the final three events with a 38-point advantage over Redner in the standings.
In spite of having already clinched the Legends Pro/Masters/Semi Pro title, Joseph Graf would accept nothing less than another win this past Saturday, picking up his 11th victory of the year. Graf and Brad Lowmaster – who both started n the front row – battled for the lead in the opening laps of the event, with each taking turns occupying the spot. At the halfway point, Richie Coy used the outside line to work his way past both Graf and Lowmaster and lay claim to the lead. Just three laps later, however, Coy’s night ended as engine issues took him out of the race. This handed the lead back to Graf, and Jimmy Sylvester came to second. The top three remained unchanged over the final six laps of the event, and Graf took down the win over Sylvester and Lowmaster.
Legends Young Lions driver Alex McCollum – who has also already laid claim to his division title – took down his 11th win of the season. Teddy Hodgdon started on the pole, with Gillian Kirkpatrick to his outside. Hodgdon took the lead at the drop of the green, but McCollum came from his third place starting spot to grab the lead with just two laps n the books. Just one lap later, David French took over the second spot. As the laps clicked off, McCollum built his lead over the field, leaving little opportunity for anyone to mount a challenge for the top spot. McCollum drove on to the win, with French second and Hodgdon third.
Defending Bandolero champion David French – who has recently earned the nickname “The Dominator” – took down his 17th win of the season in a caution-free 15-lap event. French also has already secured this year’s title. Bryan Chirico started on the pole, alongside Tyler Dachenhausen. Chirico led the field for the first two laps before being passed by French. Sean Verwys followed to take over second, and Dachenhausen grabbed third one lap later as Chirico got hung up on the outside. French was first to the checkered flag, followed by Verwys and Dachenhausen.
Beginner Bandolero driver Joey Aungst picked up his third consecutive win – and seventh of the season – after being involved in an early-race caution and having to restart at the rear of the field. Brendon Tymon started on the pole, with Isabella Macchia to his outside. Conner Piasecki quickly took over the lead, with Aungst in tow. As the two battled for the top spot, they made contact, bringing out the caution and forcing both cars to the rear for the restart. Katie Verwys inherited the lead for th restart, but both Aungst and Piasecki quickly marched back to the front, with Piasecki reclaiming the lead. With five laps remaining, however, Aungst was able to work his way past Piasecki. Piasecki had to be content with second, as Aungst picked up the win. Verwys was third.
Kenny Atkins picked up his seventh Pro Stock win of the season, increasing his points lead to 70 over Jim Helt. Atkins started on the outside pole alongside Vinny Stanton Sr., and the pair put on a side-by-side battle for the lead that lasted through the first half of the event. With 11 laps in the books, Stanton spun, and both he and Ed Butler were sent to the rear for their involvement in the caution. Former division champ Bobby Policastro came to second after the restart, and Jim Helt ran third until he was passed by Skip LaPolt. The top three remained unchanged in the closing laps of the event, and Atkins scored the victory over Policastro and LaPolt.
A one-two finish for the father-daughter team of Gary and Amber VanOrden has certainly set the stage for an interesting end to the season for the team, as they sit n a tie atop the point standings with just three events remaining. Kyle Welsch took off from the pole and grabbed the lead at the drop of the green over Steve Smalley. By lap six, however, G. VanOrden took over the second spot, with his daughter hot on his heels. A. VanOrden wrestled second from her father five laps later, and she grabbed the lead from Welsch with six laps to go. G. VanOrden followed to take over second, and he cut his daughter’s time out front short, as he took over the top spot one lap later. G. VanOrden drove on to his tenth win of the season, followed by A. VanOrden and Welsch.
Mike Travis took home his fifth 4 Cylinder Advanced win of the season in a fast-paced race that was only slowed by a single caution early in the race. Jerry Kingeter and Cody Houghtaling took off from the front row, with Kingeter getting the early advantage. Travis, who started fourth, took advantage of the restart on lap three to lay claim to the top spot. Kingeter held on to the second position until lap nine, when 2014 4 Cylinder Novice champion Brian Bauernfeind worked his way past. Just two laps later, Dan Curry broke into the top three. Bauernfeind and Curry each looked for a way to get out front, but Travis continued to show the way and was first to the checkered flag. Bauernfeind was second, and Curry was third. Heading into the final three races, Travis holds a 40-point lead in the standings over Curry.
David Donovan will head into the final three 4 Cylinder Novice races with a 38-point lead over John Houghtaling after picking up his third consecutive win and sixth of the year in Saturday night’s caution-free, 20-lap event. James Shields started on the pole, and jumped out in front of outside pole sitter Felicia Reichenbaugh on the initial lap. Just one lap later, Lee Cogswell came to second. As the front pack of cars ran in tight quarters all the way around the track, positions were swapped, with Houghtaling holding third until the halfway point of the event, when David Donovan took the spot over. Donovan then quickly tried to weave his way to the front, grabbing second on lap 12. Shields put up a tremendous fight, but finally surrendered the lead to Donovan on lap 15. Donovan went on to claim the win over Shields and Houghtaling.
This coming Saturday, September 26th, the gates at Bethel Motor Speedway will once again swing open for a jam-packed night of racing action. As championships come down to the wire, fans will enjoy action from the BMS Modified, 358/Sportsman, Legends, Bandolero, Pro Stock, Street Stock, and 4 Cylinder Advanced and Novice classes. Gates open at 2:30 pm, with hot laps at 4:30 pm, and racing set to go green at 6 pm. Grandstand admission is just $6.
Just one week later, on Saturday, October 3rd, the speedway will present the final points night of the 2015 season. The BMS Modified, 358/Sportsman, Pro Stock, Street Stock, and 4 Cylinder Advanced and Novice classes will all take part in twin 25-lap features. Legends will have qualifying and a single feature, and the Bandolero class will have heat races and a single feature. Gates open at 2:30 pm, with hot laps at 4:30 pm, and racing beginning at 6 pm.
On Sunday, October 4th, Legends and Bandoleros will take to the track for INEX national points. Gates open at 12 noon, with hot laps at 2 pm and racing at 3 pm.
JERRY REIGLE MEMORIAL BMS MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Frank James (Hackensack, NJ), 2. Ed Dachenhausen, 3. John Cote, 4. Blair Culhane, 5. Robbie Konikowski.
358/SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Rick Mill (Vails Gate, NY), 2. Dan Dulin, 3. Kyle Redner, 4. Rich Coons, 5. Philip Goetschius Jr., 6. Paul Knox, 7. Jerry Curry, 8. John Cook, 9. Eric Moon, 10. Jeff Richardson.
LEGENDS PRO/MASTERS/SEMI PRO FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Joseph Graf (Mahwah, NJ), 2. Jim Sylvester, 3. Brad Lowmaster, 4. Eugene Drew, 5. Paul Dodorico, 6. Drew Bottge, 7. Mike Rutkoski, 8. Kurt Krieger, 9. Vern Lafave, 10. Mark Foster, 11. Mike Policastro, 12. Josh Andrews, 13. Richie Coy, 14. Matt Maring. DNS – Jeff Lefcourt.
LEGENDS YOUNG LIONS FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Alex McCollum (Phillipsburg, NJ), 2. David French, 3. Teddy Hodgdon, 4. Gillian Kirkpatrick, 5. Matt Forsythe, 6. Jerry Macchia, 7. Connor Holderbach, 8. Patrick Gallagher.
BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. David French (Rome, PA), 2. Sean Verwys, 3. Tyler Dachenhausen, 4. Mike Roth, 5. Bryan Chirico, 6. Jessica Ricci.
BEGINNER BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Joey Aungst (Pompton Lakes, NJ), 2. Conner Piasecki, 3. Katie Verwys, 4. Isabella Macchia, 5. Brandon Tymon, 6. Nick Archiere. DNS – Joseph Lamontagne, Freya Drew.
PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Kenny Atkins (Grahamsville, NY), 2. Bobby Policastro, 3. Skip LaPolt, 4. Jim Helt, 5. Glenn Richard, 6. Mac Crawson, 7. Ed Butler, 8. Vinny Stanton Sr., 9. Darwin Moon, 10. Daniel Pawlicki, 11. Arthur McArthur.
STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Gary VanOrden (Hawley, PA), 2. Amber VanOrden, 3. Kyle Welsch, 4. Steve Smnalley, 5. Jay Smalley, 6. Vinny Stanton Jr., 7. Jerry Craig, 8. Walt Henry.
4 CYLINDER ADVANCED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Mike Travis (Liberty, NY), 2. Brian Bauernfeind, 3. Dan Curry, 4. Cody Houghtaling, 5. Patty Falkena, 6. Jerry Kingeter, 7. Eddy Lindstadt, 8. Greg Cohen, 9. Dan Creeden.
4 CYLINDER NOVICE FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. David Donovan (Grahamsville, NY), 2. James Shields, 3. John Houghtaling, 4. Lee Cogswell, 5. Felicia Reichenbaugh, 6. Dan Houghtaling, 7. Travis Cogswell, 8. Jessey Torrens, 9. Austin Zweck. DNS – Morgan Cohen.