After two added event special race nights with large crowds, the question remained how many people would come to Evans Mills Raceway Park on a “regular” race night. On Saturday, July 20, that question was answered with a resounding verdict as it was another full house at the speedway on a hot summer night. Track operator Peggy Gill began the evening with a special memorial to Nicole Berry-Garnsey on Ovarian Cancer Awareness night. Nicole’s brother Brad is the Evans Mills Raceway Park starter and flagman.
While the car count was light in all four divisions, the racing was hot and furious with a number of bumping and banging incidents. This is often the time of year at race tracks when competitors start feeling their oats on hot summer nights and get a bit aggressive in their attempt to attain positive results.
The first feature of the night for the Sport Compacts and the Serv Pro ThunderStocks had Craig Caskinette in the #19, Amanda Dafoe in the #61, and Trevor Halliday in the 61x all vying for the top spot. Eventually Tim Dunn in the #96T joined the fray. Dafoe was finally able to get to the front making what for her was a rare pass on the inside lane. Amanda was jubilant in victory lane as she felt it was a hard fought race and had to work hard for the win. Halliday and Dunn completed the top three. Josh Verne Jr. in the 1V was declared the winner in the Serv Pro ThunderStock class even though he wasn’t on the track at the end. In a bit of a crashfest for the ThunderStocks, Verne was the last car in competition before being slammed to the infield near the end of the race. Josh lamented his destroyed car in the winner’s interview but said the team will be back.
Only six cars competed in the Fidelis Care INEX legends, but again it was tight racing throughout. Heat winner Brianne Gilligan driving the #41 on this night after her own #33 sustained damage last week drew the #5 stick for the inversion, resulting in nearly the entire field being shuffled. Racing was spirited amongst the top 5 drivers throughout much of the feature with Josh Marchese in the #31 getting his second feature win in a row. Chris Malbeuf was second in the #10 and Colby Felber finished third in the #14.
The Caskinette Ford modified feature was a torrid 30 lap affair with a lot of chrome horns and nerf bar banging. Heat winner Mason Spencer in the #30 drew the #2 stick out of the cup for the inversion meaning Brad Winters in the #92 would start on the pole. Winters held the lead for the first half of the race but Spencer was right on his tail the entire time. Winters was faster on the straights but slower through the turns, resulting in numerous bumps between the two. Mike Ramos in the #09 ran third with Tony Pettinelli in the #2NY in fourth, making it a bumper to bumper show amongst the first four cars. On a restart after a caution flag, Spencer chose the outside lane on the “cone” restart and manage to push his way to the front after some tire rubbing through the first and second turns. Spencer would then distance himself from the rest of the field. Lots of close racing was taking place behind him with the 2NY of Tony Pettinelli and the #09 of Mike Ramos getting into a bumper match. Eventually the two would hit each other so hard that they spun and brought out the yellow flag, allowing Levi Arthur in the #25 and Brian Sykes in the #1 into the top four. Spencer took the win followed by Winters, Arthur, and Sykes.
To conclude the evening, several members of the Berry and Garnsey families gathered on the track for family photos, bringing the night to a spirited end. The 50/50 jackpot was $570, the second largest prize of the year. Saturday July 27 is Commercial Truckers Night, as anyone with a valid CDL license will be admitted free to the speedway, courtesy of Suburban Propane and Griffith Oil. There will also be Spectator races. Check the Evans Mills Raceway Park facebook page for procedures and rules. Just a reminder to everyone to please park in rows of two in the parking lot of the speedway so as not to park people into a middle row where they can’t get out.
See you on July 27th!