BETHEL, NY – For 2013 BMS Modified champion John Cote, Bethel Motor Speedway’s Victory Lane is a familiar place. After all, the 17-year veteran of the track has visited it more than 100 times. This past Saturday
, he made his 111th
career trip to Bethel’s winners’ circle – his third of 2015 – in dominating fashion, in spite of running only a limited schedule.
Frank James, who has himself become a serious contender as the season has worn on, started on the pole, but Cote wasted no time putting his car out front, as he took the lead on the initial lap. Cote had a fast car all night, and he quickly began to distance himself from the competition, leaving James and current point leader Ed Dachenhausen to battle for the second spot behind him. The 20-lap event went green to checker with no cautions to slow the pace, and Cote led the way lap after lap. Dachenhausen made his way to second and gave chase to Cote, but Cote proved to be untouchable as he maintained a sizeable lead over the field. Dachenhausen had to be content with second as Cote claimed his first win since mid-May. James was third to cross the line.
Heading into the final weekend, Cote is the only driver mathematically able to grab the championship from Dachenhausen, but Dachenhausen has the advantage of a comfortable 75-point cushion. Blair Culhane is locked into the third position in the point standings for the season.
Jerry Curry took off from the pole and picked up his seventh win of the season in the 358/Sportsman class, but the win did not come without its share of challenges. Rich Coons started alongside Curry, but Curry nosed out front at the drop of the green. Rick Mill came to second with just two laps in the books, and he immediately began to apply pressure to Curry. A red flag with six laps down set the stage for a front row restart between Curry and Mill, and Mill got the advantage. Mill remained on the point until lap 11, when mechanical difficulties set in and he was forced to retire from the event, giving the lead back to Curry. Curry stayed out front for the remainder of the race, in spite of the challenges of Rich Coons. Curry crossed the line ahead of Coons and Jeff Richardson.
Both Curry and Kyle Redner are still mathematically able to take home the division title following this coming week’s events. Curry leads Redner by 55 points in the standings. Dan Dulin, who was the 2014 Rookie of the Year in the class, heads into the final weekend third in points.
Legends driver Teddy Hodgdon has had quite the season – he picked up his first career win at Bethel in July, and has since followed it up with several additional wins in a season that was highlighted by his becoming the youngest driver ever to win the prestigious LegendStock event in August. The young driver has continued to impress, picking up his fifth win of the year this past Saturday in an event that was cut several laps short after exceeding the time limit. Rookie David French started on the pole, with Drew Bottge to his outside. French grabbed the lead as soon as the green flag waved, leaving Bottge and Jim Sylvester to fight for the second spot. With four laps complete, Alex McCollum entered the fray, taking the lead briefly before French reclaimed it. McCollum laid claim to the top spot once again several laps later, but was relegated to the rear of the field for rough riding. This put French out front once again, with Hodgdon and Allan Pedersen in his rearview mirror. As the three ran in tight quarters, Hodgdon was able to make a successful bid for the lead, and he took over the top spot on lap 13. Five laps later, the caution flew and the checkered flag was thrown, as the time limit had already expired. French was second in the final rundown, and Pedersen was third.
Joseph Graf has already secured the 2015 title for the Legends Pro/Masters/Semi Pro class. Heading into the final track points event, Richie Coy is second in the standings and Brad Lowmaster is third. McCollum has also secured a championship, taking the title for the Young Lions class. Hodgdon heads into the final event second in points, with Gillian Kirkpatrick third.
Defending Bandolero champion David French locked up his second consecutive championship several weeks ago, but his win this past Saturday gave him a perfect record for the 18 races that are counted for the season in the division. Rookie Tyler Dachenhausen started on the pole and led the first lap before French powered his way to the lead in the caution-free event. With just three laps in the books, Rudy Roth IV worked his way into the second spot, and he set his sights on French. French, however, consistently hit his marks lap after lap, making it virtually impossible for the competition to catch him. French drove on to the win, followed by Roth and Dachenhausen. While the title has already been claimed, Sean Verwys heads into the final event second in the standings, with Jessica Ricci third.
In Beginner Bandolero action, Joey Aungst took off from the outside pole to claim his fourth consecutive win and eighth of the season. At the drop of the green, Aungst took the lead over pole sitter Isabella Macchia. By lap three, Conner Piasecki had moved into the second spot. He challenged Aungst over the remaining laps, but had to settle for second as Aungst crossed the line ahead of Piasecki and Macchia.
Former Pro Stock champion Ed Butler collected his sixth win of the season, coming from the fourth starting spot to take down the win. Vinny Stanton Sr. led the first four laps as Butler quickly marched towards the front. By lap five, Butler had taken over the top spot. Just two laps later, Greg Cohen made his way to second from his sixth place starting position. Cohen gave chase to Butler, but found himself unable to make a successful bid for the lead as Butler led Cohen to the finish. Following post-race tech, third was awarded to Jim Helt. Kenny Atkins heads into the final weekend atop the point standings, with only Helt being mathematically able to contend for the title. Cohen sits third.
Street Stock rookie Walt Henry took the lead from Vinny Stanton Jr. just prior to the halfway point of the caution-free, 20-lap Street Stock event and went on to collect his third win of the year. Stanton started on the pole, with Henry on his outside. For the first seven laps, Stanton showed the way, but Henry applied constant pressure and was unrelenting in his mission to get out front. On lap eight, Henry finally laid claim to the spot. Once out front, Henry never looked back, and Stanton was forced to follow Henry across the line as the checkered flag waved. Kyle Welsch was awarded third following post-race tech. Gary VanOrden Sr. has already clinched the championship over his daughter, defending division champion Amber VanOrden. Steve Smalley heads into the final weekend in the third spot.
Mike Travis picked up his sixth 4 Cylinder Advanced win of the season and extended his points lead to 47 over Dan Curry, the only other driver mathematically able to make a bid for the championship. Eddy Lindstadt and Patty Falkena took off from the front row, with Falkena leading the first lap before Lindstadt grabbed it on lap two. Lindstadt’s time out front was short-lived also, as Travis had made his way from the sixth starting spot to take over the lead with just three laps in the books. Two laps later, 2014 4 Cylinder Novice champion Brian Bauernfeind took over the second spot, leaving Lindstadt to fight for third with Curry. Curry prevailed owith 13 laps in the books and grabbed third, but neither Bauernfeind nor Curry were able to catch Travis, who drove on to the win. Bauernfeind was second, and Curry finished third.
For the fourth time in 2015, Dan Houghtaling found his way to Victory Lane in the 4 Cylinder Novice class, leading every lap of the caution-free event to claim the win. Houghtaling started on the pole, with Felicia Reichenbaugh to his outside. James Shields quickly came to second, and James Curry took over third with three laps in the books. Just prior to the halfway point, Lee Cogswell grabbed third. Cogswell surrendered the position to Gene Helms – who had started ninth – with seven laps remaining. Helms wasted no time taking over second, as he did so on the next lap. Houghtaling had already built up a sizeable lead, however, and Helms ran out of time to catch him. Helms had to be content with second, and Shields crossed the line third. Both John Houghtaling and D. Houghtaling are mathematically able to unseat current point leader David Donovan heading into the final weekend.
This coming Saturday, October 3, the point season at Bethel will conclude with twin 25-lap features for the BMS Modified, 358/Sportsman, Pro Stock, Street Stock, and 4 Cylinder Advanced and Novice classes. The Legends and Bandoleros will each compete in a single feature. 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.
The Legends and Bandoleros will return on Sunday for INEX national point races before the racing season at the speedway officially concludes. Gates open at 12 noon on Sunday, with hot laps at 2 pm and racing beginning at 3 pm.
BMS MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. John Cote (New Milford, CT), 2. Ed Dachenhausen, 3. Frank James, 4. Blair Culhane, 5. Robbie Konikowski, 6. Chris Chirico.
358/SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Jerry Curry (Jeffersonville, NY), 2. Rich Coons, 3. Jeff Richardson, 4. Philip Goetschius Jr., 5. Paul Knox, 6. Connor Otten, 7. Rick Mill, 8. Kyle Redner, 9. Dan Dulin. DQ – Dave Werber.
LEGENDS FEATURE FINISH (17 laps): 1. Teddy Hodgdon (Danbury, CT), 2. David French, 3. Allan Pedersen, 4. Jim Sylvester, 5. Gillian Kirkpatrick, 6. Eugene Drew, 7. Dave Riopelle, 8. Drew Bottge, 9. Matt Forsythe, 10. Jerry Macchia, 11. Connor Holderbach, 12. Vern Lafave, 13. Mike Policastro, 14. Richie Coy, 15. Alex McCollum, 16. Mark Foster, 17. Josh Andrews.
BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. David French (Rome, PA), 2. Rudy Roth IV, 3. Tyler Dachenhausen, 4. Sean Verwys, 5. Mike Roth, 6. Jessica Ricci, 7. Bryan Chirico.
BEGINNER BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Joey Aungst (Pompton Lakes, NJ), 2. Conner Piasecki, 3. Isabella Macchia, 4. Katie Verwys, 5. Nick Archiere.
PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Ed Butler (Jeffersonville, NY), 2. Greg Cohen, 3. Jim Helt, 4. David Doty, 5. Kenny Atkins, 6. Mac Crawson, 7. Skip LaPolt. DQ – Vinny Stanton Sr.
STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Walt Henry (Maybrook, NY), 2. Vinny Stanton Jr., 3. Kyle Welsch, 4. Steve Smalley, 5. Ryan Brockner, 6. Tweeter Pallom, 7. Jay Smalley. DQ – Gary VanOrden, Amber VanOrden.
4 CYLINDER ADVANCED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Mike Travis (Liberty, NY), 2. Brian Bauernfeind, 3. Dan Curry, 4. Eddy Lindstadt, 5. Ivan Guerra, 6. Patty Falkena, 7. Brent Shaddock, 8. Cody Houghtaling. DQ – Jerry Kingeter.
4 CYLINDER NOVICE FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Dan Houghtaling (Liberty, NY), 2. Gene Helms, 3. James Shields, 4. James Curry, 5. David Donovan, 6. Lee Cogswell, 7. John Houghtaling, 8. Felicia Reichenbaugh, 9. Travis Cogswell, 10. Johnny Bankich.