Wilmoth Jr. returns to glory at Bullring
Over 100 competitors from four states brought their own brand of high octane thunder to Tyler County, as ‘the Bullring’ put seven new feature winners in the 2009 record book.
The Midcap Land & Timber Late Model main saw Paul Wilmoth Jr. beat fellow front-row starter Chris Garnes to the backstretch, with veteran Butch McGill in close pursuit.
As Danny Mitchell was busied with a personal battle with Scott Peltz for the fourth position, the lead trio began distancing themselves from the field. McGill swept past Garnes on Lap 5 and set his sights on Wilmoth, who was poised to overtake the back of the field by the half way point of the fast paced event.
Wilmoth was keeping one step ahead of McGill and Garnes, maneuvering the lapped traffic effortlessly. McGill brushed the frontstretch guardrail, opening the door for Garnes to retake second on Lap 15. Garnes and McGill then put on a riveting show, as they jockeyed and exchanged the 2nd position multiple times before the event’s only caution waved on Lap 22.
The restart proved ‘the Gambler’ was quick on the draw and aided by the intense battle for second sped away to his first feature win of the season, putting the Gary and Penny Midcap-owned ‘Adkins Timber/NAPA/ Rocket Chassis No. B1 in the ‘Camp Copperhead Victory Lane’.
“I think there’s more speed in this car, but we’ve spent most of the night trouble-shooting little problems instead of fine tuning the chassis” Clarksburg’s Wilmoth said afterwards.
Garnes made his initial ’09 trip to ‘the Bullring’ a success with a hard earned runner-up finish, as Butch McGill had his many fans on their feet with a third place finish. Seventh starter Scott Peltz turned in a fine fourth place run in his first appearance of the season, and 9th starting Steve Weigle rounded out the top five. Heat winners were Wilmoth, Garnes and McGill.
Wendell, W.Va’s Chad Green and fellow young gun Derek Doll went toe-to-toe for the race lead in the early laps of the ‘Litman Excavating Fastrak Late Model’ main.
The races only caution, a mid-race frontstretch fracas that saw Jimmy Allen’s No. 21 glance off the wall, then turn hard left in front of the field eliminated Allen, Andy Spooner, Jim Cochran and Brian Rush and tightened the field for the final dash to the checkered flag.
Green soon had 10th-starting and opening night winner Gary Knollinger Jr. on his spoiler, bringing fifth-starting Joel Prosser with him. The pair threw everything they had at Green, but the ‘Wendell Rocket’ was up to the challenge, as his ‘Miller’s Used Cars/Advance Auto Parts/Rocket Chassis No. 88’ brought Green to the checkered flag for his first ever Tyler County Speedway win.
“We blew our good motor at the end of last season. This crate engine saved us a bunch of money and performs great” said a relieved Green, who’s crew pushed his car back to the track for the post race interview. Knollinger’s charge to the front came up a position short, but keeps him near the top of the FASTRAK Northeast region standings, as Prosser’s third place finish did the same.
Eighth-starting Daniel Hill turned in a fine drive to finish fourth, and Derek Doll rounded out the top five. Green and Doll took preliminary honors.
Warsaw, Ohio’s ‘Stormin’ Norman Aronhalt celebrated his 32nd year of racing and first ever Tri-State Modified Association win, taking control early the ‘Sistersville Center Genesis Health Care’ modified feature.
With only a pair of cautions slowing the pace of the 20 lap event, Aronhalt was challenged for the lead by Mark Dickson, but the real battle was the sometimes four-wide tussle for fourth between Thomas Sigler, Brian Probst, Mike Wilson and Nolan Dalton.
Darren Glover moved in on Dickson, allowing Aronhalt minor late race relief, and the lead trio stayed in each other’s tire tracks the final five laps.
“We left a feature win here on opening night when the driver made an error. I wanted to come back to redeem myself to the crew, and I hope we did with this win” said Aronhalt afterwards.
Aronhalts unsponsored Victory Lane chassis ‘Phantom 309’ was chased to the pay window by Dickson and Glover, with 14th starting Louie Krushansky and Thomas Sigler rounding out the competitive top five. Aronhalt and Sigler scored heat race wins.
St Marys’ Josh Sigler literally spent the week ‘burning the midnight oil’ to debut his Hot Mod and was rewarded by scoring his first ever feature win.
After stepping out of the driver’s seat approximately five years ago, Sigler took some advice from brother Thomas, shook off the rust and led all 15 laps of the Hot Mod feature event.
“This is the first race of any kind I’ve ever won. We were still working on the car at 2:00 last night, and we worked all day today to be here,” Sigler said afterwards.
With class numbers more than doubling from the season opener, Sigler was chased to the line in the caution-free feature by opening night winner Travis Dickson, Luke Fairburn, Mike Lauer and Travis Thomas, who rounded out the top five. Fairburn and Sigler were heat winners.
The ‘Wayside Furniture Mod-Lite’ main was slowed only once by a caution, and was a game of cat and mouse at the point. Jamie Watson led Mitch Herrick for the initial five circuits before Herrick slipped past to lead the high speed seven-car freight train lead pack.
With just four circuits remaining, Watson used lap traffic, “boxing in” leader Herrick, and flashed by to reclaim the lead. The Friendly hotshoe then turned on the afterburners in his ‘Outlaw Vinyl Graphics/Brent’s Carry-out’ No. 34, scoring his first win of the season ahead of Herrick, Jacob Lash, Bobby Kimball and Tony Tatgenhorst. Herrick and Watson garnered heat wins.
Brad Thomas shook off the gremlins that have bedeviled the Alma driver for the past year, getting a popular and overdue win in the ‘WXCR Classic Rock’ Pure Stock feature event.
Mel Furgeson took command early in the 15-lap feature before relinquishing the spot when his right rear tire ‘exited stage left’ on Lap 8. Opening night winner Jeff Fornash then inherited the lead, but was harassed at every turn by Thomas, who finally completed the pass with just three circuits remaining.
Thomas’ ‘Deb’s Bar’ No. 1T Monte Carlo never looked back, as he led Fornash, Danny Thomas, Brian Shaffer and Randy Bohan to the checkered flag. Brad & Danny Thomas were the preliminary winners.
Clarksburg’s Donnie Wamsley led all 15 laps in the ‘Custom Engraving and Awards’ Junkyard Warrior feature, besting Jay Siglinger, Justin Williams, David Bunnell and Josh Golden.
Moundsville’s Anastasia Jones was the only repeat winner of the evening, as she is now batting 1.000 in the ‘Bridgeport Equipment and Tool’ MWRA Mini-Wedge division. Jones was chased to the line by Gunner Travis, Daniel Eddy, Chris Thomas and Brandon Weigle.
Saturday, April 25, will be the running of the 15th annual ‘Topless 50’, as ‘the Bullring’ will host the area’s first big show of the season, and the nation’s second oldest topless Late Model event, with the winner carrying home $4,000 for the evening’s work.
The past winner’s list reads like a “Who’s who” of regional Late Model racing. Also on tap will be the ‘Topless 25’, the first ever FASTRAK sanctioned topless event, paying $1,500 to winner of the FASTRAK Northeast Touring Series event.
It’s double the Late Models and twice the topless racing excitement! Don’t miss this once a season experience, as ‘the Bullring’ gives you a birds eye view at the fastest talent in the tri-state area.
‘Midcap Land & Timber Late Models’: Paul Wilmoth Jr., Chris Garnes, Butch McGill, Scott Peltz, Steve Weigle, Danny Mitchell, Donnie Dotson, Greg Baumberger, Joe Loudin, Chad Todd, Ed Shuman, Josh Coffman, Nick Corbitt, (dns) Scott Irvin, LC Powers.
‘Litman Excavating FASTRAK Late Models’: Chad Green, Gary Knollinger Jr., Joel Prosser, Daniel Hill, Derek Doll, Donnie Dotson, Michael Griffin, Dave Airgood Jr., John Watson, Joe Clutter, Cody Hardesty, Brian Rush, Andy Spooner, Jim Cochran, Mike Allen, Jim Simons.
‘Sistersville Center Genesis Health Care TSMA Modifieds’: Norman Aronhalt, Mark Dickson, Darren Glover, Louie Krushansky, Thomas Sigler, KC Campbell, Lou Ennis, Rick Schmitt, Steve Higgins, Del Cunningham, Nolan Dalton, Brian Probst, Mike Wilson, Kenny Johnson, Brian Blake, Brandon Patten.
‘Sigler Fabrication Hot Mods’: Josh Sigler, Travis Dickson, Luke Fairburn, Mike Lauer, Travis Thomas, Lindsey Smarr, Devin Verardi, (dns) Gary Bertram, Greg Conger.
‘Wayside Furniture Mod-Lites’: Jamie Watson, Mitch Herrick, Jacob Lash, Bobby Kimball, Tony Tatgenhorst, Chris Kincaid, Brent Irvin, Jim Ruckman, Kyle Gist, Rodney Settle, Steve Weekly, David Smith, Matt Kimball, Zack Watson, Lynn Bartlett, Brandon Fluharty.
‘WXCR 92.3FM Classic Rock Pure Stocks: Brad Thomas, Jeff Fornash, Danny Thomas, Brian Shaffer, Randy Bohan, Cody Henthorn, Mike Mason, James Cates, Chris Ice, Jamie Thomas, Justin Hart, Mel Ferguson, Al Wagner, Steven Dotson, (dns) Kevin Dotson.
Custom Engraving Junkyard Warriors: Donnie Wamsley, Jay Siglinger, Justin Williams, David Bunnell, Joshua Golden, Joey Price, Josh Fulks, Anthony Lopez, Shayne Brown, Jaime Sigler, Bill Doll, Brandon Doll