Paden City’s Probst wins modified event
A pair of first ever feature winners were joined by a trio earning their season first victories, as youth made a statement on ’80’s Night at ‘the Bullring’.
Clarksburg’s Steve Wilmoth often plays ‘second fiddle’ to elder brother Paul Wilmoth Jr., but took ‘center stage’ on Saturday night, scoring a season first win in the 25 lap ‘Midcap Land & Timber’ Late Model division feature race.
Elkins’ Charlie George grabbed the initial lead, but the races only
caution, a lap 1 single car spin, necessitated a complete restart, with
Steve Wilmoth scored as the leader after he and George struggled side by
side for 3/4 of a lap. Wilmoth found the cushion and started to open a
lead, as Paul Wilmoth, Mike Benedum, Joe Loudin and Steve Weigle lined up to challenge George for 2nd. Paul Wilmoth found a fast line, moving high to bypass George on lap 6, then set out to track down his younger sibling, who by now had built a straightaway lead margin.
With the Wilmoth boys set to determine the outcome between themselves, George was in a hornets nest to maintain his third position. Surrounded by Loudin, Benedum and Butch McGill, who entered the top 5 on lap 7, George had no margin for error and even less breathing room. Meanwhile, Steve Wilmoth was ‘playing a tune’ of his choosing at the point. Staying one step ahead of elder brother Paul as the lead pair encountered lap traffic, the ‘stage lights’ grew hotter as Paul arrived on to make this solo performance an old fashioned family act, clawing his way to Steve’s spoiler on lap 16. No amount of adjectives applied would describe the intensity of the on track sibling rivalry witnessed the final 9 circuits.
Like a pair of youngsters in a schoolyard scrap, the two brothers were determined to test the other and used every inch of the fast high banks as their personal playground.
After throwing everything in his vast repetoire at little brother, Paul found an opportunity as the pair closed in to put Danny Mitchell a lap down with just two laps remaining. Trying to create an opening where seemingly none existed, the crowd rose in unison when the high flying trio made contact, then scrambled to maintain control and position. Steve Wilmoth held on and accelerated into the first turn, now with a 5 car length advantage. Brother Paul wasn’t finished yet, and roared back to the leaders rear bumper as the leaders flashed under the white flag.
The brothers came off turn four together, but Steve Wilmoth completed his ‘virtuoso’ performance by winning his season first feature event by less than a car length, also becoming the 6th different winner in 8 events. Exiting his ‘Phoenix Drilling/Blue Dot Services No.13’ to the boisterous applause of the appreciative crowd, Steve Wilmoth was obviously moved.
“Thanks go to my crew and sponsors, they all work so hard and support me” stated the happy victor. “Same with my family, I can’t thank them enough. I think we’re ready for next weekends ‘King of the Ring’ race now. We’d sure like to win that one again”.
For the second time in as many weeks, the hard charging Paul Wilmoth Jr. finished less than a car length back to finish
second. The entertaining tussle for the following positions was won by Loudin, who led Benedum and George to complete the top 5. 6th through 10th were McGill, Weigle, Billy Brown, Donnie Dotson and Greg Baumberger. Heat winners were George and Steve Wilmoth.
TCS’s newest class of race cars, the economic ‘Sigler Fabrication’ Hot Mod division, was featured in their rescheduled ‘Grassroots 500’ main event. Kenny ‘Radar’ Isner took the initial lead, chased by heat winner Travis Dickson. The pair quickly distanced themselves from the pack, encountering the rear of the field on lap 4, where Dickson used a backmarker to trap Isner and take the lead. Looking like he would pull away, Dickson found Isner whittling into his modest advantage, and the two were nose to tail when the bell lap began. Isner looked low as the duo headed into the final set of turns, but Dickson used the high line to perfection and won the drag race to flagman Todd Gorrell’s checkered flag by a slim car length. It was the third win of the season for the third generation driver from Gallipolis, Ohio, as his ‘Guinther Meats/Stu-Art Signs No.16’ cashed the $500 winners check.
Isner had his finest run to date with his strong second place performance, previous winners Glen Underwood and Greg Conger were 3rd and 4th, and Rod Nething debuted his new car with a top five finish.
The ‘Litman Excavating’ FASTRAK crate engine Late Models were plagued by an unusual abundance of cautions. Despite ample opportunities to allow the pressures of multiple restarts to create a mistake, the 6th starting Derek Doll was as steady as any seasoned veteran in earning his career first feature win. Challenged by Dave Gorrell and Shane Hitt, Greenwood, W.Va.’s Doll never faltered in leading green to checkered to score a popular win in his ‘Jack’s Recycling/ Perkins Supply No.87’.
Asked about the pressures of driving the legendary Doll brother’s equipment, Derek simply stated “I put more pressure on myself than the effect of any outside pressure. I feel like I have the best support and mentors you could ask for. That actually relieves a lot of pressure.” Hitt finished just off Doll’s spoiler, with Gorrell, Kyle Thomas and Daniel Hill making up the top 5 finishers. Prelim wins went to Hitt and Sonny Conley.
Paden City’s Brian Probst stayed glued to early leader Mark Dickson,
then made the race winning pass as the pair encountered the back of the
field, where Probst trapped Dickson behind Brian Blake in the ‘Sistersville
Center Genesis Healthcare’ TSMA sanctioned modified event. Dickson stayed close, but Probst was flawless, as the defending track champion garnered his first feature win of the ’09 season.
As his family greeted him in Victory Lane, Probst said “We’ve found that what worked last year just wasn’t getting it done this season. I was pretty hesitant when Dad wanted to make a set-up change before the feature, but he was right. This is an “old school” win, and Dad really deserves the credit.”
Probst’s ‘Forrestor & Sons Timber/ Bridgeport Equipment No.33’ led Dickson, Thomas Sigler, Donnie Nething and Mike Wilson to the pay window. Dickson and Probst were the heat winners.
The ‘Wayside Furniture’ Mod-Lite feature crowned a career first winner, and possibly stole the show with the closest finish of a night full of close finishes. Greenville, PA’s George Englert was staring his first ‘Bullring’ feature win square in the face when former mini-wedge champion and graduate Brandon Fluharty put on a clinic on high side passing. With 4 laps remaining Fluharty began his assault on the track’s extreme high line, vaulting past former feature winners Mitch Herrick and Jacob Lash.
Entering the final set of turns, Fluharty drove deep into turn 3, then pulled even with race long leader Englert as the duo screamed toward the finish line. The margin of victory was no more than a foot, as Fluharty’s ‘Bridgeport Equipment & Tool No.25’ narrowly shaded Englert in the highly entertaining race. Climbing from the winning car, the young Fluharty was nearly speechless, seemingly in shock of the thrilling finish, and was mobbed by friends and family in a jubiliant scene. Englert was forced to settle for second, with Lash, Herrick and Sonny Conley in tow. Herrick and Englert took the heat wins.
Alma’s Brad Thomas won his second ‘WXCR Classic Rock’ Pure Stock main in as many weeks, and division leading 3rd of the season. Thomas was unchallenged, leading flag to flag in his ‘Deb’s Bar No.1T’ Monte Carlo. Mel Ferguson turned Jeff Fornash back for the runner-up spot, with Mike Mason and Al Wagner rounding out the top 5. Thomas also won the heat race.
Veteran Ivan Wamsley scored his season first win in the Custom Engraving & Award Junkyard Warrior main event. The Clarksburg driver’s ‘D&D Enterprises No.100’ was chased to the finish by Joey Price, Brandon Doll, Josh Fulks and Josh Golden.
Moundsville’s Steven West rolled to his 3rd win of the season in the ‘Bridgeport Equipment & Tool’ MWRA Mini-wedge feature event. The caution free event had it’s usual plethora of position swapping, as fellow 3 time winner Anastasia Jones turned back Chris Thomas, Jordan Doty and Scott Perrine to finish in the runner-up position.
This Saturday night, June 20th, the ‘OReilly All-Star Late Model Series’ invades ‘the Bullring’ for the running of the $5000 to win Eaton-Childers Memorial King of the Ring event.
Midcap Land & Timber Late Models: Steve Wilmoth, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Joe
Loudin, Mike Benedum, Charlie George, Butch McGill, Steve Weigle, Billy
Brown, Donnie Dotson, Greg Baumberger, Danny Mitchell, Robbie Thomas, Mike Eaton, Dusty Hamrick, (dns) Brandon McGrady, Robbie Scott.
Litman Excavating FASTRAK Late Models: Derek Doll, Shane Hitt, Dave
Gorrell, Kyle Thomas, Daniel Hill, Sonny Conley, Joel Prosser, Brian Rush,
Shawn Jett, Dave Airgood Jr., Jim Quaigg, Chad Green, John Watson, Joe
Clutter, Gary Knollinger Jr.
Sistersville Center Genesis Healthcare TSMA Modifieds: Brian Probst, Mark Dickson, Thomas Sigler, Donnie Nething, Mike Wilson, Del Cunningham, Steve Higgins, Brian Blake, Dave Defibaugh, Lou Ennis, Shawn Davis.
Sigler Fabrication Hot Mods: Travis Dickson, Kenny Isner, Glen Underwood,
Greg Conger, Rod Nething, Travis Thomas, Bob Long, Luke Fairburn.
Wayside Furniture Mod-Lites: Brandon Fluharty, George Englert, Jacob Lash, Sonny Conley, Randy Armes, Brett Irvin, Jim Ruckman, Chris Kincaid, Bobby Kimball, Kyle Gist, Steve Weekly, Tony Tatgenhorst, Dusty Haas, (dns) Jamie Watson.
WXCR Classic Rock Pure Stocks: Brad Thomas, Mel Ferguson, Jeff Fornash,
Mike Mason, Al Wagner, Justin Hart, Danny Thomas, Jess Gibson.
Custom Engraving & Award Junkyard Warriors: Ivan Wamsley, Joey Price,
Brandon Doll, Josh Fulks, Josh Golden, Eddie Starkey, Donnie Wamsley,
Jonathon Sheets, Jay Siglinger, Gary Stull, Jonathon Arnold, Walt Foster,
Bridgeport Equipment & Tool MWRA Mini-wedges: Steven West, Anastasia Jones, Chris Thomas, Jordan Doty, Scott Perrine, Tony Cochran, Mackenzie Cochran, Brandon Weigle, Shane Wright, Buckwheat Wright, George Tennant, Logan Hitt, Daniel Eddy, Philip Eubanks, Michael Shuman, Branna Wade, Jake Loudin, Mackenzie Perrine.