The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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June 9, 2014

A night of firsts at Raceway 7

Latta, Eicher, Applebee, and Fraschetti get first wins at speedway; Hilton takes initial Crate Modified feature; Burns only repeat victor

MONROE TOWNSHIP — With the success of the RUSH Crate Late Model class, RUSH Northeast directors Vickie Emig and Mike Leone decided to apply the formula to the Big Block Modified class, using a 602 Crate engine in a Modified race car.

Several events will be run this year for the series that is growing slowly, but growing. Six cars towed in for the inaugural event at Raceway 7. Buffalo, N.Y.’s Adam Hilton led all twelve laps of their feature.

To open the features portion of the program, Steve Burns collected his second Zimmer Service Center Economods feature of the season. Then the firsts began.

 Bonnell Collision Center E-Mods had one of the tightest features in memory with Dave Hess and Gary Eicher racing side by side for several laps through several cautions before Eicher was able to pull away, only to have the field tightened by a late caution. Eicher then went on to his first Raceway 7 E-Mod win. The closest race of the night was the Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models, decided by 1/100 of a second when Matt Latta got by race-long leader Kyle Zimmerman at the checkers to win his first feature at the track after several years of trying.

Dale Fraschetti came from his third spot in the starting lineup to the lead after two laps and went on to win his first-ever Specialty Products Mini Stocks feature. The night was capped off with Shane Applebee getting by defending champion Chris Withers with only two laps remaining and speeding off to his first-ever Raceway 7 feature win. Four new winners and a new class of racers all in one night!

Rick Prosser and Kyle Fellows led the Zimmer Service Center Economods to the green for their feature with Prosser leading lap one and Steve Burns coming to second. Josh Ferry, winner of the two most recent events, experienced mechanical troubles in his heat and was unable to start the feature.

After two cautions for single car spins on lap two, five cars piled up in turn on on the next try at lap 2 when second running Steve Burns spun. Yet another single car spin stymied the next attempt at getting the race going then four more cars spun heading into turn three just as the caution fell. When lap two was finally completed it was still Prosser leading the way with Josh Mueller second and Ty Rhoades third.

During the caution period at lap six Prosser retired to the pit. Josh Mueller led the field back to green and led through to the next caution when third-running Ty Rhoades looped his mount in turn two. Mueller led the field back to green and stayed in front until Steve Burns got by at lap 11. After three more cautions, Burns, the opening night winner, was declared the winner with the race having reached the time limit. Mueller was second with Devin Henry winding up third. Jodi Woodworth Jr.and Megan Adams filled out the top five.

Kep Moy Jr.and Adam Hilton led the RUSH Crate Modifieds to the green with Hilton, of Buffalo, N.Y., leading the firstthe complete distance. Three cautions slowed the 12-lap event. Hilton led to the finish with with Moy second, and Jamie Duncan.

Mike Potosky and Dave Hess were at the front of the Bonnell Collision Center E-Mods field at the start with Hess leading the way from the drop of the green. Gary Eicher came to second at the end of one lap and was challenging Hess for the lead when defending champion Joel Watson spun in turn two, slowing the event. After green Hess again led with Eicher again challenging.

Potosky ran third watching the leaders battle for the win with Eicher able to get alongside but not able to get by. After a yellow period for a single car spin at lap seven Hess again led the way with Dan McDonald gaining third one lap after green.  At lap nine the two leaders came by the flag side by side and again at halfway the two ran even.

Yet another caution a lap later when Gary Murphy spun for the second time, nearly collecting the leaders. One lap after green again flew Hess was still the leader but only by two one hundredths of a second. Murphy spun for the third time at lap thirteen. For the restart with six laps remaining Hess led Eicher and Joel Watson back to the green. With five laps remaining Eicher finally made the pass but Hess wasn’t done yet, drawing even with Eicher on the back straight but again falling back to second on the front side.

With four to go, Watson spun into the infield but kept going, re-entering the track heading into turn three, forcing Josh McDonald up the track where he slipped into the guardrails on turn three. Watson retired to the pit with damage during the caution. Eicher opened up a lead but six cars piled up just before Eicher got to the white flag, half a straight-a-way in the lead, slowing the event with eighteen laps complete.

The final two laps saw Eicher zip out to a healthy lead again over Hess, Percy McDonald, Ken Zimmer, and Mike Potosky. For Eicher, a long-time competitor and champion at several nearby tracks, it was his first-ever win at Raceway 7.

The Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models had Kyle Zimmerman and Matt Latta up front for the start of their 20-lap feature and defending champion Chad Wright starting third. Zimmerman led the first lap but caution fell before lap two could be completed. At the end of two Wright was second with Dennis Lunger third and Latta back to fourth.

At a green at lap four, Latta and Lunger both got by second running Wright. Zimmerman led Latta, Lunger, Wright, and Billy Henry. By halfway Zimmerman led with Lunger now second over Latta, Wright, and Darrell Bossard, last week’s winner. Latta got back to second a lap later but Zimmerman was building a margin.  With five to go Latta was starting to close back in on the leader, only one car length out of the lead with the white flag flying. Latta drew even heading into three and pulled ahead at the checkers by only 1/100 of a second! Lunger was third with Wright fourth and Bossard fifth.

Second year driver Hoyt Mihalak and the veteran John Boyd started from the front row with Mihalak leading lap one over 2012 champion Bud Sergeff. As the cars were three abreast in turn three Mihalak spun out of the lead before completing lap two. Dale Fraschetti won the battle for the lead as the caution flew with Sergeff second and defending champion Brad Cole third.

Cole came to second after green but with three laps complete opening night winner Carlos Aponte lost power but stayed on he track rather than going to the infield, forcing caution to again be thrown. Fraschetti led the rest of the way to win his first-ever feature with Cole second, Jason Easler third, Dylan Goodman fourth, and pole-sitter Mihalak back to fifth.

Jimmy Kennerknecht and Chris Hochschild brought the Campbell’s Mini-Storage Street Stocks field to Roger Osburn’s green flag with Kennerknecht leading the way from the start. Shane Applebee was second after two laps after starting fourth with defending champion Chris Withers third after three laps.

Yellow flew after three laps for a single car spin then five cars piled up when they got to turn one after green. Withers came to second when green was again shown, then came by Kennerknecht at lap five. One lap prior to halfway another single car spin again slowed the field.

Applebee came to second after green but another yellow again slowed the field at lap eight. Kennerknecht got back to second at lap nine but Applebee was again there a lap later. Applebee got by Withers on the high side with two to go and went on to his first-ever win at Raceway 7. Withers wound up second with Kennerknecht third, Rod Lasky fourth and Ed Bolyard fifth.

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