by Gary M. Spaid
WILLIAMSON, NY…Sixty years ago to the day, Spencer Speedway opened, August 8, 1955. Last Friday the speedway celebrated their 60th year of hosting auto racing with a special double point 60-lap Sunoco Modified feature. Rusty Smith from Oxford, NY, took his lime green number 15x to the feature victory, beating Kevin Timmerman to the finish line.
On hand to celebrate to occasion was the 1982 track champion, Jerry Cook. “I never had a problem with green cars during my career, of course my cars were usually red,” joked Cookie in victory lane.
In support action Shaun Frarey, from Marion, NY, picked up his seventh feature win of the year at the speedway in the Four-Cylinder Scorpions. He also joked with Jerry Cook, as Cook related they used the same car number, 38. In Super Six action Brian Hallett, from Honeoye Falls, NY, took his fourth feature win of the year. He dedicated the race to one of his cousins who passed away recently.
With more than 100 driver from the past on hand, many past Spencer track champions, as huge crowd was on hand for the event. The 60-lap Modified race saw former track flaggers; Tina and Dona Bauer and Harold DeWitt give the command, ”gentlemen start your engines .” Jerry Cook then sent them on their way by being the guest flagger, along with event organizer Marilyn Toal.
Pole sitter, Bobby Lippa Jr. jumped out to early lead over Eddie Hawkins and Andy Lewis. Hawkins began to fall back as Lewis grabbed second and began to pressure Lippa for the lead. On lap 11, Lewis made his pass stick and took over as the race leader.
On the move through the field was last year’s track champion, Rusty Smith. Smith worked his way into second by lap 12 and three laps later was able to pass Lewis using the outside line around the flat half mile to take the lead.
The yellow flew on lap 17, when Chris Ridsdale looped his number CR1 car around in the third turn. Once underway again Smith remained in command with Lewis running second followed by Kevin Timmerman, Mike Leaty and Hawkins.
Timmerman was able to take second from Lewis on lap 27 and tried to run down Smith, who by now was holding a three second lead. Leaty also moved to third ahead of Lewis.
As the laps dwindled, the yellow flag began to fly more often. Five times the yellow was waved during the final 14 laps of the race. On lap 46 the mayhem started when Tommy Catalano spun out in the fourth turn. The worst incident came on a lap 55 restart when Leaty was sent looping around exiting the second turn, with cars going everywhere to avoid him. Collected in the wreck were Tommy Catalano, Andy Lewis and Daryl Lewis Jr.
On the final lap of the race, Hawkins was sent spinning exiting the second turn, forfeiting his third place finish. At the line it was Smith with the win followed by Timmerman, Amy Catalano, Terry Cheetham, in a Leaty backup car and Lippa Jr. rounding out the top five.
Smith added in victory lane that he was using the same set of tires on his modified for the third race in a row. He also stated he was amazed on all of the past drivers on hand,” over 100 of these drivers on hand for this event were just amazing.”
The 15-lap Four Cylinder Scorpion feature looked like an “All-in-the-family show”, as Jennifer Dennie led lap one and sister Beth was the leader on lap two. Third different leader became Travis Montgomery on lap three just before the yellow flew, for the only time during the race, as Donnie Knapp Jr. spun in the second turn.
From this point on multi-time winner Shaun Frarey took over the lead and went on to win again by some twenty car lengths. Travis Montgomery finished second followed Austin Montgomery. Timmy Catalano and Beth Dennie rounded out the top five finishers.
“I just have to thank all of the fans for coming out for this special event,” related Frarey to the crowd on hand.
In Super Six action the caution came out on the first lap as Ryan Hillegeer struggled to get around taking the green flag. Unfortunately he was not able to make it and coasted to a stop on the back stretch. Once underway, Brandon Allen took the lead from Andy Cocilova and began to hold off challenges by Brain Hallett. These two raced side-by-side for a number of laps, until Hallett was able to complete the pass on lap eight.
Van Grant was able to get by Allen for second, but he too, could not catch the high flying Hallett. Hallett took the win followed by Grant, Tim Faro, Allen and Cocilova.
SPENCER NOTES: Track promoter John White has to thank for putting together a spectacular night of racing and celebration. He topped the night off with a special fireworks display and a live band playing in the pit area after the races. Of course Marilyn Toal worked her magic in getting all of the past drivers together for this event. She also gave credit to her husband Don and family members Colleen, Meghan and Thomas for all of their help in making the night so special.
This coming Friday, August 15th the NYS Super Stocks will be running their annual Dave London 50-lapper. Dave was a popular figure in racing around Spencer. He actively supported racing, especially Street and Super Stock racing. In his honor a race was created in his memory. The Sunoco Modifieds will be running a regular 35-lap feature. Also on tap are the Super Sixes, the Four Cylinder Scorpions and the INEX Legends. Race time starts at 7:30 p.m. sharp.
Only four weeks remain in the 2014 NASCAR season at Spencer. Tight point races in the Sunoco Modifieds, Super Sixes and Four Cylinder Scorpions have also kept fans’ attention.
Spencer Speedway is located just fifteen minutes east of Rochester, NY, along Route 104 in the Town of Williamson. Spencer Speedway is the local “NASCAR Place to Race” for Central New York in 2014. Points earned each week at Spencer are counted into the national NASCAR Whelen All-American Points.
For more information go to: www.spencerspeedway.org.
60th ANNIVERSARY NIGHT SUMMARY
HEAT 1: F. Parson Jr., T. Montgomery, T. Catalano, R. Brown, A. Knoepfler.
HEAT 2: B. Dennie, A. Montgomery, S. Frarey, J. Dennie, P. Flye.
FEATURE (15-laps): SHAUN FRAREY, Travis Montgomery, Austin Montgomery, Tim Catalano, Beth Dennie, Ton Alloco, Donnie Knapp Jr., Jennifer Dennie, Paul Flye, Ryan Brown, Ashley Schoonmaker, Allison Knoepfler, Frank Parsons Jr., Carrie Bolton-Brown.
HEAT 1: B. Allen, V. Grant, B. Schenk, B. Hallett, A. VanHall.
HEAT 2: J. Schoonmaker, A. Cocilova, T. Faro, R. Hillegeer, K. Butler Jr.
FEATURE (20-laps): BRIAN HALLETT, Van Grant, Tim Faro, Brandon Allen, Andy Cocilova, Barrett Schenk, Adam VanHall, Keith Butler Jr., Bill Inch, Bill Mitchell, Mike Gage, Josh Schoonmaker, DNS: Ryan Hillegeer.
HEAT 1: K. Timmerman, M. Leaty, B. Lippa Jr., A. Catalano, B. Semmler.
HEAT 2: R. Smith, E. Hawkins, D. Lewis Jr., D. Catalano, R. Knapp Jr.
HEAT 3: A. Lewis, T. Cheetham, Tommy Catalano, J. Boerman, C. Ridsdale.
FEATURE (60-laps): RUSTY SMITH, Kevin Timmerman, Amy Catalano, Terry Cheetham, Bobby Lippa Jr., Mike Leaty, Andy Lewis, Billy Semmler, Daryl Lewis Jr., Jerry Boerman, Tim Lewis Jr., Eddie Hawkins, Tommy Catalano, Jake Boerman, Ricky Knapp Jr., Dave Catalano, Chris Ridsdale, Tom Wiest.
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