- Phil Allaway
Brock Zearfoss Goes Flag-to-Flag for ASCoC Victory; Frank Harper Wins Small Block Feature
Sunday night brought the Ollie’s All Star Circuit of Champions back to Lebanon Valley for their fourth appearance on the high banks. There was plenty of action to go around.
By virtue of winning the Dash, Brock Zearfoss started from the pole and managed to open up a decent gap almost immediately. It did take long for trouble to break out in turn 1. Lucas Wolfe was sent into a wild series of flips in a crash also involving Tony Stewart, Paul McMahan and Darren Schott. Wolfe was ok, but his car was toast. His fuel tank was actually stuck on top of the wall briefly. Stewart and McMahan would continue after repairs, while Schott was done for the evening.
Once the green came back out, Zearfoss was able to open up a nice gap on the rest of the field. Further back, Aaron Reutzel hade moved up to third and briefly challenged Davie Franek for second.
After a couple of laps of battling, Franek was able to open up some space between himself and Reutzel. That resulted in Reutzel falling into the clutches of Justin Peck, who had been very quick on the evening. As the leaders approached the rear of the field, the action for the lead and second began to close up again.
It appeared that a fierce battle was on tap, but Reutzel hit the wall in turn 4 and rolled his car. Peck had nowhere to go and got himself involved as well. This crash brought out the second red flag of the feature, but both drivers were ok. While Reutzel took an ATV ride back to his hauler, Peck was able to drive back to the pits after a push start. However, the damage was too great to continue.
Once the green came out, Zearfoss said adios to the field and pulled away over the final 10 laps to take his first career victory at Lebanon Valley.
That said, things weren’t all great for Zearfoss. His team had to make an engine change after his heat race. He described the situation as the team hoping to get through Sunday night on their engine before swapping it out. Unfortunately, he felt the engine struggling towards the end of his heat. The new powerplant worked out just fine.
“The car was perfect all night,” Zearfoss said after the race. “There’s something about this place; I kinda like it. [In regards to the engine], we didn’t want to take any chances tonight. The guys changed the motor flawlessly and the car was good all night.”
Franek finished second, 2.938 seconds behind Zearfoss. 2017 winner Danny Dietrich was third. Defending race winner Gerard McIntyre took advantage of the trouble around him to finish fourth and earn the Hard Charger award, while Corey Eliason was fifth. Stewart came back from the rear after his early incident to finish sixth despite visible wing damage, while McMahan was ninth.
In the Small Block Modified feature, Frank Harper claimed the pole by virtue of winning the first heat race. Once the green came out, Harper was able to open up a small gap over the rest of the field. Meanwhile, J.R. Heffner started fourth and almost immediately got himself up to second.
Brian Sandstedt hit the wall in turn 3 to bring out the first yellow of the race on lap 4 to close the pack up. On the restart, Heffner was able to take advantage of a less-than satisfactory restart from Harper to snatch away the advantage.
Harper did get a couple of more tries to get it right. A lap after the restart, Ryan Charland and Brandon Lane crashed in turn 3 to bring out another yellow. On the restart from that incident, a stack-up occurred exiting turn 2 that wrapped up Guy Sheldon, Steve Hough and Mark Pullen. Sheldon’s No. 14 ended hitting the outside wall, then crossing the track before coming to rest next to the inside wall. Sheldon’s car required a tow to get back to the pits, while Hough drove back with terminal rear end damage.
A fourth caution for Pullen running into some more issues on the backstretch bunched everyone back up for the final 14 laps of the race. Once the race restarted, it became a four-man race between Heffner, Harper, Dillon Steuer and Timothy Davis. Harper appeared to have every bit of the pace of Heffner, but simply couldn’t get going quickly enough to exploit it. Heffner was able to hold on to take the victory on the track.
The story did not end with Heffner taking the checkered flag, though. As is the norm, the top five finishers had to go over the scales. Heffner’s Bicknell chassis came up light, which resulted in disqualification. Harper inherited victory as a result.
“I had a car that was pretty good; it got better as the race went on,” Harper said afterwards. “I think that the restarts killed us tonight. J.R. was much better on restarts. Once we got settled in, I don’t think he left me. We even gained a little bit back on him. I don’t like winning [via disqualification], but I’ll take it.”
Steuer finished second, while Davis was third. Ray Hall Jr. finished in a season-best fourth, while Jason Herrington was fifth.
Upstate GM Dealers presents the Ollie’s All Star Circuit of Champions A-Main Results (25 laps): 1) Brock Zearfoss, 2) Davie Franek, 3) Danny Dietrich, 4) Gerard McIntyre, 5) Corey Eliason, 6) Tony Stewart, 7) Justin Barger, 8) Greg Wilson, 9) Paul McMahan, 10) Dale Blaney, 11) Jordon Givler, 12) George Hobaugh, 13) Aaron Reutzel, 14) Justin Peck, 15) Mark Coldren, 16) Scott Holcomb, 17) Lucas Wolfe, 18) Darren Schott, 19) Jason Berryhill, 20) Skylar Gee
Small Block Modified Feature Results (24 laps): 1) Frank Harper, 2) Dillon Steuer, 3) Timothy Davis, 4) Ray Hall Jr, 5) Jason Herrington, 6) Brandon Pitcher, 7) Alan Houghtaling, 8) Ricky Davis, 9) Sean Mandel, 10) Brian Peterson, 11) Ryan Charland, 12) Nathan Johnson, 13) Mark Pullen, 14) Matt Depew, 15) Alissa Cody, 16) Steve Hough, 17) Guy Sheldon, 18) Brandon Lane, 19) Cory Sandstedt, 20) Olden Dwyer, 21) Brett Haas. DQ) J.R. Heffner