After rains forced the postponement of the Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions stop at Lebanon Valley to Monday night, everyone involved was jonesing for some action on the high banks. Those assembled got more than what they bargained for.
The big story of the night emerged before the feature. Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws Sprint
Cars Champion and living legend, announced his retirement on the frontstretch. While he didn’t completely rule out another race at some point, it appears that the legend is stepping away from driving to focus on helping his son Kraig’s effort and spending time with his grandchildren. If Monday night was truly his final race, Steve Kinser earned a sixth-place finish in his final go.
On this night, Sammy Swindell and Dale Blaney were the class of the field. Starting 1-2 in the feature, Blaney was able to get the jump and blast off at first. However, this was a feature run in fits and starts. On the first start, Cory Sparks hit the wall in turn 1 and rolled down the banking. Shortly afterwards, Andrew Palker rolled his No. 57x on the backstretch as well, bringing out the red flag.
On the restart, Danny Holtgraver spun on his own entering turn 1, sparking a melee. Holtgraver ended up on his side, ending his night in the process. Aaron Ott, Justin Barger, Shawn Donath and Brandon Matus were also eliminated. Cap Henry was damaged in the crash, but managed to continue.
The third start the race saw Sammy Swindell sweep past Blaney on the outside and take the lead. Swindell had set the fastest times of the night, so holding the lead wasn’t too difficult. However, the nature of the race kept Blaney close.
A couple of laps into the race, Jordan Mackinson hit the wall hard in turn 4 and flipped, bringing out the third red flag. Mackinson was sore afterwards, but was ok after taking a ride in the ambulance back to his hauler.
The pace was very fast, making passing difficult. One driver who could pass was Stewart Friesen. Friesen moved up from 13th to eighth before making a big mistake in turn 4 and flipping after hitting the wall. Only the engine was salvageable afterwards, but Friesen walked away.
During the yellow, Blaney’s right rear tire developed an air leak. Rather than pit, Blaney decided to chance it. After another yellow came out shortly afterwards, Blaney pitted to replace the tire. However, his crew could not get the work done quickly enough. As a result, the pit exit closed, trapping him in the pits and ending his night.
Without his main rival, Swindell pulled away over the final ten laps to take the win. Afterwards, Swindell pointed to one aspect that was key to his victory.
“It was…the start,” Swindell said in Victory Lane. “My car responded so much better than [Blaney’s], so I could draw away from him.”
Kraig Kinser finished second, followed by Chad Kemenah. Tim Shaffer was fourth, while Henry recovered from his damage and used attrition to get back to fifth.
On the undercard Monday night were the Small Block Modifieds. Points leader Kenny Tremont, Jr. got some news prior to the race. Officials allowed Tremont’s team to remove the 50 pounds of success ballast from his car, putting him back on par with the rest of the class.
A “heads-up” start saw the heat race winners start at the front of the pack. Tremont won heat No. 2, which put him on the inside of row No. 1 next to Peter Carlotto. Once the green came out, Tremont immediately put the pressure on Carlotto for the lead. The Stockbridge, MA native held firm, keeping the multiple-time behind for much of the first half of the night.
Meanwhile, a truly miserable night for Steve Hough continued in the feature. A coming together in his heat race with J.R. Heffner began his troubles. In the race itself, Hough hit the wall in turn 2 on lap 3. Despite right rear damage, Hough continued and finished 16th.
Tremont finally got alongside Carlotto for the lead on lap 8. Carlotto was able to fend off Tremont’s advances for a little while, but Tremont got a run and cleared the No. 12c on lap 10.
From there, Tremont pulled away from the pack. Wayne Jelley, using the undercard race as a way to
shakedown his Small Block Modified for the upcoming Eastern States Weekend at Orange County Fair Speedway, ran down Carlotto in the closing laps for second. Carlotto tried his best to hold on, but Jelley overtook Carlotto on the frontstretch with two laps to go.
Meanwhile, Tremont cruised to his seventh Small Block Modified win of 2016. Jelley was second, over six seconds back. Carlotto was third, followed by Brett Haas and Demetrios Drellos.
MILTON Cat/TRUSTCO Bank Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions Feature Results (24 laps): 1) Sammy Swindell, 2) Kraig Kinser, 3) Chad Kemenah, 4) Tim Shaffer, 5) Cap Henry, 6) Steve Kinser, 7) Sheldon Haudenschild, 8) Caleb Helms, 9) Danny Smith, 10) Matt Tanner, 11) Joe Kata, 12) Dale Blaney, 13) Stewart Friesen, 14) Bradley Howard, 15) John Garvin, 16) Hunter Mackinson, 17) Jordan Mackinson, 18) Danny Holtgraver, 19) Andrew Palker, 20) Shawn Donath, 21) Justin Barger, 22) Aaron Ott, 23) Cory Sparks, 24) Brandon Matus. DNQ: Dave Donath, Brent Matus, Kory Crabtree, TJ Michael
Small Block Modified Feature Results (24 laps): 1) Kenny Tremont, Jr., 2) Wayne Jelley, 3) Peter Carlotto, 4) Brett Haas, 5) Demetrios Drellos, 6) Frank Hoard, III, 7) Brian Peterson, 8) Olden Dwyer, 9) Ryan Darcy, 10) Kim LaVoy, 11) Jason Herrington, 12) J.R. Heffner, 13) Chad Jeseo, 14) Alan Houghtaling, 15) Ricky Davis, 16) Steve Hough, 17) David Schilling, 18) Ryan Charland, 19) Craig Seeley, 20) Kenny Aanonsen, Jr., 21) Frank Harper, 22) Jeff Kelley, 23) Brian Sandstedt, 24) Chad Pierce, 25) Mark Pullen, 26) Ray Hall, Jr. DNS: Kory Sandstedt, Art Collins
Lebanon Valley Speedway