VETERAN BLAIR BEATS "FUTURES CUP" CHAMP MONTGOMERY FOR 1ST FASTRAK NE LATE MODEL TOURING WIN OF THE SEASON IN 2011 FINALE AT ROARING KNOB
By Mike Leone
October 7-8, 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Markleysburg, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series completed their fifth season on Saturday night at the beautiful and scenic Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex. The event was part of the second annual "Spectacular Fall Fest," which saw heat races and the "Futures Cup" Trifecta Race #3 contested on Friday night with the last chance races, feature, and non-qualifier event held on Saturday night. Thirty-nine cars competed from Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, New York, Maryland were on hand for race #19 of the 2011 season.
Making just his fourth Northeast Touring Series start of the season, Robbie Blair passed Derek Rogers on lap 12 and held off Friday night's "Futures Cup" Trifecta winner and champion Ryan Montgomery for his first win of 2011. Blair's 30-lap victory was worth $2,000 and was a perfect tune-up for the three-night $30,000 to-win Grand National Championship. Blair became the 11th different winner of the season!
"This class is so competitive," acknowledged the 41-year-old Centerville, Pa. veteran. "It's just so equal and built for everyone. The 12-car (Montgomery) was really good and if I would have screwed up he probably would have passed me. There is so much money out there for FASTRAK; I mean we have a chance of winning $30,000 in just three races! I really wanted to be here with my Super Late Model too, but didn't have a way of getting it here and this is more important right now."
Rogers was making just his third start of the season, which have come in the last four races and took off in the lead with Bobby Rohrer, Jr., Dan Angelicchio, Kyle Thomas, and seventh starting Blair in tow.
Blair passed Thomas on lap two for fourth and it was a three-car race for second on lap four. The trio of Rohrer, Angelicchio, and Blair were three-wide off turn four for second with Blair getting under Angelicchio for third in turn one on lap five. Blair was right on Rohrer as the two ran side-by-side on laps seven and eight with Blair using a slider in turn two to make the pass stick for second on lap eight.
Rogers continued to lead the first Touring laps of his career, but Blair began to close the gap on lap 10, and was right on the leader on lap 11 before George Kowatic spun to bring out the caution. The caution wasn't what Rogers wanted to see as Blair powered around the outside in turns one and two on the restart to take the lead on the 12th circuit.
Montgomery started sixth and wasn't a factor until lap 13 when he passed Thomas for fourth. By the halfway point, Blair stretched his lead, while Montgomery edged ahead of Rohrer for third on lap 15. Following a caution for a four-car spin, Montgomery and Rogers went at it for second with Montgomery getting the spot coming out of turn two on lap 17.
Following another spin by Kowatic, Thomas regained third from Rogers nipping him at the line on lap 22. The final caution of the event was displayed with 22 laps completed when Bobby Cossell IV made contact with Butch Lambert. Montgomery was slow on the ensuing restart as Thomas and Angelicchio got by for second and third.
Montgomery wasn't about to go away as he came right back driving by Angelicchio on the backstretch for third on lap 26 then got under Thomas coming out of turn four to regain second on lap 29. Blair though was too strong as he won by a straightaway for his second career Northeast Touring Series win, but first since June 17, 2010 at McKean County Raceway, in his Specialty Products/Bossard's Auto/Moody & Son Welding-sponsored #W11.
Montgomery, who won his first career Touring race on September 17 at Sharon Speedway, ended the season strong in runner-up. Thomas made a successful debut in the John Groves #32 and finished third- his best Touring finish since September 3, 2010 at Tyler County Speedway. Angelicchio was fourth over ninth starting Josh Holtgraver; however, it was Holtgraver edging Angelicchio by one-point for third in the final Touring standings.
Rogers dropped to sixth- his best career finish in a Touring event. Ken Herman came back from two accidents to finish seventh in his first Touring start of the season barely edging out Rohrer. Mike Lewis was ninth for his best career Touring Series finish. Kyle Lukon completed the top 10.
Max Blair was the first car to drop out of the event for his third straight finish outside of the top 16, but the three-time National Weekly Series Champion was also able to clinch his third Northeast Touring Series Championship in the past four seasons.
Russell Baird, Jr. finished a Touring Series career best 15th and was the final car on the lead lap, which earned him the free FASTRAK Hoosier Tire from High Gear Speed Shop in the program presented by Utsinger's Towing. Rogers and Shane Weaver received the $1,000 Contingency Connection packages presented by Original Pizza Logs.
Jamie Brown ended the night by winning the eight-lap non-qualifier event presented by T.J. Contracting as part of the "Wheelman" Bonus Event Challenge Series. Brown passed Jeff Compton on lap two and held off Todd Dennis for his first ever victory, which was worth $175.
"This Series is a lot of fun," stated the 21-year-old Jamestown, New York driver. "We get to travel to so many different tracks everywhere and that makes it that much more fun. I'm looking forward to the Grand Nationals and think we have a better shot at making the show at Dog Hollow with qualifying because we have a good, fast car."
Brown earned the pole position for being the first non-qualifier, but it was Jeff Compton taking the early lead. Compton pushed high in turn two on lap two allowing Brown to take over. Laura Lukon then passed Compton for second in turn four later that lap. Compton would spin on lap three to bring out the first caution.
When racing resumed, Todd Dennis passed Lukon for second with Nolan Dalton trailing in third. Dalton would get under and past Dennis for second on lap four, but one lap later lost the handle to bring out the second and final caution with five laps completed.
Brown then held off a valiant effort by Dennis in his Roger's Auto/Applebee Motorsports/Hientzman Accounting-sponsored #135 to become the 15th different winner in 17 races held all-time! His win also moved him up to third in the season ending "Wheelman" standings, which was won by Shane Weaver, and 13th in the Northeast Touring Series points. Dennis' first ever FASTRAK start came in the John and Janet Powell #100. Compton, another Series first-timer, edged Dalton and Lukon for third.
Winning the heat races on Friday night were track champion John Over, Robbie Blair, Holtgraver, and Billy Stile III, while track regulars Bobby Cossell IV and Ricky Meglaye won the B mains on Saturday night.
Also on Friday night, Ryan Montgomery capped off his $1,000 "Futures Cup" championship by winning the "Trifecta" finale presented by T.J. Contracting. Montgomery passed Bobby Rohrer, Jr. on lap eight and went on for the 12-lap $200 victory. It was Montgomery's first win in the "Trifecta" three-race series as he joined prior winners Newt Tackett (Sharon) and Lauren Longbrake (Pittsburgh).
"This is pretty nice," acknowledged the 14-year-old Fairmont, West Virginia high school freshman. "It's fun to go to different tracks and run against each other. My goal is to finish in the top five of Saturday's feature."
In his first ever appearance, Rohrer took the early lead past pole-sitter Shane Weaver. Montgomery started third when Longbrake scratched from the event and drove under Weaver for second down the backstretch on lap two. Fifth starting Nico Dabecco passed Russell Baird, Jr. then nipped Weaver at the line for third on lap four.
Montgomery ran down Rohrer and was on the leader on lap five. They raced side-by-side on laps six and seven before the race's only caution of the event was displayed when Weaver spun with seven laps completed. On the ensuing restart, Montgomery took over from Rohrer and pulled away for the easy win in his father Jeff's Mountain State Plumbing/Longneck Saloon/Central Heating & Cooling/T.J. Contracting-sponsored #12. Rohrer was second. Baird edged Dabecco for third at the finish. Weaver was fifth over Cody Rogers.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series Race #19 (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. ROBBIE BLAIR (W11) 2. Ryan Montgomery (12) 3. Kyle Thomas (Groves 32) 4. Dan Angelicchio (14) 5. Josh Holtgraver (00) 6. Derek Rogers (23) 7. Ken Herman (58) 8. Bobby Rohrer, Jr. (11) 9. Mike Lewis (98) 10. Kyle Lukon (1) 11. Jeremy Zufall (20) 12. Butch Lambert (27) 13. John Over (K2) 14. Darin Henderson (22) 15. Russell Baird, Jr. (17) 16. Transtan Stoner (M14) 17. Bobby Cossell IV (50c) 18. Kyle Zimmerman (z17) 19. George Kowatic (5) 20. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x) 21. Nico Dabecco (Karalagas 1Freek) 22. Billy Stile III (51) 23. Doug Horton (15c) 24. Ricky Meglaye (5) 25. Max Blair (111) Note: Russell Baird, Jr. took a track provisional).
Non-Qualifier Race (10 laps, $175 to-win): 1. Jamie Brown (135) 2. Todd Dennis (Powell 100) 3. Jeff Compton (65) 4. Nolan Dalton (Henry 7x) 5. Laura Lukon (84) 6. Robbie Marhefka (Fetsko 99FM)-DNS 7. Mel Ferguson, Jr. (4)-DNS 8. Shane Hitt (2*)-DNS 9. Lauren Longbrake (27)-DNS 10. Greg Hicks (1)-DNS 11. Andrew Wylie (84)-DNS 12. Rick Strickler (Lake 48)-DNS 13. Gary May (7x)-DNS 14. Joe Martin (55)-DNS.
"Futures Cup" Trifecta Race #3 (12 laps, $200 to-win): 1. RYAN MONTGOMERY (12) 2. Bobby Rohrer, Jr. (11) 3. Russell Baird, Jr. (17) 4. Nico Dabecco (Karalagas 1Freek) 5. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x) 6. Cody Rogers (23) 7. Lauren Longbrake (27)-DNS.
Heat winners: Over, R. Blair, Holtgraver, Stile
B main winners: Cossell, Meglaye
Lap leaders: Rogers (1-11), R. Blair (12-30)
Car count: 39
Utsinger's Towing Hoosier Tire Giveaway (High Gear Speed Shop): Russell Baird, Jr.
Original Pizza Logs $1,000 Contingency Connection Winners: Derek Rogers, Shane Weaver
2011 Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series Results
Date/Track/State/Winner/# of Wins/To-Win Amount/Car Count
April 30 Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex (PA) Mike Pegher, Jr. (1) $1,200 (37 cars)
May 22 Humberstone Speedway (ON) Max Blair (1) $2,000 (16 cars)
May 28 Sharon Speedway (OH) Josh Holtgraver (1) $1,500 (41 cars)
May 30 Lernerville Speedway (PA) Max Blair (2) $1,500 (46 cars)
June 11 Tyler County Speedway (WV) Dan Angelicchio (1) $1,500 (31 cars)
June 18 McKean County Raceway (PA) Mike Pegher, Jr. (2) $1,200 (24 cars)
June 25 Sharon Speedway (OH) Max Blair (3) $2,825 (35 cars)
June 29 Expo Speedway (OH) Russell King (1) $2,000 (29 cars)
June 30 McKean County Raceway (PA) Mike Pegher, Jr. (3) $1,200 (39 cars)
July 1 Raceway 7 (OH) Steve Dixon (1) $1,200 (34 cars)
July 2 Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway (PA) Dan Angelicchio (2) $1,200 (33 cars)
July 3 Eriez Speedway (PA) Mike Pegher, Jr. (4) $2,000 (29 cars)
July 26 Dog Hollow Speedway (PA) Joe Martin (1) $1,500 (30 cars)
Aug. 13 Sharon Speedway (OH) George Kowatic (1) $2,000 (48 cars)
Aug. 18 McKean County Raceway (PA) Josh Holtgraver (2) $1,200 (29 cars)
Sept. 2 Tyler County Speedway (WV) Mike Pegher, Jr. (5) $3,000 (37 cars)
Sept. 17 Sharon Speedway (OH) Ryan Montgomery (1) $1,200 (36 cars)
Sept. 24 McKean County Raceway (PA) Wayne Robertson (1) $1,700 (40 cars)
Oct. 8 Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex (PA) Robbie Blair (1) $2,000 (39 cars)
The next race for FASTRAK will be on Sunday (October 9) at Dog Hollow Speedway for Night 1 of the $30,000 to-win Grand Nationals for the Northeast and Mid-Ohio Valley Regions. The 30-lap feature will pay $1,500 to-win, $200 to-start. Pits open at 1 p.m. with hot laps at 4 followed by time trials and racing.
FASTRAK Northeast's 2011 marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Original Pizza Logs, Bully Dog, Contingency Connection, Utsinger's Towing, and Hoosier Tire.
You can reach co-directors Vicki Emig and Mike Leone at the FASTRAK Northeast office at 724-964-9300. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and snail mail to 4368 Route 422, Pulaski, PA 16143. The office is open daily late mornings and after 1:30 p.m. For more information, check out the FASTRAK Northeast website at www.fastraknortheast.com. Become our fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fastraknortheast.