Markleysburg, PA (June 15) Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex
“It’s really cool to be the youngest to win a late model race in the state of Pennsylvania,” said 12-year-old Michael Lake in victory lane at Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex, Saturday, in Markleysburg, PA. Not only did the Uniontown, PA, driver make history in his home state by claiming his career-first victory, but he is arguably one of the youngest drivers ever to win a dirt Late Model feature in the United States.
Lake led flag-to-flag in his No. 27 Warrior Chassis to claim the 20-lap RUSH Crate Late Model race against a star-studded field of competitors. “It feels really good looking at the future; who knows what could come….who know what’s in the future in racing for me,” Lake said as he was surrounded by hundreds of people in victory lane.
The young driver, who turned 12 in early May, fended off the likes of former track champion Troy Shields, two-time track champion John Over and several other veteran drivers to accomplish this feat. Earlier in the season, Lake became the youngest driver ever to qualify for a Nesmith Crate Late Model race in Florida. “When we left Florida, I knew he was something special, “said his grandfather and car owner, Bobby Lake. “I’ve been dreaming about this for a long time…..I’m ecstatic about it.”
Picking up the win one day prior to Father’s Day, Lake was also joined in victory lane by his dad, Kevin Lake. “I’m pretty much speechless, words can’t really describe this,” his father said. “He just turned 11 when we first put him in the car. To win a main event a year later is unbelievable. He doesn’t even know what he has accomplished; I’m sure it will sink in soon,” he added.
After winning his heat race, earlier in the evening, Lake started the race on the front row beside Shields of Acme, PA. Lake got the jump on Shields as the green flag fell, and he moved into the lead. Lake began to stretch out his lead as Shields became engaged in a hotly-contested battle with Connellsville, PA’s Ken Herman for second. Shields and Herman battled side-by side and traded the spot several times, before Shields was able to move into second very late in the race. Shields, however, was unable to chase down Lake and settled for the runner-up spot. Herman, who picked up a feature win last season, crossed the line in third. Over, of Uniontown, finished fourth, and the prior week’s winner, Mike Lewis of Oakland, MD, rounded out the top five. Lake and Shields were the heat race winners.
While Lake’s victory was the buzz of the evening, several other drivers returned to victory lane in their respective divisions. Billy Holbert won the Super Late Model event; Vic Vandergrift took top honors in E-Mod competition; Scott Spade was victorious in the Street Stock event; J.T. Baird claimed the checkers in the Chargers race and Andrew Pluta crossed the finish line first in the Roadrunner event.
Holbert, of Fairmont, WV, led flag-to-flag to win the Super Late Model event. The defending track champion became the first repeat winner in Super Late Model competition at Roaring Knob, this season. He got the jump on Elkins, WV’s Tim Senic at the start of the event. “I just mashed the pedal when we started….I wasn’t going to let off. Even if I had to run through the guardrail, I was determined to have the lead going into the first corner,” Holbert said.
Holbert increased his lead as Oakland’s Cody Hardesty moved by Senic to grab the second spot. Hardesty continued a strong run, but he could not overtake Holbert and settled for the runner-up position. Senic finished third and Mount Morris, PA’s L.C. Powers took fourth. Somerset, PA’s Scott Rhodes rounded out the top five. Hardesty and Holbert won the heat races.
Fairmont’s Vandergrift won the E-Mod race one night earlier at Elkins Speedway in West Virginia, then answered it with flag-to-flag domination at Roaring Knob. He led every lap and held off Stoystown, PA’s Dennis Perigo by a car length at the line for his second win of the season at the facility. Graysville, PA’s Denny Nakutis finished third; Greensburg, PA’s Josh Cramer took fourth and Latrobe, PA’s Nick Cramer claimed fifth. Vandergrift also claimed the heat race.
Farmington, PA’s Scott Spade led every lap, and held off his cousin, Marty Spade, to win the Street Stock event for his third win of the season. Marty Spade, also of Farmington, claimed second. McClellandtown, PA’s Jim Byers took third; Masontown, PA’s Michael Duritsky, Jr., followed in fourth and Fort Hill, PA’s Jason Gibbs took fifth in the special 25-lap event. Scott Spade and Mike Duritsky won the heat events.
The Charger division also had another driver claim his third win of the season as Uniontown’s Baird took top honors. Mill Run’s Ken Burkholder finished second and Confluence, PA’s Shawn Smith finished third. Ursina, PA’s C.J. Nicola took fourth and Smithfield, PA’s Justin Howell claimed fifth. Smith and Confluence’s Cody Colflesh won the heat races.
Stoystown’s Pluta notched his second win of the season at Roaring Knob in the Roadrunner division. He began the race in seventh and had moved to second by lap six. With three laps remaining, he moved by Paul Koffler, Jr., for the lead and never looked back. Koffler, of West Leisenring, PA, finished second. David Friend, of Connellsville, PA, finished third and Stoystown’s Nick Zborovancik took fourth. Connellsville’s Matt Presock finished fifth. Koffler and Friend claimed the heat races.
Racing returns to Roaring Knob, Saturday, as the RUSH Crate Late Model Touring Series makes its first visit to the facility for a $2,000 to-win event. This will be part of the Mid-Atlantic Trifecta weekend with Hagerstown and Allegany County Speedways for the series. The E-Mods will compete in the Al Cramer Memorial event, which will pay $1,838 to the winner. Additionally, the Super Late Model, Street Stock, Charger and Roadrunner divisions will be in action. Pit gates will open at 4:30 p.m., and spectator gates will open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m.
Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic Super Late Models: 1. Billy Holbert, 2. Cody Hardesty, 3. Tim Senic, 4. L.C. Powers, 5. Scott Rhodes, 6. Quintin Wyandt, 7. Bob Gordon, 8. Skip Hare, 9. Mark Booth, 10. Danny Pugh, 11. Bob Hershman
High Gear Speed Shop RUSH Crate Late Models: 1. Michael Lake, 2. Troy Shields, 3. Ken Herman, 4. John Over, 5. Mike Lewis, 6. Jeff Ferguson, 7. Rick Strickler, 8. Russell Baird, Jr., 9. Jeff Compton, 10. Vince Masi, Jr., 11. Dylan Lewis
Krause Electric E-Mods: 1. Vic Vandergrift, 2. Denny Perigo, 3. Denny Nakutis, 4. Josh Cramer, 5. Nick Cramer, 6. Larry Atha, DNS: Kurt Burdge, Ron Howard and Jim Pyles
Penn Summit Insurance Agency Street Stocks: 1. Scott Spade, 2. Marty Spade, 3. Jim Byers, 4. Michael Duritsky, Jr., 5. Jason Gibbs, 6. Bill Slade, 7. Josh Bendishaw, 8. Scott Bittinger, 9. Herb Karlinsey, 10. Bob Nelson, 11. Ryan Newman DNS: Mike Duritsky
Fort Necessity Garage Chargers: 1. J.T. Baird, 2. Ken Burkholder, 3. Shawn Smith, 4. C.J. Nicola, 5. Justin Howell, 6. Todd Weldon, 7. Corey Farris, 8. Cody Colflesh, 9. Dan Chesney, 10. Kyle Burkholder, DNS: Charlie Bittinger, Tanner Hauger and Eric Miller
Newt’s York Bar Roadrunners: 1. Andrew Pluta, 2. Paul Koffler, Jr., 3. David Friend, 4. Nick Zborovancik, 5. Matt Presock, 6. Mark Seiler, 7. Cindy Rhodes, 8. Todd Detrick, 9. Ed Detrick, 10. Dustin Detrick, 11. Wayne Hill, 12. Steve Riggleman