By – Chris Porter
Photos – Bev&Ken Dippel Photos
Kevin Timmerman entered Friday evening with a slim lead over Mike Leaty in Spencer Speedway’s NASCAR Sportsman Modified points chase. However, two runner-up finishes in his orange and white No. 17 secured his position atop the standings, ending the night (and season) a mere 12 points ahead of Leaty in the final totals, thus successfully defending his track title.
- 2011 Sportsman Modified Track Champ, Kevin Timmerman
Sportsman modified drivers kicked off the final Friday night of racing at Spencer Speedway for 2011 with a make-up race from the previous week which had been rained out. Dave Catalano would pocket his first win in many years in the 35-lapper – a race that also saw Timmerman finish ahead of Leaty, padding his points lead heading into the 100-lap nightcap.
The duo would start side-by-side in row No. 2, with Leaty taking the lead away from Daryl Lewis, Jr. on lap No. 3. Doing all he could to help his own cause, Leaty would lead the next 96 laps en route to the win. However, running second much of the way, Timmerman would keep Leaty’s No. 1 in sight the whole night. Eddie Hawkins bumped him back to third in the closing laps, but his third-place finish was still good enough to earn him the title. However, the Hawksins No. 33 would later fail its post-race inspection, promoting Timmerman to second and adding on a few extra points for good measure.
Timmerman’s second-place finish continued a streak of 14, top-five finishes in 14 Spencer starts in 2011. Neither Timmerman nor Leaty finished outside the top five all season, with Leaty picking up one more win than Timmerman at season’s end. However, it was Timmerman’s greater number of podium finishes that earned him that extra advantage, rewarding him with the track championship.
Listen to – Kevin Timmerman
Leaty was pleased with his feature win, but disappointed that he came up short in his bid to earn the HJ Motorsports No. 1 team the season crown.
Listen to – Mike Leaty
After taking the lead away from Lewis on lap No. 3, Leaty soon had Timmerman on his heels after Lewis dropped to third. The lead duo left Lewis behind as they ventured towards lapped traffic on the 10th lap. However, a spin by Andy Jankowiak would soon bring out the race’s first caution. With 14 laps in the books, Leaty led Timmerman, Lewis, Erich Stritzel and Dave Catalano. Hawkins, Amy Catalano, Jimmy Zacharias, Bobby Holmes and Terry Cheetham filled out the top 10.
- Sportsman Modified 100-lap feature winner, Mike Leaty
Using the double-filed restart, Timmerman took a gander on the outside of Leaty at the drop of the green, but to no avail. Stritzel moved into third, with Hawkins vaulting into fourth.
Leaty caught the tail of the field on the 24th lap, now holding a 10-car length lead over Timmerman. The 29th lap saw Stritzel’s No. 20 suddenly slow and pull pitside with motor woes for the second time in the evening while running solidly in the top five. With 30 laps in, Leaty, Timmerman, Hawkins, Lewis and Dave Catalano commanded the top five.
By the 40th lap, Leaty appeared to have his No. 1 car on a rail, leading Timmerman’s No. 17 by a full straightaway. Running third, Hawkins had just caught Timmerman. Lewis and Zacharias filled out the top five.
Green flag racing continued as Leaty was raced through heavy lapped traffic at the halfway mark. His advantaged continued to grow.
The yellow finally flew on the 80th lap after the Scott Combs No. 80 slid off turn No. 4. Somehow, his modified found the lone tree standing in the would-be open field. Combs was OK, but a lengthy delay resulted in a red flag.
The top five remained unchanged with Amy Catalano, Ryan Beeman, Dave Catalano and Andy Lewis joining them as the only cars left on the lead lap.
Again, Timmerman was unable to unseat Leaty on the double-filed restart. Lewis would drop out of the top five, as Zacharias and Amy Catalano moved into the fourth and fifth-place positions respectively.
Timmerman was able to hang with Leaty for the first 10 laps, but soon began to fade. Hawkins would hound him in the closing laps, taking away second with five trips to go.
Leaty took the white with 20 lengths to spare, mirroring the margin one lap later to claim victory.
Timmerman would finish second after the Hawkins DQ. Finishing third, Zacharais was satisfied with his night.
Listen to – Jimmy Zacharias
Amy Catalano claimed fourth.
Listen to –Amy Catalano
Lewis rounded out the top five, with opening feature winner, Dave Catalano, landing his No. 54 in sixth.
Listen to – Dave Catalano
Modified Feature #2 (100 Laps) 1. Mike Leaty (1), 2. Kevin Timmerman (17), 3. Jimmy Zacharias (1z), 4. Amy Catalano (64), 5. Daryl Lewis, Jr. (10), 6. Dave Catalano (54), 7. Jeff Ruddy (9), 8. Bobby Holmes (22), 9. Bobby Lippa, Jr. (15), 10. Jake Boreman (67), 11. Paul Jeffers (47), 12. Fred Taylor (44), 13. Matt Lees (05), 14. Tom Wiest (35), 15. Ryan Beeman (16), 16. Andy Lewis (65), 17. Andy Jankowiak (X), 18. Scott Combs (80), 19. Steve Fuchs (0), 20. Terry Cheetham (11), 21. Erich Stritzel (20), 22. Mark Cline (81), DNS – Timex Morgan, DQ – Eddie Hawkins
Modified Feature #1 (35 laps) 1. Dave Catalano, 2. Kevin Timmerman, 3. Andy Lewis, 4. Amy Catalano, 5. Mike Leaty, 6. Daryl Lewis, Jr. , 7. Ryan Beeman, 8. Jake Boerman, 9. Bobby Lippa, Jr. 10. Bobby Holmes, 11. Fred Taylor, 12. Matt Lees, 13. Mark Cline, 14. Scott Combs, 15. Steve Fuchs, 16. Erich Stritzel, 17. John Semmler, DNS – Timex Morgan, DQ – Eddie Hawkins
Lewis, Stritzel, Hawkins and Jankowiak won modified heats.