Planck Wins Again as Tommy Sears Earns First Career Modified Track Title At Fulton

By Dave Medler

On a perfectly prepared Speedway Tommy Sears Jr. and Ryan Phelps came into Saturday night with one goal, earning their first ever DIRTcar Modified Track Championship. Dale Planck had one thing on his mind ,trying to earn enough home track points towards the overall Mr DIRTcar Championship. Sears brought home a top ten finish that was good enough to earn the Track Championship. Planck took the lead on Lap-28 from Shawn Donath to go on and win the green to checker 35-Lap Modified Feature, his second in a row on Championship/Fireworks Night at the Fulton Speedway.

Other winners on the night – John Pietrowicz, DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds, Dave Mannise, UMP Street Stocks, Ron Ingison, E&V Energy Novice Sportsman Modifieds and Jerry Herbert, Four Cylinder Enduro.

Track Champions that were crowned for 2008 – Tommy Sears Jr., DIRTcar Modified, Jeremy Pitcher, DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds, Dave Mannise, UMP Street Stocks, Katelyn Kane E&V Energy Novice Sportsman Modifieds and Jerry Herbert, Four Cylinder Enduro.

Tony Steiner took advantage of a front row starting spot to grab the early lead in the 35-Lap DIRTcar Modified Feature, with Kyle Lewis, Dave Reilley and Roy Bresnahan looking to lead early.

With five laps in the books Steiner opened up a few car advantage as Lewis and Timmy Sears gave chase. Reilley and Bresnahan ran side by side in the top five.

On Lap-10 Steiner still held the top spot, but Lewis and Sears cut down his lead and started to put pressure on the leader.

Just before the halfway point Shawn Donath who started sixteenth took over second and started to draw in on Steiner for the lead. Behind the top two, Lewis, Sears and Planck ran in the top five.

Two Laps later Donath who was running the bottom, drove by Steiner in his Ford powered machine to take over the lead. Planck at this point moved into third and started to work on Steiner. Jimmy Phelps ran fourth and started closing the gap on the top runners.

With ten to go Donath still led running the bottom , Planck and Phelps started to close in making it a three car battle for the win.

On Lap-28, Donath in heavy lapped traffic had to move off the bottom where he ran all race long, this allowed both Planck and Phelps to shoot by and take over the top two spots.

Over the final laps Planck was able to put lapped cars between himself and Phelps to grab the win. Phelps, Donath, Bresnahan and Ryan Phelps rounded out the top five.

After parking his Grow-It Hydro Seeding , No.77x in Victory lane Planck talked about his win. “This Teo Pro-Car is just awesome.. Tonight the track had just a little more bite in it, I was a little worried. At the end of the race this car just seems to accelerate off the corners. I didn’t want any yellows, this car just seems to run better on the longer runs,” summed up the winner.

“Our car owner Mullen Industrial bought us a new car this year and that made all the difference,” said the 2008 Modified Champion Tommy Sears jr..”I feel we had the best car week to week as we were always seemed to be in the top five, and never had a DNF.” After twenty years of racing at the Speedway it was his first ever Track Title. Sears had to thank Mullen Industrial and Commercial Roofing for sticking by him. Over the years Mullen Industrial has always had fast cars no matter where they ran or who was behind the wheel. It was also their first Track Championship.

Lee Babcock led the opening lap of the 20-Lap DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Feature. One lap later, Jordan Bennett drove around Babcock and immediately drove away opening half a straightaway lead on the field.

By Lap-5 Bennett was out front cruising leading by a full straightaway. John Pietrowicz moved into second, while Chris Hile and Babcock fought over third with Gregg Carner running fifth.

On Lap-7 the yellow flew as Babcock had heavy smoke billowing out of his No.4k erasing the big lead Bennett built up.

After the restart Pietrowicz took advantage and drove by Bennett off the bottom to take the lead at on the eighth go round.

At the halfway point Pietrowicz held a slim lead over Bennett, Hile, Billy Clark and A.J Kingsley who started last from early night heat race problems.

Over the final laps nobody had anything for the Gypsum Express, No.85 as Pietrowicz was first under the checkers. Bennett, Kingsley, Hile and Clark rounded out the top five.

“Before the caution I knew I could put the car anywhere I wanted. I just wanted to keep the tires from brazing over. I didn’t know if I could catch them but we did,” Said Pietrowicz how he got the win.

Jeremy Pitcher after exiting his MDV Construction No.14 spoke about his second straight DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Track Championship. “This year with everyone running crates it’s been very tough. We tried to be consistent and always be near the front and finish races.” Pitcher went on to thank his brother Shannon and the whole MDV Construction Team for their dedication every year.

Steve Woodworth led the opening 8-Laps of the UMP Street Stock feature before Nick Rizzo used a caution and restart to gain the lead. If there was a hard luck award to give out in the Street Stocks it would go to Rizzo. Many nights in 2008 Rizzo would be near the front when mechanical gremlins would get him. Saturday night was no different. One lap after taking the race lead the No.115 suddenly slowed ending his night, and handing the lead to Dave Mannise. From there Mannise out ran Rusty Marsden to the checkers. The rest of the top five was, Dan Searles, Dan Hoffman Sr. and Ron Hawker.

“I really didn’t want to come here this year but my crew talked me into it, I’m glad they did. It has really helped in UMP Regional Points.” Mannise said about his eight speedway wins and track title.

Ron Ingison who has shown steady improvement as the season progressed behind the Wheel of Jeremy Pitchers No.14, picked up his first ever win in the E&V Energy Novice Sportsman Modified 15-Lap Main. Ingison grabbed the lead on the opening lap and was never seriously challenged. Katelyn Kane came home second. With her finish she was crowned the 2008 Track Champion. Greg Kimball, Tim Schneider Jr and Joe Kline chased Ingison to the finish.

In Victory lane and emotional and almost speechless Ingison couldn’t thank enough Jeremy and Shannon Pitcher for having faith in him to allow him to drive their car.

The loudest cheers of the night came when Katelyn Kane was announced the 2008 E&V Energy Novice Sportsman Modified Champion. Two years ago this High School Student was fighting and beat childhood cancer. On Saturday night she was called Champion. “It feels so good I can’t describe it,” said a happy Kane. “Last season I finished fourth (points) this season I got my first win and now the Championship. It has to be the best two things you can do in racing.”

Kane also said that she will be moving up in 2209. She will also try to qualify in October in the Sportsman Modified Series event during the Schneider Brothers 200 Weekend.

Jerry Herbert put an exclamation point to his successful season by winning the Four Cylinder Enduro feature. Chad Dupra, Keith Zirbel, Bruce Unger and Kevin Hendrix completed the top five.

Next Saturday Night, September 6th at the Fulton Speedway the winged cars will be coming to town. The ASCS Patriot Sprints, CNY Mini Sprints, New York State Four Cylinder Championship, E&V Energy Novice Modifieds plus a 50-Lap Four Cylinder Enuro and Demolition Derby will all be on the card. The Sprints will first run a 25-Lap feature that was rained out earlier in the season. Then they will run a complete show. The night will be sponsored by Calaman Radiator, Smith Speed and Pro Shop, Benedict Performance Center and Genesee

Gates will open at 5:00 with the first green flag to wave at 7:00. For more information call the Speedway office at 315-593-6531 or visit

(DIRTcar Modifieds 35-Laps) – Dale Planck, Jimmy Phelps, Shawn Donath, Roy Bresnahan, Ryan Phelps, Tom Sears Jr., Alan Johnson, Jim Witko Jr., Tim Sears,Tony Steiner, Kyle Lewis, Chad Phelps, Kevin Bates, Dan Vauter, Steve Hulsizer, Dave Reilley, Ryan Richardson, Mike Mahaney, Mike Ward, Mike Bowman, Roy Sheilds, Rob Hile, Bob Bennett, John Pfeffer, Tim Harris.

(DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds 20-Laps) – John Pietrowicz, Jordan Bennett, A.J Kingsley, Chris Hile, Billy Clark Jr., Jeremy Pitcher, Beth Schneider, Matt Hulsizer, Sammy Reakes IV, Tom Juhl Jr., Timmy Sears Jr., Gregg Carner, Brad Townsend, Stewart Garrison, Sean McCarthy, Mike McCarthy, Jason Parkhurst, Lee Babcock, Jim Evans, Jon Tesoriero, Mike Fowler.

(UMP Street Stocks 20-Laps) – Dave Mannise, Rusty Marsden, Dan Searles, Dan Hoffman Sr., Ron Hawker, Steve Woodworth, Quentin Burton, Dan Hoffman Jr., Matt Henderson, Joe Buske, Ray Smith, Chuck Thomas, Jim Wallace, Nick Rizzo, Adam Guilds, Pete Kowalski, Ricky Trexler.

(E&V Energy Novive Sportsman Modifieds 15-Laps) – Ron Ingison, Katelyn Kane, Greg Kimball, Tim Schneider Jr., Joe Kline, Claude Hutchings Jr., Gary Nickerson, Andrew Ferguson, Shannon Jones, Mark Noga, Mark Olmstead Jr., Scott Fowler, Doug Cook, Dan Hill.

(Four Cylinder Enduro) – Jerry Herbert, Chad Dupra, Keith Zirbel, Bruce Unger, Kevin Hendrix.