Dacono, Colo. â€“ Sixty-one-year-old Harry Stone proved experience pays Saturday night when he drove his 1985 Masterman chassis to victory in the Englewood Supermodified Association opener at Colorado National Speedway.
Stone started sixth in the 25-lapper and caught pole-sitter Chris Sheil by lap seven.Â Stone worked the bottom on Sheilâ€™s No. 33 for a handful of laps before sticking the inside groove on lap 10.Â The Denver driver pulled his black No. 40 out to a full straightaway advantage, and was never headed on his way to the triumph.
Nick Haygood started 10th and moved into fifth by the second circuit.Â Haygood passed Sheil just past halfway to move into second, but needed a caution to catch Stone.Â The yellow never came, and Stone maneuvered through lap traffic like an old pro to garner his first feature win since 2008.
â€œI donâ€™t even call it experience; itâ€™s more like old age,â€ a colorful Stone laughed after the win. â€œItâ€™s a challenge for me to even get in and out of these cars anymore.Â The fans must get quite a laugh when all these young guys run these cars and some gray-haired old man gets out of the car in victory lane.Â But we didnâ€™t win by default.Â This is a really nice car and it works very well.â€
The win avenged a defeat Stone suffered last season when Haygood passed him on the final lap to relegate Stone to a runner-up finish.
â€œWe seem to be good for about one win a year, and last year the young kid (Haygood) got us by about two inches at the line.Â Haygood is the most talented super driver Iâ€™ve ever seen.Â Any time I can put a number on him, Iâ€™m elated.Â Weâ€™re focused on the ERA this year and running for a championship. This is a great way to start the season,â€ Stone said.
Stoneâ€™s 410 small block-powered super, which was originally built for Davey Hamiltonâ€™s dad, Kenny, lapped all but five cars and finished comfortably ahead of Haygood.Â Defending ERA champion Rich Castor Jr. started shotgun on the field and sliced his way to third.Â Castor made a last-lap pass on Ira Castor to take the final step on the podium.Â Ira was fourth, while Sheil faded to fifth.
Twelve cars started the main after a three-hour rain delay.Â The event ended close to 1 a.m.
Stone admitted he was surprised more cars werenâ€™t in attendance, but says heâ€™s confident more will come.
â€œI know of four race-ready supers that werenâ€™t here for one reason or another.Â Iâ€™m sure weâ€™ll get up to 15 or 16 cars, and Iâ€™m surprised we didnâ€™t have that count Saturday.Â There are other cars in the area that just need the funding to get out.Â Supermodified racing is popular here in Denver, and compared to late models and pro trucks, I think itâ€™s one of the most economical forms of racing around,â€ Stone said.
The ERA is back in action Saturday, June 12 at Colorado National before straying from the three-eighths-mile oval for a June 19 show at Pueblo, Coloradoâ€™s I-25 Speedway.Â The event at I-25 marks the only time this season the ERA races away from Colorado National.
Harry Stone, Nick Haygood, Rich Castor Jr., Ira Castor, Chris Sheil, Harold Evans, Joe Priselac, Josh Lewis, Kevin Day, Craig Moore, Brian Pacheco, Brian Gossel
Press written by Keith Shampine. Contact Keith at 315-657-2207 or e-mail [email protected] for more information. Photos by Joe Starr.