FULTON, NY – (By Dave Medler) – Tom Sears Jr. has always been a top runner and one of the favorites for victory at the Fulton Speedway. It had been almost a year since he won on the, “High Banks,” but all that changed Saturday night in the 35 lap Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modified feature.
Sears would take the lead from Ryan Phelps on lap 10 and would show the way till losing the lead 18 to Larry Wight. After falling to second, Sears kept digging on the bottom of the speedway retaking the lead for good on lap 22, from there outran Pat Ward to the checkers. For Sears it was his fifth career win at Fulton.
Other winners on the night were, Tony Finch II, SUNY Canton Sportsman, Dale Caswell, NAPA Late Models, Mike Walton, E&V Energy Novice Sportsman, Joe Isabell Mod Lites and Tim Dunn, Four Cylinder Stocks.
Jim Witko would bolt out to the early lead to start the 35 lap Modified feature. Witko’s lead would last 4 laps when Ryan Phelps drove into the lead using the high- side on lap 5. Behind the top-two, Tim Schneider Jr., Chuck Bower and Tom Sears would show in the top-five.
On lap 12, Sears who had his car glued to the bottom of the speedway muscled his way by Phelps to be scored the new leader.
With Sears still leading, Larry Wight who started eleventh, worked his way into the second on lap 14 using the high-side and the set his sights on Sears. Right at the halfway point, lap 18, Wight rocketed around Sears to be shown as the new leader. Behind Wight and Sears, Billy Decker, Pat Ward, and last week’s winner Robbie Bellinger showed in the top-five on the scoring tower.
Sears would never leave the low groove and would drive back by Wight to reassume the lead on lap 22. Decker, Ward, Bellinger and Phelps were having a battle of their own for third through sixth.
Pat Ward would move into second on lap 26 and set his sights on the leader Sears. Over the remaining laps, Ward would try to use back-markers to narrow the lead Sears had. Sears didn’t press the issues with the lapped cars and would beat Ward to the checkers by 0.613 of a second. Larry Wight, Billy Decker and Ryan Phelps finished third through fifth.
“It’s nice to be standing back down here, it took us a little longer than we thought,” August 18, 2012 was the last time Tom Sears Jr. parked his Mullen Industrial Handling/Trackman/No.62s/ in victory lane.” we were struggling in the beginning of the year, but had some decent runs, nothing spectacular. The last few weeks we made some changes. Last week we were good , tonight we were very good.”
“He (Larry Wight) looked like he was struggling to get by me,” When Wight took the lead on lap 18. “I figured if I could just pick it up a bit and get him to wear his tires and run a little harder we’d have the advantage as the race went on,” that strategy work when he retook the lead for good on lap 22.
Twenty-nine SUNY Canton Sportsman signed in the pits Saturday night with a consi to set the starting field for the 20 lap feature.
Chris Hulsizer would lead the first three laps before Tony Finch II, in a new car he was racing for the first time, took over the lead by inches at the start finish line on lap 4.
At the halfway point, lap 10, Finch opened about a half a straightaway lead on the field. Behind Finch, Rocco Leone and Hulsizer ran side by side for second, with Jim Spano and point leader Beth Schneider running in the top-five.
With 5 laps to go, Finch maintained the same lead he had, by running the bottom to the middle of the track. Leone, Hulsizer, Schneider and Spano fought for second through fifth as the laps clicked off towards the finish.
Over the remaining laps with no yellows to tighten the field up, Finch cruised under the checkers for the big win. Chris Hulsizer, Rocco Leone, Beth Schneider and Jim Spano rounded out the top-five. It was Finch’s second career win at Fulton, with his first back on May on May 25th.
In the NAPA Late Models this year, it’s been a season of win streaks. Alan Fink, Rick Miller and Dale Caswell all owned three wins in a row. Saturday night, Dale Caswell changed all that as he won his fourth in a row in the 20 lap feature. Rick Miller made him earn it. Miller and Caswell would run nose to tail and side by side, lap after lap as they both led laps. Caswell took over the lead for good on lap 13, but only would beat Miller to the checkers by 0.959 of a second. AJ Kingsley, Alan Fink and Shayne Tenace would round out the top-five. Caswell with his win tied Tim Sears Jr. on the all-time feature win list with 11.
For the second week in a row, 20 E&V Energy Novice Sportsman were in the pits. In the 15 lap feature, Brett Draper would lead the opening 7 laps before Mike Walton, who started 13th took over the top spot. Once in the lead, Walton drove away for his first ever win. Kyle Kiehn, Jeremy Dygert, Gary Hoppins and Brandon Kuhn finished second through fifth. Not only was it Walton’s first career win, it was only his third time ever in a Sportsman type car.
The Mod Lites put on a barnburner of a 15 lap feature. For most of the distance you could of thrown a blanket over the top-five. Justin Williams, Gary Jeffries and Sterling Miller all led laps. When it came down to crunch time, Joe Isabell made the winning pass getting by Miller on the last lap. Rick Demo, Brewerton/Fulton points leader Mike Mullen, Gary Jeffries and Alan Fink rounded out the top-five.
Tim Dunn doesn’t race every week at the Fulton Speedway, but when he does he is in the top-five or victory in the Four Cylinder Stocks. Tim Dunn out distanced current point leader Skip DeGroff to claim the 15 lap win. Mark Johnston, Justin Pope and Keith Zirbel finished third through fifth.
Coming this Saturday, August 17 will be a fun night of family, fun, affordable, racing. On the race card will be the Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modifieds, SUNY Canton Sportsman, NAPA Late Models, E&V Energy Novice Sportsman and Four Cylinder Stocks. There will also be a mechanics race to see if their skills on the cars transfers to behind the wheel.
Jr. Fan Club members remember this Saturday, it will be your second annual kickball game with your favorite drivers. The game will be from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the big grassy field behind the front straightaway grandstands towards turn one. After the game, the picnic will take place from 4:00 to 5:00.
Gates will open at 5:00 with racing at 7:00. Adult admission will be $12 with everyone 18 years old and younger FREE. Pit admission is $25 Members/$30 Non-Members.
The “Eve Of Destruction III” just got cranked up a notch with the announcement of the History Channel coming to record stuntman Chris Morena for a new TV show called, “American Daredevils.” The night will take place Tuesday, August 20th at 7:00 pm. To learn more please go to the following link. http://fultonspeedway.com/Home/tabid/158/ctl/ArticleView/mid/647/articleId/905/History-Channel-Coming-To-Fulton-Speedways-August-20-Eve-Of-Destruction-III.aspx .
Any questions you might have about the season, please contact Cory Reed at (315) 593-6531 or [email protected] . Keep up with track updates throughout the season at www.brewertonspeedway.com and www.fultonspeedway.com, on each speedway’s Facebook accounts and on Twitter at twitter.com/Fultonspeedway and twitter.com/BrewertonSpdway