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Friday, August 17, 2012

HUGE CROWD WATCHES 39 FASTRAK CARS COMPETE DURING 107TH MCKEAN COUNTY FAIR

MAX BLAIR WINS MILESTONE 20TH CAREER FASTRAK NE LATE MODEL TOUR RACE IN SERIES 90TH RACE; HUGE CROWD WATCHES 39 CARS COMPETE DURING 107TH MCKEAN COUNTY FAIR

By Mike Leone
August 16, 2012

(East Smethport, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Pace Performance FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series returned for the second straight year to compete during the McKean County Fair on Thursday night. The 107th edition of the Fair brought out a great field of 39 competitors eclipsing last year's count by 10 cars. It was NE Tour Race #17 of 25 and the third of five races at McKean County Raceway in 2012. Tom Gleason, who was instrumental in bringing FASTRAK to the Fair, provided the racers with perfect track conditions as the surface was racy from top-to-bottom.

After roaring out of the gates with five Northeast Touring Series wins in the first six events, Max Blair hit a dry spell with only two victories over the past 10 races. In fact, the Series three-time champion had been shutout of victory lane in the past five events.

That all changed on Thursday night as Blair passed Ed Carley on lap 10 and drove a masterful race through lapped traffic for the $1,200 victory plus the $100 Genesis Shocks "Top Dog of the Night" certificate. Blair's record high eighth win of the season was his milestone 20th of his career, which came in the 90th race run in the six-year history of the Series!

"I'm tired," acknowledged the 22-year-old Centerville, Pa. standout. "The lapped cars were crazy tonight. We started the year off so strong, but had some problems in the middle of the year. The track was great tonight. I have to thank everyone that helps me and first and foremost my dad, who makes this all possible; McKean County Raceway, and Mike (Leone) and Vicki (Emig), who do a great job with the Series."

New York racers Bryce Davis and Ed Carley led the 26-car starting field to green for the 25-lap feature. Carley used the outside to drive into the lead. Blair started from fourth and passed Lauren Longbrake for third on lap one with sixth starting Chad Ruhlman following in fourth on lap two.

The 14-year-old Longbrake didn't go away though as she raced back under Ruhlman for third on lap three then made a bold move passing both Blair and Davis for second on a lap five restart following a spin by John Over. Longbrake had the fans on their feet as she went after Carley, but a pair of cautions with six laps completed wasn't what she needed.

The two consecutive cautions were the final stoppages of the event as the final 19 laps went green-to-checkered. Back under green, Blair was able to get by Longbrake for second. Meanwhile, Dan Angelicchio was on the move. Angelicchio passed Davis for fourth on the restart then got past Longbrake for third on lap eight.

Back up front, Blair caught Carley and pulled alongside on lap nine. The two continued to race side-by-side with Blair on the bottom and Carley on top. Carley pushed high in turn four on lap 10 and that was all Blair needed as he drove into the lead- one he'd never relinquish.

With eight consecutive green flag laps, Blair caught lapped traffic on lap 14. Ryan Montgomery, who won the first NE Tour race at McKean on June 16, was on the move from the 12th starting spot. Montgomery passed both Davis and Longbrake for fourth on lap 16, but five laps later Davis regained the spot.

It was now a four-car battle for second with Carley trying to fend off Angelicchio, Davis, and Montgomery. Angelicchio had caught Carley on lap 20, but it took until lap 24 with an inside move off turn four to make the pass stick for runner-up. By now, Blair had a comfortable lead of about a straightaway as he powered on to victory in his Specialty Products/Rohrer Trucking/Moody & Son Welding/Genesis Shocks-sponsored #111.

Angelicchio ironically also finished runner-up to Blair on July 5 at McKean for the Original Pizza Logs Speedweek event. It was Angelicchio's fifth runner-up of the season in 15 starts! Angelicchio, who has seven top 5s this season, is still looking for his first win of the season. "One of these days we'll get one," said the Greensburg, Pa. racer.

Davis, who just missed out on a victory last Saturday at Black Rock with a career best runner-up finish, came back to place third after getting by Carley on the last lap. Davis now has three top 10s in four Tour starts this season. "We'll take it," expressed the Hornell, NY driver, who is in his first full season of FASTRAK. "It feels really good to be able to come here and back up the second place finish. I had no idea it was the final lap!"

After leading the first 10 laps, Carley dropped to a disappointing fourth in his first Tour race since May 22 of last year at Canada's Humberstone Speedway. Montgomery recorded his fifth top five of the season with three of them now coming at McKean! Longbrake held on to sixth for her best finish of the season and third top 10 of the year. Completing the top 10 were Ruhlman, Mike Laughard, Jason Genco, and Kyle Zimmerman.

After suffering mechanical issues in both the heat and B main, Steve Dixon was added as a Track provisional and raced his way from the 26th starting spot to 11th, which earned him the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger certificate. Ward Schell, who made his first Tour start, was 15th and earned the free Hoosier Tire presented by Utsinger's Towing for being the final car on the lead lap.

Mike Pegher, Jr. received The Brake Man "Tough Brake of the Night" award. The third place point man started 10th and was halfway to the front, but got bunched up on a restart that forced him pit side.

For the second straight event, Craig Dean picked up the Non-Qualifier victory. Dean led all eight laps for the $125 win and has vaulted into third place in the "Wheelman" Bonus Event Challenge Series Championship. "This is really cool to win here in my hometown," expressed the Smethport, Pa. driver. "We just started racing last year. This is awesome what FASTRAK does with these non-qualifiers. It gives everyone a chance to run more laps and make some more money. We're planning on running more FASTRAK shows in the future."

Dean's win in his TSL Inc./Duffy Inc./Mountain Top Excavating/Big Dog Henry Hauling/CRS Racing Supply/GTS Welco-sponsored #21 ironically came over his teammate Justin Smith. Smith started fourth and passed Zack Carley and Dave Norton, Jr. on the opening lap for second and trailed Dean to the finish in the non-stop event. Carley, who finished second in the Non-Qualifier at Black Rock, was third over Norton and Eric Andrus.

Heat winners were Over, Genco, Angelicchio, and Pegher, while Bobby Rohrer and Dereck Frank won the B mains. Kyle Zimmerman won his first K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash of the season and picked up the $100 K&N certificate. Schell was second and received a $50 K&N certificate, while Doug Ricotta and Jamie Brown received $25 cash.

Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Pace Performance FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series Race #17 (25 laps, $1,200 to-win): 1. MAX BAIR (111) 2. Dan Angelicchio (14) 3. Bryce Davis (94) 4. Ed Carley (28) 5. Ryan Montgomery (12) 6. Lauren Longbrake (27) 7. Chad Ruhlman (Suppa 4s) 8. Mike Laughard (38L) 9. Jason Genco (29J) 10. Kyle Zimmerman (z17) 11. Steve Dixon (50) 12. Bobby Rohrer (11) 13. Doug Ricotta (01) 14. John Over (K2) 15. Ward Schell (Baker 74) 16. Damian Bidwell (17) 17. Cody Mason (MR1) 18. Jamie Brown (135) 19. Dereck Frank (16) 20. Junior Peters (00) 21. Matt Harvey (4) 22. Garrett Mott (43x) 23. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x) 24. Justin Tatlow (Kratts 81) 25. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 26. Brad Kling (Powell 100). Note: Brad Kling took a Series provisional and Steve Dixon took a Track provisional).

Non-Qualifier (8 laps, $125 to-win): 1. Craig Dean (21) 2. Justin Smith (22) 3. Zack Carley (8) 4. Dave Norton, Jr. (24x) 5. Eric Andrus (Craig 62) 6. Scott Fitch (28) 7. Brad Mesler (24B) 8. Lou Jacoby, Jr. (88)-DNS 9. Ed Coast (43)-DNS 10. Jon Lichy (35)-DNS 11. Scott Grigsby (14)-DNS 12. Jason Stetson (69s)-DNS 13. Tim Schram (1s)-DNS.

Heat Winners: Over, Genco, Angelicchio & Pegher
K&N Cold Air Induction Dash: 1. Kyle Zimmerman 2. Ward Schell 3. Doug Ricotta 4. Jamie Brown
B Main Winners: Rohrer & Frank
Feature Lap Leaders: E.Carley (1-10), Blair (11-25)
Car Count: 39

Genesis Shocks "Top Dog of the Night": Max Blair
Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger: Steve Dixon (+15)
Utsinger's Towing Hoosier Tire Giveaway: Ward Schell
Brake Man "Tough Brake of the Night": Mike Pegher, Jr.

2012 Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series Results
Date/Track/State/Winner/# of Wins/To-Win Amount/Car Count
April 1 Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex (PA)/Max Blair (1)/$3,000/47
April 20 Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex (PA)/Mike Pegher, Jr. (1)/$1,200/42
May 13 Eriez Speedway (PA)/Max Blair (2)/$1,200/32
May 20 Humberstone Speedway (ON)/Max Blair (3)/$2,000/26
May 26 Sharon Speedway (OH)/Max Blair (4)/$1,500/34
May 27 Sharon Speedway (OH)/Feature to be made up 8/18/12/$1,500/31
June 8 Dog Hollow Speedway (PA) /Max Blair (5)/$1,200/32 (41 between the 2 nights)
June 16 McKean County Raceway (PA)/Ryan Montgomery (1)/$1,200/24
June 23 Sharon Speedway (OH)/Joe Martin (1)/$2,000/35
July 4 Expo Speedway (OH)/Will Thomas III (1)/$2,000/30
July 5 McKean County Raceway (PA)/Max Blair (6)/$1,200/49
July 6 Raceway 7 (OH)/Max Blair (7)/$1,200/33
July 7 Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway (PA)/Chad Ruhlman (1)/41
July 8 Eriez Speedway (PA)/Matt Latta (1)/22
July 14 Mercer Raceway Park (PA)/Will Thomas III (2)/24
July 21 Sharon Speedway (OH)/Sammy Stile (1)/42
Aug 11 Black Rock Speedway (NY)/Wayne Robertson (1)/32
Aug 18 McKean County Raceway (PA)/Max Blair (8)/39

The next race for the Sweeney Chevrolet FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series will be this Saturday (August 18) at Sharon Speedway for the $1,500 to-win Bill Emig Memorial "Wild Card Weekend" make-up feature plus a complete new show paying $1,500 to-win. It'll be "Manufacturers Night" with over $28,000 in prizes to be given away.

2012 FASTRAK Northeast marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tires, Original Pizza Logs, K&N Filters, The Brake Man, Utsinger's Towing, Precise Racing Products, Genesis Shocks, VP Fuels, Beyea Custom Headers, H&H Racing Equipment, High Gear Speed Shop, Hyperco, Jake's Golf Carts, Lincoln Electric, Wrisco Aluminum, and Wylie Race Cars.

You can reach co-directors Vicki Emig and Mike Leone at the FASTRAK Northeast office at 724-964-9300. E-mail to info@fastraknortheast.com and snail mail to 4368 Route 422, Pulaski, PA 16143. The office is open daily late mornings and after 1:30 p.m. For more information, check out the FASTRAK Northeast website at www.fastraknortheast.com. Become our fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/
fastraknortheast.