Mike Sweeney Adds Evergreen Raceway to 2017 Win List
By GENE OSTROWSKI
ST. JOHNS, PA – The first Friday night event of racing since the 2005 racing season kicked off this past Friday at Evergreen Raceway. In his first start at the track this season, Mike Sweeney of Nesquehoning edged Kyle Harvell for the Himmer Graphics Late Model victory. After leading a number of laps last week, Rich Paciotti of Kunkletown fended off Randy Schlenker to take the checkers in the Barbush Automotive Street Stock division and thirteen year old Brayden Spencer of Shickshinny bested a healthy Evan’s Roadhouse Four Cylinder field for his second victory of the season. Following one yellow flag on the opening lap, TJ Kapish of Mountaintop cruised to the checkers in his first ever Wheels Bar & Grill Strictly Stock start.
Brock Brown led the Late Model field to the drop of the green flag in the 30-lap main event. However, Mike Sweeney edged Brown to lead the first circuit. Meanwhile, Kyle Harvell worked into third.
With a lap in the books, Harvell got by Brown and pulled up to within a car length of Sweeney. The top two rode nose to tail for the first 10 laps and the order remained the same at the halfway mark. Brown rode in third, followed by Steve Shultz and Francis Gross III.
Harvell ramped up his pace during the second half of the show, as did Sweeney, and it was obvious that both drivers were hungry for the victory. When it was all said and done, Sweeney, who has already visited victory lane on several occasions at Mahoning Valley Speedway, took the checkers over Harvell. Steve Shultz worked his way up to finish third, followed by Brown and Gross.
Sammy Danahar led the Street Stock field to the drop of the green flag in the 30-lap contest. He was overtaken by Dan Pawlicki before the first lap was scored and then tucked into the second spot. Todd Ahner rode in third, followed by Rich Paciotti and Scott Adams.
Following a lap one restart, Ahner took his turn at the lead and with nine laps in the books, Randy Schlenker, who had already cracked the top five, overtook Adams for third.
A pair of yellow flags slowed the action on lap nine and then Paciotti got by Ahner for the lead following the restart. Schlenker had worked into the second spot and fought the leader to take control of the show.
The battle up front raged on and when the checkers flew, it was Paciotti who celebrated his first victory of the season. Schlenker was the runner up, with Ahner, Mike Pollock and Steve Hoffman in tow,
Schlenker and Ahner were heat race winners.
Led to the line by Jay Kanor, twenty Four Cylinders took the green flag. Josh Oswald led the first lap, followed by Austin Beers, Jay Skupski, Shawn Kistler and Bob Azarowicz.
Beers worked by Oswald for the lead on lap two and Devin Schmidt cracked the top five on the following circuit. Schmidt continued to go forward and overtook Oswald for fourth three laps later.
Meanwhile, Brayden Spencer climbed to second and drove up to challenge Beers for the top spot. Shortly after, a pair of yellows waved. First, for a Skupski spin in turn three and then another for a tangle in the same turn involving Taylor Schmidt, Cody Geist and Kevin Behler. Green flag racing resumed and Spencer made his move on Beers for the lead stick.
The action slowed for the final time just past halfway when the engine on Jake Jones’ mount expired in a big way. A quick fire erupted and then quickly extinguished itself. Jones exited his ride unscathed.
Spencer retained the lead following the restart. Shortly after, D. Schmidt shot by Beers for second and Harry O’Neill followed through to take third.
D. Schmidt worked his to the back bumper of Spencer and then gave him a shot in the final corned on the last lap. In exciting fashion, Spencer retained the lead and both O’Neill and Ron Heeter slipped by D. Schmidt for second and third respectively. D. Schmidt crossed the line in fourth, followed by Beers. Heeter was later disqualified in post race tech inspection, which moved Schmidt and Beers up one position and Jimmy Ayre advanced to fifth.
Beers, TJ Kapish and O’Neill were heat race winners.
Justin Nesbitt led the Strictly Stock field to the drop of the green flag in the 20-lap feature, but then spun from his spot after taking the green. When green flag racing resumed, Becca Barbush found herself at the point. Her lead was short-lived, as she was overtaken by TJ Kapish.
With two laps complete, Harry O’Neill climbed to second. However, Kapish had already begun to check out.
Without any further yellows to slow the action, Kapish cruised to the win over O’Neill. Chris Angstadt finished in the third spot, followed by Barbush and Nesbitt.
A jammed packed weekend of action is planned for next weekend at Evergreen Raceway. The Late Models, Street Stocks, Four Cylinders, Jr. Four Cylinders, plus INEX Legends and Bandoleros will be in action on Friday, July 7 and Saturday, July 8 will feature the speedway’s Independence Enduros with 100-laps of action for 4-Cylinder and 6/8-Cylinder Enduros, PLUS the Outlaw Stocks and Atlantic Coast Old Timers are also on the card.
Grandstand admission for Friday’s event is just $8. Children 12 years of age and younger are admitted for free with a paying adult.
The pit gates will swing open at 5:30 PM on Friday and the pit entrance fee is $35. Practice will kick off at 6:30 PM and heat races will begin at 8 PM. The grandstand gates will open at 6 PM.
The pit gates will swing open on Saturday for all of the series events at 4 PM. The drivers meeting will take place at 5 PM and the Outlaw Stocks will have practice at 5:15 PM. Racing will kick off at 6:00 PM. The grandstands will open at 5 PM. Grandstand admission for the event is just $5 and pit admission is $25
Evergreen Raceway is located minutes from Hazleton, PA, in between routes 93 and 309. For more information regarding Evergreen Raceway, including the entire season schedule, directions and divisional payouts, please visit www.evergreenracewaypark.com and don’t forget to like their Facebook page as well.
Evergreen Raceway is proud to be associated with Fairway Motors, Harry’s U Pull It, Penn’s Peak Radio, Sponenberg’s Exhaust, Wheel’s Bar & Grill, CK Auto Service & Race Fab, Himmer Graphics, Evan’s Roadhouse, Bob’s Subs, American Rental Equipment, Barbush Automotive, Valve Tech Sales, Penn’s Peak, Printers Edge & RockAuto.com.
Late Models (30-laps) 1. MIKE SWEENEY 2. Kyle Harvell 3. Steve Shultz 4. Broc Brown 5. Francis Gross III
Street Stocks (30-laps) 1. RICH PACIOTTI 2. Randy Schlenker 3. Todd Ahner 4. Mike Pollock 5. Steve Hoffman 6. Dan Pawlicki 7. Frank Petroski Jr 8. Sammy Danaher 9. Scott Adams 10. Paul Morgan Jr 11. Cory Swartz 12. Anthony Tombasco
Four Cylinders (20-laps) 1. BRAYDEN SPENCER 2. Harry O’Neill 3. Devin Schmidt 4. Austin Beers 5. Jimmy Ayer 6. Bob Azarowicz 7. TJ Kapish 8. Corey Edelman 9. Josh Oswald 10. Ray Kochin 11. Shawn Kistler 12. Taylor Schmidt 13. Cody Geist 14. Jay Skupski 15. Shane Troutman 16. Kevin Behler 17.Jay Kanor 18. Ed Wildes 19. Jake Jones DNQ: Kyle Laubach DNQ: DQ: Ron Heeter
Strictly Stocks (20-laps) 1. TJ KAPISH 2. Harry O’Neill 3. Christ Angstadt 4. Becca Barbush 5. Justin Nesbitt