EMERLING, CATALANO, SHARPE & WOCH TAKE AUTOGRAPH NIGHT WINS AT LANCASTER
LANCASTER, NY – Lancaster National Speedway hosted Autograph Night for the X-Press Signs Stock Series on Saturday night. A great crowd of race fans got up close and personal with their favorite drivers during an on-track autograph session at intermission. Those fans were also treated to an exciting night of racing with some unexpected twists and turns along the way.
Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, N.Y. picked up his first win of the year in the Sunoco Sportsman. Tommy Catalano of Ontario, N.Y. scored his first career win in the Race of Champions Late Models. Rich Sharpe of Lancaster remained hot in the Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks as he won his sixth feature in a row and eighth overall this season. Bobby Woch of Alden, N.Y. was declared the winner of the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinder feature for his third win of 2017.
A total of 20 Sunoco Sportsman took the initial green flag for the 35-lap feature with Owen Bednasz and Jayme Thompson leading the field. Bednasz dominated most of the race as he took off from the pole position and pulled away from the field.
Bednasz is involved in a tight points battle for the Sportsman championship with Kevin Miller and Shawn Nye, and all three drivers were at the front of the field throughout most of the race.
The first caution of the event came on lap 12 when Dick Kluth stopped in turn four. Bednasz, Miller and Nye had pulled away from the field by this point with Modified drivers Amy Catalano, Scott Wylie, Patrick Emerling and Tommy Catalano about a half-straightaway behind.
The ensuing restart bunched up the field, which left Miller and Nye to deal with the Modified drivers as Bednasz pulled away once again. Amy Catalano and Wylie were racing for fifth place on lap 24 when the pair made contact in turn 2. Catalano spun out and Wylie was sent to the rear of the field for the restart.
Emerling was able to pass Nye for third shortly after the race restarted, and he then went after Miller for second place. On lap 31, Emerling was side-by-side with Miller in turn 1 when Miller’s car hooked right and went into the Thermal Foam blocks. Jake Lyon had nowhere to go and collided with Miller, however, both cars were able to continue.
That set up another restart with Bednasz and Emerling lined up on the front row and just four laps remaining. They battled wheel-to-wheel for two laps before Bednasz lost the handling in turn 2 and spun out to bring out the yellow flag for the final time.
This moved to Emerling to the lead after he started the race in 15th. He was paired up with Tommy Catalano for the final restart of the night. Emerling and Catalano raced hard side-by-side during the green-white-checkered finish with Emerling holding off Catalano by a half car length. It was Emerling’s first Sportsman win of the season at Lancaster after he won eight times in 2016 between the Sportsman and Modifieds.
Catalano came up short in his quest to win two features in one night, but he did manage his best Lancaster finish of the season in the Sportsman. Neal Dietz, Jr. elected to start the race at the rear of the field, but came home in third place. Shawn Nye and Amy Catalano rounded out the top five.
The Race of Champions Late Models Series made their second appearance of the season at Lancaster. Tommy Catalano started on the pole for the 30-lap feature aboard Bob Minacapelli’s #12 Late Model. Catalano had finished in the top five in his previous Late Model start at Lancaster in Nick Crassi’s backup car.
Catalano took off from Frank Batista at the drop of the green flag to take the early lead. Bobby Weber quickly moved into the second position to challenge Catalano early on. Catalano and Weber battled side-by-side during the opening laps before Weber nearly spun out on lap 4. He saved the car, but this allowed Catalano to pull away.
A late caution gave Weber a final chance at Catalano for the win, but the third-generation driver was too fast for the cagey veteran. Catalano drove to the victory while Weber fended off Dave Heitzhaus in the closing laps to finish second. Heitzhaus had been the fastest car in practice and the heats, but bad luck in the redraw forced him to start deep in the field in the feature.
The win for Catalano gives him victories in three different divisions at Lancaster, including the Sportsman, TQ Midgets and Late Models. He has also made starts at Lancaster in the Race of Champions Modifieds, Street Stocks and Super Stocks.
Nine-time Late Model track champion, John Julicher, made the final start of his career driving a car owned by Bobby Weber. Julicher ran in the Late Model race at Lancaster two weeks ago, but mechanical issues sidelined him early in the event. This time he was able to run the entire feature and finished eighth.
In the Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks, Rich Sharpe took off on a lap 17 restart and never looked back as he won for the sixth race in a row. Sharpe started 15th in the 24-car field, but he quickly maneuvered his way to the front. He was up to fourth place by lap 11 and was running in second place just four laps later.
The first caution of the 25-lap race happened on lap 16 when Brian Hoffman broke a right front wheel. On the ensuing restart, Sharpe got the jump on race leader Dave Wilson to take the lead for good. He cruised the final eight laps for his eighth win of the season.
Mike Scott finished second to Sharpe for the second race in a row. Keith Flanigan was credited with third. Garrett Cleversley led the first 10 laps from the pole position and finished a career best fourth. Mark Hoch rounded out the top five.
Bobby Woch was declared the winner of the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinder after Dave Milbrand, Jr. was disqualified during post-race inspection. It was Woch’s third win of the season. Chris Pennell, Dan Dressel, Dan English and Jason Anasiewicz completed the top five.
Lancaster National Speedway will be off this Saturday for the Sunday Nostalgia Drag Racing weekend. The X-Press Signs Stock Car Series return to action on August 12 for Kids Night and the inaugural 51-lap Ken Heckler Memorial for the Street Stocks.
About Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway: Founded in 1959, Lancaster National Speedway and Dragway, WNY’s Premier Motorsports and Event Facility, is a multi-use facility located on 77 acres just outside of metropolitan Buffalo, N.Y. The facility features a 1/8-mile drag strip, a 1/2-mile oval track and hosts several non-motorsports events such as car shows and concerts. For the latest information on Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway check out our website www.lancasternationalspeedway.com. Additional information for racers and fans can be found on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LancasterSpeedway) and on Twitter (@LancasterSpdwy).
Heat Winners: Owen Bednasz, Tony Carbone, Shawn Nye
Feature: PATRICK EMERLING, Tommy Catalano, Neal Dietz, Jr., Shawn Nye, Amy Catalano, Scott Wylie, Mark Pennell, Timmy Catalano, Jayme Thompson, Neil Hopkins, Jake Lyon, Sherri Hogan, Kevin Miller, Owen Bednasz, Timmy Lewis, Dave Kozlowski, Mike Rogers, Tony Carbone, Tim Nies, Dick Kluth DNS: John Barber
RACE OF CHAMPIONS LATE MODELS
Heat Winners: Eldon King III, Dave Heitzhaus
Feature: TOMMY CATALANO, Bobby Weber, Dave Heitzhaus, Eldon King III, Ron Nurmi, Terry Weldy, Frank Batista, Jr., John Julicher, Dave Rigan, Jeff Ruddy, Sam Fullone, Nick Crassi, Ron Richter
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS STREET STOCKS
Heat Winners: Rich Sharpe, Garrett Cleversley, Dave Wilson
Feature: RICH SHARPE, Mike Scott, Keith Flanigan, Garrett Cleverlsey, Mark Hoch, Tommy Wentland, Max Northem, Tommy Reese, Eric Brown, Jarrod Brown, Dave Vona, Rich Pocobello, Nate Straus, Andy Cryan, Jerome Hruby, Frank Prell, Trevor Pettit, Gino Pinto, Ken Maltby, Jimmy Pierce, Brian Hoffman, Tim Garlock, Don Sitarski DNS: Tom Northem, Jerry Kosmowski DQ: Dave Wilson
ROAMING BUFFALO 4-CYLINDERS
Heat Winners: Chris Pennell, Dave Milbrand, Jr.
Feature: BOBBY WOCH, Chris Pennell, Dan Dressel, Dan English, Jason Anasiewicz, Casey Pew, Josh Schosek, Justin Johnson, Joe Brunka, Charles Palmer, Kenny Hejna, Kris Haas, Mark Annis, Jr., Russ Hartke DQ: Kevin Bainbridge