Buckwalter, from Douglassville, Pa., returned to his roots on Sunday night at the Greenwood Valley Action Track near Bloomsburg, and schooled the talented field assembled for the second event in this year's Kioti Tractors PA 600 Speedweek series.
Driving Gary & Donna Spotts' No. 25s, a Triple X Chassis, Buckwalter waited out a weather delay before he drove to a convincing win in the Edge Chassis/ RGR 35-lap main event.
"I have to thank Gary and Donna...they put so much work and effort into this car when we decide to run it," stated the victor as he accepted the large, symbolic winner's check in the amount of $1,000.
"I like the top - in fact, I prefer it - but I chose the bottom for the restart because the car was just working so well down there. We could really shoot off the bottom on the starts, so that was the way to go. But then I went right back to the top," smiled the 2012 ARDC Midget Champion.
A high quality field of 28 race teams arrived at GVAT, unloaded and set up their pit spaces, then quickly shoved all of their equipment and racecars back into the trailer as a gusty thunderstorm blew over the facility at about 5:30 p.m. Fairly heavy rainfall drenched the track and infield for more than 30-minutes, casting doubt among the attendees as to whether or not they would be racing on Sunday evening.
Track owner Gerry Creveling was determined to get the show in, however, and went to work as soon as enough of the precipitation had soaked into the clay surface. He eventually called for racecars to help run in the track, and the teams responded in cooperative fashion. By 8:40 p.m., the cars were cut loose for hot laps, and heat races went green a few minutes before 9:00.
When the cars of Brian Carber, Sammy LaMothe, and Cale Reigle were forced to scratch out of their second round of heat race qualifiers, the Crevelings and Speedweek organizers Adrenalized Promotions decided to skip the B-Main and start the remaining 25 drivers in the 35-lap A-Main.
Kyle Lick, Catasauqua, Pa., won the Dash (worth $300) and earned the right to start the A-Main from the inside of row one. Buckwalter rolled off in second and Tyler Walton was third as the race went green.
Australian Matt Symons spun on the start, so everyone regrouped and tried it again. Buckwalter and Lick quickly switched lanes, with Buckwalter throwing a huge slider on Lick in turns one and two. Lick, who won his first ARDC Midget feature eight days earlier in North Carolina, crossed over and shoved the nose of his Terry's Special back in front as they blazed down the backstretch. Buckwalter hung tough on the high side, though, and he powered back in front off the fourth turn to take command as the first lap was scored.
A few circuits later, Lick skated up the track in turn two, allowing Walton to slip past him for the runner-up spot. The second and final yellow flag of the event waved at this point, however, putting Lick back into second as the caution lights flashed on before Walton could be scored as the second-place car. Eleven laps were complete at the time and, while nobody could or would have predicted it, the final 24 tours were about to go clean and green.
Double-file restarts have been instituted for this season's 600 Speedweek (only in the A-Main), and GVAT regular Mike Koehler took advantage of the new procedure to blast into the runner-up position on the restart.
Koehler swiftly closed on Buckwalter, motoring around the bottom lane as Buckwalter rolled the top on the smooth, sticky GVAT oval. Within a few laps, the leaders were negotiating through lapped traffic, and Buckwalter deftly navigated his way in and around the backmarkers. He used the traffic to pull away from Koehler as Mike Dicely and Chad VanHorn wrestled for the third and fourth positions with Walton and Lick.
As the laps clicked off in a hurry, Buckwalter's margin grew, and he cruised to the checkered with a healthy cushion over Koehler.
Dicely finished third in a Speedweek main for the second consecutive night, and VanHorn nipped Walton at the stripe to earn fourth-place money.
With his second straight podium finish, Dicely vaulted into the PA 600 Speedweek point lead. He will carry a ten-point advantage over Tony Dimattia into the next stop on the five-race tour at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA at the Kutztown Fairgrounds on Wednesday, July 10. That will also be the first Speedweek event run without wings on the 600cc Micro-Sprints, and it will mark the first of three wingless programs - the other two take place at Linda's Speedway on July 12 and Hamlin Speedway on the 13th - remaining on this year's slate.
Heat race winners on Sunday at Greenwood Valley included Walton, Lick, and Dicely in Round One, with Koehler, Buckwalter, and Alex Bright claiming victories in Round Two.
After both rounds of qualifying were completed, the top six in the Finishing/Passing Points system were Koehler, Walton, Buckwalter, Lick, Bright, and Tyler DeVault.
For additional news and information regarding the five-race miniseries, log on to www.pa600speedweek.com and/or the tour's facebook page at www.facebook.com/ PA 600 Speedweek.
Edge Chassis/ RGR A-Main Finish, 35-laps: 1.Tim Buckwalter, 2.Mike Koehler, 3.Mike Dicely, 4.Chad VanHorn, 5.Tyler Walton, 6.Kyle Lick, 7.Tyler DeVault, 8.Mike Rutherford, 9.Alex Bright, 10.Tom Fraschetta, 11.Jay Hartman, 12.Rob Pajauis, 13.Tom Shearer, 14.James Morris, 15.Tony DiMattia, 16.Rick Perone, 17.Matthew Symons, 18.Chad Sandt, 19.Joey Jarowicz, 20.Shelby Harper, 21.Jermaine Godshall, 22.Hayden Miller, 23.Greg Stevens, 24.A.J. Michael, 25.Molly Chambers.