Behind the Wheel
Kings Without Wings
Hamlin, PA - Cool Weather, Hot Action As Hamlin Speedway Opens Season With A Spectacular Evening Of Racing
Traditionally still cool in the mountains in April, the 2013 racing season at the Hamlin Speedway got underway on Saturday evening and the green light was all that was needed as a vast collection of driving talent wasted no time in heating up the arena last evening with successful promoters Randy and Denise Smith ushering in an opening night of spectacular racing action. The Smith Family and Staff welcomed in a convoy of 140 talented racers from a surrounding six-state area to their premier short track facility located in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Even though the chill in the air turned into near frost conditions when the final checkered flag fell, the great opening night crowd was treated to an old-fashioned donnybrook of high-flying action on the freshly clayed, widened and banked 1/5 mile racing facility and the wider track allowed for the talented daredevil racing roster to use all of the speed lanes to present a great evening of racing entertainment. The eight feature event racing card along with heats and time trials went off as scheduled. The non-stop racing action was completed at 10:37 and when was all said and done eight happy and diverse winners found there way into Hamlin Speedway victory circle for the traditional pomp and circumstance.
The Smith Family enters the 2013 racing season in their eighth year in control of the Hamlin facility they painstakingly resurrected in 2006 after the speedway abruptly closed in the middle of the 2005 racing season. The unparalleled great racing action and the tremendous support from the entire racing community has earmarked just how popular the small car racing divisions have become in recent years and lends credence to the fact the Hamlin Speedway has become the premier racing stop on Saturday nights to witness side by side racing the way it is meant to be. With the great opening night event, the 2013 racing season has all indications for being another superlative journey in racing for the Smith Family and the driving stars and car owners and sponsors who support the facility.
The hot-lap sessions lasted an hour and allowed the new and veteran drivers their first opportunity to test the new racing surface and the great field of cars on hand never skipped a beat as they dug their right rear wheels into the rich Pocono clay that was mirror smooth and got faster as the night rolled on. An all time trial format was used for the opening event to establish the starting feature assignments and were completed in one hour and fifteen minutes.
After a short delay for some track maintenance to insure a great racing surface for the eight headline divisions, the starting field of 12 Junior Slingshots took off in their scheduled 20-lap feature jaunt. Fast qualifier "The Quack Attack" Ryan Quackenbush utilized his pole position start to put a hole shot on the field at the start of the event and the second year driving star held off a late charge by the defending track champion the "38 Special" Jared LaBagh to seize his opening night victory. LaBagh held steady for the runner-up role with "Scoot" Taylor Eccles riding hard for a third place run and "The Little Tornado" Tyler Peet was close behind in fourth and newcomer "The Beast" Chloe Andreas establishing herself as a contender with a solid top five performance. Collin DuBois, Paul Tigue, Damon Paul, Alex Yankowski and Michael Samony completed the top ten.
Rookie feature events followed and the Rookie Wingless 600cc Sprints saw a sixteen car feature take to the speedway. Newcomer Matt Swanson was smooth as glass in jumping into the lead at the start and constantly hit his marks enroot to a convincing opening night win over Slingshot transplant "The Hot Rod" Kyle Rode who finished up in the second position. Newcomer to the speedway Cody Coons was impressive as he drove from an eighth place start to finish in third place. Local talent Nick Corazzi rallied from an early spin to nail down fourth place and Carl Mease completed the top five. Spencer Mease, Aaron Henneforth, Adam Jones, Amber Oraschin and Colin White rounded out the top ten. The race was halted at the start of the event as Shelby Ogozaly and Ricky Leaper executed a double flip in turn one of the opening sequence. Neither driver was hurt in the mad scramble that followed.
A wild and dramatic Rookie 270 Sprint feature saw Connecticut star Mallory Prince lead the first lap before yielding to Jenna Weidner, who then led laps two through six. Newcomer, "The Speed Queen" Alyssa Fogel surged into the lead on lap seven and drove away from the field capture her first career win at the speedway. Mallory Prince was the runner-up with Danny Leaper in third, Jenna Weidner in fourth after recovering from a spin and Mike Kalman completing the top five. Paul Richards Jr was sixth with Charles McDaniel, Trish Mancuso, Brian Mahoney and Brenden Koehler completing the top ten.
The Super Slinger feature saw the returning Carl Bittenbender show a hot hand as he drove away from the field at the start of the event and then held off a late charge by "The Flying Dutchman" Richie VanOrden to capture the win in a very spirited feature attraction. Wyatt Clark drove his Maroney Cycle sponsored hot rod to a third place finish with Paul Ennes and Dale Kober completing the top five placers. Fank Yankowski, John Rooks Sr, Jimmy Johnston, the returning Russ Benke and Charlie Shaver completing the top ten.
The Wingless 600cc Sprint main was top-notch from the drop of the green flag. The returning Jake Winters and last year's Rookie Champion Robbie Hocker led the 25-car field into turn one with Hocker hanging tough and coming out on top with the lead with Winters in pursuit. A skirmish in turn one claimed two contenders Jay Hartman and Rick Calvert and once the green flag was waved it became a Hocker-Winters duel for a few laps until sixth place starting "The Bushkill Bullet" Kyle Rohner came calling. Rohner used a combination of top to bottom moves to work his way into the runner-up spot. Just as quickly, "The Edge" Eddie Strada worked his magic from the top of the cushion to gain control of the third position with "The Traveling Man" Mick D'Agostino finding a home in fourth place. Defending three-time Kutztown Speedway Champion "The Flagtown Flyer" Jeff Hartman began his drive from tenth place and found his way into fifth place by the midpoint of the event. Despite the cold weather that had settled in, the drivers put a ton of heat into the facility as they skillfully attacked the Hamlin clay. Hocker held tough and earned a hard fought opening night win in his transition in the 600 Sprint division with Rohner second, Strada third, D'Agostino fourth and Hartman fifth. A hard charge from Brandon Azzalina saw the Saylorsburg star drive from a 21st staring position to finish in sixth with Joseph Smith, Larry Mekic, Chris Oraschin and Chad Sandt completing the top ten.
"The Icon" Pat Bealer utilized his pole start to lead every lap in the twenty lap main event for the 270 Sprint division. Seventh place starting "The J-Shot" Jacob Hendershot raced through the field to mount a challenge but Bealer had a ton of race car under him to quell all challenges on this night of action. Hendershot was the runner-up with "The Conductor" Bobby Butler racing from 13th place at the start to finish up in third place. Last year's runner-up in the division "TK" Tommy Kunsman was fourth and Modified star Michael Weinert returned to the open wheel division and drove from a 19th place start to complete the top five Zach Bealer, Steve Walters, Ron Pierson Jr, Glenn Macomber and former track champion Gene Burd completed the top ten finishers.
The Brodheadsville Chevrolet Stage One Modifieds saw youngster Collin Dubois lead the first 18-laps but finding defending track champion Joel Smith dogging him every step of the way. Smith, who was engaged in a ten lap battle royal with the "Dirt Diva" Shannon Smith, was able to go after DuBois with a vengeance after the Shannon Smith mount fell by the wayside at the midway point of the event. With two laps remaining Smith found an inside lane that gave him enough of an opening to surge into the lead and go on to victory. DuBois ran a great race to finish in the runner-up role and with some luck coming his way will put the Victory Lane Auto Car/Auto Mall sponsored race car into the winners circle before the season ends. Young Brody Adamsky mad his debut in the Stage One Class and the "Layton Laser" drove to fine third place finish in his first outing. John Comandini, Jeff Hineline and Paul Ennes rounded out the top six finishers.
The All Star Slingshot main event saw an elite 28-car field take the green flag in the curtain closer for the evening. Fast Qualifier Troy Langendoerfer shot out of the blocks like a cannon at the start of the event with "The Brass Section" John Bockhorn locking into second place. Just as quickly things came to a sudden halt as Empire State driving star Demetrios Drellos took a snap roll flip off of the backstretch barrier. Drellos was unhurt in the incident although the car was severely damaged. On the restart it was Langendoerfer out front with Bockhorn challenging and Tyler Pirone, Danny Buccafusca and Jimmy Johnston dueling it out for hard to claim real estate. Lap after lap nobody gave an inch nor expected it as they drove with expert precision even when they found themselves encountering lapped traffic. Troy Langendoerfer would secure the opening night win John Bockhorn, Tyler Pirone, Danny Buccafusca and Jimmy Johnston completing the top five. Richie VanOrden, Mike Fogler, Dale Kober, Wyatt Clark and Frank Yankowski completed the top ten finishers. Yankowski began the race from 27th position and the Modified star used a series of good moves to find his way into tenth place when the checkered flag fell.
The new season of racing at Hamlin kicked-off in spectacular fashion and even though the temperature dropped to thirty degrees around 10 PM, the brave and loyal fan force stuck with the program through its entirety. The speedway has an aggressive season of special events planned for the season and small car division racing is the wave of the future and truly happening at the Hamlin facility. With the high costs associated with most everything we do today from gasoline to food and personal luxuries, the increasing numbers for small car division racing continue to rise and those who have the need for speed and want to remain within their budget restraints, Hamlin Speedway offers the superb alternative with their many divisions of great and affordable competition. Similar racing programs are offered at many of the dirt tracks in the local tri state area including Accord, Action Track USA and Lanco and the pavement track at Borgers and can be the perfect scenario to keep interested families involved in racing.
The extensive work Randy Smith and his staff did over the winter months paid off huge dividends as the overall viewpoint of the speedway and the grounds shows the dedication and the labor of love through the promotional efforts of the Smith Family. The racers were provided a multi-lane race track that allowed for much side by side racing excitement. The new clay surface remained tacky throughout the evening and was relatively dust free and the additional banking held up well during the opening night program and the wider racing grooves made for some excellent side by side racing and the racers all agreed the track was in excellent shape and very fast.
The new season brought out a great new batch of new and refurbished racing equipment to the speedway. Along with the new race cars, many new faces put in their first Hamlin appearances and the car count of 140 speaks for itself as the draw of racing equipment to the Pocono facility has far reaching effects as the New England driving contingent continues to strengthen and add great flavor to the exciting racing action. Additional race cars from the Empire State will prove beneficial to both Hamlin and Accord during the season and the strong Pennsylvania and New Jersey connections remain the staple structure for the strong representation to the speedway. The fans had the opportunity to check out the many new paint schemes and graphics of the great field of cars on hand and the seasonally changing two new rookie divisions will act as the farm system for those who will make the transition into the regular divisions in the future.
Richie VanOrden offer up a new "Sawz-All" to the fast qualifier in the All Star Slingshot division and Troy Langendoerfer earned his new equipment by pushing the throttle harder then the rest of his competition. Former Sports Car racer Mike Morrone had the S&S Speedway Rental car working well as he learned as he drove to score a 12th place finish after starting 24th. Chris Predmore was a new entry to the speedway as were Erin Paulison AJ Hobbs and Tommy Zwart. Paulison is a former champion at Oakland Valley and Zwart will be in his first season with the All Star Slingshots although being a big winner in the past at Accord Speedway in the Junior Slingshot division. Former National Slingshot Champion Ben Whitaker found a ride in a Paul Ennes owned racer. Tommy Kunsman did double duty as he had his trusty 270 Sprint with him and debuted a new 600 Sprint that he earned a 13th place finish with in his first effort. Former Lightning Sprint wheelman JD Casazza was a surprise entrant and looked good in his first effort although was an early retiree in the main event. It was good to Russ Benke back in action as well as Charlie Shaver in the Slingshot divisions. The new classes of Rookie hopefuls did well even though some had the opening night jitters that will disappear one they get some laps in under their belts.
The ERT personnel at the speedway debuted the new BobCat in a partnership with new sponsor Wallace Tractor and Equipment and with a couple of cars getting upside down during the evening put the new equipment to a good test. Wallace Tractor is located a few miles from the Hamlin Speedway and carry a full range of race car, construction and toy hauling trailers for any racer looking for a new trailer and they also carry some demo and used equipment that can be seen on their website at: www.wallacetractorandequipment.com Vogel Design is another new speedway sponsor and owner Jason Vogel does expert work in turning a race car into a show stopping masterpiece with his great graphic work. Contact Jason at: 570 903 0811 or at his website: vogelracedesigns.tripod.com
All Star Slingshots: Troy Langendoerfer, John Bockhorn, Tyler Pirone, Danny Buccafusca, Jimmy Johnston, Richie VanOrden, Mike Fogler, Dale Kober, Wyatt Clark, Frank Yankowski, Trevor LaBagh, Mike Morrone, Mack Brink, Kevin Predmore, Steve Yankowski, Jeff Cosgrove, Chris Predmore, Mike McLaughlin, Erin Paulison, AJ Hobbs, Paul Ennes, John Rooks Jr, Joe Howey, Tommy Zwart, Del Howell, Charlie Shaver, Wes Hearn, Demetrios Drellos
270cc Sprints: Pat Bealer, Jacob Hendershot, Bobby Butler, Tommy Kunsman Jr, Michael Weinert, Zack Bealer, Steve Walters, Ron Pierson Jr, Glenn Macomber, Gene Burd, John Dvorscak, Larry Hoagland, Robbie Watson, Trevor Dunn, Nathan Hahn, Scott Avery, Sydney Prince, Rich O'Neill, Zach Weidner, Kendall Segar, Zach Farleigh, Paul Richards, Tyler Galatro, Jeff Ubel
600cc Wingless Sprints: Robbie Hocker, Kyle Rohner, Eddie Strada, Mick D'Agostino, Jeff Hartman, Brandon Azzalina, Joseph Smith, Larry Mekic, Chris Oraschin, Chad Sandt, Kurt Bettler, Shelby Harper, Tommy Kunsman Jr, Simon Egan, Tim Howell, Stephen Reynolds, Doug Snyder, Jake Winters, Molly Chambers, Jordan Tittle, JD Casazza, Mark Manieri, Greg Stevens, Jay Hartman, Rick Calvert
Brodheadsville Chevrolet Stage One Modifieds: Joel Smith, Collin DuBois, Brody Adamsky, John Comandini, Jeff Hineline, Paul Ennes, Dylan Martin, Ben Whitaker, Shannon Smith
Junior Slingshots: Ryan Quackenbush, Jared LaBagh, Taylor Eccles, Tyler Peet, Chloe Andreas, Collin DuBois, Paul Tigue, Damon Paul, Alex Yankowski, Michael Samony, Matt Henneforth, Daniel Morgiewicz Jr
Super Slingshots: Carl Bittenbender, Richie VanOrden, Wyatt Clark, Paul Ennes, Dale Kober, Frank Yankowski, John Rooks Sr, Jimmy Johnston, Russ Benke, Charlie Shaver, Wes Hearn, Kevin Olver
Rookie 270cc Sprints: Alyssa Fogel, Mallory Prince, Danny Leaper, Jenna Weidner, Mike Kalman, Paul Richards Jr, Charles McDaniel, Trish Mancuso, Brian Mahoney, Brendan Koehler, Jenna Schostkewitz
Rookie 600cc Wingless Sprints: Matt Swanson, Kyle Rode, Cody Coons, Nick Corazzi, Carl Mease, Spencer Mease, Aaron Henneforth, Adam Jones, Amber Oraschin, Colin White, Heidi Hedin, Mackenzie Harper, Shelby Ogozaly, Ricky Leaper, Cody Smith
Racing every Saturday evening from April through September. April 27th will be the next event on the schedule that will include a special event Wingless 270 Sprint feature. The first special event of the new season will unfold on May 4th with the exciting Wingless 600cc Sprints pounding the Hamlin clay for a $600.00 reward based on a 24-car starting field. Pit Gates open at the speedway at 1 PM; Drivers Meeting at 4:45; Hot Laps are at 5:00 and the racing begins at 6 PM sharp. Admission Prices for regular shows are: Adults $8.00; Senior Citizens $4.00 Children under 6 are Free; Pit Pass: $20.00 The "new" General Admission Bonus Pack is available for families: It consists of 4 General Admission Tickets + $20.00 in Food Vouchers for $40.00 (a savings of $12.00)
For further updates and information regarding all of the news and additions to the Hamlin Speedway, logon to their well documented website at: http://www.hamlinspeedway.com or call the speedway hotline at: 570 420 5500. For video work or questions regarding the purchase of videos from the exciting on-track action at the Hamlin Speedway, contact videographer Barry Boyd at: http://www.boydracingvideos.com For photos of all of the great racing action contact Rick Schwindenhammer Racing Photos at: http://www.ricksracingphotos.zenfolio.com
Visit us often for a great night of racing action as............................................
The Hamlin Speedway Is The Gateway To The Poconos
By: Steve Pados, GA Motorsports Media
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