On paper, it appeared to be a simple, two-division show of 600cc and 270cc Sprint Car racing at Linda’s Speedway on Friday night, October 17. In reality, though, it was much, much more than that, especially for Tyler Walton and Mike Rutherford.
In the final tune-up before this week’s 25th Anniversary of Linda’s National Open, Walton (600cc) and Rutherford (270cc) earned hard fought victories in their respective 25-lap main events. And both triumphs proved to be significant achievements for the veteran wheel-twisters.
Walton started on the pole of the 600cc feature, and the yellow waved immediately (on the initial start) because outside front row starter Hannah Riser was a bit anxious, resulting in a warning to her from speedway officials for jumping the start. That would be the only time flagger Mike Fry would need the yellow silk, as the second attempt produced a good start and a non-stop, 25-lap effort from the talented, 20-car field of 600cc jockeys.
Walton set the early pace, but Tim Buckwalter, in the Greth Racing No. 71, leaping from his fourth-starting position to challenge Walton for the top spot.
The Juniata Beverage, Hyper Chassis No. 14T of Walton maintained the point, and soon he had a new partner at the head of the pack in Brian Carber, who advanced from sixth on the starting grid to run second after disposing of Buckwalter just before the halfway mark.
Carber applied the pressure as the leaders caught the back of the field and had to deal with heavy traffic. Walton zigged and zagged as needed to put cars a lap down and simultaneously keeping Carber from mounting a serious attack. Carber, racing as a teammate to Linda’s 2014 Winged 600cc Champion Steve Whary, shoved the nose of his No. 44H under Walton on a few occasions, but Walton was able to repel the assault each time.
Over the final few circuits, Walton pulled ahead by a couple of car lengths, and he flew under the checkered flag for the pulse-quickening win over Carber, Whary, Buckwalter, and Heath Hehnly.
The victory was significant because it propelled Walton, at least temporarily, into the lead for Most Wins in 2014 Northeastern 600cc competition. As he celebrated his 15th triumph of the season on Friday, Walton edged ahead of Eddie Strada by one victory.
Friday’s 600cc heat winners were Buckwalter, Whary, and Carber.
Mike Rutherford’s win in Friday’s 25-lap nightcap was noteworthy because it came in his own “stuff”, as he described it, and it was his first 270cc victory in a car that he owns since 2004 – a period of ten years! Rutherford has won plenty of 270cc races during that time, of course, driving for Ken and Tony Kaylor, and it was a Ken Kaylor motor that powered his No. 6 to the win on Friday night.
Like Walton, Rutherford started on the pole but unlike the 600cc victor, he did not lead the entire race.
Recently crowned point king Nick Skias darted past Rutherford to take an early lead, but Rutherford battled back to reclaim the top spot prior to the halfway point. Skias continued to harrass the leader, and the duo was joined by sixth-starting Jesse Maurer.
Maurer wrestled the runner-up position from N. Skias as 12th starting Jarid Kunkle began to rumble toward the front, moving his No. 75 into fourth, then passing N. Skias for third as Maurer went after Rutherford in lapped traffic.
With Maurer nipping at his heels, Rutherford held his line (his car worked well in a higher groove than his challengers) and drove to the victory, with Maurer settling for second and Kunkle racing home in third place. Skias fell back to fourth and Jacob Hendershot finished fifth. Logan Diehl won a
consolation race and started the main in 19th, then charged to a seventh place finish in the feature, right behind Nunzio Allegrucci.
Heat winners for the 46-car field of 270cc competitors included Rutherford, Greg Miller, N. Skias, Kyle Weiss, Brian Sholley, and Maurer. The consolation victors were Diehl, Dan Degler, and Randy West.
Winged 600cc Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Tyler Walton, 2.Brian Carber, 3.Steve Whary, 4.Tim Buckwalter, 5.Heath Hehnly, 6.Hannah Riser, 7.Kenny Murray, 8.Kameron Morral, 9.Randy West, 10.Anthony Macri, 11.Jason Swavely, 12.Jason Sechrist, 13.Dan Souder, 14.Kayla Stoltzfus, 15.Jacob Severn, 16.Jerry Schott Jr., 17.Bret Cronrath, 18.Nick Macri, 19.AJ Bast, 20.Brandon Noel.
270cc Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Jesse Maurer, 3.Jarid Kunkle, 4.Nick Skias, 5.Jacob Hendershot, 6.Nunzi Allegrucci, 7.Logan Diehl, 8.Richie Hartman, 9.Ken Miller, 10.Kyle Spence, 11.Kyle Weiss, 12.Brian Sholley, 13.Greg Miller, 14.Christi Sweigart, 15.Josh Schaffer, 16.Dave Williams, 17.Dylan Adams, 18.Pete Skias, 19.Dan Degler, 20.Josh Stoyer, 21.Randy West, 22.Toby Blumenshine, 23.Ross Perchak, 24.Mike Skias.
By Barry Angstadt – https://www.facebook.com/barry.angstadt?fref=ts&ref=br_tf
Photo’s = Amy Williams : http://amysracingphotos.smugmug.com/2014-Pictures/