There’s a first time for everything, or so they say, and Wednesday night at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA, there occurred an inaugural feat that was quite impressive.
For the first time in the four years since Rich Tobias and Doug Rose took the helm at the speedway nestled into a corner of the Kutztown, Pa. Fairgrounds, one driver copped both the USAC All Pro SpeedSTR and Hyper Racing 600 Sprint features on the same night.
Douglassville’s Tim Buckwalter picked up right where he left off last year, driving Paul Lotier’s Bagel Rack No. 7L to the 30-lap SpeedSTR triumph, then hopped into Barry and Cheryl Greth’s No. 71 and won a thrilling 25-lapper for the 600 Sprints. In both victories, he had to fend off strong challenges by members of the Pauch family, beating Billy Sr. in the SpeedSTR main, then came out on top after a back-and-forth battle with Billy Jr. in the 600 Sprint feature.
Henry Anderson, from Mount Cobb, Pa., was victorious in the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshot main. It was Anderson’s first career win at Action Track USA.
As is tradition at the Berks County oval, the season opener was the Goldie & Elton Meitzler Memorial, run in memory of two people (and their entire family) who had so much to do with bringing dirt track racing back to the Fairgrounds in the mid-90’s. Several members of the Meitzler family, who promoted the speedway for many years, were on hand to greet the winners in victory lane.
In the SpeedSTR main, it was Tim’s cousin, Steve Buckwalter, who started on the pole and bolted to the early lead. Tim, who rolled off the grid on the inside of row two, quickly disposed of Mike Mahaney for second place, then set his sights on cousin Steve. A caution with five circuits complete may have turned the tide in Tim’s favor as Steve chose the inside line for the double-file restart.
Tim Buckwalter stormed in front as they blasted down the backstretch. Steve would not go away quietly, however, throwing a slide job on his relative in turns three and four, then watching as Tim bounded off the banking and back into the top spot. The No. 7L then steadily pulled away as Steve got company in the form of Mahaney and ninth-starting Billy Pauch Sr.
“Yeah, it’s a lot of fun racing with Steve or any family member like that,” said Tim afterward. “But family goes out the window when you’re racing for the lead.”
A three-wide, tip-toeing on the high side maneuver propelled Pauch to the runner-up position at the halfway mark of the 30-lap A-Main. While he managed to shove the nose of his Heffner Racing/ Lelands.com No. 27 under T. Buckwalter on a few restarts, the Frenchtown, NJ wheel-twister could not keep pace with the leader and Buckwalter slowly motored away each time.
A huge pile-up in turn four with just ten laps remaining shuffled the top six or seven cars, but T. Buckwalter was simply too strong and eventually separated himself from Pauch a few tours after each restart.
With T. Buckwalter cruising in front and the laps winding down, Steven Nederostek, Mike Mahaney, and Steve Buckwalter waged a three-wide tussle for third place. Nederostek gassed his mount past his competitors, then tried in vain to track down and challenge Pauch for runner-up honors.
At the finish it was Tim Buckwalter picking up the victory by almost 1.5-seconds over Pauch. Nederostek ran a terrific race to finish third, with Steve Buckwalter earning fourth place cash. Billy Pauch Jr., the two-time and defending SpeedSTR point champion at Action Track USA, threaded his way from 14th on the starting grid (he actually had problems on the initial start and slid back near the rear of the field) to a solid fifth-place finish.
Pauch Sr. and Tim Buckwalter were the two quickest USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs in the timed hot lap sessions, transferring directly to the main event as a result. The rest of the 36-car field competed in qualifying heats, with victories claimed by Mahaney, Jay Hartman, Doug Manmiller, and Steve Buckwalter. Unfortunately for Manmiller, his No. 00 suffered mechanical ills as he crossed the finish line in his heat race, forcing him to scratch from the feature.
Earl Paules and Jason Miller won a pair of B-Mains needed for the large field of SpeedSTRs on Wednesday.
Tobias and Rose began racing under the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA banner in 2013 and, while a few drivers have won features in multiple divisions over the past three seasons, no one had ever claimed a SpeedSTR triumph and a 600 Sprint win on the same night. After he posed for victory lane photos and the obligatory interview following his SpeedSTR victory, Tim Buckwalter lined up third as the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints Powered by Hyper Fuel Injection Technology prepared to accelerate under Mike Feltenberger’s green flag.
Pole sitter Greg Stevens jumped to the early lead as Eric Heydenreich came up to battle Doug Snyder and Buckwalter for the runner-up position. Buckwalter, the defending 600 Sprint champion at Action Track USA, took the Greth Racing/ Hyper No. 71 to the high side, dancing perilously close to the wall as he throttled by Heydenreich and Snyder to secure second spot. He continued his quest for a double victory by screaming past Stevens on the high side to snatch the lead with five laps complete.
Starting on the outside of row six, Billy Pauch Jr. steered the LHS Racing Engines No. 91s into the top five by the time ten circuits were scored. Pauch Jr. sliced his way past Stevens and Heydenreich for second place on the 12th revolution, then turned up the wick as he went after Buckwalter for the lead.
The second half of the race was highlighted by a sensational, slide job throwing, edge of your seat thriller as Pauch Jr. sailed into the corners on the bottom, then drifted up the banking in front of Buckwalter. Tim was ready for each assault, though, turning left and gassing his mount down to the inside and back under Pauch to regain the top spot on the straightaways. Lap after exciting lap the dramatic tussle ensued until Buckwalter eased away by a couple of car lengths over the final frantic trips around the clay.
“That was a blast,” smiled Buckwalter in victory lane. “Me and Billy can run like that all night…we respect each other and know we can race each other hard. Oh, we bump every now and then, but it’s just hard racing,” grinned the eventual winner.
The checkered flag waved over Buckwalter, who is the first to accomplish a very difficult task, given the level of talent and competition in the SpeedSTR and 600 Sprint divisions at Action Track USA. He is the first to win in two different classes on the same night, beating Billy Jr. to the stripe by a scant 0.204-seconds.
Stevens held on to finish a strong third with Kyle Lick, who started 21st after winning the second B-Main, weaving his way to a fourth place effort. Gaining 17 positions in the 25-lap affair made Lick the Hard Charger of the race. Tommy Kunsman Jr. wound up fifth.
There were 51 competitors entered in the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint portion of the Meitzler Memorial. Winners of the five heat races included Jay Hartman, Stevens, Tim Buckwalter, Snyder, and Jarid Kunkle. A pair of C-Mains helped pare down the large field, with victories going to Will Butler and PJ Williams. Lick took the win in the B-Main.
The final feature of the night was a 20-lap contest for the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots. Henry Anderson darted from his pole position starting spot to lead all 20 tours, despite some early challenges from Anthony Raisner and Austin Stufflet. As Anderson motored away from his pursuers, Raisner and Stufflet fought for position with Alex Yankowski and Seth Spayd.
With Anderson comfortably in front of Stufflet and the laps beginning to dwindle, Spayd ducked low and pulled alongside Yankowski, who was already side by side with Raisner. The trio ran a complete lap in three-abreast fashion before Spayd edged ahead and into third while Raisner, trapped on the extreme outside, backed off and Yankowski took over the fourth spot.
At the finish, Anderson was ahead by two-seconds and notched his first career win at Action Track USA. Stufflet ran a steady race to score the runner-up finish, with Spayd claiming third over Yankowski and 12th-starting Brett Bieber.
A terrific field of 37 All Star Slingshots signed in for competition on Wednesday. Matt Miller, Raisner, and Anderson were heat race victors, with Joe Toth and Austin Silfee taking the B-Main victories.
Action Track Sidebites…
Thirty-six SpeedSTRs, 51 of the 600 Sprints, and 37 Slingshots added up to a total of 124 entries for the Goldie & Elton Meitzler Memorial season opener!
At intermission, Action Track USA was proud to dedicate a section of grandstands in the name of Jim Keppley. The well respected Keppley, who passed away from numerous health issues in 2015, was a model of consistency during his career as a dirt Modified driver. Known mostly as the “shoe” of the Hassler Brothers Excavating No. 59, Keppley was always in the thick of the point chase at the Reading Fairgrounds and earned a point title at Penn National Speedway. His wife, Maryanne was joined by his daughters and many other family members and friends on Wednesday for the unveiling of the sign that named a section of grandstands in his honor.
Some nasty flips marred the 2016 opener as Keith Prutzman (SpeedSTRs) joined Danny Buccafusca and Daniel Schumaker (both in 600 Sprints) as members of the Upside Down Club. All three drivers were okay after their tumbles, but Buccafusca was transported to a local medical facility for further examination after he exited his race car very shaken and a bit confused. His car ended up nose first in the turn one catch fence. On Thursday, Buccafusca posted on Facebook that he won’t let the track beat him; he will be back and gunning to win before the season ends in Kutztown.
Beginning this Wednesday, May 18, the Hyper Racing parts trailer will be in attendance – for every race all season long – at Action Track USA. The trailer will be open to all 600 Sprint teams who need parts and pieces to get through the night.
Wednesday, May 18 marks the second event of the campaign at Action Track USA…and it’s a big one. The Hyper Racing 600 Sprints will take part in The King of No Wing Shootout, a 40-lapper that will pay the winner a whopping $1,000 (if the driver participates in the Gambler’s fee). Tim Buckwalter won last year’s King of No Wing Shootout and looks primed for a repeat based on his performance last week. Billy Pauch Jr. will have something to say about that, however, and he’ll be joined by a host of others who will attempt to take home the big prize.
The USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs and the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots will also be on the card on the 18th. Warm-ups begin at 6:15 with qualifying heats getting underway by 7 p.m.
Come get your Midweek Motorsports Adrenaline Rush at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds…where the Superstars come to race!
USAC All Pro SpeedSTR Feature, 30 laps: 1.Tim Buckwalter, 2.Billy Pauch Sr., 3.Steven Nederostek, 4.Steve Buckwalter, 5.Billy Pauch Jr., 6.Mike Mahaney, 7.Jay Hartman, 8.Jason Miller, 9.Matt Janisch, 10.Brad Brightbill, 11.Kenny Brightbill, 12.Earl Paules, 13.Frank Yankowski, 14.Mike Bednar, 15.Eric Ankiewicz, 16.John Bockhorn, 17.Steve Drevicki, 18.Louden Reimert, 19.Tom Mayberry, 20.Damon Paul, 21.Andy Haus, 22.Joe Mooney, 23.Briggs Danner, 24.Phil Meisner.
DNS: Doug Manmiller, Tim Iulg, Jeff Hartman, TJ Mayberry, Jason Musser, Ricky Elliott.
DNQ: Joe Vaccaro, Chuck Bowers, Dylan Hoch, CJ Faison, Ray Nemeth, Keith Prutzman.
Hyper Racing 600 Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Tim Buckwalter, 2.Billy Pauch Jr., 3.Greg Stevens, 4.Kyle Lick, 5.Tommy Kunsman Jr., 6.Eric Heydenreich, 7.Eddie Strada, 8.Doug Snyder, 9.Robbie Hocker, 10.Jesse Maurer, 11.Jarid Kunkle, 12.Brandon Azzalina, 13.Jay Hartman, 14.Austin Quick, 15.Jacob Severn, 16.James Morris, 17.Sam Kravitsky, 18.Shelby Harper, 19.Molly Chambers, 20.Bobby Butler, 21.Dan Schumaker, 22.John Smith, 23.Collin White, 24.JT Brotosky, 25.Will Butler, 26.Steve Bull, 27.Danny Buccafusca.
DNQ: Aaron Bowes, Nate Brinker, Wayne Scott Jr., Kameron Morrall, PJ Williams, Ryan Quackenbush, Eric Whitby, Shane Linderman, Ryan Heckman, Kyle Rutledge, Zach Bealer, Jake Fox,, Joe Plunkett, Jason Swavely, John Vreeland, Cale Mutter, Dylan Licklider, Joe Kay, Chris Stockham, Rob Pajauis, Steve Reynolds, Nate Schumaker, Matt Roselli, Wayne Scott.
NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshot Feature, 20 laps: 1.Henry Anderson, 2.Austin Stufflet, 3.Seth Spayd, 4.Alex Yankowski, 5.Brett Bieber, 6.Matt Miller(16m), 7.Chris Kurtz, 8.Anthony Raisner, 9.Dave Burns, 10.Dave Carraghan, 11.Dale Kober, 12.Travis Bieber, 13.Joe Toth, 14.Dylan Hoch, 15.Dakota Kohler, 16.Lee Schantzenbach, 17.Taylor Santee, 18.Nick Vincignera, 19.Erik Jones, 20.Jeff Kemp, 21.Tim Roeder, 22.Sam Scicchitano, 23.Joe Nemeth, 24.Jared Silfee, 25.Kyle Smith, 26.Cole Stangle, 27.Brianna James, 28.Austin Silfee.
DNQ: Jordan Knepp, Joey Vaccaro, John Arms, Matt Miller (57), Bridget Conti, Jack Lewis, Clayton Dowey, Zac Kistler, Blaire Schoenly.
By Barry Angstadt – https://www.facebook.com/barry.angstadt?fref=ts
Want to discuss this article on our forum? Visit – http://smallcarweeklyforum.com/thread/89/buckwalter-winner-action-meitzler-memoria