Billy Pauch Sr. finished runner-up to a Buckwalter on opening night, but the Frenchtown, NJ throttle-jockey turned the tables on another member of the same family on May 18. Pauch worked hard to defeat Steve Buckwalter on Wednesday, repelling several late race attacks and hanging on to win his first USAC All Pro SpeedSTR main event since June of 2015 at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds.
Billy Pauch Jr. did not have the same luck as his dad, but Junior put on quite a show as he traded slide jobs and battled ferociously for the lead before finishing second for the second week in a row; this time to Eddie Strada of Lake Ariel, PA in the King of No Wing Shootout for the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints Powered by Hyper Fuel Injection Technology. Because he took the Gambler’s Challenge when he signed in on Wednesday, Strada picked up $1,000 for his victory.
Former National Slingshot Champion Dylan Hoch of nearby Mertztown, PA, survived a series of challenges from Travis Bieber to win the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshot 20-lapper by a narrow margin over Bieber.
Action Track USA opens its gates again this Wednesday, May 25, as it hosts KME First Responder Night. All First Responders (showing a valid I.D.) will be admitted free this week, and there will be a large fire truck on display with live demonstrations taking place all night long. In addition, the Keystone Blood Mobile will be on the grounds so racers and fans can “do what’s right and donate a pint” to local healthcare facilities that so desperately need to replenish their blood supplies. As for racing, KME First Responder Night will feature the USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs, the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints Powered by Hyper Fuel Injection Technology, and the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots, as well as the first appearance of the year by the Junior Slingshots.
Last Wednesday, May 18, the SpeedSTRs competed in the first main event of the evening, a 30-lap affair paying $2,000 to win. James Morris darted from the pole to lead the early laps with Bridgeton, NJ’s Tim Iulg nipping at his heels. Right behind the lead duo was a three-car tussle for third place between Jay Hartman, tenth-starting Billy Pauch Sr., and Steve Buckwalter.
A restart with five complete saw Morris and Iulg battle side by side for the top spot while Pauch and S. Buckwalter diced for third and Andy Haus traded fifth position back and forth with Mike Bednar.
Pauch finally broke free of Buckwalter and slipped past Iulg for second with eight circuits scored. Morris clung to the bottom as Pauch went topside in an attempt to over take the leader. Pauch’s perseverance finally paid off as he gassed his Heffner Motorsports/ Leland’s.com No. 27 past Morris on the frontstretch to grab the lead as lap 14 went up on the board.
S. Buckwalter drove around Morris for the runner-up slot with ten to go, then chased down Pauch and began to apply pressure to the leader. The “Royersford Rocket” tried high and low to unseat Pauch, and he even attempted a bump n’ run as he rapped the rear bumper of the No. 27 on the home chute with just a few laps left to run. Pauch maintained control and the lead, but Buckwalter wasn’t finished just yet.
Over the final two laps, Steve sailed his Rita’s Italian Ice No. 56s into the corners and up to the cushion, pulling just about even with Pauch at the exit of turn two. Pauch would throttle back underneath Buckwalter on the straights to reclaim the lead in crowd pleasing fashion. Pauch was a bit better in three and four while Buckwalter really closed the gap in one and two. On the final revolution, Buckwalter gave it one more shot, rolling the top in three and four as Pauch wheeled his car about one groove lower. Buckwalter shot off the banking and went low, but his “hole shot” was not quite enough as Pauch nipped him at the line by 0.180-seconds for the victory.
“Boy, those Buckwalters are good here,” smiled the winner in victory lane, remembering that Steve’s cousin, Tim, beat him on opening night. “And Steve gave me one heck of a shot in the rear bumper that one time…it almost sent me to the wall in the first turn!”
“You know, I came from tenth to win tonight,” Pauch continued, “and that is really hard to do here. Rich (Tobias) did a great job with the track; it was really racey tonight and that allowed me to work my way to the front.”
Steve Buckwalter, who immediately came to victory lane after the race to congratulate Pauch, wound up second for his best-ever SpeedSTR finish. His cousin Tim Buckwalter made a late race charge to finish third, with Morris and Mike Bednar rounding out the top five.
The Hyper Racing 600 Sprints continue to amaze the enthusiastic Action Track USA spectators, and the length of the race makes absolutely no difference to the drivers. Wednesday’s King of No Wing Shootout was contested over a distance of 40 laps, but the 29 wheel-twisters who took the green battled as if it were a 20 lap feature.
Danny Buccafusca bolted from his outside front row starting spot to lead the early laps while polesitter Shelby Harper, Eddie Strada, Austin Quick, Billy Pauch Jr., and Tim Buckwalter waged a fiercely fought battle for second. Quick spun with four down, collecting a few others including Buckwalter, who was knocked out of the race with front end damage on his Greth Racing No. 71.
On the restart, Buccafusca and Strada traded slide jobs for the lead and soon Pauch Jr. joined the fun with Tommy Kunsman Jr. and Jay Hartman in hot pursuit. Both Strada and Pauch eventually muscled by Buccafusca, and they began what would be a race long struggle and incredibly entertaining tussle for the top spot. It was “Slide Job City” at the head of the pack, as Pauch and Strada took turns dive-bombing one another into the corner, then sliding up in front of the other driver, only to have the other guy turn back under him as they blasted down the straightaways.
Pauch eased away from Strada during a green flag stretch from laps 14 through 20, but Strada brought his elbows back up and closed the gap at the halfway mark of the race. He restarted the Slide Job executions, only to have Pauch move his line down a couple of grooves to block the sliders. Strada changed his strategy on a restart with 14 to go, entering the first and third turns on the high side, then shooting down the banking and accelerating off the bottom of corners two and four. It took seven trips around the clay, but Strada finally gassed his mount under Pauch on the home chute and reclaimed the lead. A caution period with six to go enabled Tommy Kunsman, Brandon Azzalina, and Rob Pajauis to make it five car slugfest for the top spot, but Strada and Pauch slowly pulled away, leaving Kunsman to fight with Azzalina and Pajauis for third.
A single file restart with one lap remaining was the last gasp for Pauch, and he sailed his LHS Racing Engines No. 91s deep into turn three in an effort to slide Strada one last time. Strada kept his Thornton/ RTS No. 36D wound up on the high side, though, and Pauch wasn’t able to clear him and complete the slide job.
Strada flew to the checkered just a half-second in front of Pauch for his second career triumph at Action Track USA. This one was worth $1,000 and Strada proudly held the large check in victory lane as he posed as “King Eddie” in the ceremonial crown and cape as the new King of No Wing.
Kunsman finished third after starting 11th, while Azzalina gained 12 positions and finished fourth. Jay Hartman completed the top five.
In the 20-lap main for the NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots, Cole Stangle dashed to the early lead but he headed for the pit area during a red flag stoppage with five circuits in the books. A loose tail pipe was the culprit that forced Stangle’s early and unfortunate exit.
Stangle’s bad luck handed the lead to Dylan Hoch, with Travis Bieber in the runner-up spot. The final 15 revolutions produced a terrific race for the number one position as Hoch planted his No. 35 in the high groove and Bieber steered his No. 114 right around the bottom at both ends of the speedway. Bieber pulled even with Hoch in the corners (on just about every lap), but Dylan muscled back in front on the straightaways.
Austin Stufflet and Dale Kober ran side by side for third place for several laps before Stufflet seized control of the position. He then drove eight to ten car lengths behind the battle for the lead, unable to close the gap even though Hoch and Bieber were circling the speedway in side by side fashion.
Bieber made one final attempt to wrestle the lead from Hoch on the last lap, mashing the throttle in the low lane and drifting up the banking in turn four. Hoch stayed in the gas as Bieber headed towards him, and they drag raced off the corner and toward the checkered flag. Hoch won the dash to the stripe, beating Travis to the line by just 0.252-seconds.
Stufflet backed up his runner-up finish on opening night with a third place effort on Wednesday. Henry Anderson, the winner on May 11, wound up fourth and Kober earned fifth-place cash.
Action Track Sidebites…
A total of 118 race cars took part in Wednesday’s program, with 31 SpeedSTRs, 51 of the 600 Sprints, and 36 Slingshots entering the competition.
Tim Buckwalter was quickest of all the SpeedSTRs in timed hot laps, with Billy Pauch Sr., Matt Janisch, Mike Bednar, and James Morris making up the rest of the Fast Five.
SpeedSTR heat race victories went to Brad Brightbill, Frank Yankowski, and Tim Iulg. Steve Drevicki and Mike Mahaney captured the B-Main wins.
Jason Swavely began the night by winning the season’s first Mad Scramble for the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints. With his victory, Swavely was immediately locked into the King of No Wing main event.
Kunsman, Robbie Hocker, Jay Hartman, Strada, and Quick were 600 Sprint heat race victors. A pair of C-Mains were won by Nate Brinker and Joel Smith, while Colin White was victorious in the B-Main.
Stufflet, Hoch, and Stangle were All Star Slingshot heat race winners. Jordan Knepp and Dave Carraghan won the Slingshot B-Mains.
Action Track fans are finding ways to reward the drivers who put on such a tremendous show week after week. A couple of bonuses were gratefully accepted by drivers on Wednesday, even though the recipients did not have the results they hoped for in their respective divisions.
Mike Knappenberger of the Race Chasing For All Fans Facebook page teamed up with Hickory Hill Farms to award a $50 hard luck bonus to the first driver out of the SpeedSTR main. Joe Vaccaro and Chuck Bowers fell out at the same time, so both drivers received the bonus gift.
Kurt Bettler gave out a Kurt’s Fan Zone Award to the first 600 Sprint driver who flipped on Wednesday. The $25 cash prize and an adult beverage went to John Vreeland who tumbled in his heat race.
Bettler also promised a cash bonus to any Slingshot driver who could win after starting from the eighth row or further back in the 20 lap feature. No one claimed the bonus, so Bettler has increased it to $75 for this week, but the driver has to start in the eighth row or further back in order to get the added cash.
As if the incredible racing wasn’t intense enough, now the Action Track’s passionate fan base is offering bonuses to make it even closer and wilder! There’s no doubt, you’ve got to come out…and get your Midweek Motorsports Adrenaline Rush on Wednesday nights in Slide Job City, also known as the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds!
For additional information, log on to www.actiontrackusa.com or follow the speedway on Facebook and/or Twitter.
USAC All Pro SpeedSTR Feature, 30 laps: 1.Billy Pauch., 2.Steve Buckwalter, 3.Tim Buckwalter, 4.James Morris, 5.Mike Bednar, 6.Steven Nederostek, 7.Andy Haus, 8.Jeff Hartman, 9.Tim Iulg, 10.Steve Drevicki, 11.Matt Janisch, 12.John Bockhorn, 13.Briggs Danner, 14.Frank Yankowski, 15.Eric Ankiewicz, 16.Damon Paul, 17.Phil Meisner, 18.Jay Hartman, 19.Kenny Brightbill, 20.Mike Mahaney, 21.Joe Mooney, 22.Brad Brightbill, 23.Billy Pauch Jr., 24.TJ Mayberry, 25.Louden Reimert, 26.Tom Mayberry, 27.Joe Vaccaro, 28.Chuck Bowers.
DNS: Earl Paules
DNQ: Jason Miller, Doug Manmiller.
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints “King of No Wing” Feature, 40 laps: 1.Eddie Strada, 2.Billy Pauch Jr., 3.Tommy Kunsman Jr., 4.Brandon Azzalina, 5.Jay Hartman, 6.Rob Pajauis, 7.Kyle Lick, 8.Jacob Severn, 9.Jesse Maurer, 10.Jarid Kunkle, 11.Josh Heckman, 12.Danny Buccafusca, 13.Austin Quick, 14.Joe Kay, 15.Greg Stevens, 16.Steve Bull, 17.Chris Stockham, 18.Jason Swavely, 19.Alex Bright, 20.Will Butler, 21.Shelby Harper, 22.Nate Brinker, 23.Colin White, 24.Doug Snyder, 25.Eric Heydenreich, 26.Tim Buckwalter, 27.Robbie Hocker, 28.Bobby Butler, 29.Molly Chambers.
DNQ: Wayne Scott, JT Brotosky, Wayne Scott Jr., Tim Bauer, Dan Schmaker, Joel Smith, Aaron Bowes, James Morris, Mike Meyers, Nate Schumaker, Cale Mutter, Brandon Heist, Ryan Quackenbush, Brooklyn Gable, Joe Plunkett, Shane Linderman, Sam Kravitsky, Tyler Brehm, Dylan Licklider, Don Colaluce, John Vreeland, Dave Dimaio.
NAPA Auto Parts All Star Slingshots Feature, 20 laps: 1.Dylan Hoch, 2.Travis Bieber, 3.Austin Stufflet, 4.Henry Anderson, 5.Dale Kober, 6.Seth Spayd, 7.Dakota Kohler, 8.Taylor Schoenly, 9.Anthony Raisner, 10.Dave Burns, 11.Joe Toth, 12.Nick DelCampo, 13.Chris Kurtz, 14.Jeff Kemp, 15.Joey Vaccaro, 16.Jack Lewis, 17.Brett Bieber, 18.Erik Jones, 19.Alex Yankowski, 20.Matt Miller, 21.Lee Schantzenbach, 22.Jordan Knepp, 23.Cole Stangle, 24.Taylor Santee, 25.Dave Carraghan, 26.Austin Silfee.
DNQ: John Arms, Zak Kistler, Brianna James, Matt Miller (57), Bridget Conti, Nick Vincignera, Blaire Schoenly, Joe Nemeth, Myron Moyer, Ryan Davey.
By Barry Angstadt – https://www.facebook.com/barry.angstadt?fref=ts
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Photo by : Samantha Ray