Mother Nature had been everything but cooperative for the start of the 2017 season on the Spirit Auto Center Speedway but it was all worth the wait as great track conditions, strong car counts and lots of side by side racing marked the first race of the season on the quarter mile track!
Rob Vivona made his first visit to Spirit’s Victory Lane in several seasons as he took the win in the wingless 600 Micro Sprint feature event. Thirty-six 600s competed for starting positions in the twenty lap feature event that saw Vivona lead the way in a race that ran non-stop, green to checkered in less than five minutes.
Drivers were in mid-season form as there was plenty of three wide racing throughout the field. Vivona was more than pleased with his Concept Chassis No. 46. “There’s only one other one in the area and that’s Lou Cicconi’s.” Vivona stated. Vivona returned to the Indiana chassis maker for the 2017 season. Vivona’s right rear brake caliper was red hot by the finish. “I used the brakes pretty hard,” the feature winner explained. He was also a very lucky winner – the chain popped off the No. 46 after the checkered flag.
Vivona, who started on the pole, made his way by the entire field, passing all competitors outside the top ten. Luke Thomas finished second in the non-stop event. “I knew I wasn’t leading because Vivona started up front and I never passed him,” Thomas joked after the finish. Milford, DE driver, Matt Smith finished third followed by 2016 second place point man, Germain Godshall and Travis Hill. Nick Walton was moved up to fifth when Hill was later disqualified.
Alex Swift picked up right where he left off at the end of last season with a win in the 270 Micro Sprint feature event. Swift had to fight off several contenders throughout the twenty lap feature. Chris Locuson pressured Swift to the finish line to finish second in his new Double Down Chassis out of the shops of Randy West. “I got a break there,” Swift commented, “by drawing No. 1!” It was Swift’s second career win on the Spirit quarter mile.
Reigning 270 Micro Champion, Tyler Reinhardt finished third with Gary Waegel picking up a career best finish in fourth. Colin Bustard rounded out the top five.
Rich Partite continued his winning ways by starting out the season with a Speedway All Star Bagle Slingshot victory over Anthony “Peanut Butter” Raisner, Dylan Hoch, David Bell and David Morrell.
Scott Miller earned his first win of the season in the i2M sponsored 4 Cylinder event over Chris Sammons and Ken Wallace. Art Knapp and George Wingate III rounded out the top five.
Action returns to the Spirit Auto Center Speedway next Friday night with the 270 and 600 Micro Sprints, Slingshots and 4 Cylinders with racing getting underway at 6pm.
600CC MICRO SPRINT FEATUE (20 laps): 1. Rob Vivona, 2. Luke Thomas, 3. Matt Smith, 4. Jermain Godshall, 5. Joe Kay, 6. Nick Walton, 7. Bobby Butler, 8. Jim Tippin, 9. Brandon Pavel, 10. Kyle Spence, 11. Richie Keller, 12. P.J. Williams, 13. Joe Dopke, 14. Jon Keller, 15. Shane Linderman, 16. Josh Martin, 17. Joe Bednarek, 18. Wayne Scott, 19. Dave Nelson, 20. Nick Havens, 21. Mike Fillbrunn, 22. Dave Damaio, 23. Wayne Scott, 24. Rich Mellor, 25. Mark Manieri, DQ – Travis Hill, DNQ – Kayla Stoltzfus, Rich Afflerbach, Pat Mitsdorfer, Amanda Onimus, Nathan Smith, Justin Murphy, Kristy Hicks, Billy Calvert, Jake Fox, Ed Wolf
270CC MICRO SPRINT FEATURE (20 laps): 1. Alex Swift, 2. Chris Locuson, 3. Tyler Reinhardt, 4. Gary Waegel, 5. Colin Bustard, 6. Nick Walton, 7. Sean Heusser, 8. Steve Coslop, 9. Tyler Grau, 10. Brandon Shipley, 11. Decker Morrow, 12. Billy Gray, 13. John West, 14. Robert Miles, 15. Ron Ford, 16. Ken Andreas, 17. Brandon Ewing, 18. John Blanda, 19. Rich Keller, 20. Ryan Wozunk, 21. Ross Holler, 22. Bill Gunning, DNS – John Wagner, Jr.
ALL-STAR BAGEL STOP SLINGSHOTS (20 laps): 1. Rich Partite, 2. Anthony Raisner, 3. Dylan Hoch, 4. David Bell, 5. Dave Morrell, 6. Ashley Therien, 7. Joe Toth, 8. Lou Partite, 9. Steve Schenker
I2M FOUR CYLINDER ENDUROS (20 laps): 1. Scott Miller, 2. Chris Sammons, 3. Ken Wallace, 4. Art Knapp, 5. George Wingate, III, 6. Rick Burnham