Step aside, Reggie Jackson…there is a new “Mr. October”, and his name is Jacob Hendershot.
The young charger from Newton, NJ picked up his second huge win of the month on Saturday night when he registered a $3,000 triumph in the 270cc portion of the 28th Annual Linda’s Speedway National Open. Hendershot’s victory occurred just 13 days after he scored a $4,000 payday in the Skyscraper event at Bridgeport’s Spirit Auto Center Speedway, padding his bank account by a hefty $7,000 after wins in the two richest 270cc Micro Sprint races in the northeast.
“They are the only two races we’ve won all year,” claimed an ecstatic Hendershot in Linda’s victory lane, “but I guess they were the best two races to win…”
The National Open victory on the quarter-mile oval in Jonestown, Pa. came in his own No. 27H, while the Skyscraper triumph was scored in the Widdoss Racing No. 28.
Saturday’s first A-Main at Linda’s was contested by the winged 600cc Micro Sprints. A stellar 57-car field entered the 600cc National Open, and 30 of them made it to the 40 lap headliner, with Path Valley kingpin Garrett Bard, from Wells Tannery, Pa., claiming a close victory over Tyler Brehm.
Linda’s 2017 point champ Tommy Kunsman set the early pace over Bard as pole sitter Brehm fell back to third. On a restart with three tours in the books, Bard ducked under Kunsman in turn two and blasted onto the backstretch with the race lead.
Bard then set sail, opening up a commanding lead as Kunsman and Brehm tussled for the runner-up position. When the leader caught the back of the field, though, his torrid pace was slowed as he dealt with heavy traffic. Kunsman and Brehm raced up to Bard’s tail tank, with Kunsman nipping at the leader’s heels. On lap 20, Brehm charged to the low side of Kunsman and both drivers shoved their cars under Bard in turns one and two. Bard was able to roar off the corner and hold the top spot as Brehm took over second place. A yellow flag, for a slowing Tim Buckwalter, halted the action with 21 circuits complete.
On the restart, Bard, Brehm, Kunsman, and fourth-place Kyle Spence ran nose-to-tail before Brehm threw a slide job on the leader in turns one and two. Bard went back under Brehm and back to the lead and the nip/tuck battle for the lead continued until another caution, with six to go, allowed everyone to catch their breath.
The final revolutions found Brehm repeatedly trying to get a run on the high side and use the momentum to dive under Bard. But Bard knew he had to protect the bottom, and he did just that, taking away Brehm’s line as they exited the corners.
Bard held off one final assault from Brehm on the final sprint to the finish line, beating the No. 21R to the stripe by a scant 0.128-seconds. Kunsman fended off the challenges of Spence to wind up third ahead of Spence and Kameron Morral, who earned the Hard Charger Award after starting 17th and ending up fifth.
“We went with a soft tire, which was the wrong choice,” said a relieved Bard after the race. “I was really happy to see that yellow with six to go because I was just hanging on at that point. Tyler ran such a hard and clean race; I just protected the bottom at the end and it worked out.”
Bard’s victory was also worth $3,000 as he gained redemption after a near-miss in last year’s National Open at Linda’s Speedway.
A fantastic field of 74 entered the 270cc portion of the National Open, which began with time trials and qualifier races on Friday night. The field was pared down to 30 starters for the 40 lap A-Main, with Nunzi Allegrucci grabbing the early lead over Tommy Kunsman and Alex Swift slicing his way into third. Swift scooted past Kunsman for the runner-up spot on the seventh trip around the oval, then set his sights on Allegrucci.
The duo went side by side for the lead on lap nine, with Allegrucci barely maintaining the point. Swift would not go away, challenging the leader lap after lap as Hendershot made his presence known, taking third from Kunsman on lap 17. One circuit later, Swift wrestled the top spot from Allegrucci, but Nunzi wasn’t about to back down as he tried to slide Swift in turns one and two. Swift was ready for it and crossed over to retake the lead as Hendershot closed in on the leaders.
The yellow flag appeared at the halfway point to allow the teams to refuel their mounts and make adjustments. The intensity increased immediately on the restart as Allegrucci ducked under Swift and Hendershot went to the top, making it three-wide for the lead as they accelerated off turn two and onto the backchute. Hendershot had to back out as he nearly got pinched into the wall.
The next three tours provided a terrific three-car battle royale for the lead, as Swift, Allegrucci, and Hendershot weaved in and out of one another, trading the top spot on numerous occasions. Hendershot finally prevailed, securing the lead on lap 25. Three revolutions later, multi-time National Open champion Ross Perchak motored into third behind Hendershot and Swift.
With Hendershot pulling away, all eyes were on 25th starter Jason Swavely. The Fleetwood, Pa. throttle-jockey was flying, driving into the top five, then taking the fourth position as the race entered its final laps.
Hendershot won by a comfortable margin, giving him a whopping $7,000 total after his two big wins in the month of October. Swift, Perchak, Swavely (the Hard Charger of the 270cc race), and Allegrucci completed the top five.
“My car was really fast, and they always say these things run fastest right before they blow up, so I was worried about it lasting for the full 40 laps. But it did, and I ran the middle because that was the fastest way around so that’s where I ran after I got the lead,” said Hendershot.
600cc Micro Sprints A-Main, 40 Laps: 1.Garrett Bard, 2.Tyler Brehm, 3.Tommy Kunsman, 4.Kyle Spence, 5.Kameron Morral, 6.PJ Williams, 7.Tyler Walton, 8.Heath Hehnly, 9.Brian Carber, 10.Tyler Snook, 11.Ryan Groff, 12.Tyler Ulrich, 13.Mike Rutherford, 14.Steve Whary, 15.Austin Quick, 16.BJ Antonio, 17.Brenden Bright, 18.Bradley Brown, 19.Ken Miller, 20.Bret Cronrath, 21.Jake Hagopian, 22.Sam LaMothe, 23.Matt Carr, 24.Tim Buckwalter, 25.Jesse Maurer, 26.Travis Kreiser, 27.Mike Thompson, 28.Jarid Kunkle, 29.Nash Ely, 30.Randy Kunkle. DNS: Kyle Lick.
270cc Micro Sprints A-Main, 40 Laps: 1.Jacob Hendershot, 2.Alex Swift, 3.Ross Perchak, 4.Jason Swavely, 5.Nunzio Allegrucci, 6.Tommy Kunsman, 7.Mike Rutherford, 8.Randy West, 9.Jesse Maurer, 10.Andrew Locuson, 11.Stone Keller, 12.Nick Skias, 13.Brandon Fredericks, 14.Devin Harron, 15.Andrew Dietrich, 16.Kyle Weiss, 17.Quinn Roberts, 18.Jeff Haefke, 19.Brandon Hawkins, 20.Mason Peters, 21.Scott Gingrich, 22.Morgan Rochelle, 23.Mike Boyer, 24.Austin Graby, 25.Brandon Edgar, 26.Ken Miller, 27.Cory Myers, 28.Todd Reusser, 29.Pat Bealer, 30.Brian Marriott.
DNS: Dan Lane Jr
Article By : Barry Angstadt
Photo By : Amy Williams Photos