Story By: DAVE MEDLER / FULTON SPEEDWAY – FULTON, NY – Saturday night season opener presented by Ferris Industries at the Fulton Speedway was a big success with a pit full of cars and close racing in every division to kick off the 2019 racing season.
In the 35-lap Tracey Road Equipment DIRTCar Modified feature Larry Wight would start third and had the lead by the end of the opening lap. He would lead the rest of the way but the win was anything but easy as he had to hold off challenges from teammate Pat Ward the entire distance.
Sixty-one DOT Foods DIRTcar Sportsman signed into the pits setting up three 25 lap features after qualifying. Matt Janzuk, Jack Meeks and Joel Hall went to victory lane. The finishes are not yet official until pending tech is completed.
Chris Fleming made a statement in the Billy Whittaker Cars & Truck RUSH Late Models as he cruised to the win. Brandon Chretian took top honors in the E&V Energy Novice Sportsman.
Dale Planck and Pat Ward would lead the 29 car Modified field down to the green to start the 35-lap feature, but it was third starting Larry Wight who made a daring move between Planck and Ward to take the lead on the opening lap.
By lap 10 Wight and Ward were in a two-car breakaway at the front while behind them, Planck, Tim Sears Jr., Todd Root, Ryan Arbuthnot and Ron Davis III were locked in a tight battle for third through seventh.
Quick cautions on lap 11 and lap 13 would tighten the field and slow the fast pace.
At the halfway point, Wight still showed the way with Ward right in his tire tracks. Arbuthnot ran alone in third with Planck and Root in a close race for top-five spots.
The red flag would wave on lap 19 that saw a three-car accident in turn three with Joe Shields rolling over. All drivers were okay.
With 10 laps to go Wight and Ward were still putting on a show at the front of the field with Root only a car-length behind the top two with Arbuthnot and Planck still showing in the top five.
Over the final laps Wight was able to run Ward by 0.816 at the checkers. Root, Arbuthnot and Ron Davis III made a late charge to finish third through fifth.
In the first 25 lap DOT Foods DIRTcar Sportsman feature defending track champion Alan Fink would lead the opening lap before Matt Janczuk would drive into the lead using the top of the speedway on the second lap.
With 10 laps showing on the scoring tower Janczuk and Fink were still in a tight fight for the lead with Jackson Gill, Brandon Ford and Joey Buonagurio showing in third through fifth.
When the race reached the halfway point, all eyes were at the front as Janczuk and Fink raced bumper-to-bumper and side-by-side with neither giving an inch. Gill, Ford and Buonagurio still raced in the top five.
One quick yellow would slow the pace the rest of the way that would see Janczuk and Fink put on a show lap after lap with Janczuk grabbing the narrow 0.193 win at the checkers. Jackson Gill, Brandon Ford and Wade Chrisman finished third through fifth.
In the second 25 lap Sportsman feature Chris Mackey would lead the opening lap before Jack Meeks would lead the next lap.
With only one caution slowing the pace in the early going, Meeks would open an almost half-a-straightaway lead by lap 10 over Mackey. Zach Sobotka, Amy Holland and Kyle Perry were having a close race for third through fifth.
With 10 laps to go Meeks was on cruise control out front building an almost three-second lead as Mackey, Holland and Sobotka raced in close quarters with Perry a few lengths back in fifth.
A yellow on lap 17 would erase Meeks’ lead, giving the field one last chance at the opening night win.
When the green came back out and for the rest of the distance nobody seriously challenged Jack Meeks who will be a track regular in 2019 as he cruised first under the checkers. Mackey, Holland, Sobotka and Charlie Tibbitts finished second through fifth.
Tibbitts rev box was taken for post-race tech.
In the final 25 lap Sportsman feature Joel Hall and Rick Miller would lead the opening two laps as the racing behind them was two and three wide throughout the field.
With 10 laps showing on the scoring tower Miller and Hall ran bumper-to-bumper at the front with Willy Decker Jr., Brandon Carvey and JJ Courcy keeping the top two in sight.
At the halfway point Miller, Hall and Decker jumped out to a tight three-car battle for the lead as the race kept a quick pace with few yellows to slow the field down.
With 5 laps to go, Miller, Hall and Decker ran under a blanket leaving the winner still in doubt until lap 23 when Joel Hall made the winning pass. Rick Miller finished second with AJ Miller putting on an impressive late race charge for third. Willy Decker Jr. finished fourth and Josh Livingston fifth.
Joel Hall and Josh Livingston motors were taken for post-race tech.
In the 20-lap Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux RUSH Late Model feature Brandon Mowat would lead the opening lap before Chris Fleming would take over the top spot on a restart.
With 5 laps showing on the scoring tower, Fleming bolted out to a half-a-straightaway lead with Mowat, Chad Homan, Kevan Cook and Dale Caswell racing for top five spots.
At the halfway point Fleming was on rails as scoring showed him with almost a 3 second lead as Mowat and Homan were locked in a battle for 2nd and 3rd and Cook and Caswell in the top five.
The yellow would wave on lap 14 when suddenly Mowat went up in smoke, ending his top five run.
When the green came back out and for the rest of the race Chris Fleming was the class of the field as he cruised first under the checkers by 1.528 seconds ahead of Chad Homan. Kyle Spoaz, Kevan Cook and Dale Caswell came home third through fifth.
In the E&V Energy Novice Sportsman feature Brandon Chretien was the class of the field as he cruised to the 15-lap win. Payton Talbot, Larry Taylor, Pat Nolan, Cody Manitta finished third through fifth.
This Saturday, May 11 long-time speedway marketing partner Ingles Performance out of Phoenix, NY will present a night of fast, family affordable racing featuring the Tracey Road Equipment DIRTcar Modifieds, DOT Foods DIRTcar Sportsman, Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux RUSH Late Models and E&V Energy Novice Sportsman.
Adult grandstand admission is $12 with everyone 18 years old and younger, free. Pit admission is $27 Member, $30 Non-Member. Gates will open at 5:00 pm with racing at 7:00 pm.
Ferris Industries May 4 Opening Night
(Tracey Road Equipment DIRTcar Modifieds 35 Laps) – LARRY WIGHT, Pat Ward, Todd Root, Ryan Arbuthnot, Ron Davis III, Dale Planck, Tim Sears Jr., Tom Sears Jr., Dave Marcuccilli, Greg Martin, Tyler Thompson, Jeff Sykes, Bobby Herrington, Tim O’Brien, Jeff McGinnis, Andy Noto, Collin DuBois, Nick Krause, Jeremy Dygert, Rob Bellinger, Glenn Forward, Ben Bushaw, Joe Shields, Billy Shantel Jr., Tyler Trump, Tyler Meeks, Jason Occhino, Mike Mandigo. DNS – Kyle DeMetro.
(Larkin Mowing $50 Hard Charger) – Tom Sears Jr.
Sportsman Feature Finishes Pending Tech:
(DOT Foods DIRTcar Sportsman #1- 25 Laps) – MATT JANCZUK, Alan Fink, Jackson Gill, Brandon Ford, Wade Chrisman, Mark Yorker, Joey Buonagurio, Mike Button, Colby Herzog, Chris Thurston, Tyler Corcoran, Chris Bonoffski, Chuck Miller, Mike Fowler, Jake Davis, Ricky Yelle, Tim Abate, Jimmy Moyer, Frank Sobotka, DNS Bill Sauve
(DOT Foods DIRTcar Sportsman #2 – 25 Laps) – JACK MEEKS, Chris Mackey, Amy Holland, Zach Sobotka, Charlie Tibbitts, Kyle Perry, Joe Sobotka, Remington Hamm, Shaun Shaw, Dylan Zacharias, Tyler Murray, Tony Finch II, Steve Marshall, Dorian Wahdan, Billy Clark Jr., Jake Petit, Jeff Prentice, Quinn Wallis, Joe Kline, Earl Rudy, Torrey Stoughtenger.
(DOT Foods DIRT Car Sportsman #3 – 25 Laps) – JOEL HALL, Rick Miller, AJ Miller, Willy Decker Jr., Josh Livingston, Brandon Carvey, Corey Barker, Brett Draper, Derek Webb, Jim Spano, Jessica Power, Tom Juno, Addison Bowman, Wesley Hayes, Kearra Backus, Rachel Zacharias, JJ Courcy, Jeff Taylor, Mike Phelps, DNS Robert Gage, Ryan Gustin
(Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux RUSH Late Models 20 Laps) – CHRIS FLEMING, Chad Homan, Kyle Sopaz, Kevan Cook, Dale Caswell, Jason Parkhurst, Bret Belden, Dane Keller Jr., Brandon Mowat, Tony Finch II, Mike Kazmierczak, Max Hill.
(E&V Energy Novice Sportsman 15 Laps) – BRANDON CHRETIAN, Payton Talbot, Larry Taylor, Pat Nolan, Cody Manitta, Michael Wight, Ryan Dolebear, Scott Kline.