RPW Exclusive Column By: MEL JASSEY / RPW – ACCORD, NY – A star-studded 24-car Modified field roared to the green flag of the well known 50 lap ‘Gobbler’ at the Accord Speedway quarter mile bullring oval, and when all was said and done, Andy Bachetti had captured the event for the second time in his career.
Lap 1 found Danny Creeden outgunning polesitter Joe Judge to take the early lead just prior to a large 13 car crash in turn 1 caused when rookie Joey Coppola lost grip and spun sideways collecting a traffic jam of tangled cars.
The race continued with ‘yellow fever’ in the early portion of the race forcing Brian Malcolm, Leo Fotopoulos, Kevin Ward, Ryan Darcy, and Tommy Meier all out of the event with problems ending their chances of winning the coveted race.
The middle portion of the race found good restarts to be a proven pivotal point in the race as Andy Bachetti worked his way up from 7th starting position into second spot and started alongside Creeden on a restart. Bachetti was able to pull Creeden down the frontstretch and take the lead.
Another restart a few laps later found Creeden capitalizing and getting the lead back only to have that negated when a strong running Tyler Treacy crashed hard into the turn 1 wall bringing out the yellow again and not allowing the lap to be completed giving the lead back to Bachetti.
The leader made sure not to get caught sleeping on restarts again and solidly outperformed Creeden on each of the remaining restarts. Meanwhile, fans began to see newly crowned champion Jimmy Wells and local hotshoe Richard Smith both authoring impressive runs coming deep in the pack and catching up to the leaders as they diced it out on lapped traffic.
At the checkers, it was all Bachetti easily beating Creeden for second. Judge held on to third spot over Wells and Anthony Perrego to end his season on a high note.
Sixth thru tenth was the race’s hardcharger Smith, Orange County regular Craig Mitchell, rookie Corey Cormier, veteran ace Jerry Higbie, and Super DIRT Series star Erick Rudolph in tenth.
Sportsman feature racing found the competitors knocking the stuffing out of each other in the early laps beginning with polesitter Jared Miller’s spin in turn 1 at the drop of the green.
Miller’s spin collected six other cars in the melee. The next yellow found invader Alex Bell getting caught up in a skirmish with Orange County regular Ryan Neiger resulting in hard contact with the boiler plate wall in turn 3. Paramedics were summoned to the scene as Bell banged his leg hard in the crash. Thankfully, Bell emerged from his car okay and a trip to the hospital wasn’t needed.
The restart found Orange County Fair Speedway champion Grant Hilfiger passing second generation racer Brandon McGill to take the lead. Around the halfway point of the race found veteran top gun, Jimmy Johnson getting by McGill to take second and began to close in Hilfiger as the leader was getting bottled up in lapped traffic.
Meanwhile former track champion Kyle Rohner was putting on a clinic coming from 21st starting position and began to pressure McGill for third.
At the finish line Hilfiger put the cherry on top of a very successful race season by collecting the season ending Sportsman ‘Gobbler’ victory over Johnson by half a straightaway.
Johnson who may have run the last race of his long career dating back to 1979 was bittersweet with second over McGill, Rohner, and Matt Schultz.
The street stock shootout was an exciting race with a side of some feathers being ruffled between drivers.
Walt Henry had to outduel Greg Sleight in order to win the 25 lap feature along with the Shootout Championship. Rookie Tom Cilurso Jr crashed and flipped his Chevy Camaro hard in turn two bringing out the red but was able to emerge from his car unscathed.
Under red Sleight who was battling for the lead was unable to keep the car idling forcing him pitside for several laps as the crew made repairs.
Henry then had to contend with track champion John Hechinger and Joey Scheffold. Other shootout series drivers continued to battle it out with Emerson Cargain Jr breaking into the top five as Ray Tarantino and Joel Murns found themselves getting in several tangles forcing them to the pits for repairs along with some flared up feathers.
The finish found Henry easily picking up the win over Scheffold and Hechinger.
George Barringer picked up his first Enduro win of the season and finished the year on a positive note.
He had to battle with early leaders Brandon Conklin and Ryan Heady. The mid point of the race found Bethel Speedway champion Dan Curry getting ahead of Barringer for the lead but it was short-lived as five laps later Curry’s right rear wheel broke off knocking him out of the race.
The final contender was in the closing laps as a surge coming from Adam Lovejoy closed Lovejoy close to the leaders rear bumper but Barringer prevailed to victory by two car lengths over Lovejoy. Gene Helms, Travis Brockner, and Tyler White rounded out the top five.
MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (50-LAPS): 1 ANDY BACHETTI 2 Danny Creeden 3 Joe Judge 4 Jimmy Wells 5 Anthony Perrego 6 Richard Smith 7 Craig Mitchell 8 Corey Cormier 9 Jerry Higbie Jr. 10 Erick Rudolph 11 Jeremy Markle 12 Tyler Siri 13 Danny Johnson 14 Tom Hindley 15 Jim Maher 16 Brad Shaffer 17 Paul Rooney 18 Joey Coppolla 19 Tyler Treacy 20 Tommy Meier 21 Kevin Ward 22 Ryan Darcy 23 Leo Fotopoulos 24 Brian Malcolm
DNQ: Eldon Payne Jr., Geoff Quackenbush, Kurt Hundeland, Ken Ferrier
SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (30-LAPS): 1 GRANT HILFIGER 2 Jimmy Johnson 3 Brandon McGill 4 Kyle Rohner 5 Matt Shultz 6 E.J. McCauliffe 7 Jamie Yannone 8 Mike White 9 Dan Morgiewicz 10 Kevin Sockriter 11 Tim Howell 12 Tony Ballestero 13 Nick Plumstead 14 Shane Jablonka 15 Ryan Macartney 16 Ryan Neiger 17 Corey Wood 18 Dan Malley 19 Fred Proctor 20 T.J. Frost 21 Jared Miller 22 Chris Lynch 23 Roddy Watts 24 Alex Bell
DNQ: Eric Moon, Josh Marcus, Darell Quackenbush, Kyle Smith, Jeff Brown
STREET STOCKS FEATURE FINISH (25-LAPS): 1 WALT HENRY 2 Joey Scheffold 3 John Hechinger 4 Emerson Cargain Jr. 5 Steven Kanuk 6 Ryan Brockner 7 John Miracle 8 Joel Murns 9 Curt Ayers 10 Anthony Tarantino 11 Ray Tarantino Jr. 12 Nate Hill 13 Tim Southard 14 Paul Harding 15 Janai St. Pierre 16 Greg Sleight 17 Brent Shaddock 18 Tom Cilurso Jr. 19 Jay Smalley, JB Morris – DQ, Jeremy Warren – DNS
ENDURO FEATURE (50-LAPS / TOP FIVE): 1 GEORGE BARRINGER 2 Adam Lovejoy 3 Gene Helms 4 Travis Brockner 5 Tyler White