Fultz In Command At Black Rock
DUNDEE, N.Y. — Heading into the sportsman feature event, Brady Fultz was unsure how much he needed to do to lock up the championship.
As it would turn out, all he needed to do was start the feature, but he did plenty more than that to ensure his title.
Fultz, from Dundee, made an impressive pass on Dale Welty for the race lead on outside of turn four coming to complete lap 16 and drive away for his fifth win of the year and third of the month.
“There was a lot of bite up on top,” noted Fultz in Victory Lane. “It has been good up there all year long so I just keep going there and the car was great again.”
Fultz started in 12th and ran towards the back until a restart on lap 11 when he drove around a heap of cars to get from seventh to fourth. A quick caution would allow him to make a similar pass in third on the ensuing restart, where he ran until a lap 15 restart when he made his move for the lead.
The bottom of the track appeared to be stronger through the middle of the event but on restarts the top was supreme and it has been a line that has paid dividends for Fultz all season long.
“We hit on something with the setup but the more you can keep the car straight the less you are scrubbing off speed and killing momentum,” he added.
The championship was the second for Fultz in the division, the first since 2007 when he claimed the inaugural title at the track. His nearest competitor, Donnie Lawson was not a factor after getting involved in an incident on the opening lap.
Chris Silvers led early in the event, but Welty was able to move by shortly after a lap 12 restart. It appeared the veteran would have his first sportsman win of the year but late race restarts would force him to cross in second, while Silvers notched his season-best finish, coming across in third. Loren Lincoln drove up from 13th to finish in fourth, just ahead of Ray Bliss Jr., who locked up third in the standings by virtue of his top-five finish.
In a thrilling late model event, Brian Knowles found a way to hold off a determined Jared Hill to earn his first feature win at Black Rock. “Porkchop” has worked all season to dethrone champion John Waters, and on the final night of the season he was finally able to pull it off.
Knowles started back in sixth but drove forward quickly and took the lead by lap three from Jared Hill. Hill was not going to go down without a fight though, as he took the lead back briefly on lap 16 but Knowles had the momentum on the top of the track to regain control. On the final lap, Hill lost momentum off turn two, which allowed Waters to take the runner-up spot and make a bid for the lead; he would come up short though for only the third time this year at BRS and settle for second. Hill would cross in third, ahead of defending champion Mikey Wonderling and Bruce Miller.
Chris Fisher locked up his fourth street stock championship as soon as he took the green flag in the feature, but he also claimed the checkered flag on the night. Fisher, of Bluff Point, scored his fourth win of the season, his first since July 13, as he led all 20 laps to claim the three peat of the division.
The first 16 laps of the feature ran caution-free. Chris Fisher had no issue on the ensuring restart and drove away, but his brother, Eric, had work to do to hold off Bob Buono for second but was able to do so. Rich Sharpsteen I was fourth across the line while Nate Daggett completed the top five in a borrowed ride.
Things were tight throughout the IMCA feature, but the first lead change of the event occurred coming to the white flag as leader Dave Yehl got just loose enough to allow Mike Smith to get underneath and hold on for his sixth win of the season and claim his second-straight track championship in the process.
Smith, of Arkport, needed to finish within two spots of Phil Yaw to claim the title, and rode in second and third throughout the event but capitalized when the opportunity to take the lead presented itself. Yehl was able to hang on for second, ahead of Rich Karlnoski; those two collided coming to the white flag and both limped their cars across the finish line.
Rich Sharpsteen II put a exclamation point on his great season in the Signs Plus of Kanona 4-Cylinder division, winning his ninth feature of the season at his hometown track with his first track championship already in the back pocket.
Sharpsteen started ninth but had the lead by lap four. His toughest competitor all season, James Kreidler III challenged him once again on this final night as he peaked to the inside on laps eight and nine and then made another final bid on the final lap, but would have to finish second for the fifth time this season. Scott Bradley, Del Cummings and Jayson Smart would round out the top five.
The final race of the night had Bill Werner, a former $10,000-to-win “Big One” Enduro Champion, scoring his first win of the season in his second appearance in Yates County this season.
Werner moved by Craig Mahrt on the second lap and then held off four-time winner Adam DelGrosso in the closing circuits to become the eight different winners in the new division this season. Crossing in third was Steven Rogers, which was more than enough for him to claim the division championship.
At the beginning of the night, the bandits had a three-way battle for the championship and while it was eventful, Lance Irwin stayed steady down the stretch to claim the title.
Irwin took the lead on the opening lap utilizing Rich Sharpsteen’s “Flyin X” but it was Allison Teed who ran him down and took the lead just before halfway and then held on for her division-high fourth win of the season. Irwin chased her around the track to take the lead back but “Allie Cat” held steady to earn the trip to Victory Lane. Irwin meanwhile had to work to keep Justin Eldridge behind him, which he would do. Joey Rodbourn would drive by Eldridge late to finish in the top three.