Robertson Runs At Black Rock
DUNDEE, N.Y. — Wayne Robertson has not always had the best nights at the Black Rock Speedway throughout his racing career, but the feat that he pulled off on Saturday night may rank the highest.
Robertson, of Corning, NY, scored the Inaugural Empire State Classic 30-Lap Feature for the FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Series in thrilling fashion for his second-career series win. His No. 20 started outside pole and rode in the second spot until lap six when he tried a slide job on pole sitter Steve Dixon for the lead. It was unsuccessful that time, but he was undeterred.
After the first caution of the race on lap eight, Robertson drove by Dixon on the ensuing restart and stretched out his lead as the race took on a very green complexion. His No. 20 was out by a half-track until lap 28 when a caution threw everything into chaos.
On the restart with two to go, it became clear that the tires on each of the late models had sealed over as each car was slipping around the track, except for Bryce Davis, who found something on the top of the track. Davis got a full head of steam coming out of turn two and pulled even with Robertson coming to the white flag. The duo were set up to a photo finish on the final circuit when a spun car in turn one would cause one final restart. At this point, you would have thought that Robertson might select the top line on the double-file restart, but he knew where he had to be.
“We’ve been fighting this car pretty tight so I had to run the inside,” reflected Robertson in victory lane. “I was married to bottom and there was a good strip on the bottom of turn four that worked out pretty good.”
On the final restart, Davis once again got a good run off of turn two, but Robertson held steady through the final set of corners and was able to capture the checkered flags. Not only was the $3,000 payday special for Wayne, it was equally meaningful that it was the closest tour race to his home.
“I don’t get to race in New York much with this car,” noted Robertson. “I saw Davis on the outside I never thought he would get around, I was just trying to putt around on the bottom.”
As Robertson and Davis were battling it out for the win, there was a mad scramble on for third, with Mike Pegher Jr. prevailing over fellow tour regular John Over charging up to fourth. Steve Dixon, who was the dominant car early in the night as he was quickest in time trials, won his heat and won the dash, rounded out the top five.
A total of 32 late models were on hand with a nice mix of drivers from New York State adding to the plethora of invaders from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
Making their second stop at the Black Rock Speedway this year were the CRSA 305 sprint cars, who put on a wild performance, none more spectacular than by Jeff VanSteenburg, who walked away with the trophy at the end of the feature.
Scott Goodrich took command of the feature field at the start of the event, with David Ferguson pursuing him in his tire tracks. On almost every lap, Ferguson would drive hard into turn three, but Goodrich would get a solid run off the bottom of turn four to stretch his advantage back out.
After a lap 19 restart, Ferguson was breathing down the back of the No. 30 and decided to make his move entering turn three. Unfortunately for both competitors, there was not enough room and Ferguson’s No. 45 climbed over the leader and flipped over, taking both out. That would hand the lead over to VanSteenberg who had been chasing down the leaders on the top of the track.
VanSteenberg was strong on what would be the final restart of the event, pulling out to a healthy advantage while rim-riding the 4/10-mile. Crossing in second was Ryan Smith while Josh Pieniazek put together a solid run to drive up to third. Jake Muench was fourth in his first CRSA start while point leader Tommy Martocci rallied from an issue in his heat as well as one in the feature to round out the top five.
The Xcel 600 Modifieds struggled to get laps in at the start of their feature, but once they did, it was Cody Coons who was the dominant figure of the event.
Coons, of Jim Thorpe, PA, led all 15 laps of the only feature of the year at BRS for the touring series. Chris Stockham would cross for second in a clean event while defending champion Dan Mazy was third.