Drivers cash in on Carter Construction Night
BY JOE ORSINI
FOR STAR–NEWS SPORTS
LUXEMBURG – Over 150 cars across six divisions rolled into the pits on July 30 for Carter Construction Night at the races.
With an extra $500 plus a custom trophy on the line for each feature winner, there were more than a few “ringers” in the house looking to pocket some extra walking around money.
With a draw/redraw format for the extra money, there were some fast names benefitting from the luck of the draw.
One of those was five-time track champ, Shawn Kilgore, whose luck grabbed him the outside front row starting spot for the Village Kitchen IMCA Modified A-main event.
That luck continued at the drop of the green as Kilgore was able to lead the opening lap.
Benji LaCrosse’s pill draw had him starting inside row four but the No. 54 car wasn’t going to stay there long.
As Kilgore paced the early laps, LaCrosse worked the low line inside of Jesse Cullen to grab fourth.
A lap later, LaCrosse switched lines to move up to the outside lane to make the pass on Jason Czarapata and lock up the third spot.
At the halfway mark Kilgore continued to lead, “Felix” Todd Dart ran second, LaCrosse third, Czarapata fourth and Cullen fifth.
Caution flew with four laps to go and Kilgore saw the gap he had on Dart evaporate.
Dart elected to restart the race on the outside of row two leaving LaCrosse on the bottom.
When the green fell again Dart and LaCrosse went toe-to-toe for the second spot.
That battle allowed Kilgore some breathing room.
Once LaCrosse cleared Dart to grab the runner up spot, there weren’t enough laps left to mount a challenge on Kilgore, who picked up his first win of the season in Luxemburg and pocketed the extra Carter Construction Cash in victory lane.
LaCrosse settled for second, Dart held on tothird, Cullen grabbed fourth in the closing laps and Czarapata rounded out the top five.
The Quietwoods RV IMCA Stock Car feature event kicked off with Eric Mahlik shooting into the lead at the drop of the green.
Cole Czarneski and Rod Snellenberger dropped into a heated race for the second spot behind the leader.
Further back in the pack, Benji LaCrosse, one of several drivers pulling double duty, quickly knifed through the field moving from 10th to sixth during the opening laps.
Mahlik continued to hold court at the halfway mark with Czarneski, Rod Snellenberger, Devin Snellenberger, Jared Siefert and LaCrosse trading real estate behind him.
The closing laps went fast and furious and when the dust settled, Mahlik led every lap as the event went green to checker without a caution.
Rod Snellenberger was second, Devin Snellenberger third and Czaraneski fourth.
Lacrosse nipped Siefert to finish fifth.
The IMCA Northern Sport Mod A-main started off with Alec Wery wrestling away the lead from fellow front row starter Dennis Miesler.
Once the field worked through some early lap cautions, Elijah Koenig showed some muscle on the high side by moving past Jeff Vlies to third.
Koenig stayed tiptoeing through the tulips on the topside to move into second.
At the halfway point of the event, Wery still set the pace out front, Koenig ran second, Miesler third and Coy Vlies fourth.
Coy Vlies hit the bottom line and squeezed past Miesler into third, then muscled past Koenig into second.
Coy Vlies then applied heavy pressure to Wery and when Vlies got by into the lead, Koenig was also able to grab second at the same time.
When the checkers flew Coy Vlies nabbed his third win of the season, Koenig was second, Wery third, Jeff Vlies fourth and Miesler held onto fifth at the line.
In the NEW Tech Metals Unified Dirt Street Stock main event, Travis Zirbel’s luck of the draw saw him grab the early lead from his front row starting spot.
A handful of early cautions marred the race but once things got going, Trey Van Straten and Zirbel dropped into a heated exchange for the top spot.
Zirbel’s luck ran out when his racer suddenly lost power and fell off the pace handing the lead to Van Straten.
The field slowed for caution with 13 laps remaining and the ensuing restart had Van Straten lead Shanon Guelette, Paul Diefenthaler, Rod Snellenberger and Jeff Richards back to racing speeds.
Diefenthaler took advantage of the restart to move to the outside of Van Straten and the pair staged a door-to-door battle for the top spot.
Diefenthaler would secure the lead as Van Straten dropped to second.
Another yellow with nine laps remaining bunched the field and the restart saw Richards benefit as he worked the high side to hustle around Van Straten for second.
When the dust settled, Diefenthaler grabbed his third win of the season in just his fourth night of competing.
Richards finished second, Van Straten third, Snellenberger fourth and “The Hammer” Dave DeGrave completed a late race surge to complete the top five.
There was certain to be fireworks in the Murder Hornet feature event as the extra $500 to win was a larger purse than what the division usually races for.
Those fireworks showed up on the opening lap as the field immediately went four wide.
Discretion was the better part of valor as five-wide racing never materialized.
Clint Malueg in his 22M led the opening lap but quickly surrendered it to Kyle Jorgenson.
A quick caution bunched the field with only three laps in the books.
The restart had Jorgenson out front with Cody Booth, Calvin Stueck, Neil Watcka and Carl King setting up shop behind him.
The restart saw Branden Goeser move to fourth and gave chase to the leaders.
Meanwhile Jorgenson, Stueck and Booth staged a three-car fight for the lead.
Stueck eventually worked inside of Jorgenson to grab the point position.
Jorgenson moved low to follow Stueck which opened the door on the high side for Booth to get by into second.
Caution flew with seven laps remaining when Goeser broke coming out of turn No. 2 while running fourth.
The restart had Stueck leading Booth, Jorgenson, Trever Cronick and Neil Watcka back to racing conditions.
When the checkers flew, that was also your finishing order.
Stueck, the three-time division champion, picked up his first win of the season at his first race of the season in Luxemburg.
The Carter Construction Grand Nationals were on hand for their third appearance of the summer at The ‘Burg Speedway.
TJ Smith saw lady luck in his corner as last week’s feature winner looked to pursue the bonus Carter Cash from pole position.
Smith took full advantage of that luck and rocketed to the opening lap lead.
An early caution with five laps completely reset the running order with Smith leading and Dustin Weiss, Rick Gustavson, Ryan Minster and Matt Yancey falling in behind the leader.
When the race restarted Putch Bentley flexed his muscles and powered through the inside into fourth and then a lap later into third.
Caution flew again with 11 laps remaining.
When the race ended it was Smith holding on for his second win in as many weeks, Weiss was second, Bentley third, Yancy fourth and Luke Scholten fifth.