Reynoldsville — After several weeks of rainouts, the sunshine returned to welcome fans and drivers back to Hummingbird Speedway for Mid-Season Championship Night on Saturday.
And by night’s end, a lot of familiar faces found their way to Victory Lane.
Rockton’s Bruce Hartzfeld picked up his third win of the year in the Cypress Clock and Gift Shop Street Stocks, while Nick Erskine became the first driver to join the four-win club with his victory in the Swanson Heavy Duty Truck Repair and Service Semi-Late Model feature.
St. Marys’ Tim Steis and Luthersburg’s Zach Frantz collected their second wins in the Sunny 106.5 FM Pure Stocks and Lockwood Processing Four-Cylinders, respectively, while Brockway’s Paul Kot claimed victory for the third time in as many weeks in the BWP Bats Super Late Models.
The Young Guns Jr. Sprint series also visited the track for the third time this year with Randy White of Wampum picking up the win in the Stock Class and Sam Darby of Hermitage taking the checkered flag in the Open Class.
The street stocks kicked off the evening’s racing action with their 20-lap feature event, with Hartzfeld and Jim Bloom leading the field to the opening green flag. Hartzfeld jumped out to the early lead on the initial start as Brandon Connor challenged Bloom for the second position.
The battle continued for a few laps before Connor completed the pass around Bloom to move into second. On lap 8, Fuzzy Fields worked to the inside of Bloom to take the third spot behind Hartzfeld and Connor. Hartzfeld continued to pace the field as the race reached its halfway mark. A few laps later, on lap 13, a mechanical woe on the #38 of Scott Freer brought out the first and only caution of the race.
On the restart, Hartzfeld was challenged briefly by Fields, who took the second spot from Connor, on the inside but he was able to fend it off and maintain the race lead. With just two laps to go, Connor used the high side to power past Fields to take the second position back. Hartzfeld went unchallenged in the remaining couple of laps enroute to his 3rd win of the season at Hummingbird. Hartzfeld was followed in the Top 5 by Brandon Connor, Fields, Dale Yeaney and Bloom. Hartzfeld won the lone heat race.
Next to the track were the Young Guns Jr Sprints for their two, 12-lap, feature races.
The stock class was up first, and it was White who jumped out to the early lead, followed by Jackson Dye and Garrett Davenport. A handful of laps in, the Blaine Schlechty worked his way around Davenport to move into third. However, White had the field covered on his way to picking up the victory. In a last lap pass, Schlechty took the second spot from Dye with Davemport fourth. White won the heat race.
In the open class, brothers Sam and Evan Darby led the field to the green flag. Tyler Allison made it three-wide for the lead as the field took the green. He took the lead as the field entered turns 1 and 2. He was then put three-wide again on the backstretch as Evan Darby and Sam Darby got around him to move into first and second, respectively.
Evan Darby continued to lead for a lap or two before a caution for a stopped car in turns 1 and 2 setup the lone restart of the race. On the restart, Sam Darby got around his brother to take the top spot. Stone Lapcevich worked his way around Allison to take the third spot as the race reached its halfway point.
Sam Darby went unchallenged in the remaining six laps to collect the win. He was followed across the line by Evan Darby, Lapcevich, Allison and Luke Mulichak. Sam Darby won the heat race.
The semi-late models were up next, and it was the duo of Eddie Connor and Deegen Watt who sat on the front row.
Connor jumped out to the early advantage as Erskine and Doug Surra made it three-wide with Watt for the second spot. Connor got loose in turns 1 and 2 on the second lap, making contact with Erskine. Both drivers continued on without caution. That gave the lead to Watt with Erskine and Connor in second and third.
Watt led a lap or two before Erskine worked his way around him on lap 4. On lap 8, Surra used the high side to power past Watt to move into second behind Erskine, who continued to lead for the next few laps before a caution for a spin in turn 4 on lap 11 setup the first and only restart of the race. On the restart, Erskine jumped out to the lead as hard-charging Jon Lee, who started deep in the field, passed both Watt and Surra to move into the second position.
Surra was then shuffled out of the top 3 around lap 15 but he rebounded quickly to get back up to the third spot with just a couple laps remaining. Meanwhile, Lee was beginning to close in on Erskine for the lead. Lee gave a valiant run at it in the final couple of laps but came up just short as Erskine picked up his track-leading fourth win of the season. Surra was third, followed by Denny Curry and Connor in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Connor and Watt won the heat races.
Steis and Rich Anderson led the pure stocks out next for their 15-lap feature, and it was Anderson who jumped out to the early lead with Steis and Andy Frey in tow. Bryce Swauger used the inside line on the second lap to his advantage to take the third spot from Frey. Anderson continued to lead over Steis and Swauger until a lap 4 caution for a crash in turn 2 setup the first restart of the race.
On the restart, Anderson pulled out to the lead as Swauger challenged Steis for the second position. A crash very soon after the restart involving Frey setup another restart. On the ensuing green, Anderson once again pulled out to the lead as Swauger got around Steis to move into the second position.
Anderson held the lead past the midway point before a caution set up one final restart. Anderson again pulled away from the field, but Swauger got loose on the restart allowing Steis and Watt to get by for second and third. Ben Ecelberger and Wayne Garvey rounded out the Top 5.
Steis won the lone heat race.
The four-cylinders were next up with Patrick Crawford and Frantz sitting in the front row.
Frantz jumped out to the early lead on the initial start with Keegan Bell and Randy Albert in second and third, respectively. An incident involving Albert on the second lap brought out the first and only caution flag of the race and retired him for the evening. On the restart, it was Frantz out to the lead with Bell and Crawford following close behind in second and third. Frantz and Bell began to distance themselves from Crawford just a bit as the race reached its halfway mark.
Bell gave Frantz several hard charges on the inside in the remaining six laps but came up short as Frantz held on for his second win. Crawford was third, folloed by Travis Timko and Ricky Nelson in the Top 5. Cody McNaughton and Frantz won the heat races.
The action-packed night of racing concluded with the 25-lap super late model feature.
Wyatt Scott and Michael Lake brought the field to the green flag, and Scott had the lead briefly before Lake powered past him on the high side of turns 1 and 2. Gale Huey, who was running fourth at the time, spun out off turn 4 in front of the field which led to a pileup as the rest of the field tried to avoid him.
Huey was hit by Larry Hollenbaugh and then Hollenbaugh was hit by Kyle Knapp, which sent him flipping two or three times before coming to rest on all four tires. Thankfully, all of the drivers involved in the incident were okay. The wreck set up a complete restart as there were no laps completed.
Lake jumped out to the lead on the restart with Scott and Kot following behind. On lap 8, as Lake continued to lead, a mechanical failure on Scott’s car ended his night and moved Kot into second and Knapp into third. Lake, who was running the high line all night, got too high off turn 2 and hit the wall fairly hard as the race crossed the halfway point.
With about 10 to go, Lake cut down a right rear tire because of the damage sustained from his contact with the wall. He backed off his pace trying to preserve the tire and finish the race. A caution came out with about five laps to go, which gave Lake the opportunity to pit and change the tire. That moved Kot into the race lead with Knapp second and Lake in third. Two more cautions would follow with still about 5 laps to go.
On the final restart of the race, Kot jumped out to the lead with Knapp and Lake following behind. Kot went on to lead the rest of the way en route to his third win of the year. Lake completed a last lap pass on Knapp to take the second position as they came to the line. Jerry Redden was fourth and Rich Runyan Jr. sixth. Scott and Lake won the heat races.
Notes: This coming weekend, the speedway will pay tribute to the late Tommy Scott, a loca racing icon as it presents “The gateway Special,” a 30-lap street stock event. There will be $1,500 cash to win, as well as several contingency prizes and lap money bonuses being paid out. A 25-lap $1,000 to win race will also be held for the semi-lates.
Scott was a pillar in the racing community for decades and recently lost his battle with ALS. His family, friends, and fans have stepped up to honor him with this special race. Fans are encouraged to wear their best “Hawaiian” shirt in honor of Scott.
Admission pricing will be $14 for adults, $7 for kids 6-10, while kids 5 and under are always free. Racing will begin at 7:00, with gates opening at 4:30. Time Trials will be held for the street stocks and semi-lates, as well as a “King of the Hill” tournament held before intermission.