Incredibly Intense Action Track USA Mains to Pauch Sr., Danner, & Pio

Incredibly Intense Action Track USA Mains to Pauch Sr., Danner, & Pio

Kutztown, PA (June 19) — The weather was hot, but the competition on the track was absolutely scorching on Wednesday night at Foley Cat Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds. Driver after driver thanked co-promoter Rich Tobias for the way he prepared the racing surface for the final event before the speedway’s annual midsummer break.
The last three features were worth writing home about, as Billy Pauch Sr. held off Briggs Danner and Tim Buckwalter to win the regularly scheduled SpeedSTR main, Gunnar Pio captured an insanely competitive and entertaining Hyper Racing 600 Sprint feature, and Danner returned to defeat Buckwalter and Billy Pauch Jr. in the SpeedSTR’s Ronnie Tobias Memorial that was postponed by rain on June 5.
Tyler Hoch dominated the All Star Slingshot 20-lap feature, while Landon McNichol recorded the Junior Slingshot victory.
Frenchtown, New Jersey’s Billy Pauch Sr. notched his 13th career SpeedSTR win in the night’s regularly scheduled 30-lap headliner, and it was most likely the most difficult triumph that he earned at Berks County’s No. 1 bullring because Danner and Buckwalter made his life miserable over the final ten circuits.
Pauch powered to the outside of early leader Cale Zangli to grab the top spot on the third trip around the clay. Cole Stangle motored into the runner-up position one tour later. They remained out front while Billy Pauch Jr., Tim Buckwalter, and Briggs Danner, who all started in the middle of the pack, navigated their way through the field. At the halfway point, Pauch led Stangle, Buckwalter, and Billy Jr.
On lap 18, Buckwalter and Stangle bumped wheels as Buckwalter accelerated past the No. 27 off turn four. Stangle fell out of the race on the following lap. Now Danner was in the top three, and he went after Buckwalter after the yellow brought out by Stangle’s demise. As Danner and Buckwalter traded the second spot, they actually closed on Pauch and at one point, Danner attempted a two-for-one slider on both Buckwalter and the leader in three and four. He could not pull it off, but did eventually clear Buckwalter for the runner-up slot.
Both Danner and Buckwalter hounded Pauch as the race neared its conclusion. On the final lap, Danner shot down off the turn four banking and pulled to the inside of Pauch. They drag raced to the line with Pauch just nipping Danner by 0.061 seconds. It was the second consecutive race at Action Track USA where Danner lost by a foot or two at the stripe, as Logan Seavey barely held him off to win Sunday night’s USAC Sprint Car main.
Buckwalter finished a close third, followed by Pauch Jr. and Matt Janisch.
“I’m not sure how I did that,” exclaimed a winded and exhausted Pauch Sr. in victory lane. ” I saw Timmy’s nose down under me at one point, and I ended up having to cross him over to retake the lead. Then I saw Briggs under me a little later, and I had to do the same to get back past him. Those two (Buckwalter and Danner) are at the top of their game right now. To beat them is really satisfying. They wore me out.”
Danner gained a measure of retribution in the nightcap, but lapped traffic almost permitted Buckwalter to rob him of victory once more.
Dustin Morris set the early pace with Danner slicing from his sixth starting spot to move into second with only two revolutions in the books. He wrestled the lead from Morris as they throttled off turn two on the fifth trip around the speedway. On the ninth tour, Buckwalter passed Morris for second place, but Danner was long gone. His advantage was wiped out when he got hung up in lapped traffic, and Buckwalter was quick to pounce on the opportunity to close the gap.
Buckwalter pulled up to the leader’s rear bumper, but Danner always seemed to put a lapped car between himself and the defending SpeedSTR point champion. Buckwalter remained within striking distance, but Danner, from Allentown, PA, kept him at bay with great launches off the corners.
At the finish, it was Danner claiming glory in the Ronnie Tobias Memorial over Buckwalter, Billy Pauch Jr., Matt Janisch, and Pauch Sr. The top five drivers were the same as in the first feature, just in a slightly different order.
It was difficult to take notes and remember all the passes made during the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint main, because the 25 lapper was total mayhem, in a good way, from start to finish.
The front half of the field seemed to be in permanent two, three, and at times, even four wide formation as the 600’s used, literally, every square inch of the exquisitely prepared racing surface. Kunkletown, PA’s Gunnar Pio had his No. 28P humming on the high side, charging by early leader Zack Bealer on lap six. But Pio would not walk away with the lead, as Bealer and Zach Curtis harassed him and were not hesitant to stack up three abreast with Pio for the top spot. Bealer disposed of Curtis, then engaged in a slidefest with Pio as the race neared its halfway mark. Behind the lead duo, a fierce, position-swapping war was raging among Briggs Danner, tenth-starting Connor Gross, Curtis, and Tim Buckwalter. That foursome joined the scuffle for the lead, turning the affair into a crowd pleasing battle royal as they traded positions lap after entertaining lap.
Pio eventually eased away from his challengers, leaving Gross, Bealer, Buckwalter, and now Colin White to fight for the rest of the top five positions. Point leader Gross emerged as the runner-up and made one last gasp attack on the leader, but Pio was too strong and held off the No. 14c to win by a half-second.
Gross, Buckwalter, Bealer, and White finished second through fifth in an excellent race.
Mertztown, PA’s Tyler Hoch led all the way in a non-stop, green to checkered 20-lap feature for the All Star Slingshots. Chase Schott grabbed the second spot at halfway, but T. Hoch had checked out by that time. Schott had to fend off the leader’s brother, Dylan, to keep the second position with Dave Carraghan also in the mix.
At the checkered, it was Tyler Hoch winning his first of the year in dominating fashion over Schott, D. Hoch, Carraghan, and Tyler Ulsh.
The Junior Slingshots had a wild 15-lap main, with Carter Mullins, Matthew Laubach, and Billy Pauch III battling for the top three positions. With five circuits completed, contact between Mullins and Laubach (for the lead) produced a messy scramble in turns one and two that resulted in Laubach falling to the tail and Mullins dropping back to third. Landon McNichol and Charlie Moore were now the front runners, but Mullins deftly moved past Moore and back into second spot. While he stayed within striking distance of the leader, McNichol, he could not offer a serious challenge and wound up chasing McNichol to the stripe.
McNichol registered his first Action Track USA triumph with a strong run. Mullins raced home in second with Laubach rebounding to finish third. Hannah Kormann and Brandon Lilick made up the top five when it was all over for the Juniors.
Foley Cat Action Track USA will now be silent until Wednesday, July 10 as one of the country’s largest Folk Festivals takes over the fairgrounds. But the clay playground roars back to life with a big show, highlighted by the season’s first appearance of the USAC East Coast 360 Sprint Cars. Joining them will be the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, along with the All Star and Junior Slingshots. Pit gates open at 4 p.m. with grandstands opening at 5:00. Warm-ups begin at 6:15 and racing will follow opening ceremonies after hot laps have concluded.
June 19 SpeedSTR Feature, 30 laps: 1.Billy Pauch Sr., 2.Briggs Danner, 3.Tim Buckwalter, 4.Billy Pauch Jr., 5.Matt Janisch, 6.Nate Schumaker, 7.Dustin Morris, 8.Scott Houdeshell, 9.Shea Wills, 10.Tyler Kehs, 11.Dan Schumaker, 12.Kyle Herve, 13.Cole Stangle, 14.Sammy Martz Jr., 15.Paulie Hartwig III, 16.Connor Gross, 17.Cale Zangli, 18.Chuck Eckert, 19.Steve Young, 20.John Barnett.

SpeedSTR’s Ronnie Tobias Memorial (Postponed by rain on June 5), 30 laps: 1.Briggs Danner, 2.Tim Buckwalter, 3.Billy Pauch Jr., 4.Matt Janisch, 5.Billy Pauch Sr., 6.Dustin Morris, 7.Tyler Kehs, 8.Shea Wills, 9.Scott Houdeshell, 10.Dan Schumaker, 11.Kyle Herve, 12.Connor Gross, 13.Cole Stangle, 14.Sammy Martz Jr.
DNS: Nate Schumaker, Cale Zangli, Chuck Eckert, Steve Young, John Barnett, Mike Bednar.

Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, 25 laps: 1.Gunnar Pio, 2.Connor Gross, 3.Tim Buckwalter, 4.Zack Bealer, 5.Colin White, 6.Briggs Danner, 7.Alex Ruppert, 8.Zack Weisenfluh, 9.Joe Nemeth, 10.Kenny Miller III, 11.Justin Yohn, 12.Aidan Donaldson, 13.Dylan Hahn, 14.Christian Bruno, 15.James Roselli, 16.Jacob Severn, 17.Tyler Henry, 18.Vince Gueci, 19.Jake Fisher, 20.Weston Doklan 21.Lukas Kostic, 22.Connor Mirabelli, 23.Kyle Lick, 24.Zach Curtis, 25.Jasper Ziegafuse, 26.Julian Rexrode, 27.Sonny Tete, 28.Shelby McLaughlin, 29.James Hendricks.
DNQ: Cole Dewease, Dan Lane, Tyler Lindsay, Bobby Butler, Richie Baker, Jarid Kunkle, Preston Lattomus, Craig Whitmoyer, Matt Chowns, Jacob Homnick, Dakota Barlet.

All Star Slingshots, 20 laps: 1.Tyler Hoch, 2.Chase Schott, 3.Dylan Hoch, 4.Dave Carraghan, 5.Tyler Ulsh, 6.Luke McCloskey, 7.Brett Bieber, 8.Shawn Dengler, 9.Patrick Weiss, 10.Tyler Lilick, 11.Daniel Betz, 12.Amanda Angstadt, 13.Mike Maguire, 14.Gavin Danner, 15.Brianna Snyder, 16.Troy Kline. DNS: Austin Kroboth.

Junior Slingshots, 15 laps: 1.Landon McNichol, 2.Carter Mullins, 3.Matthew Laubach, 4.Hannah Kormann, 5.Brandon Lilick, 6.Billy Pauch III, 7.Charlie Moore, 8.Kaleb Stofflet, 9.Colton Henry, 10.Jon Severn, 11.Lily Esterly.

PHOTO: Billy Pauch Sr. stands in victory lane after his exciting SpeedSTR win on June 19. [Barry Angstadt photo].

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