CORNING — Five wins in seven starts is, without a doubt, domination.
Not one, but two drivers have started their season at ACS with such numbers — Jesse Dennis, in his No. 70 Poet Biorefining modified, and Jon Plowman, in his No. 17 Stalker Chevrolet b-mod. This week they started 10th and 12th respectively and both went on to dominating wins.
Jeremy Auten returned with a new hobby stock and went from the back of the pack to take his first win of the season, while Clay Mercer lead from green to checkers in the Northland Oil pro-stock race. And in the Coors Light late models, Jason O’Brien followed a week filled with controversy with his second win of the season, closing the points gap on points leader Chris Spieker.
With a track that transitioned from a heavy, very fast track a week ago to a dry-slick driver’s dream track this week, lap times were about three seconds slower, but the racing action was better than ever. The ability to pass was demonstrated in the first feature of the night by Chat Mobility hobby stock veteran Jeremy Auten. Missing the call for his heat race, Auten was forced to start dead last in the 15 lap feature.
Pole sitter Chris Bates paced the first half of the feature before relinquishing the lead to two-time winner so far this season, Luke Ramsey. But Ramsey’s grip on the lead lasted only three short laps as Auten, who had started 16th, wound his way through the field to blow by him on the back shoot with four laps to go. Ramsey held off Jeremy Purdy for second, with Andy Davison fourth and Kurt Hansen fifth.
Purdy remains atop the points race with 20 points separating him from Tom Myers. Only one point back in third is Andy Davison and one more point back in fourth is Ramsey. Purdy and Myers are both winless on the season.
“Four in row!” was the battle cry from Stalker Chevrolet b-mod driver Jon Plowman, as he hoisted another trophy in the Miller Light victory lane. With five wins in seven starts, he is off to a roaring start for a second track title, and perhaps even a shot at the national championship.
Starting 12th in a field of 19, Plowman needed 10 laps to reach the lead and move out to a three-second victory margin. Behind him, Cody Werner, Jerod Weston, Blain Petersen, and Josh Sink battled for second through fifth.
Thirty-five points separate Plowman from second place Jerod Weston with one third of the 2014 season in the books. Ten points back in third is Josh Sink.
While the first two features saw drivers come from well back in the field for the win, pro-stock driver Clay Mercer had the good fortune of starting on the pole for his 18 lap feature race.
It didn’t take long for Greg Miller’s No. 83 and Joe Zadina’s No. 3 to be harassing Mercer’s lead, but try as they would, neither driver was able to take the lead away. With very few cautions to slow the field, two three-car battles emerged, with the first for the lead and then Tony Hardisty, Craig Garner, and Jason Rold battling for fourth through sixth.
At the checkers, it was Mercer, Miller, Zadina, Hardisty, Garner, and Rold. Just one point separates the top two in the point chase, with Zadina on top and Miller right behind. Tony Hardisty is six points further behind in third and Brad Derry is just 11 points off the lead in what is the tightest points battle at the speedway.
Like Plowman, Jesse Dennis has five wins in seven starts this season in his Poet Biorefining modified. This week made it three in a row, as he pedaled from outside row five to take the lead just seven laps into the race.
Using the very top of the race track to perfection, his margin of victory was 2.3 seconds over second place Jeff Wiggins. Jeff James and Todd Van Eaton finished third and fourth, while Russell Stewart, back at the speedway and piloting the No. 56 modified formerly driven by Chris Spieker, came home fifth.
With one third of the season in the books, Dennis holds a whopping 69 point lead over James, with Van Eaton just six points further back in third.
A week ago, it was Chris Spieker’s late model turning laps in 19.4 seconds and besting the field, while Jason O’Brien angered many of his fellow drivers with his aggressive driving style, as he struggled to a fifth place finish.
This week, lap times were two to three seconds slower on a smooth, dry-slick track, but the racing action was better than ever.
Third year driver Daulton Maassen, starting on the front row beside his grandfather Fred Miller, paced the first eight laps of the race. Meanwhile, O’Brien found his way cleanly through traffic to move into second place by lap six, reeled in Daulton’s considerable lead, and made the pass to the front on lap 10.
Josh Krug, Chris Spieker, and Billy Leighton, Jr., started right behind O’Brien and followed him through the traffic, but ended in second, third, and fourth respectively. Leon Zeitner came home fifth.
SLMR June 7
Joe Kosiski’s SLMR (Super Late Model Racing) series will make its first of two appearances at ACS Saturday night. A great field of the top regional late models will be on hand to battle for the winner’s purse of $2,000. Support classes will include modifieds, b-mods, pro-stocks and hobby stocks, all racing for NASCAR Whelen All-American series points.
Adults will be $15 with teens and youth prices remaining unchanged from $5 and $2. A family pass, good for two adults and all the children living in the home, is $35. Gates open at the regular time of 5 p.m., with hot laps at 6:30 and racing to follow.