Chub Frank returns to Victory Lane in Dick Litz Memorial!
Brandon Groters and Joel Watson get third wins of the year, Gurdak, Chris McGuire, and Jason Brightman get first wins!
By Jay Pees
Hammett, PA, (June 1, 2014): Sunday was the annual Dick Litz Memorial for the Jay’s Auto Wrecking Super Late Models in honor of the 1983 Eriez Speedway champion with the Super Late Models racing for $2900 to win. The evening started with a belated award from the annual banquet held last fall. Every year a fan of the year is selected but this year the choice had already left to winter in Florida. Tom Dill won the very first late model feature at Eriez on July 21, 1961 and still attends as often as possible.
The track officials decided Tom needed one more trophy for his wall and with him returning from Florida this week he, of course, made the trip to Eriez. Before the night’s racing commenced, the trophy was presented by track announcer Tom Woolslayer.
Dick Litz was one of the most popular drivers ever to race at Eriez Speedway and was here for the very first season in 1961. Litz was a fixture near the front of the pack and in 1983 succeeded in winning the Eriez track championship. He had also been the 1982 Stateline track champion. Eriez Speedway sets aside one night a season to remember this pioneer of the sport.
Chub Frank started outside the front row and sped away at the start of the Jay’s Auto Wrecking Super Late Models Dick Litz Memorial, speeding to his first win at Eriez in several years. The World of Outlaws Late Model star only makes rare trips to his home area where he was the 1988 track champion. Scott Gurdak won the FASTRAK Crate Late Model feature and Joel Watson won his third E-Mod feature of the year at Eriez and eighth overall in the young season in a controversial finish. Chris McGuire piloted his Limited Late Model to his first win of the season while Brandon Groters drove to his third consecutive Street Stock feature win. Jason Brightman captured the night-capper for the Challenger division.
Twenty-two cars started the 29-lap Dick Litz Memorial for the Jay’s Auto Wrecking Super Late Models with former champions Mike Knight and Chub Frank on the front row with “Chubzilla” taking the lead on the first lap. Dave Hess, also a former champion, looped his mount in turn two slowing the event before lap two could be completed. In turn two at lap three Max Blair got sideways in turn two and recovered but the rest of the field ‘accordianed’, eventually involving seven cars. When the field settled down after two more cautions before lap five Frank led Knight, Max Blair, Robbie Blair, and Matt Urban, the twelfth-place starter. At halfway the order was still the same with the Blair’s side by side for third. The elder Blair had the spot a lap later and started closing on Knight in traffic, who was closing the gap on Frank. Rob Blair got into second with five to go but Frank had opened up a lead once he cleared lapped traffic and went on to the win. Behind Rob Blair it was Knight, Max Blair, and Urban.
The Waterford Hotel Street Stocks were led to the green by Brandon Groters, looking for his third win in a row, with Kenny Lamp, winless thus far in ’14, on the outside. At turn four on lap one several cars got together with Jeremy Williams and defending champion John Phelps retiring to the pit area but Phelps made it back to the track before green again flew. Groters immediately assumed the lead with Jimmy Kennerknecht second and Mark Thompson third. Groters remained in front with Don McGuire coming to second at lap twelve. At the checkers it was Groters with the win with Kennerknecht coming back to second at the end over McGuire, then Mark Thompson, and Carl Marcy filling out the top five.
Chris McGuire on the inside and Nate Short, looking for his third win in a row on the outside front row, led the Conway & O’Malley Limited Late Models field to the green with McGuire leading at the end of one. Opening night winner Kelly Frederes ran third in the early laps with Chris Ottaway coming to fourth and Pat McGuire fifth. At lap eight Ottaway was side by side with Frederes but wasn’t able to get by until lap fourteen. Two laps later Short was back to third. With three to go Dustin Eckman, driving a car purchased from Dan Maxim earlier in the day, came to fifth. At the finish it was McGuire for his first win of the year over Short, Ottaway, Frederes, and Eckman.
Kyle Zimmerman and Scott Gurdak brought the Bonnell Collision Center FASTRAK Late Models to the green for their twenty lap feature with Zimmerman leading the way at the end of one lap. Max Blair and Gurdak fought over second with Gurdak barley holding off the two time winner for five laps then securing the position and using the high line to come by the leader one lap prior to halfway just as Khole Wanzer lost the handle in turn four. The order for the restart was Gurdak, Zimmerman, Blair, Darrell Bossard, and Bobby Rohrer. One lap after green Zimmerman solidified his grip on second from Blair. With five remaining Mike Knight was up to fourth with Zimmerman threatening Gurdak’s lead with four to go. The leaders raced side by side until the lapped car of Mike Lozowski slowed Zimmerman’s pace just as he had eased ahead and allowed Gurdak to go on to the win, his first of the season. Zimmerman was second with Blair third, Knight fourth, and Rohrer fifth.
The Plyler Overhead Door E-Mods had Butch Southwell and Mike Smith on the front row but it was defending champion Rich Michael leading before three laps into the twenty lap finale. Four laps were in before the first caution, brought on by Steve Sornberger, who spun in turn one, collecting Mike Bambarger. Michael led after green with Dave Hess coming to second and Joel Watson third. Another caution came at lap ten when Steve Simon looped his mount and kept going but Justin Carlson spun just past the spinning Simon. Watson got to second at the drop of the green with John Boyd getting by Hess coming out of turn two. After the green from caution Watson began battling Michael but scraped the backstretch wall at lap fifteen. Hess got back to third with five to go. Caution flew with two to go for a car stalled on the front straight. Under caution Watson and Michael got together with Michael ending up with a damaged right front, damaged enough that he retired to the pit. Hess got alongside Watson coming out of turn four for a side by side finish with Watson narrowly gaining the win. Boyd was third with Southwell fourth and Gary Eicher fifth.
Roger Hall and Jason Brightman brought the Kandy’s Gentleman’s Club Challengers field to the green but red had to be thrown on lap one when Tim Brightman got into the back chute wall and rolled over. He escaped uninjured and the race was restarted from the original lineup. Hall led with Jason Brightman second until caution flew at the end of lap two when Drew Panko lost a tire that stayed on the track too long. Brightman led after green with last week’s winner Matt Marcy coming to second by lap four when caution again flew, this time when Gary Olson encountered the turn two wall. After green Brightman and Marcy swapped the lead over two laps with Marcy taking over with four to go then having mechanical problems and falling out of the event a lap later. Brightman went on to the win with Joe Beach second, Justin Boardman third, Travis Darling fourth, and Roger Hall fifth.
Jay’s Auto Wrecking Super Late Models Dick Litz Memorial:
Feature: Chub Frank, Rob Blair, Mike Knight, Max Blair, Matt Urban, Russ King, Greg Oakes, Chris Hackett, Boom Briggs, Andy Boozel, Darrell Bossard, Ryan Scott, Steve Kania, Rich Gardner, Bump Hedman, Scott Gurdak, Bob Dorman, Chuck Parker, Chris Peterson, Michael Oakes, Jordan Eck, Dave Hess
Bonnell Collision FASTRAK Crate Late Models:
Feature: Scott Gurdak, Kyle Zimmerman, Max Blair, Mike Knight, Bobby Rohrer, Matt Latta, Darrell Bossard, Bruce Hordusky, Jamie Brown, Dave Lyon, Matt Harvey, Eric Andrus, Wyatt Scott, Mark Tatalovic, Khole Wanzer, Chad Schauers, Mike Lozowski, Kevin Hill, Mike Mitchell
Plyler Overhead Door E-Mods:
Feature: Joel Watson, Dave Hess, John Boyd, Butch Southwell, Gary Eicher, Tom Hagberg, Chad Carlson, Steve Sornberger, Mike Bambarger, Rich Michael, Eric Teinwald, Mike Smith, Steve Simon, Justin Carlson, John Boardman, Mike McGee
Conway and O’Malley Limited Late Models:
Feature: Chris McGuire, Nate Short, Kelly Frederes, Chris Ottaway, Dustin Eckman, Pat McGuire, Tyler Green, John Cline Sr, John Cline Jr, Matt Tuzynski, Rodney Tomes, Ryan Scott
Waterford Hotel Street Stocks:
Feature: Brandon Groters, Jimmy Kennerknecht, Don McGuire, Mark Thompson, Carl Marcy, Kenny Lamp, Tyler Lyngarkos, Art Edwards, Elaine Best, Eric Andrus, John Phelps, Eric Paulus, Jeremy Williams, Ron Boardman (DNS), Gary Fisher (DNS, Guy Adams (DNS)
Kandy’s Gentlemen’ Challengers:
Feature: Jason Brightman, Joe Beach, Justin Boardman, Travis Darling, Roger Hall, Ryan White, Andy Proper, Kelsey Parker, Wes Stull, Chris Panko, Ken Luma, Matt Marcy, Tim Fisher, Gary Olson, Jean Fowler, Steve Morse, Drew Panko, Tim Brightman, Leo Hanlon, Tom Cup (DNS), Todd Hanlom (DNS), Skip Jackson (DNS), Casey Burch (DNS)