Poole Becomes Fifth Different Winner At Motordrome
(Smithton, PA) - Popular veteran Mark Poole, of Eighty-Four, PA, won his first NASCAR Late Model feature race of the year, by a convincing margin, on Friday July 11, 2014 at Motordrome Speedway. Chad Gorring won for the first time in his career in the Charger division, while Dustin Blank (Modifieds), A.J. Poljak (Street Stocks), and Aaron Van Fleet (Subway Super Compacts) also visited victory lane in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Defending Champ Garry WIltrout and his teammate, two-time winner Bobby Henry each won a preliminary heat race for the NASCAR Late Models. For the 40-lap feature, Mark Poole started in the pole position, alongside Wiltrout. When the green flag waved, Poole grabbed the lead, with Wiltrout close in tow. Poole, several times a winner at Motordrome, reduced his racing schedule to “part time” in 2013 and 2014, resulting in a victory drought. Before the mid-point of the race, Poole had built a comfortable interval over Wiltrout, who leads all drivers with three Late Model wins this year. Henry was riding in third place, feeling pressure from the previous week’s winner Matt Sever. Sever, like Henry, has scored two wins in 2014. Poole, the only driver in the top four positions without a victory this season, stretched out his margin, and his lead was never threatened in the first half of the race. A caution flag on lap 21, allowed Wiltrout to restart alongside Poole, with Henry and Sever in row two for the double-file green flag. But like the first stanza, Poole rocketed out to an insurmountable lead in the second half of the event as well. Turning in the most dominant performance of the year, Poole led every lap and won his first event in more than two seasons by a comfortable distance over the field. Wiltrout finished second, Henry placed third, and Sever crossed the line fourth. Steve Black, in spite of hitting the outside wall exiting turn four earlier in the event, finished in the top five. In victory lane with his Howard Concrete Pumping/Stan’s Transmissions Chevrolet, Poole recalled a conversation he had in the pits before the feature race began.
“After that close heat race battle with Bobby (Henry), I asked him: ‘you were just playing with me, weren’t you?’ But Bobby told me that he was giving it all he had to win that heat race, and that my car was real fast. He was right,” Poole laughed.
After first time Motordrome visitor, third generation racer Lucas Ripley won a Modified heat race, his father Todd Ripley started on the pole for the 25-lap Mod feature. Todd, the Elder Ripley, a Champion in his homestate of Ohio, held off challenges from Bobby Shipp – both in their first race of the year at The ‘Drome. For seven laps Shipp chased leader Ripley, while heat race winner Dustin Blank climbed into third place after a heated duel with defending Champ Matt Smith. Smith won the two previous weeks, while Blank, who started in sixth place, had a string of three consecutive wins prior in 2014. On lap eight, Blank powered by Shipp for second place, igniting a thrilling ten lap fight for the lead with Buckeye invader, Ripley. With just six laps to go, amidst position battles throughout the entire field, Blank made the winning pass, and drove to the fourth win of his first season in Modified racing. Blank praised his hard working crew, after his car was upside-down on the backstretch just two weeks earlier. Ripley finished second in a rare start on Pennsylvania soil, with Matt Smith steering the “Nuclear Banana” to a third place finish. Six time Champ Adam Kostelnik crossed the finish line fourth with Shipp in fifth place.
Young Zane Ferrell, a former Charger division Champion, led the first lap of the Street Stocks’ 15-lap feature. But on lap two, heat race winner A.J. Poljak stormed from his starting position of fourth to take the lead. Once in front, defending Champ Poljak cruised to another victory to preserve his “perfect” season of asphalt racing. The versatile Poljak has raced dirt track cars this season and even made his first career start in an asphalt Modified – which he won. Headed into next week’s Street Stock special event, undefeated Poljak brings a commanding lead in the point standings. Scott Aiello finished in second place with Ferrell taking third position. Ryan Escott and Joe Holp placed fourth and fifth.
Veteran Roger Bryan, a graduate of the Super Compacts, took the lead on the first of 15-laps in the Charger division feature. Fourth place starter Chad Gorring moved into second place passing New York’s Terry Weldy and Joe Geary. On lap five, Gorring took the lead from Bryan, and drove away from the pack for a first career victory. Gorring won a heat race earlier in 2014, and has used the same car to race on dirt tracks this season. To earn his first trophy he outran points leader Anthony Aiello, who finished second after starting fifth. Geary placed third with Bryan in fourth position. Heat race winner Ron Eiford, III crossed the finish line in fifth place.
The Subway Super Compacts’ 15-lap feature started with Kyle Komarinski on the pole, seeking his first win of 2014. He led the first four laps before points leader Paul Koffler, Jr. moved from the fifth starting spot to the head of the pack. On lap six, Aaron Van Fleet grabbed second place and immediately challenged Koffler. Van Fleet made the winning pass on lap eight, and cruised to his second-consecutive victory. Koffler placed second ahead of Komarinski, rookie Chris Richter, and Brian Noel in the remaining “top five” positions. Van Fleet and Koffler won the heat races.
This Friday, July 18th all five NASCAR Whelen All American Series Divisions will be back in action including a 30 Lap Special Event for the Street Stock Division.