East Smethport, PA (September 30, 2017):
Stephanie Eckl and Corporal Jason Dunham were remembered at McKean County Raceway Saturday night in the season-ending events encompassing eight divisions of racing. The evening’s activities were started with announcer Ken Leet reading of the bravery Corporal Jason Dunham, who gave his life in Iraq in April 2004. Every summer MCR remembers this act of unselfish bravery to save the lives of his unit. Also remembered was Stephanie Eckl, who tragically passed from this life as the result of a highway accident in 2004. The first Stephanie Eckl Memorial was held in 2005.
Then, on track, the season weekly racing champions were honored. The Mandy’s Young Guns Champion was Josh Isaman The Mary Norgrove Notoro Mini Stock Champion was Dave Lowe Jr, the Raught’s Country Kitchen Pure Stocks was Zack Gustafson, the Advocare by Advozuvy.com. Street Stocks Champion was Rich Wotjowicz and the Close Racing Supply RUSH Pro Mod Champion was Vic Vena. The Little Power Shop RUSH Crate Late Model Champion was Brad Mesler.
The first feature on the track was the Advocare by Advozuvy.com/Penn Ohio Street Stockswith Bobby Whitling and Bob Schwartzmiller at the front of the 26-Car field. Whitling took off with the early lead with Schwartzmiller and Jeremy Wonderling in close pursuit. With four laps in, William Hurrellbrink spun on the main straight. Andrew Gordon came to second at seven laps in and started chasing down Whitling. At ten complete he had closed to a length behind and was challenging for the lead a lap later. Yellow flew at eleven laps when Allen English spun in turn two. Jeremy Wonderling came to second at green but Gordon again had the position at the halfway point. Rusty Martz was fourth at that point with Bob Connor fifth. Gordon ran a steady two lengths behind the leader until Whitling caught the rear of the field when Gordon closed and pulled alongside at 21-laps. At 22-laps, in traffic, Whitling again pulled away and at the white flag was five lengths ahead. Whitling won by eight lengths over Gordon with Wonderling third, Martz fourth, and Curt Bish fifth.
Dylan Edminster led the Mandy’s Young Guns feature through a caution at lap three laps when Daymon Clark spun in turn on. After green again flew Edminster again led with Dustin Skinner second and Eric Canfield third. Edminster was in lapped traffic with two laps left when Josh Eisaman came to a halt trying to get to the pit, slowing the race under yellow. Dustin Skinner challenged over the remaining laps but Edminster went on to the win over Skinner, Canfield, Brooke McClain, and C J Sherwood.
Max Blair and Brad Mesler brought the 24-Car Little Power Shop RUSH Crate Late Models Corporal Jason Dunham Memorial to green with Mesler leading the way at lap one but Blair coming back to lead lap two by half a car-length then pulling ahead to a comfortable ten car advantage at lap four with John Waters and Eric Wilson both getting by Mesler at five laps. D J Krug looped his mount at seven complete, slowing the race under caution. Blair, Waters, Wilson, Mesler, and Dennis Lunger Jr were the top five for the race resumption. At green Wilson charged to second but Darren Horton spun in two, negating Wilson’s pass. Blair again was the leader after green with Waters holding on to second this time. At eleven laps Krug again spun, this time on the back straight. This restart had Blair again take off in the lead but Krug, Tony White, and Jason Harmon all got together, spinning in turn one. Waters used the high line to lead through turn two but then Blair was the leader. Mesler slowed suddenly out of turn four at lap thirteen, triggering a four car pileup, involving Bryce Davis, Krug, Jason Knowles, and Paul Norman. Krug was sent pitside as it was his third charged caution. Blair, Waters, Wilson, Mike Pegher, and Paul Grigsby were the top five with ten to go. With 20 laps complete Blair was getting to lapped traffic allowing Waters to close slightly. Waters was challenging for the lead at three left but Blair then pulled back to a three length advantage at the checkers. Wilson wound up third with Pegher fourth and Paul Grigsby fifth.
Mike Pegher and Greg Oakes were the front row for the Race Fan 30/Stephanie Eckl Memorial with points leader Dave Hess Jr and Chad Ruhlman in row two. All 26 cars started the event. Pegher and Oakes ran side by side for lap one with Oakes slightly ahead at the stripe then opening a three length lead at the end of two laps with Hess, Ruhlman, and Brady Wonderling filling out the top five. At six laps Oakes was lapping the back markers and Pegher was again challenging for the lead. Dave DuBois spun in turn one at eleven laps, slowing the field and eliminating the heavy traffic for the leaders. Oakes started opening a lead after green with Pegher, Hess, Max Blair, and Brady Wonderling following. At thirteen laps Mike Lupfer clipped a tractor tire in turn one, got sideways, causing a “chain reaction” that eventually involved seven cars stopped on the track. At 14 laps Blair was third as Oakes continued to extend his lead after green, again starting to lap the rear of the field at eighteen circuits complete. Blair got by Pegher in traffic at twenty then slid high, allowing Pegher to gat back to second. At lap 25 Pegher went high in turn one allowing Blair to advance to second. At 26 laps Rob Middleton spun out on the back straight, putting Blair right on Oakes’ rear bumper for the restart. Oakes opened a three length lead on Blair at green and added to it but five cars piled up in turn four, including Garrett Mott, Brent Rhebergen, John Myer, John Rohacevich, and Rich Gardner. With two laps left Blair chose the outside for the start behind Oakes. Another caution set up a one lap dash for cash. Oakes went on to the win over Blair, Pegher, Hess, and Charlie Powell. In Victory Lane ceremonies point champion Dave Hess Jr and 42-year veteran Rich Gardner were also honored. Gardner had been a McKean County regular in 1986 through 1988 and was one of the most popular drivers ever to race in the area. He had announced earlier in the week that this race would be the final event of his career. McKean County Raceway was the site of four wins (including the 2012 Fall Classic) for the Waterford, PA native of his 78 total feature wins. His first-ever Late Model feature win came at McKean County Raceway in 1985 in a Mopar-powered Dodge Daytona.
The Pure Stock feature started with Dustin Challengsworth and Aaron Miller on the front row of the 22 car feature. Challingsworth led through lap two when William Bigley spun in turn one then pulled out in front of the leaders. He was black flagged for the incident. Challingsworth again led after green with Ken Shelly coming to second then spinning in turn four, again slowing the race. At this green Roger Schweikart Jr took over the lead after one lap. Yellow flew again when Larry Mitchell Jr suffered a flat left rear and slowed in traffic at five complete. Fred Ely and Kylee Brown got together in turn two before another lap was complete. When the field got to turn two James Thompson jumped the wheel of Greg Andrews with Dylan Greene, having no place to go, also getting involved. Roger Schweikart Jr took off with the lead again with Ely falling back. Mark Schweikart spun in turn two with nine complete, collecting Aaron Miller. Jake Mascho took over second at thirteen laps just as caution again flew when Justin Yohe came to a halt in turn two. Mascho was challenging at lap fourteen but Schweikart pulled out to a four length lead by fifteen when Greene spun in turn two. Yellow again flew with two to go when Challingsworth spun in turn two and Ryan Snyder slowed to a stop at the end of the front straight. Roger Schweikart Jr went on to the win over Mascho, Gustafson, Dennis Hathaway, and James Thompson.
The 25 lap E-Mod finale started with Kirk Bradley and Greg Johnson scheduled for row one but Bradley was unable to answer the call, elevating Gary Eicher to the pole position. Eicher led from green with third starting Joel Watson coming to second at one lap. Eicher led Watson, Greg Johnson, Dennis Lunger Jr, and Darren Tarabori for three laps when Dave Lamphere spun in turn four, drawing the first caution. Eicher then pulled away from Watson, who was putting distance on Johnson with Brewer and Tarabori holding fourth and fifth at ten laps. At halfway Eicher had a half straight lead over Watson, who in turn had a half lap on Johnson. In heavy traffic Eicher was able to maintain a near half straight lead until two laps from the finish when Eicher got into a lapped car and spun out of the lead, advancing Watson to the front spot. Johnson restarted second with Lunger, Carl McKinney, and Mike McGee filling out the top five. With the white flag in the air Brent Rhebergen came to a stop on the back straight, setting up a one lap dash to the win. Watson, Johnson, Lunger, McGee, and McKinney brought the field back to green. Darren Tarabori wound up taking fifth from McKinney on the final lap.
Anthony Smith and Davey Lowe Jr brought the Mary Norgrove Notary Public Mini Stocks to green with Lowe leading lap one then Kurt Babcock taking over at lap two. Caution flew for two cars slow on the track before three laps were complete. Five cars piled up in turn four before a lap after green was complete. Lowe was back to the lead at four with Babcock second and Andy Proper third when Matt Mead had fire under his mount, causing the red flag to be displayed. Lowe was “docked” two spots for “jumping the start”, putting Babcock back to the front. Another yellow was thrown before the first lap under green finished. Lowe got back to third at seven laps while Babcock and Proper were setting a blistering pace, even in lapped traffic. Two cars stopped trying to exit the track at nine laps, again slowing the pace and bunching the field. Yet another yellow for a car slowing with a flat tire interrupted the action. Babcock then led Proper, Lowe, Holden Heineman, and Greg Rockwell to the checkers.
The final race of the 2017 season at McKean County Raceway was the Close Racing Supply RUSH Pro Mods for a fifteen lap night capper. Billy Deming and Vic Vena composed the front row for the night-capper with Vena grabbing the immediate lead and Dennis Lunger Jr coming to second. Dana Stevens spun in turn two at four laps. At halfway the top five were Vena, Lunger, Greg Johnson, Nate Hartzell, and Deming. Vena went on to the win under constant pressure from Lunger, who wound up second over Johnson Deming, and Clayton Tarabori.
ULMS Super Late Models:
Heat 1: Mike Pegher, Dave Hess Jr, Max Blair, Rich Gardner, Bobby Rohrer, John Rohacevich, Rob Middleton
Heat 2: Dan Stone, Chris Hackett, Garrett Mott, Bob Dorman, John Weaver, Dan Boyd, Breyton Santee
Heat 3: Greg Oakes, Brady Wonderling, Bump Hedman, Al Brewer, Dave DuBois, Ken Shaeffer, John Oakes
Heat 4: Chad Ruhlman, Charles Powell Jr, Brent Rhebergen, Mike Lupfer, Jason Dobson, Matthew Wilson, John Myers
Zimmer’s Service Center/ULMS/Stephanie Eckl Memorial Feature: Greg Oakes, Max Blair, Mike Pegher, Dave Hess Jr, Charlie Powell, Chad Ruhlman, Dan Stone, Brady Wonderling, Chris Hackett, Rich Gardner, Mike Lupfer, Bump Hedman, Brent Rhebergen, Bob Dorman, John Weaver, Garrett Mott, 75x, David DuBois, John Rohacevich, John Myer, Rob Middleton, Matthew Wilson, Al Brewer, Bobby Rohrer, Dan Boyd, Breyton Santee
Little Power Shop RUSH Crate Late Models
Heat 1: John Waters, Mike Pegher, Jeremy Wonderling, Greg Beach, Jeff Hoffman, Jason Harman, Dennis Cummings, Andy Michael, Josh Ayers
Heat 2: Max Blair, Dennis Lunger Jr, Brian Knowles, Bryce Davis, Brian Swank, Mike Wonderling, Erin Peters, Paul Norman, D J Krug
Heat 3: Brad Mesler, Eric Wilson, Jason Knowles, Paul Grigsby, Steve LaBarron, Darin Horton, Kyle Murray, Tony White
K & N Cold Air Induction Dash: Max Blair, Brad Mesler, Dennis Lunger Jr, John Waters, Mike Pegher, Eric Wilson
B-Main: Andy Michael, Erin Peters, Kyle Murray, Paul Norman, D J Krug, Tony White, Dennis Cummings, Josh Ayers
Corporal Jason Dunham Memorial Feature: Max Blair, John Waters, Eric Wilson, Mike Pegher Jr, Brad Mesler, Dennis Lunger Jr, Brian Knowles, Brian Swank, Scott LaBarron, Mike Wonderling, Jeff Hoffman, Erin Peters, Greg Beach, Kyle Murray, Paul Norman, Andy Michael, Darin Horton, Tony White, Brad Mesler, Jason Knowles, Bryce Davis, Jason Harmon
Heat 1: Joel Watson, Gary Eicher, Greg Johnson, Mike McGee, Ken Zimmer, Brent Rhebergen, David Lamphere
Heat 2: Darren Tarabori, Dennis Lunger Jr, Kirk Bradley, Carl McKinney, John Boyd, Bob Connor, Al Brewer
Heat 3: Vic Vena, Steve Rex, Randy Hall, Josh Ferry, Alan Atkinson, Mike Eschrich
Feature: Joel Watson, Greg Johnson, Dennis Lunger Jr, Mike McGee, Darren Tarabori Carl McKinney, Vic Vena, Ken Zimmer, Randy Hall, Steve Rex, Gary Eicher, John Boyd, Al Brewer, Brent Rhebergen, David Lamphere, Bob Connor, Kirk Bradley (DNS), Mike Eschrich (DNS)
Close Racing Supply RUSH Pro-Mods:
Heat 1: Dennis Lunger Jr, Vic Vena, Zach Johnson, Billy Deming, Clayton Tarabori, Nate Hartzell, Mike Tarabori, Dana Stevers
Feature: Vic Vena, Dennis Lunger Jr, Zach Johnson, Billy Deming, Clayton Tarabori, Mike Tarabori, Nate Hartzell, Dana Stevens
Advocare by Advozuvy.com. Penn Ohio Street Stocks
Heat 1: Bob McMillen, Randy Wyant, Leigh Wheeler, Garrett Calvert, Nick Rocuba , Curt Bish, Brad Curran Jr, Bill Hurrellbrink, Tom Bish, Ed Coast
Heat 2: Tom McFall, Bobby Whitling, Pat Fielding, Jason Fausnaught, Rod Laskey, Andrew Eastman, John Zimmerman, Carl Marcy, Paul Nelson II, Jeremy Perry
Heat 3: Curt J Bish, Andrew Gordon, John Boardman, Rusty Martz, Bobby Heim, Like Rutsky, Robert Brown, Jake Mascho, Victor Earle Jr
Heat 4: Allen English, Bob Schwartzmiller, Paul Davis, Scott Freer, Terry Wheeler, Joe Stajnrajh, 17m, Gary Fisher, Jason Black
Feature: Bobby Whitling, Andrew Gordon, Jeremy Wonderling, Rusty Martz, Curt Bish (29), Randy Wyant, Jason Fasnaught, Leigh Wheeler, Bob Schwartzmiller, Luke Rutsky, Rusty Moore, Bob McMillen, John Boardman, Garrett Calvert, Paul Davis, Joe Stajnrajh, Allen English, Curt Bish (00B). Bobby Heim, Pat Fielding, Victor Earle Jr, Terry Wheeler, Nick Rocuba, Bill Hurrellbrink, Carl Marcy
Raught’s Country Kitchen Pure Stocks:
Heat 1: Mark Schweikart, Dustin Challingsworth, Dennis Hathaway, Larry Mitchel Jr, Joe Layfield, Paul Beill, Greg Andrews, Kylee Brown
Heat 2: William Bigley, Ryan Snyder, Aaron Miller, Dalton Gustafson, Barry Burritt, Justin Yohe, James Thompson
Heat 3: Jake Mascho, Ken Shelly, Roger Schweikart, James Weatherly, Fred Ely, Chris Horton, Andy Frye
Mary Norgrove Notary Public Mini Stocks:
Heat 1: Dante Mancuso, Holden Heineman, Bob Leonard, Kurt Goodall, Olivia Coniber, Glen Lamper, Travis Babcock
Heat 2: Andy Proper, Anthony Smith, Anthony Schoonover, Steve Rhoades, Justin Fuller, Andrew Kremer, Tom Childs
Heat 3: Kurt Babcock, Mitchell Rex, Dave Lowe Sr, Duane Powers, Jake Sirlon, Eric Canfield
Heat 4: Dave Lowe Jr, Greg Rockwell, Donnie Clemons, Mike Torrance, Albert Rhodes, Billy Williams
Feature: Holden Heineman, Andy Proper, Dante Mancuso, Davey Lowe Jr, Kurt Babcock, 18, Anthony Smith, Donnie Clemons, Billy Williams, Tom Childs, Bob Leonard, 19, Dave Lowe Sr, 3 Sr, 74, Jake Sirlon, Justin Fuller, Greg Rockwell, 15x, Mike Torrance, 89, Matt Mead, Travis Babcock, 85, 3D, Mitchell Rex, 004, 47 (DNS), Bartos (DNS)
Mandy’s Young Guns:
Heat: Josh Isaman, Dylan Edminster, Brooke McClain, Josh Canfield, Dustin Skinner, Daymar Clark, Gavin Pearce, C J Sherwood, Devon Tarr, Dustin Cowells
Feature: Dylan Edminster, Dustin Skinner, Josh Canfield, Brooke McClain, C J Sherwood, Dustin Cowells, Gavin Pearce, Devon Tarr, Josh Isaman, Daymar Clark