Afton Motorsports Park Race Report

Late Race Passes at Afton Motorsports Park Nab Wins for Bachetti and Clark — Smith, Christensen, and Polhamus Score Dominating Wins on Afton Driving Park Night

By JR Kennerup

Afton Motorsports Park recap for June 9, 2017 ~ Afton Driving Park Night


ZMK Construction Modifieds Winner Andy Bachetti
Andy Bachetti wins the modified class on 06/09/2017 image

Scorpion Security Products Open Sportsman Winner Travis Smith
Travis Smith wins in the Open Sportsman class on 06/09/2017 image

Ted's Body Shop Crate Sportsman Winner Cody Clark
Cody Clark wins in the Crate Sportsman class on 06/09/2017 image

Auto Plus Street Stocks Winner Doug Polhamus
Doug Polhamus wins in the Street Stock class on 06/09/2017 image

Chambers & O'Hara 4 Cylinder Trucks Winner Pete Christensen
Pete Christensen wins in the 4 cylinder truck class on 06/09/2017 image

Images © SJS Photo,
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Afton, NY — Andy Bachetti of Sheffield, MA returned to his winning ways at the Afton Motorsports Park on Friday night in the Modified division as he literally pulled a rabbitt out of his hat to win the 30 lap feature. Bachetti went from fourth to second on a lap 25 restart and then took the lead two laps later as he passed Charlie Hendrickson, Jr. for the lead and went on to his fifth feature of the year. Hendrickson, Rusty Smith, Steve Babicek, and Alex Tonkin rounded out teh top five.

In the Open Sportsman 20 lap feature Travis Smith Of Harpursville, NY after a couple weeks of poor finishes took full advantage of a near the front of the field starting spot. He took the lead on a lap seven restart from Brandon Kuhn and easily outdistanced the field for the win, Kuhn, Tyler Hart, Dave Rosa, and Dennis Clapperton rounded out the top five.

The 20 lap Crate Sportsman feature came down to the last turn of the last lap as Cody Clark of Dolgelville, NY got under Tyler Ward exiting turn four to win by a half a car length, Matt Brewer, Allan Hodge, and John Christian completed the top five.

The 20 lap Street Stock feature, which featured a season high car count of 14, was all Doug Polhamus of Windsor, NY as he led from flag to flag to claim the win. Damon Decker, Jake Fowlston, Matt Bowman, and Dustin Harris rounded out the top five.

The 12 lap Four Cylinder Truck feature saw local favorite Pete Christensen of Harpursville, NY get the monkey off his back as he dominated all 12 laps to claim the very popular feature win. Bob Crandall, Jeff Young, Ralph Cuozzo, and Matt Johnson completed the top five.

The 30 lap Modified feature was brought to green by Charlie Hendrickson, Jr. and Steve Babicek. Babicek was able to grab the lead over Hendrickson, Matt Roberts, Rusty Smith, and Alex Tonkin.

Rusty Smith who has had a terrible start to the year at Afton Motorsports Park made some changes to the car and it seemed to work. Smith charged into second by lap three and while running exclusively in the bottom groove passed Babicek for the lead to complete lap four.

Following a lap six restart Smith kept the lead over Babicek, Hendrickson, Nick Nye, and Tonkin. Behind the top five there were multiples of three wide racing as the drivers were looking for every available inch of racing space during the next eight laps of green flag racing.

On a lap 14 restart Hendrickson was able to get to the extreme top groove and got past Babicek for second and Tonkin followed him into third. The duo immediately applied heavy pressure on Smith in a three wide battle for the lead at the halfway point.

As the lap counter changed to 19, Hendrickson got the top groove to work for him as he took lead from Smith exiting turn four and at the same time Bachetti moved into fifth. Tonkin was able to slip by Smith for second on lap 22, Bachetti got past Babicek for fourth on lap 22, while Smith fought back to regain second on the next lap.

The turning point of the race occurred on a lap 25 single file restart, a majority in attendance felt that Bachetti jumped the start as he went from fourth to second. Track officials looked at the Thomas Video Production after the conclusion of the feature and determined that Bachetti was directly behind the third place car of Tonkin when the field passed the restart tire. Bachetti then jumped out of line, legally after the restart point, and moved into second place by the time the field reached turn one.

Hendrickson tried his best to stay in front of the high flying Bachetti and he did for the next two laps. Entering turn three coming down to compete lap 27 Bachetti was able to drive his way under Hendrickson to grab the lead he would never relinquish. Bachetti in for the unpopular win, according to the fans over Hendrickson, Smith, Babicek, and Tonkin.

In a noisy victory lane Bachetti authored these comments while adressing the loud chorus of boos and cat calls. " Our car was awesome tonight, we could run anywhere we wanted to. I know that the fans are not happy about what took place, but we did not jump the start as we were past the tire when I started passing cars. "

In heat race action Bachetti, Smith, and Alan Barker claimed the wins.

Brandon Kuhn and Lucas Heintz paced the 20 lap Open Sportsman field to green with Kuhn getting the lead over Heintz, Tyler Hart, Travis Smith, and Dwayne Jackson.

The big mover early in the race was Smith who after a couple of weeks of poor finishes used his fourth place starting spot to full advantage as he moved into second by lap three. However Hart said wait a minute as he passed Smith for second on lap four, Smith returned the favor and regained second on the next lap.

The complexion of the feature changed for many of the top contenders during laps six and nine and this made it a bit easier for the remainder of the field. Mechanical woes sidelined contenders Butch Klinger and Don Hart, Jr. as they went pitside on lap six, Craig Pope's night ended in a lap seven accident, and Claude Hutchings, Jr. who was in fourth clipped an inside track marking uke tire on lap nine and spun out.

On the lap nine restart Smith was able to outgun Kuhn at the drop of the green to grab the lead. Once in front Smith racing in the extreme top groove opened up a big lead while Kuhn raced all by himself in second.

Behind the top two it was a racing battle royale with Tyler Hart, Dave Rosa, Dennis Clapperton, and Aaron Shelton all racing hard for positions three through six.

At the checkers Smith in for his second win of the year over Kuhn, Hart, Rosa, and Clapperton.

Qualifying earlier in the evening saw Clapperton, Smith, and Dwayne Jackson capture the wins.

The 20 lap Crate Sportsman feature was brought to green by Tyler Ward and Duane Knapp. Ward was driving the car normally driven by Travis Welch, Travis just moved into a new house and has decided to put racing on hold for a while. The week before Ward lost an engine in his car and picked up the ride in the Welch machine.

Ward jumped into the lead over Rob Loucks, Matt Brewer, Knapp, and Tim French II. On a lap six retstart Knapp jumped out of the groove and this enabled French to move into fourth and Cody Clark to move into fifth.

Clark looking to regain sole possession of first place in the point standings as he was tied with Harold Humphrey entering the night. Took third from French on lap seven and then for the next 11 consecutive laps he and Brewer put on an excellent racing battle for second.

Ward loved the two car battle behind him as he increased his lead at the halfway point. However the longer the race stayed under green flag conditions the duo of Brewer and Clark started closing the gap on Ward.

With great racing taking place up front there was more great racing taking place behind the top three cars. Allan Hodge and John Christian were putting on a passing clinic as they worked two different grooves on their way to the front as they entered fourth and fifith with five laps to go.

Up front what was once a comfortable lead for Ward was now just about all gone as it was a three way battle for the win with the two laps to go signal being given by starter Gary Kinne.

Clark was able to get past Brewer as the leading trio came for the white flag, signifying one lap to go. All eyes were on leader Ward as he was trying to bring home the win, but entering turn three he made his only mistake of the race. It seemed that Ward just missed his mark entering turn three and that made his car push up the track in turn four. That was all Clark needed as he jumped on the mistake to motor under Ward exiting turn four to claim the feature win by .332 seconds over Ward, Brewer, Hodge, and Christian.

Qualifying races were won by Ward, Loucks, and Clark.

Teammates Matt Bowman and Doug Polhamus brought the Street Stock field to the post to start their 20 lap $500 to win feature. Polhamus was able to motor past his teammate to grab the lead over Bowman, Dustin Harris, Dave Cronk, and Damon Decker.

On a lap five restart Decker was able to go from fifth to third with Jake Fowlston moving into fourth and Randy Fox into fifth. Afton High School senior Decker moved into second on lap six and set his sights on leader Polhamus.

With the remainder of the race going caution free and many new first time visitors in attendance, that meant there was plenty of lap traffic. Decker was hoping to catch Polhamus making a mistake in heavy lap traffic in an attempt to grab the lead.

That driving mistake by Polhamus never came as he expertly drove his way around the lap traffic to grab the feature win and a share of the point lead with Decker who was second. Fowlston in his first appearence of the year was third, Bowman in fourth, and Harris in fifth.

Twin qualifying races were won by Polhamus and Harris.

Jeff Young and Pete Christensen paced the Four Cylinder Truck feature to start their 12 lap event. Christensen who has had a rough season featuring a blown motor during a test and tune night and a ripped apart rear end last week, grabbed the lead over Young, Ralph Cuozzo, Bob Crandall, and Brandon Clapperton.

Christensen opened up a big lead as the race continued under green flag conditions. This left Young, Cuozzo, and Crandall left to do battle for positions second through fourth, Crandall was able to get past Cuozzo for third on lap nine.

Christensen in for the veyr popular win in a dominating effort, Young jumped out of the groove in the final turn and he lost second to Crandall but recovered to nip Cuozzo at the line for third with Matt Johnson in fifth.

The qualifying event was won by Young.

New Era Notes: The fine folks from the Afton Fair sponsored the nights' racing and enjoyed themselves in the VIP Tower on the night and they gave out five pairs of free passes to the Afton Fair which comes up July 6th to the 9th. The front wheel drive Four Cylinder Stocks have replaced the Street Stocks in a 20 lap $200 to win race on Wednesday June 21st in a draw for heat race, heads up feature start. Also for the June 21st show 25 show up points will be awarded for the Modifieds, and Crate Sportsman. Bonus money for the June 21st show is being put up by the New York State Stock Car Association (NYSSCA) as they will award $100 cash to the highest finishing NYSSCA Member in the Modified feature. Rudy Roth was placed last in the Crate Sportsman finish due to unsafe pit speed during a pit stop in the race. After a call out to the Street Stocks to increase car counts, they responded with a season high count of 14 and were rewarded with a bigger purse. This purse increase will stay in effect if 12 or more care are in action. Eleven new cars made their first start of the season at Afton Motorsports Park on this night as word is beginning to spread about all of the good things happening at the track including the smooth track surface, which is getting better each week. An enthusiastic crowd enjoyed the Fan Appreciation Night activities with all racing completed just a tick past ten o'clock.

This upcoming Friday night Auto Plus will be sponsoring Mid Season Championship Night for the Scorpion Security Products Open Sportsman, Ted's Body Shop Crate Sportsman, and Chambers & O' Hara Four Cylinder Trucks. The ZMK Construction Modifieds and Auto Plus Street Stocks will also be in action with all gates opening at 4 pm, hot laps at 6:15 pm, and first heat starting at 7 pm sharp. Adult admission is $12 with Senior Citizens age 62 and up admitted for $10, students aged 9 to 14 are $5 and 8 and under are free with an adult paid admission.

Coming Events: all gates 4 pm, hot laps 6:15 pm, first heat 7 pm sharp unless noted.

Wednesday June 21st — Gates open at 3 pm, drivers meeting 5:45 pm, hot laps 6pm, first heat at 7pm. Vp Racing Fuels / Halmar / Bob Hilbert Sportswear present the Short Track Super Series, a BD Motorsports Media Promotion, Afton Action 50 for ZMK Construction Modifieds (25 show up points) plus American Racer Cup Crate Sportsman 25 for Ted's Body Shop Crate Sportsman (25 show up points) and FWD Four Cylinder Stocks. Raindate Is Thursday June 22nd. Adult admission $22, Senior Citizens (62 and up) $20, Students (9 - 14) $12, kids 8 and under are free, Pits $35.

Friday June 23rd — New York State Stock Car Association Night Midseason Championship Night for ZMK Construction Modifieds and Auto Plus Street Stocks plus Scorpion Security Products Open Sportsman, Ted's Body Shop Crate Sportsman, and Chambers & O'Hara Four Cylinder Trucks.

Afton Motorsports Park is fast, fun, and furious — check us out.

Friday, June 9, 2017 Racing ~ Results - Afton Driving Park Night

ZMK Construction Modifieds:

Andy Bachetti, Charlie Hendrickson, Jr., Rusty Smith, Steve Babicek, Alex Tonkin, Ryan Jordan, Nick Nye, Alan Barker, Ken Titus, JR Hurlburt, Paul Jensen, Jeff Sheeley, Mike Trautschold, Jeff Bronson, Jim Becker, Bob Stahl, Kurt Decker, Brett Tonkin, Mike Colsten, Joey Colsten, Matt Roberts, Mitch Gibbs, Eddie Newell

Scorpion Security Products Open Sportsman:

Travis Smith, Brandon Kuhn, Tyler Hart, Dave Rosa, Dennis Clapperton, Aaron Shelton, Claude Hutchings, Jr., Dwayne Jackson, Lucas Heintz, Larry Mekic, Craig Pritchard, James Christ, Dennis Greenier, Craig Pope, Olin Renwick, Skip Pickwick, Don Hart, Jr., Butch Klinger, Bill Deckleman

Ted's Body Shop Crate Sportsman:

Cody Clark, Tyler Ward, Matt Brewer, Allan Hodge, John Christian, Harold Humphrey, Tim French II, Matt Cole, Duane Knapp, Tyler Lawrence, Rob Loucks, AJ Digsby, Tim French, Sr., Fred Christ, Ray Leonard, Carig Monroe, Matt Priscott, Tyler Singleton, Colby Hendrickson, Rudy Roth

Auto Plus Street Stocks:

Doug Polhamus, Damon Decker, Jake Fowlston, Matt Bowman, Dustin Harris, Dave Cronk, Randy Fox, Dan Roe, Ralph Cuozzo, Chuck Culbertson, Emmett Smith, Phil Clapper, Jason Burger, Kyle Stark

Chambers & O'hara Four Cylinder Trucks:

Pete Christensen, Bob Crandall, Jeff Young, Ralph Cuozzo, Matt Johnson, Dustin Wilbur, Brandon Clapperton, Jerry Lanfair