|Date: 7/29/2008 9:36:43 PM|
SUCCESSFUL FRIENDS OF MIKE NIGHT AT NEW EGYPT SPEEDWAY
New Egypt, NJ (July 26, 2008) – There was a clean sweep at New Egypt Speedway on Saturday night for the Friends of Mike 4-20s. There were four different winners of the modified features, however they all hail from the state of Pennsylvania. Quakertown’s Rick Laubach, Ivyland’s Tim Tanner Jr., Perkasie’s Tad Cox, and Whitehall’s Keith Hoffman were all able to visit victory lane on Hoffman Bros. Speed & Performance Night.
Laubach was all smiles after finally etching his name onto the all-time winner’s list at NES. “We’ve been fast all year long here but we’ve also had a lot of bad luck too. It just feels really good to finally get that monkey off our back. I saw Horton underneath me and I said to myself this isn’t going to be easy but we were able to pull it off,” stated the first-time winner.
Rick, in his Alpha-Mills No. 14 raced from his fifth place starting position to the lead on lap 8 passing race leader Mark Forte Jr. Meanwhile, all eyes were on the invading Jimmy Horton who was steering Gene Stravinsky’s No. 7a. Horton was picking cars off at will as he drove from his 15th starting spot to second by lap 17. Frank Cozze was about to challenge Laubach for the lead while Horton was in hot pursuit of his No. 44. As the two veterans reeled in Laubach, Cozze suddenly pulled to the infield with mechanical problems. This left Horton to do battle with “The Quaker Shaker” over the final three circuits. Horton was able to get underneath Rick exiting turn two as the crowd jumped to their feet. Laubach barely held off the two-time track champion for his first career win at NES worth $2,000. Crossing the line behind Horton were Ron John Koczon, Billy Pauch, and Pat Wall.
12 Cars were inverted for the second 20-lapper which found Brian Godown and crowd-favorite Kenny Brightbill occupying the front row. Third place starter Tim Tanner Jr. wasted no time as he grabbed the lead immediately. Duane Howard and Keith Hoffman were bound and determined to take the top spot from the second-generation driver. Right behind Howard and Hoffman, Horton and Billy Pauch were setting themselves up to make it a five-way battle for the lead. Pauch, the all-time leading winner at NES, was able to disperse of Horton, Howard, and eventually Hoffman. By the time “The Kid” worked his way up to the runner-up spot he had only two laps left to catch Tanner. It wasn’t meant to be for Pauch as Tanner crossed the finish line first to capture his 10th career checkered at the speedway along with $2,000. “I got lucky with my starting position in this race but I still had to work hard to hold the guys that were behind me. It feels good to have two wins this season as I’m usually known as One-Win Tim,” eluded a happy Tanner. Hoffman finished third while Howard and Horton completed the top 5.
The third 20 lap feature saw Tad Cox start on the pole with veteran Darren McCaughey completing the front row. Cox jumped out front first as McCaughey was quick to follow. Laubach, winner of the first feature, quickly moved from his seventh starting spot to grab third by lap 5. From there on in though, Rick had to settle behind Cox and McCaughey. Jimmy Horton was able to advance a few positions on what was now becoming a much slicker racing surface. As lap 20 was completed Tad Cox drove his way to his second career modified win which was worth $2,000. “I gotta thank A-1 Racing and Bob Lineman because they were a big part of me getting here tonight.” Former full-time NES competitor Darren McCaughey drove a fine race in the Moran No. 61 to finish second. Rounding out the top 5 were Laubach, Horton, and Sammy Martz.
The final 20-lapper which saw $5,000 going to the winner is what everyone seemed to waiting for throughout the night. By luck of the inversion four former NES track champions were slated to make up the front two rows-Frank Cozze, Matt Sheppard, Billy Pauch, and Keith Hoffman-all who had not visited victory lane on this night. “Super” Matt Sheppard was forced to use his back-up No. 9 which relegated him to start last in the feature. Cozze jumped to the lead as the green flag flew with Hoffman and Pauch right on his bumper. As the laps clicked off Cozze was able to open up his lead on the two drivers who entered the night tied for the point lead. In what was pretty much a smooth race start to finish, Frank Cozze cruised home to what appeared to be his 24th career win at New Egypt. To everyone’s surprise Cozze went over the scales four times and was found to be six pounds light. The sudden change of circumstances found defending “Friends of Mike” winner Keith Hoffman now claiming the $5,000 first place prize. ‘K-Dog,’ as he is known at NES was quite in shock. “This win is totally unexpected…it was the furthest thing from my mind that Frank would be light but you won’t see me complaining. I thought we were in a good situation in that second feature but Timmy was just too good, but I’ll take this one instead. I really lucked into this win with Matt scratching from his second spot and Cozze coming up light but like they say…It’s sometimes better to be lucky than good,” said an elated Hoffman.
Marc Herman of Lambertville, NJ couldn’t have picked a better night to rebound from two straight weeks of not qualifying for the A-1 Racing Products Sportsman feature. Herman jumped from his front row starting position and never looked back as he went on claim the $2,000 first place prize. Tom Carberry Jr. was able to make things interesting on the last lap as he was able to put his No. 28 underneath along side of Herman’s No. 3. Carberry wasn’t able to make the move stick as Herman beat him to turn three and went on to take the victory. Jeff Marcucci drove the race of his life as he drove to his best ever finish as he came home third. Rounding out the top 5 were Tim Apgar and Danny Bouc.
Jason Bubeck of Wrightstown, PA used a lap nine restart to get by race leader and defending “Friends of Mike” winner Mick Search. Bubeck went on to claim his second career win which was worth $1,200 in the Super Stock division. Search held on for second while current point leader Todd Cray came home in third. Rounding out the top 5 were Bill Liedtka and Rob Ormsbee.
The SS Sprint feature found a crowd-pleasing duel for the lead between Bryan Kuhl and John Romano Jr. Kuhl started on the pole while Romano charged from his seventh starting spot into second by lap five. From there Romano continuously put the pressure on the young second-generation driver. Kuhl, of Flemington, NJ was able to withstand Romano’s bids to grab the lead as he drove his No. 37 to the big $1,100 win which happened to be his first ever. Robert Liedl drove a fantastic race to finish third and rounding out the top 5 were Ian Borden and Ed Hughes.
Notes: 39 Modifieds signed in for the Third Annual Friends of Mike Night which saw four different drivers take home $500 a piece for their heat race wins…Cozze, Laubach, Duane Howard, and Ron John Koczon. Kenny Brightbill made his first appearance of the year at NES. Kenny looked pretty sharp as his finishes included an 11th, 10th, 6th, and a 5th. Duane Howard also made a rare appearance as he copped one of the heat races and drove to finishes of 9th, 4th, 7th, and 2nd. 2007 Track Champion Matt Sheppard had to qualify through the consolation event. Sheppard was fast in the first 20-lapper as he came from 23rd to 8th in 14 laps before suffering from a flat tire. Matt was then behind the eight ball the rest of the night as he failed to make the invert in the next two races. Motor problems forced the team to switch cars entering the last feature forcing them to start last. Jimmy Horton caught everyone’s eye on Saturday as he was a last minute entry in the Gene Stravinsky owned small block. Horton nearly won his heat race and was a force to be reckoned with the entire night. Billy Pauch, Jr. Rich Rutski, Dave Stonebraker, and Scott VanGorder were all in competition after missing several of the past few weeks at NES.
38 Sportsman were in attendance which saw Danny Bouc, John Stangle, and John McClelland capture the $300 to win heat races. Second place paid out and extra $500 while third place received and extra $450.
The Super Stocks had their largest car count of the season (25). Long-time NES supporter Kenny Guyer made his first appearance of the year. Second place finishers in both the Super Stocks and SS Sprints received $750 while third place finishers took home $500.
A very large crowd on hand came out for what is now becoming a “mark your calendar” event at the New Egypt Speedway. Nearly $20,000 was raised in the Third Annual Friends of Mike Races which saw all monies raised go directly back to the drivers.
This coming Saturday, August 2 will find Cray Electric sponsoring the Super Stock one on on Match Races. Modifieds, Sportsman, Crate-1, and Outlaw Stocks round out the program. Gates will open at 4:00 p.m. with the first green at 6:00 p.m. For more information, call the speedway office at (609) 758-1900 or log on to www.newegyptspeedway.net.
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