|Date: 4/27/2014 7:31:30 PM|
By DINO OBERTO
(NESQUEHONING 4-27-14)The inaugural running of the Nesquehoning Grand Prix presented by Kovatch Motorsports and Pencor Services held on a temporary road course laid out behind the Kovatch Ford dealership in Nesquehoning was nothing short of a smashing success. The event was spearheaded by racer John Kovatch IV and drew an impressive crowd.
It was a huge community affair also that was centered around the Sonny Kovatch Scholarship Foundation fund which provides a beneficial educational scholarship to selected students who must display good family values, play a role in community service and have the will to better themselves. Individuals can be currently enrolled in college or a trade school as well as be a high school senior or junior.
A great field of Tobias Slingers was on hand to take on the unique track that was just over a quarter mile in length and featured twists and turns virtually the whole way around. Tackling the tricky track took a bit of finesse and sharp maneuvering and no one showed that better than Simon Egan who won the 20-lap main event.
A regular on the dirt at Hamlin Speedway and the Action Track at Kutztown, Egan was zipping in and out of traffic with great precision despite his limited experience on pavement and let alone road racing.
Egan started second and stayed glued to early leader Joe Bodenschatz. By working tightly through the corners he was able to squeeze low and made that his method in advancing into the lead, which he succeeded at on lap four.
From there on it was no contest as he left the rest of the pack to fight it out for positions. Several times Egan came upon lapped traffic that made things very intense yet without as much as a flinch he simply powered through and around it all.
By claiming the win Egan took home $500, a very handsome trophy and received five hot pit passes for the Pocono ARCA 200 on June 7 and five terrace club passes as well as other contingency items.
“That was one of the hardest races I’d ever been in,” an exhausted Egan said afterwards. “These cars are made for dirt and it’s tough to get them to work right on pavement, especially a road course.
“I want to really thank everyone at Kovatch for staging this event. It’s an honor to say you won the very first Nesquehoning Grand Prix.”
Bodenschatz kept within in reach of Egan after being passed and settled for second. Mike McLaughlin was third while Kyle Lick and Mike Lapitki rounded out the top five.
“It was a financial success. I hope it will be a repeatable success where people will want to do it again. I also hope the town sees it as a benefit and I would eventually like to roll it into something with the borough of Nesquehoning and make it a community event,” said Kovatch.
Four heats took place with wins going to Bodenschatz, McLaughlin, Henry Anderson and Egan. Bodenschatz and McLaughlin also won the semis.
While a number of area dignitaries partook in the event, the highlight of the day was when Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett stopped by and took the time to meet and greet and also was served as honorary starter.
Feature (20 laps): 1. Simon
Egan, 2. Joe Bodenschatz, 3. Mike McLaughlin, 4. Kyle Lick, 5. Mike Lipitki, 6.
Nick Igdalsky, 7. Christian Hammarskjold, 8. John Bockhorn, 9. Henry Anderson,
10. Paul Skodacek, 11. Terry Lick, 12. Ken Reeder, 13. Randy Smith, 14. Doc
Lipitki, 15. Craig Von Dohren, 16. Brett Bieber, 17. Joe Kerhli, 18. Eddie
Reeder, 19. Billy Pauch, Jr.
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