Oct 23, 2010 12:31 AM EDT
Steve Gray Heats Up at Black Rock as Weather Cools Down
By RICH VLECK
Steve Gray started off the 2010 season with a win at Black Rock in April, more than six months later, after a long season of racing, he was back in Victory Lane after an impressive victory on a cool night at Black Rock.
For the second time in as many attempts, a crate-powered sportsman took the Checkered Flag in the Crate vs. Open Challenge. Gray, from Rushville, got a fortunate break on lap eight and never looked back the rest of the way as he dominated the 30-lap event despite having to adjust to the tire changes.
“I still didn’t have the perfect setup tonight and I wasn’t great on restarts, these American Racers change things up,” noted Gray in Victory Lane. “This is pretty good, it’s been a long year.”
Gray started fifth in the feature but saw the race get off to a slow start with six cautions within the first eight laps; the fifth one changing the complexion of the event.
Kevin Jordan, who had lead since the drop of the initial green flag, was turned around coming off turn two when Track Champion Donnie Lawson made contact with the No. 22. Jordan would not be able to return and Lawson was issued to the back, which allowed Gray to inherit the lead.
After that incident was cleared, the race would run 17 laps without issue, during which time the Fox’s Auto No. 29G checked out from the rest of the field that were closely bunched together. On the lap 26 restart, A.J. Potzrebowski peaked to the inside for the lead but just did not have enough to power by for the lead working off turn two.
Gray would take the Checkered Flags with a healthy advantage over Potzrebowski, who crossed in second. John Juhl charged up to third with Jim LaRock fourth. Brady Fultz held off Donnie Lawson to complete the top-five.
Denny Decker made short work of the Trackside Products Pure Stock Field as he dominated the 25-lap race.
Decker started from the pole and lead the opening lap but saw Ray Fenton take the lead for a few laps in the No. 55. Decker would take his No. 27D back to the front after a lap six restart and take command the rest of the way.
Series point leader Rich Talada had a mechanical issue on lap five to bring out the first caution which opened up the door for Decker to capitalize on the series point lead. He left nothing to chance as he held at least a 10 car length lead throughout the final feature of the night.
Ray Fenton was running second when his engine let go with just four laps remaining, allowing Gene Sharpsteen the opportunity to bid for the lead; he was not successful though and would have to settle for second.
Bob Buono, Russell Morseman III and Jon Carpenter all rallied to round out the top-five.
Nick Cooper was on a mission in the Original Pizza Logs 600 Sprint Tour Feature, as he darted to the lead on lap six and then held off a hungry David Ferguson for his second win of the year at BRS.
Cooper, from Canandaigua, captured the win in a race that featured some of the best micro sprint racers in the country. With 36 cars in the pits, there were plenty of contenders, but none were as strong as Cooper at the end.
David Ferguson had the lead early in the race, but on a lap three restart, Tim Buckwalter darted to the lead and appeared to have the strongest ride. Cooper would take the lead though on lap six and on lap nine Buckwalter dropped out of the event with a mechanical issue.
Two laps after the lap nine restart, Ferguson would just edge in front of Cooper at the line and seemed to have just a marginally better setup than the No. 35N, but Cooper found a way to not just get back in front, but to run away from the pack.
Cooper also won the 600 Sprint Tour race at BRS in August and has always performed well at the 4/10-mile.
Ferguson would hang on for second place, but Darryl Ruggles gave him a valiant challenge on the final lap, as the two nearly came together off in turn four. Ruggles would hang on for third and all but lock up the series championship.
Keystone State competitors Brian Carber and Jay Hartman rounded out the top-five.
Hot laps were also run for other classes, which included nearly a dozen BRP CanAm Late Models, a large tire modified and Chuck Hebing in a 410, who obliterated the track record with a 12.278 second lap.
For more information, visit www.BlackRockSpeedway.com.
Black Rock Speedway Results: 10/22/2010-
World 100 Weekend Friday Night
Sportsman Challenge Feature (30 Laps)- STEVE GRAY, A.J. Potzrebowski, John Juhl, Jim LaRock, Brady Fultz, Donnie Lawson, Serenity Sutherland, Loren Lincoln, Rob Richmond Jr., Fran Hilton, Connor Brown, Scott Boudinot, Daryl Hilkert, Joe Cook Jr., Brian White, Jon Carpenter, Ken Hammond, Rob Humpherys, Chad Ayers, Kevin Jordan, Trevor Sutherland, James Cornell, Greg Crooker, Rob Knapp, John Hargrave, Ryan Tracy, Brett Buono, Steve Swarthout, Dave Marcuccilli, Rob Knapp.
Lap Leader- Jordan 1-8, Gray 9-30.
DNQ- Randy Brokaw, Simon Jupe, Ross Vleck, Matt Richmond, Bob Johnson, Brandon Butler, Gary Donnelly, Mike Buchannan, Butch Green, Tim Povoski, Rod Mullen, John Venuto, Russell Morseman III, Tyler Siri, Casey Pavlick, Brent Ayers, Chris Silvers.
Heat Winners- T. Sutherland, Lawson, Kane, Cornell.
Consolation Winners- Bliss, Marcuccilli.
Trackside Products Pure Stock Feature (25 Laps)- DENNY DECKER, Gene Sharpsteen, Bob Buono, Russell Morseman III, Jon Carpenter, Rich Green, Nick Robinson, Brenton Miller, Dave Pope, Darl Ellis, Ray Fenton, Dave Jackson, Doug Jones, Kevin Boynton, Andy Fisk, Rich Talada, Nate Daggett, Frank Guererri Jr., Jared Hill, Carl Cleveland, Byron DeWitt (DNS), Steve Faulkner (DNS), Jeremiah Clonch (DNS), Jim McAfee (DNS), Chuck Winslow (DNS), Gasper DeFelice (DNS).
Lap Leaders- Decker 1, Fenton 2-5, Decker 6-25.
Heat Winners- Decker, Buono, Fisk.
Original Pizza Logs 600 Sprint Tour Feature (20 Laps)- NICK COOPER, David Ferguson, Darryl Ruggles, Brian Carber, Jay Hartman, Brett Arndt, Tyler Walker, A.J. Bogino, Chuck Hebing, Shane Lewis, Brandon Artibani, Brock Zearfoss, Heath Hehnly, Paul Habeck, Steve Doell, Jeff Hartman, Alysha Ruggles, Eric Wise, Tim Buckwalter, Kevin Carlson, Ryan Greth, Mike Dicely, Ben Kysor, Zack VanNordstrand.
Lap Leaders- Ferguson 1-2, Buckwalter 3-5, Cooper 6-11, Ferguson 12, Cooper 13-20.
DNQ- Tyler Walton, Ryan Wilson, Cory Donk, Matt Franham, Shawn Freeland, Greg Kysor, Kirsten Dombrowski, Cody Shurgot, John Smith, Dan Naegele, Gary Drum, Charlie Donk.
Heat Winners- D. Ruggles, Zearfross, Buckwalter, Carber.
B-Main Winner- Artabani.