By Jessica Mardis
After many late nights in the garage, one could not have asked for a better day for the season opener at Hilltop Speedway, Millersburg.
With fans filling the grand stands and 52 cars in the pits, racing action was underway for the first time of the 2017 season.
First to hit the track was the Holmes Tire late models with a field of ten. Fast qualifier for the division was “The Flying Ace” Corey Conley with a time of 14.322. Heat race wins went to Conley and Craig Wolford, setting them on the front row for the first feature of 2017.
With the field set, the first 20-lap feature of the season was underway. Jumping out front was Corey Conley as a battle for second ensured between Craig Wolford and JR Gentry. Back and forth, the two diced it out with Gentry all over the bumper of Wolford. Working the low line, Gentry would pass Wolford off of four for second with fifteen laps in.
However, Gentry would lose handle and hit the wall bringing out the caution just a mere lap later, ending his night. Back under green with four laps to go, Conley would again take the top spot as “Dangerous” Dave Hornikel would work his way to second. As the first checkered of the season dropped it was “The Flying Ace” Corey Conley picking up just where he left off in victory lane.
Rounding out the top five was Hornikel, Craig Wolford, Brad Mickley, and Ty Myers.
Joining the list of sponsors this season; Danville’s The Hang Out sponsored modifieds had a field of eight. Qualifying with a 15.693 and claiming fast time was Casey Fritz. Picking up wins in each of the two heat race were Nathon Loney and “The Stalker” Jonathan Sluka.
Rounding four to the green, Loney and Sluka front row, it was “The Stalker” who would take the early lead. Working the outside, it was “The Taboso Bullet” Jimmy Smith who would drive around Loney to claim second setting his sights on the leader. Meanwhile, a three-way battle for third would ensue between Loney, Bruce Takach and Casey Fritz with Takach ultimately claiming third with nine laps in.
Moreover, troubles for front runner Nathon Loney, as he would have to pull it into the infield ending his night. Nevertheless, after leading every lap to the checkered it was “The Stalker” Jonathan Sluka picking up his first win of the 2017 season. Sluka was followed by Jimmy Smith, Bruce Takach, Casey Fritz and Michael Lonas Jr.
The Holmes Pest Control street stocks had a field of seven with the single heat race win going to Kyle Moore. Setting the pace to the start was Moore with Chilcote outside. Taking the top spot as the green dropped was Moore taking the top spot, as fourth place starter, Bob Daugherty, would split Bob Chilcote and Dustin Daugherty to take second going into turn two.
Not deterred, Dustin Daugherty would battle back looking to the inside of Bob for the second position, but unable to capitalize as the checkered waved and it was Kyle Moore sitting in victory lane. Rounding out the top five was Bob Daugherty, Dustin Daugherty, David Potts and Kevin Potts.
The Rigz Towing modlites had a field of seven. The lone heat race winner was Doug Jones placing him on the pole for the night’s feature event. As the green dropped, Jones would take the early lead. Pulling a straight away lead over the rest of the field with five laps to go, Jones would go on to pick up his first career feature win at Hilltop Speedway.
Second was Cody Stillion followed by Todd Swim, Bobby Springer and Justin Eddy.
The Bugs-R-Gone trucks had field of six with “The Dominator” Braxton Wilson picking up the heat race win. After a caution filled start, the green was out and it was the youngster, Wilson, leading the field. A close second, looking to make his way to the front was Rolly Heyder. Lap for lap, the two would battle it out with Heyder taking the lead off turn four with six laps in.
With two to go the yellow would come out, bunching the field up and allowing Wilson an opportunity at the lead. However, he was unable to as it was Heyder picking up the checkered and his thirtieth feature win at the Hill. Second went to Wilson, third Tim Morris, fourth Chris Asbury and fifth Mason Radcliff.
Rounding out the night and picking up a new sponsor for the year, the Short Track Fire and Rescue mini stocks had the largest field of the night with fourteen cars. Picking up wins in each of the two heat races were Jordan James and John Schooler. With the field set, the green was out and it was Schooler to the lead. Meanwhile, a battle for second would ensure between front runners Jordan James and Dale Beckett. Contact, as Beckett, looked to the inside of James, however, James was able to fend off and maintain his position.
As the field began to work their way through lap traffic, leader, John Schooler would advance over competitors. However, trouble would strike as Schooler would slow coming off four to the checkered allowing James to get by and pick up the win with a mere 0.179 difference in finishes. Finishing third was Dale Beckett followed by Matt Miller and Edwin Geary.
March 24, 2017
Holmes Tire Late Models
Fast Qualifier– Corey Conley 14.322
Heat 1– C. Conley, D. Hornikel, M. Lonas, B. Bee, J. Morey
Heat 2– C. Wolford, T. Myers, JR Gentry, B. Mickley, S. Smith
Feature– Corey Conley, Dave Hornikel, Craig Wolford, Brad Mickley, Ty Myers, Mike Lonas, Brett Bee, Scott Smith, JR Gentry, Jimmy Morey
The Hang Out in Danville Modifieds
Fast Qualifier- Casey Fritz 15.693
Heat 1– N. Loney, B. Takach, C. Fritz, K. Brown
Heat 2– J. Sluka, J. Smith, J. Wardell, M. Lonas Jr.
Feature– Jonathan Sluka, Jimmy Smith, Bruce Takach, Casey Fritz, Michael Lonas Jr., Nathon Loney, Kyle Brown, Jesse Wardell
Holmes Pest Control Street Stocks
Heat 1– K. Moore, B. Chilcote, D. Daugherty, B. Daugherty, D. Potts, K. Potts, M. McElravy
Feature– Kyle Moore, Bob Daugherty, Dustin Daugherty, David Potts, Kevin Potts, Bob Chilcote, DNS-Mike McElravy
Rigz Towing Modlites
Heat 1– D. Jones, C. Stillion, J. Eddy, B. Springer, L. Lease, T. Stillion, T. Swim
Feature– Doug Jones, Cody Stillion, Todd Swim, Bobby Springer, Justin Eddy, Levi Lease, DNS-Tim Stillion
Bugs R Gone Trucks
Heat 1- B. Wilson, M. Radcliff, R, Heyder, D. Danley, C. Asbury, T. Morris
Feature- Rolley Heyder, Braxton Wilson, Tim Morris, Chris Asbury, Mason Radcliff, Donnie Danley
Short Track Fire and Rescue Mini Stocks
Heat 1– J. James, D. Beckett, M. Miller, T. Archer, S. Rowe, DNS-E. Geary, J. Adkins
Heat 2– J. Schooler, C. St. John, M. Rose, B. Stamper, B. Morris, B. Smythe, R. Retton
Feature– Jordan James, John Schooler, Dale Beckett, Matt Miller, Edwin Geary, Jerry Adkins, Bobby Stamper, Michael Rose, Brody Smythe, Richard Retton, Teddy Archer, Blake Morris, Colton St. John, Sidney Rowe