THIRTY YEAR RACING VETERAN “WILD” BILL LEONARD SCORES FIRST SPORTSMAN VICTORY AT SKYLINE
Thirty plus years of piloting stock cars around the fast 1/3 mile Skyline Raceway paid off for Bill Leonard last Saturday night as he drove to a convincing victory to record his first open wheel feature win in the Open Sportsman feature. Andrew Smith drove to his second consecutive 602 Crate Sportsman victory while Will Ward collected the IMCA Modified STAR Series feature win. Jeremy Potrzebowski earned his first career Skyline Raceway feature win in the Street Stock division while defending Stock Car champion Buck Mills Jr. outraced opening night winner Jason Thomas in a torrid battle that wend down to the final lap. Lee Wagner was the Four Cylinder Stock winner, his first of the season.
The 20 lap Open Sportsman feature saw eventual winner Bill Leonard take advantage of a front row starting position to grab the race lead at the drop of the green flag. With the feature being run without the need for a caution flag, Leonard was able to build up a big lead in the early stages of the event. Behind Leonard, the man on he move as AJ Lord, who missed his heat race with mechanical issues and had to start at the tail of the field. Lord was able to drive his way into contention, and over the closing laps he was the fastest car on the track. Lord was able to charge right to Leonard's rear bumper, but simply ran out of laps before he could challenge Leonard and settled for second. Longtime full fendered standout Buck Mills Sr. made his Sportsman debut behind the wheel of Gary Card's #2x and earned a third place finish with former ARCA driver Brent Cross finishing fourth. Rookie Michael Owens finished fifth.
In the 602 Crate Sportsman division, it was Lockport, NY's Andrew Smith continuing his hot start to the 2016 season with his second victory in as many starts at Skyline. Ray Smith and Andrew Smith drew pole and outside pole respectively. Andrew Smith was able to get into the turn first at the drop of the green flag ahead of Ray Smith. One out front, Smith dominated the remainder of the event, leading all20 laps enroute to victory. Behind him, Ray Smith came out on top of a torrid battle with Matt Roberts to score a career best second place finish. Matt Roberts made a rare Skyline start and came home third ahead of Lanson Albanese and Gary Card Jr.
The 30 lap STAR Series feature for the IMCA Modifieds saw the two contenders for the 2015 track championship, Will Ward and Keith Lamphere, lock up in a battle for the victory. Ward was able to get to the front first, but was soon under heavy pressure from Lamphere. With Ward holding the preferred outside groove, Lamphere repeatedly looked to the inside in every turn, but Ward's momentum in the high groove allowed him to maintain the race lead. Lamphere pressured Ward all the way to the finish, but could never complete the pass and Ward drove on to score the victory over a STAR Studded field. Lamphere finished second wile “Big Daddy” Mike Stoddard drove from deep in the field to finish third. Matt Cole crossed the line in fourth with Tyler Stoddard joining his father in the top five with a fifth place finish.
The Street Stock division saw a new winner as Jeremy Potrzebowski earned his first career Skyline feature win. Potrzebowski outraced veteran Tim Gullo to pick up a hard earned victory as Gullo made a late charge but came up just short, settling for a solid runner-up finish. Tom Savercool finished third ahead of Bob Mills and newcomer Dennis Cummings.
The most exciting race of the night was the Factory Stock feature as defending champion Buck Mills Jr. and Jason Thomas put on a show of side by side racing for the Skyline fans. The two ran ten laps of the feature side by side with Mills running the top and Thomas down low. Thomas would eventually be slowed by a flat right front tire that sent him pitside for new rubber. This allowed Mills to lead the remainder of the event to earn his first win of the season. Thomas was able to drive back through the field to finish second with a last lap pass of Bill Flask. Flask hung on to finish trid trailed by Ryan Brockner and Dan Reeves.
The Four Cylinder Stock feature saw Lee Wagner grab the lead early and drive on to pick up the feature win despite driving the majority of the feature with no brakes. Despite the handicap, Wagner was able to turn back the challenge of veteran Kenny Underwood, who threw everything he had at Wagner, but could not find a way past. Underwood settled for second with Rich Wagner finishing third. Jerry Herbert finished fourth in his first start of the season with defending champion Eric Rowley charging from deep in the field to finish fifth,
Racing continues this Saturday night at the Skyline Raceway Park. All of the track's regular divisions will be in action along with the first appearance of the SRP Sprints. There will also be Kiddie Rides prior to the start of racing action, and those kids who plan on riding should plan to arrive at the Speedway early. Racing begins at 6:30 PM sharp with gates opening at 4PM. For the latest information, log onto www.skylineracewayny.com or contact the speedway office at 607-745-0275.
OPEN SPORTSMAN: (5 Cars) BILL LEONARD, AJ Lord, Buck Mills Sr., Brent Cross, Michael Owens
602 CRATE SPORTSMAN: (14 cars) ANDREW SMITH, Ray Smith, Matt Roberts, Lance Albanese, Gary Card Jr., Darryl Bennett, Anthony Stockman, Brandon Kuhn, Chuck Miller, Scott Smith, Michelle Courcy, Jason Thomas, John Trapenhagen
STAR SERIES IMCA MODIFIEDS: (19 Cars) WILL WARD, Keith Lamphere, Mike Stoddard, Matt Cole, Tyler Stoddard, Brad Smith, Bill Ward, JJ Courcy, Rodney Morgan, Drue Perrault, Doug McCane, Don Alvord, Jeff Cardinale, Curt Styles, Brian Steigerwald, Gary Roberts, Ray McClure, Bumps Scutt, Jason Butler
STREET STOCKS: (8 Cars) JEREMY POTRZEBOWSKI, Tim Gullo, Tom Savercool, Bob Mills, Dennis Cummings, Tyler Yeagle DNS: Dick Baker, Cody Baker
STOCK CARS: (8 Cars) BUCK MILLS JR., Jason Thomas, Bill Flask, Ryan Brockner, Dan Reeves, Tony Paige, Bob Baker, Randy Kelly
FOUR CYLINDER STOCKS:(16 Cars) LEE WAGNER, Ken Underwood, Rich Wagner, Jerry Herbert, Cody Rowley, Cody Neilson, Tom Bumphus II, Ryan Baranska, Nate Powers, Michael Brown, Sarah Gooch, Art Palmer, Carl Chaffee, Chris Bonoffski, Bobby Wagner, Phil Burns
4/23/16 FULL RACE SUMMARY:
OPEN SPORTSMAN: (7cars) KEVIN JORDAN, Nick Nye, Lisa Williams, Bill Leonard, Mike Dawson, Mike Owens, AJ Lord
602 CRATE SPORTSMAN: (15 cars) ANDREW SMITH, Tommy Paige, Gary Card Jr., Pat Jordan, Isaiah Forward, Nick Nye, Chuck Miller, Tyler Ward, Randy Gates, Brandon Kuhn, Michelle Courcy, Lanson Albanese, Scott Smith, Jason Thomas, John Trapenhagen
IMCA MODIFIEDS: (14 cars) MIKE SMITH, Will Ward, Bumps Scutt, Drue Perrault, Jeff Cardinale, Brandon Smith, Bill Ward, Don Alvord, Brent Smith, Kyle Leech, Doug McCane, Curt Styles, JJ Courcy, Steve Reynolds
STAR SERIES STREET STOCKS: (15 cars) JON CARPENTER, Rich Sharpsteen, Tyle Yeagle, Jack Holcomb Jr., Eric Boynton, Buck Mills Sr., Dick Baker, Tom Savercool, Bob Mills, Mitch Hurlbert, Jake Fowlston, Shane Wolf Jr., Nick Robinson, Joe Reeves, DNS: Greg Peebles
STOCK CARS: (7 cars) JASON THOMAS, Don Reeves, Bill Flask, Tony Paige, Cody Baker, Buck Mills Jr., DNS: Randy Kelly
FOUR CYLINDER STOCKS: (15 cars) CHRIS BONOFFSKI, Richard Wagner, Phil Burns, Cody Rowley, Cody Nelsen, Ryan Baranska, Tom Bmphus Jr., Art Palmer, Michael Brown, Carl Chaffee, Lee Wagner, Cody Rowley, Gabe orward, Sarah Gooch, Randy Thomas