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Kania scores big in Eriez 100-lapper

By Jay Pees
Full Track Story
ERIE, PA (July 11, 1999) - Andy Kania, former Limited Late Model Champion, now a rookie in the super-competitive Super Late Model class visited Victory Lane for the second time this season in the longest race of the year at Eriez Speedway. After 100 laps, Kania had a six car-length lead over Randy Lobb, another former Limited Late Model track champion now in his rookie Super Late Model season.

Chub Frank had earned the pole position by winning last week’s qualifier at Eriez and immediately set off in the lead with Steve Halpainy, Kania, and Lobb in pursuit. The race was put under the first nine cautions at the conclusion of lap eight when Rob Blair spun into the second turn guardrail. On the restart, Frank again assumed command with the same trio chasing. Frank was setting a torrid pace and began lapping backmarkers on lap 18. At lap 21 a major pile-up occurred on the front straight with the cars of Dale Applebee, David Scott, Trevor Donnell, and Rick Briggs involved. Frank was able to drive through unscathed with cars spinning on both sides. One more caution for the stalled car of Dale Applebee slowed the field before the halfway break. At halfway the running order was Frank, Halpainy, Kania, Chevy Scott and Todd Andrews.

The race was resumed after a fuel stop with Frank again leading but was immediately slowed for Rod Maloy, whose engine was billowing smoke into turn three, apparently with major engine problems. Maloy had been the victor last week in Stateline’s 100-lap special. Once again, Frank pulled off to a five car-length lead until the caution was displayed for the stalled car of John Lobb on lap 69. At this time, Kania was running second with Randy Lobb, Brian Ruhlman, and Chevy Scott, rounding out the top five. Lap 82 proved to be the undoing of Frank when he had a tire let go down in the first turn on the restart from the race’s final caution. From that point it was all Kania as the Hammett, PA native was never challenged over the remaining distance. Randy Lobb wound up second with Brian Ruhlman, Chevy Scott, and Rich Gardner filling out the top five. Unofficially, Bruce Hordusky, Rick Isadore, David Scott, Dick Barton, and Dave Lundgren finished sixth through tenth.

Four heats were necessary four the thirty-nine Late Models in attendance with Steve Halpainy, Randy Lobb, Kania, and Chevy Scott capturing the qualifying heats. The B-Main, Last Chance race was won by Dale Applebee. Twenty-eight cars started the century grind.
Second-generation driver Bill Catania, Jr led the twenty Limited Late Models to the green flag and show the way for the first three laps when he became the victim of a flat tire. That left Kevin Decker in command and the young Erie driver ran off to his third Eriez victory in 1999. Ron Olson, fresh off his first 1999 win at Stateline the night before, was second, followed by Bobby Will, Jake Lechtner, and John Lacki. Joe Weber and Lechtner won the heat races.