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Gardner Wins Eriez Season Finale

Eriez Speedway, September 12, 1999: Waterford, PA’s Rich Gardner powered away from the competition Sunday night at Eriez to win his second of the season at the Hammett, PA oval and become the final Late Model winner of the 1900’s on the Stateline-Eriez circuit. Gardner moved into the lead at the drop of the green flag closely followed by last week’s victor Steve Halpainy and outside front row sitter, John Lobb. During the twenty-five lap affair, Halpainy pressured Gardner, gethng his nosepiece alongside the leader on several occasions, but never was able to complete the pass. At the line, it was Gardner by a car length with Halpainy second and Lobb third. Doug Eck ended his season with a fine run for fourth with Matt Urban fifth. Merle Terry wound up sixth with Pat McGuire seventh, Chad Ruhlman eighth, Andy Kania ninth and Boyd Whitehead tenth. Nineteen cars started the twenty-five lap event, With his fifth place run Urban secured his second consecutive Eriez and circuit points championship in his sophomore season in the top division. Gardner, Halpainy and Lobb won the qualifying heats.

Tom Schnars carried the famous Ml to victory lane for the first time ever in the Limited Late Model season finale. The class rookie started from the outside of the second row while fellow rookie Jason Morrell led the first two circuits. Then Bill Catania, Jr led the field for a lap until Joe Weber powered his way into the top spot. Schnars got by Morrell and Catania and then chased Weber until the event’s second caution period on lap sixteen. On the restart, Schnars got by Weber in the second turn, closely followed by points leader, Pat McGuire. McGuire pulled alongside Schnars in the fourth turn of the nineteenth lap, but Schnars was able to maintain his position and go on to his first-ever win in the class. Newlywed Catania was a solid third followed by Jake Lechtner and Ron Olson. McGuire and Bryan Downes won the heat events. With his second place finish, McGuire emerged the class point champion over rookie Chris Hackett.

Don McGuire and Randy Parmenter entered the final night of competition separated by only twelve points with Parmenter the leader on the circuit. McGuire had a 170 point edge in the track standings. With both winning heat races, the circuit championship would be determined by the feature event. McGuire started the race eighth with Parmenter ninth. Robert J. Nocero jumped out to the immediate lead and opened up a six car-length advantage until he looped his car on the fourth turn of lap two. At the resumption of the race, Dave Eades held the lead for one lap until McGuire got by for the lead. Parmenter also got by Eades one lap later and set out to reel in McGuire. McGuire had a strong enough car to maintain the advantage throughout the race, which was only slowed once more for caution. At the finish it was McGuire crossing first under the checkers with Parmenter second and Mike Kosinski third. Eades and John Lobb filled out the top five. Unofficially, Parmenter will be the class point champion by only two points on the circuit.

The 4-cylinders were in action again with Darrell Moody picking up his second win of the season over Jeff Moody and Howard Fraley. Moody also was the winner of the heat for the liftle cars.

John Galati made a rare appearance at Eriez and led the first Cadet feature from green to checkers for his first win of the year at the Hammett oval. The Busti, NY resident recorded five wins at Stateline Speedway in 1999. Following Galati across the line were Mark Thrasher, Mike Kosinski, Chris Withers, and Dave Tolan.

Andy Sweetland led the second Cadet finale for the first six laps before making way for Travis Garske, who led the remaining distance. From lap eight on, Garske had considerable pressure from 1999 circuit champ Bryan Emory, but was able to hold on for the win, his second of the season at Eriez. 1998 champ Greg fenno was third followed by Jim Hilyer and Jeff Gunnell. Dave Tolan, Hilyer, and Emory won the heat events while Greg Hoover won the “Run for the Money” event. With his seventh place finish in the first Cadet feature, Wade Slaney became the 1999 Eriez Cadet Point Champion.

Ed Bennett, Jr was the winner of the first Spectator feature followed by Rod Round and Rob Morse. Justin Carlson outpowered the field in the second feature for the amateur drivers. Dustin Eckman was second with Ray Churchill third. Scott Coon emerged the victor in the third feature with Gerald Kielar second and Jim Kennerknecht third. The fourth feature would decide the point championship for the class with sixteen year old Chris Sutton winning the championship over fifteen year old Dave Hess, Jr, who won the event. Hess had six wins in the season to Sutton’s three, but Sutton’s consistency won the championship by a narrow margin. Hess was the Champion at Stateline by only three points. Pat Gorton, the former Lady Spectator Champion was second after leading the first seven laps of the event Sutton was third. Heats were won by Paul Briggs, Gerald Kielar, Brad Pease, and Gorton.