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Gardner Brings Down Curtain on 1900’s with Win at Stateline

By Jay Pees

Rich Gardner started from the pole in the final event of the 1900’s at Stateline Speedway and went on to his second win of the season at the Busti, NY tract Gardner did not lead the entire however as Matt Urban got by going into turn one on lap two then speeding away to a five car-length lead by the time that the first caution flag was waved on lap three for a spin by Steve Halpainy in turn four. On the restart, Chad Ruhlman also got by Gardner and set out chasing Urban, getting alongside in turn three, only to have the caution wave, this time for a spin by Chris Brockway and Chevy Scott in turn four. This yellow proved to be the final caution period of the season as Urban appeared to power away from the field with Ruhlman and Gardner slipping back

On lap six Gardner pulled alongside Ruhlman and the two raced side-by-side for two laps before Gardner got the upper hand and completed the pass on the front straight. Slowly, the distance between the front runners narrowed and Gardner drew alongside the leader on lap seventeen. With Urban running high and Gardner hugging the inside, the lead was traded several times during the next lap until Gardner pulled out to a slim lead in turn one of lap eighteen. Urban pulled even with Gardner in the turns but fell back behind the leader in the straights. Going into turn three for the final time, Urban made his final attempt on the leader, but Gardner crossed the finish line one-half car-length ahead of his pursuer. Ruhlman finished third with Doug Eck running a steady race for fourth. Pat McGuire was fifth with John Lobb, Randy Lobb, Andy Kania, John Venable, and Chris Brockway rounding out the top ten.

Gardner, Urban, and Ruhlman won their qualifying heats. Urban wrapped up his second consecutive points championship with his second place finish. Gardner finished the season long points chase in the runner-up position. Complete final point standings will be announced Tuesday.

Chris Hackett led the seventeen Limited Late Models to the green flag for their Championship grind and led the first seven laps, giving way to John Lacki on the exit of turn two on lap eight Lacki then held the lead until Kevin Decker got by him coming out of turn four on lap fourteen. Pat McGuire also got by Lacki, but was unable to catch Decker, who went on to his second victory of the season at Stateline. Decker’s first victory of the season came in the spring championship race for the Limited late Models. Lacki wound up third with Hackett fourth and Ron Olson fifth.

Hackett and Decker won preliminary heat events with Tom Schnars and Bobby Rohrer coming across the finish line in a dead heat for the win in the third preliminary. With his second place finish, McGuire captured the season points title for the Limited Late Model class with Rohrer in second for the season.

Robert J. Nocero won his first-ever feature at Stateline with a flag to flag run in the Sportsman feature, run without interruption by the yellow flag. Nocero and Mall Green ran side-by-side for three laps before Nocero nosed ahead to lead the rest of the distance.

Tom Kosinski, his son Mike Kosinski, and Nocero won their heat races. Unofficially, Mike Kosinski emerged the Point Champion for the six-cylinder powered machines.

Gary Eicher showed the way to the twenty Cadets in their first feature until mechanical problem relegated him to the pits for repairs, handing the lead to Tom Anderson on lap eight of the fifteen lap event. Ken Drake joined Anderson at the front of the field early in the event, which saw six caution periods. At the checkers, Anderson narrowly beat out Drake by the length of his front bumper. Bryan Emory was third, Jim Hilyer fourth, and Ron Seeley fifth.

Ed Streich came out of retirement only two races prior to the season finale, but proved he can still put the car in front by winning the second Cadet finale after leading the entire distance. Only two cautions slowed the event which had Greg Johnson second at the conclusion. Ted Kosinski was third with Chad Carlson fourth and Mike Kosinski fifth.

Quincy Turner, Ted Kosinski, and Drake won the heat races with Carlson besting John Galati for the honors in the “Run for the Money” match race for last week’s winners. At the time of writing, the point totals for the Cadet division had not been totaled, but only thirty points separated the front four runners, Emory, Jeff Gunnell, Carlson, and Galati.

Paul Briggs finished the first Spectator finale in front of the field with Kirk Faust second and Waft Houser third. Randy Carlson emerged victorious in the second Spectator feature over Ray Churchill and Doug Dunham. Andy Clark led the field to the checkers in the third Spectator feature followed by Pat Gorton and Scott Ottaway. Dave Hess, Jr won the final feature for the amateur Spectator drivers by the narrowest of margins over Chris Sutton and Mark Grabowski. Point leader Bob Frisbee had mechanical problems early in the feature and failed to finish the event. The points have not yet been totaled for the division, but it appears that the margin of victory will be less than five points between Hess, Sutton, and Frisbee.