Hupp and Spithaler Pick Up BOSS Victories
The Buckeye Machine BOSS sprint tour crossed the halfway mark of the 2014 season with events #8 and 9 of the 16 race schedule being run over the holiday weekend. The buckeye tour found Indiana and Pennsylvania natives getting the job done. Friday night it was Columbus, Indiana driver Logan Hupp in the Ray Marshall Motorsports #2M scoring his career first BOSS victory at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania. Saturday at America's Motorsports Park, Evans City, Pennsylvania shoe Brandon Spithaler parked the Tom Burkey owned #57B Superior Tank & Trailer entry in victory lane.
A stout field of 26 traditional sprint cars signed in for competition Friday night. Heat race victories were scored by Logan Hupp, Tony Beaber, and Mike Miller and the B-Main was picked up by Lernerville Hall of Famer Johnny Beaber. The exciting preliminary action saw a finish among 3 cars in the first heat you could throw a blanket over as Hupp narrowly defeated Spithaler and Dustin Smith. Then in heat two, Tony Beaber and Jack Sodeman jr banged wheels a few times chasing Joe Liguori for the lead, then on the final corner, Beaber threw the monster slide job to steal the win. Heat #3 found Brandon Cornelius collected by a spinning Dick Mahoney, sending Cornelius on a wild end over end tumble off the top of the turn 2 banking.
The 25 lap A-Main was paced to the green flag by Jack Sodeman Jr. and Joe Liguori. Sodeman blasted to the early lead but it was 4th place starter Logan Hupp quickly racing up to the lead battle with 3rd starting Brandon Spithaler in tow. Working lap #3 Hupp poked his nose past Sodeman for the lead on the backstretch to officially lead lap 3. Over the next few laps, Sodeman would lead through both corners of the racetrack with Hupp using his momentum from the top groove to lead down both straights. Working lap #5 Hupp began to open a narrow lead as Spithaler and Miller began to work Sodeman for the runner-up spot.
The race stayed green as Spithaler finally took over 2nd place on lap 13 using the extreme outside, and even running off the backstretch looking for traction. Two laps later, Miller also got past Sodeman placing him 3rd. Just when Hupp appeared to be stretching his lead over the furious battle behind him, the race's only caution flew on lap 17 for a spun Gale Ruth Jr in turn number one.
Under the caution flag, disaster struck the #57B of Spithaler as he had a flat right rear tire. He was able to restart at the rear, but left Mike Miller and Dustin Smith to battle it out with Hupp over the final 8 circuits.
What transpired over those final 8 laps would need to have been seen to fully comprehend what went on. An unofficial 22 lead changes took place in those final 8 laps. Although Hupp would lead at the stripe on all but one occasion, Mike Miller led through turns 1 and 2 on laps 18 through 20. On lap 22, the lead changed 3 times in one half a lap as Hupp led down the backstretch only to see the biggest slider of the night from Dustin Smith. Mike Miller pulled the crossover move to lead exiting turn 4, but Hupp rolled the top of the track, then diamond down off 4 to pass them both to hold onto the official lead.
Dustin Smith of Russiaville, Indiana finally took the official lead and got credit for one official lap led on lap 24. But Logan Hupp was not to be denied on this night. Smith led down the backstretch on the final circuit, but Hupp stole one from the playbook of Smith and threw a slide for life into turn 3, beating Smith to the line by 0.138 seconds. Mike Miller , Sodeman and Tony Beaber rounded out the top 5 while Michael Fischesser, Derek Hastings, Aaron Middaugh, Johnny Beaber and Andy Feil completed the top 10.
All 20 A-Main starters not only finished the event, but all 20 did so on the lead lap. Officially there were 3 lead changes among 3 different leaders, but for fans on hand who witnessed the event, they saw the lead change an incredible 31 times with 5 different drivers in the lead battle in an event with one caution in the 25 laps.
On Saturday night, another strong field of 27 cars was signed in for the largest crowd in the history of America's Motorsports Park. The field was divided into 4 heat races and they were claimed by Brandon Spithaler, Mike Miller, Chuck Wilson and Tony Beaber. The intense B-Main event was garnered by Ontario Canada driver Dick Mahoney.
The 25 lap / 20 car A-Main on the tight quarter mile oval would prove to be a true dogfight. Pennsylvania BOSS regulars Adam Miller and Brandon Spithaler would bring the cars into battle. Spithaler rocketed to the early lead using the high side while 4th starting Aaron Middaugh followed him to second spot. Sixth starting Dustin Smith was to 4th in less than a lap. It didn't take long for the first caution to fly though as working lap #3, Tony Beaber and Scott Hardman spun to a stop.
On the restart, Aaron Middaugh tried to dive beneath Spithaler for the lead, but cooked it in a little too hot, spinning in front of the field and collecting BOSS stalwarts Mike Miller, Adam Miller and Johnny Beaber. Only Beaber was able to continue.
The new top 5 became Spithaler, Smith, Chuck Wilson, Arnie Kent and Michael Fischesser. Working lap #6 the race's 3rd caution would fly when non wing first timer Bradley Howard who was running very well, spun in turn 2 collecting Tampa, Florida driver Joe Liguori and previous night's victor Logan Hupp who had been charging through the field from his 18th starting spot.
On the restart, Michael Fischesser proved he was the man on the move as he slid past Arnie Kent for fourth, then quickly reeled in veteran driver Chuck Wilson for 3rd. Also on the move were Chad Wilson who quickly was up to 5th from his 12th starting spot and Joe Butera who had started 20th.
As Spithaler set a blistering pace, the battle was for 3rd as Fischesser relentlessly hounded Chuck Wilson. Finally working lap #17, Fischesser moved to the outside line and as he tried to make the pass, the 2 cars made contact sending Fischesser around in turn 4. A brief fire was extinguished along with his chances at the win.
Two more late race cautions forced the series to have its first ever fuel stop in its 4 seasons of existence. Although the tires may have cooled slightly, the fire in Brandon Spithaler did not, as he was looking for redemption from the previous nights flat tire while battling for the lead.
When the racing resumed, Spithaler opened up another commanding lead proving this WAS his night. Russiaville, Indiana driver Dustin Smith was the only driver with top 5 finishes both nights as he scored a runner-up finish once again. Chuck Wilson, Chad Wilson and Derek Hastings rounded out the top 5, with all three drivers scoring their best career BOSS finishes. Arnie Kent, Joe Butera, Joe Liguori, Logan Hupp and Dick Mahoney rounded out the top 10.
The series now moves on to Waynesfield Raceway Park in Waynesfield, Ohio on Saturday, July 19th for the 3rd annual "Dick Spencer Memorial". Waynesfield is the Ohio weekly home of non wing sprint car racing and BOSS is Ohio's touring group. Fans will not want to miss this battle of travelers versus the locals in the TRUE Buckeye Showdown.
Contact: Lernerville Speedway
Eric J. Westendorf, Public Relations Director
Photo Courtesy of Tommy Hein/Hein Bros. Action Photos