Barber, Welshans, Anasiewicz & Nye take opening day wins at Lancaster
LANCASTER, N.Y. (April 22, 2017) – Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway kicked off its 59th season of racing on Saturday afternoon with the annual Queen City Clash. Over 70 cars jammed the pits for the largest opening day turn out in several seasons, while fans enjoyed the cool but sunny conditions.
Queen City Clash winners included John Barber of Bliss, N.Y. in the Sunoco Sportsman, Nik Welshans of West Falls, NY in the Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks, Jason Anasiewicz of Lancaster in the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders and Andy Nye of Lancaster in the NYPA TQ Midgets.
A total of 24 of Sunoco Sportsman took the green flag for their first 35-lap feature of 2017. Tony Carbone and Patrick Emerling started on the front row with Emerling taking the early lead.
The cooler than normal temps combined with a green racing surface made handling a challenge for a number of competitors during the opening laps. Tommy Catalano followed Emerling on the outside line into the second position, but he lost handling on just the race’s second lap and spun out to bring out the caution flag.
The pace of the race was slowed by yellow flags five times in the first four laps before things would settle down. Emerling continued to lead the field followed by John Barber, George Skora III, Owen Bednasz and Shawn Nye. He was able to pull away from the field consistently on restarts to maintain his advantage over Barber.
Emerling continued to pace the field until the yellow flag waved for the final time on lap 32 after Mike Ramos stopped on the speedway. This set up one final restart with three laps to go, and once again Emerling was able to hold off Barber. Emerling crossed the finish line first, but he was disqualified in the post-race inspection.
Barber was awarded his first win of the season. Sophomore driver Owen Bednasz finished a career best second. Skora, Kevin Miller and Carbone rounded out the top five.
Mark Hoch and Max Northem led the field of Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks to the green flag of their 25-lap feature. The veteran Hoch was able to outrun the rookie Northem on the race’s opening lap to take the initial lead.
Northem faded back a few positions before being involved in an incident on lap 7. He collided with Lou Carbone on the frontstretch to bring out the yellow flag for the first time in the event. Carbone initially drove away from the incident after a smoky, 360-degree spin, but his rear axle broke on the following lap.
Racing resumed with Hoch leading Tommy Wentland, Trevor Pettit and Tim Welshans. Hoch’s car appeared to be developing a loose condition as his back end was starting to slide in the corners. On lap 10, Hoch was being pressured by Pettit when the pair made contact coming off turn 2. Hoch spun out, which sent the field scattering to avoid him.
Hoch and Pettit moved to the rear of the field after the incident, which moved Wentland to the lead followed by brothers Nik and Tim Welshans. Wentland protected the lead throughout the second half of the race by keeping his car on the inside line. This forced Nik Welshans to the outside to try and overtake him. He made several attempts during the second half of the race, but Welshans’s car could not catch enough bite to complete the pass.
The final 15 laps ran without a caution, which forced the leaders into lap traffic in the closing laps. Wentland led Welshans on the final lap, but as the pair entered turn 3 they came upon the lapped car of Frank Prell. Wentland’s path was blocked by the slower car and Welshans was able to steal the lead in the final two turns.
Welshans earned his first career Lancaster win in just his second start. Wentland had to settle for second to equal his best finish at Lancaster. Welshans’s brother, Tim, finished third. Rob Pocobello and Dave Wilson rounded out the top five.
Jason Anasiewicz captured his first career win in the Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders in dominating fashion. Anasiewicz led all 25 laps from the outside pole position and crossed the finish line half a lap before his next closest competitor. Defending track champion, Kevin Bainbridge, finished second followed by Tim Durfy, Dan Dressel and Bobby Woch.
Andy Nye scored the win in the opening race of the year for the NYPA TQ Midgets. He started off the 2017 season the same way he ended last year as he finished last year with a win in the U.S. Open TQ Midget feature last September. Nye passed Tommy Catalano for the lead on lap 5 of the 20-lap feature. He held off a hard-charging Bobby Holmes in closing laps to secure the victory.
Next week, the ground-pounding Race of Champions Modified Series rolls into Lancaster for the Fans in the Stands 75. The stars and cars of the RoC Series will do battle for 75 laps as we pay tribute fans the best fans in racing. The Race of Champions Super Stocks, Advance Auto Parts Street Stocks and Roaming Buffalo 4-Cylinders will also be in action. Racing starts at 2 p.m.
About Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway: Founded in 1959, Lancaster National Speedway and Dragway is a multi-use facility located on 77 acres just outside of metropolitan Buffalo, N.Y. The facility features a 1/8-mile drag strip, a 1/2-mile oval track and hosts several non-motorsports events such as car shows and concerts. For the latest information on Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway check out our website www.lancasternationalspeedway.com. Additional information for racers and fans can be found on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LancasterSpeedway) and on Twitter (@LancasterSpdwy).
Heat Winners: Mark Pennell, Tommy Catalano, Jake Lyon
Feature: JOHN BARBER, Owen Bednasz, George Skora III, Kevin Miller, Tony Carbone, Tony Hanbury, Andy Jankowiak, Tommy Catalano, Jake Lyon, Shawn Nye, Timmy Catalano, Sherri Hogan, Mark Pennell, Dave Kozlowski, Mike Rogers, Mike Ramos, Matt Druar, Andy Lewis, Alan Bookmiller, Dick Kluth, Neal Dietz, Jr., Amy Catalano, Jayme Thompson DQ: Patrick Emerling
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS STREET STOCKS
Heat Winners: Mark Hoch, Nik Welshans
Feature: NIK WELSHANS, Tommy Wentland, Tim Welshans, Rob Pocobello, Dave Wilson, Ken Maltby, Dennis Londos, Don Sitarski, Jarrod Brown, Keith Flanigan, Garrett Cleversley, Frank Prell, Trevor Pettit, Mark Hoch, Lou Carbone, Max Northem, Gino Pinto
ROAMING BUFFALO 4-CYLINDERS
Heat Winners: Tim Durfy, Jason Anasiewicz
Feature: JASON ANASIEWICZ, Kevin Bainbridge, Tim Durfy, Dan Dressel, Bobby Woch, Dave Milbrand Jr., Jimmy Pierce, Dave Brunka, Chris Pennell, Howard Guthrie, Zach Cleversley, Charles Palmer, Russ Hartke, Laurie Krol, Casey Pew, Chris Bugenhagen DNS: Joe Brunka
NYPA TQ MIDGETS
Heat Winners: Kyle Hutchinson, Bobby Holmes
Feature: ANDY NYE, Bobby Holmes, Tommy Catalano, Brandon Zavarella, Erik Musto, Mark Schulz, Charlie DiRosa, Kyle Hutchinson, Tony Patrea, Jamie Pew, Kevn Wilson, Patrick Smith, Ronnie Flaim DNS: Sean McNamara
Photos by Joe Grabianowski