Saturday night’s finish of the Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modified feature had the fans on their feet right down the checkers as Mike Bowman out raced future hall of famer Billy Decker for the win.
Over the last 12 laps, Decker threw every inch of experience he had at Bowman, but Bowman didn’t get rattled, beating Decker by less than a half of a hood length at the checkers.
Other winners were Jeremy Pitcher in the SUNY Canton Sportsman, Larry Wight in the NAPA Late Models, Chris Hulsizer in the E&V Energy Novice Sportsman and Skip DeGroff in the Parts Plus Four Cylinder Stocks.
Chris Hile and Dan Vauter brought the 24-car starting field down to the green with Hile and Vauter swapping the lead four times in the first four laps before a quick yellow would fly.
Vauter would set the pace out front until the next caution period on lap 8 when Tim Sears Jr. spun in turn three.
On the restart, Chad Phelps using the bottom would bolt to the lead on lap 9 with Vauter, Hile, Roy Bresnahan and Mike Bowman keeping pace with Phelps.
Chad Phelps would hold a slight advantage at the front over Vauter as Hile, Bresnahan and Bowman battled for top five spots until Ryan Phelps slowed on the front straight with a right rear flat on lap 14.
With 15 laps showing on the scoring tower, Phelps and Bresnahan were in a two-car breakaway at the front. Behind the top two, Vauter, Bowman, Hile, Pat Ward, Larry Wight and Billy Decker raced in a tight pack for fifth through eighth.
From lap 15 to lap 17, Bowman started picking cars off, moving to second and then setting his sights on Phelps. On lap 20, Bowman blasted by Phelps into the lead and immediately opened space between himself and the rest of the field.
By lap 23, Billy Decker moved into second and looked to move in on Bowman, who was still running the cushion turning quick laps.
Over the last 10 laps, Decker threw everything he had at Bowman pulling even with him lap after lap, setting up a one lap shootout to the finish.
Entering turns three and four coming down to the finish, Decker would once again pull even with Bowman as the two exited turn four, drag racing to the finish line.
Bowman would be the first under the checkers by a half a hood length (0.101 on the clock). Roy Bresnahan, Pat Ward and Chad Phelps finished second through fifth.
“I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to get back here,” said Bowman. “We’ve been struggling so bad. With the equipment and help I got we should be running a lot better. We needed this tonight to help turn our season around.
“We weren’t real good at the beginning (of the feature) then the top, for a lot of people, went away,” he added. “I just kept getting better up there, I got a clear lane to get up there and that’s where I was going to stay. I seen Billy (Decker) a lot of times, that last corner (last lap) was a lot of nerves.”
In the 20 -lap SUNY Canton Sportsman feature, Jason Occhino would lead the early going before Dave Emmons took over the top spot on lap 5. After a yellow on lap 6, Tony Finch would take advantage of the restart to be scored the new leader on lap 7.
At the halfway point, lap 10, Finch would hold a slight advantage over Emmons as Jordan Bennett and Jeremy, who started 14th, were right there waiting for any mistake by the top-two.
With five laps to go Finch opened an almost half a straightaway lead, while Pitcher, Emmons, Bennett and Beth Schneider were in a tight fight for second through fifth.
Once Pitcher shook free of the battle for second through fifth, he took off after Finch closing in rapidly.
With one lap to go, Pitcher found the bite he needed on the bottom to drive by Finch and go onto his third win of the 2012 season. Tony Finch II, Beth Schneider, Jordan Bennett and Jim Spano, who started 24th, rounded out the top five.
In the 20-lap NAPA Late Model feature, Larry Wight took over the lead from Alan Fink on lap 8 and never looked back for his sixth win of the year. Alan Fink, Sean Beardsley, AJ Kingsley and Joe Hall chased Wight across the line.
In the wild 15 lap E&V Energy Novice Sportsman feature, Chris Hulsizer earned his first win. Hulsizer took the lead on lap 6 and then held off points leader Kyle Fink at the checkers. Dan Keyes, Kyle Fink and early leader Corey Barker finished second through fifth.
Skip DeGroff took the lead on the opening lap of the 15 lap Parts Plus Four Cylinder Stock feature and then held off all challengers for the win. Mark Johnston, Jerry Herbert, Eric M Zirbel and Matt Dawson chased DeGroff across the line.
Saturday, July 21, Sunoco Fulton Ethanol Facility presents a full night of racing action featuring the Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modifieds, SUNY Canton Sportsman, NAPA Late Models, E&V Energy Novice Sportsman and Parts Plus Four Cylinder Stocks. There will also be a drivers skills competition.