Tight finishes highlight holiday victories at Fulton Speedway

A huge holiday crowd with fireworks on the track and in the sky saw the fourth of July holiday weekend end with a bang at the Fulton Speedway Saturday night.

On the track, the two big divisions, the Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modifieds and the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints saw their feature and A-Main come down to last lap with Jim Witko Jr. and Bryan Howland standing in victory lane.

Other winners on NAPA Auto Parts and Safety Kleen night were Beth Schneider, SUNY Canton Sportsman; Alan Fink, NAPA Late Models; Jeremy Dygert, E&V Energy Novice Sportsman; and Tim Dunn, Four Cylinder Stocks.

Tim Sears Jr. would lead the opening three laps of the 35-lap Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modified feature before Matt Hulsizer, using the top of the speedway would take over the top spot on lap 4. With 10 laps showing on the lap counter, Hulsizer and Jim Witko would run nose to tail and side by side battling for the lead.

Behind the top-two, you could have thrown a blanket over Chris Hile, Sears, Pat Ward and Dan Vauter as they fought for third through sixth.

One lap later, after digging on the bottom Witko would take the narrow lead on lap 11. By lap 15, Witko and Hulsizer were in a two-car breakaway with Vauter, Hile and Ryan Phelps running third through fifth. At the halfway point, Witko was a man on a mission as he opened a half a straight lead on the field. All of a sudden, at that point Hulsizer slowed going to the pits while racing hard with Vauter and Phelps in the top five. With 10 laps to go, Witko was still on cruise control out front with Phelps giving chase as the final laps started clicking off.

Behind the top two, Vauter, Billy Decker and Pat Ward were in a tight fight of their own in the top five. When the starter gave the field the five laps to go sign, Phelps had cut Witko’s lead down to about 10 car lengths setting up a two car chase to the checkers for the win.

With two laps to go, Phelps caught Witko by using lapped traffic that was using up every inch of the speedway making it tough for Witko to get by. On the last lap in turns three and four, Phelps threw everything he had at Witko coming down for the checkers.

Witko didn’t flinch by hitting his marks to be the first across the line by a narrow margin over Phelps. Billy Decker, Dan Vauter and Chad Phelps finished third through fifth.

After getting out of his self-sponsored/No.24/Troyer and giving his wife, Barb a huge hug, Jim Witko talked about his first win since 2008. “I can’t describe it, it’s awesome, it’s unbelievable,” said Witko.

Witko and his wife travel every weekend from Clarks Summit, Pa. to compete at the Brewerton and Fulton speedways. They are usually the only two working on the car on race weekends, making the win even more special and popular with the fans. “Lapped cars were all over the place,” Witko said that allowed Phelps to catch him for the exciting finish. “They’re racing hard too, so you have to find a way around them.”

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