Mother nature threw her best punches Saturday night when the skies opened up, causing an over an hour rain delay.
Instead of throwing in the towel, the Fulton Speedway track crew got to work providing a fast track surface for the nights features.
“I can be in pain at home on the couch, or be in pain in the race car, I’ll take the race car,” said Pat Ward after undergoing an appendectomy this past Tuesday after falling ill Monday at the Utica-Rome Speedway.
Ward gave himself the best medicine in the world as he picked up the Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modified feature win Saturday night at the Fulton Speedway.
Other winners were Justin Crisafulli, SUNY Canton Sportsman; Dale Caswell, NAPA Late Models; Gary Hoppins, E&V Energy Novice Sportsman; Eric M. Zirbel, Four Cylinder Stocks; and Doug Williams, Mod Lites.
Matt Hulsizer would grab the early lead to start the 35-lap Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modified feature on a tacky and quick racing surface.
With five laps complete, Hulsizer would hold a narrow lead over Kane, Chuck Bower and Tim Sears Jr. with Ryan Phelps right there in fifth.
The first yellow would fly on lap 7 for Tom Sears Jr., who stopped on the top of turn two. That gave the field a chance to catch their breath, as there were two and three-wide battles around the speedway.
On lap 10, using the cushion, Tim Sears Jr. would be scored the new leader by inches over Hulsizer at the line.
With 15 laps showing on the scoring tower, Sears, Hulsizer and Bower were in a three-car breakaway, as they raced nose to tail and side by side at the front of the field. Coming quick behind the top three was Ward, who would soon make it a four-car fight for the top-spot.
At the halfway point, Sears was still setting the pace, but couldn’t put any distance between himself and Hulsizer and Bower. Ward and Chris Hile showed in the top five.
Rob Bellinger and Larry Wight would be involved in an incident on the back straightaway bringing out the yellow on lap 24.
When the green came back out, Sears appeared to jump the cushion exiting turn four, which allowed Hulsizer, Bower, Ward and Billy Decker to shoot by.
Just before another yellow, Ward, through sure horsepower, went from fourth and into the lead. The caution was for Sears who appeared to be hit hard by debris. Sears luckily would climb from his car under his own power.
Over the closing laps, Ward was a man on a mission, as he was able to outrun Billy Decker who moved into second but could get no closer than a few car lengths at the checkers.
Chuck Bower, Matt Hulsizer and Dan Vauter finished third through fifth.
After slowly exiting his Gypsum Express/Stadium International Trucks/Gypsum Wholesalers/ LJL Kevlar Racing Engines/No.42p/Bicknell, a sore but happy Pat Ward talked about his second win of the year at the Fulton Speedway.
“It’s been a tough week,” he said. “This crew of mine, I couldn’t touch the car all week. Terry came in with me Friday morning and I got to thank Rob (Hile) Scott (Jeffrey) from the other two crews, they stripped the car and washed it for me. I got the best team you could ever have.
“This car the last three weeks has been super,” he added. “I’m pretty much junk everywhere else, but here I’m really good.”
Ward related how a yellow helped him shoot from fourth and into the lead on a restart.
“We were coming on strong,” he said. “We didn’t have enough gear at the start, but we were slowly coming up through. I don’t know what happened to Tim (Sears Jr.) I hope he’s alright; he was running a heck of a race. When he broke the middle groove was pretty much locked down, and that was pretty much the end of the race right there.”
In the 20-lap SUNY Canton Sportsman feature, a new name would grace victory lane for a first time winner. Justin Crisafulli would take the lead at the drop of the green and lead every lap, but the win was anything but easy.
Crisafulli would have to hold off former feature winner Jason Occhino on the last lap for the narrow win. Greg Mrzywka, points leader Beth Schneider and Nick Krause finished third through fifth.
“I only burped the throttle,” was what Dale Caswell said about his dominate win as he was almost wide open around the Fulton Speedway.
At the checkers, Caswell was almost a half a track ahead of the field, ending Alan Fink’s win streak in the NAPA Late Models. Sean Beardsley, Alan Fink, Dustin Hanlon and Shayne Tenace came home second through fifth.
In the 15-lap E&V Energy Novice Sportsman feature, Gary Hoppins went from third to the lead on lap four and then never looked back picking up another win for the defending champion. Early leader Wade Chrisman, Taylor Lamb, Dan Hoffmann and Jeremy Dygert rounded out the top-five.
The undefeated streak for Skip DeGroff is finally over in the Four Cylinder Stocks. Eric M. Zirbel, who has been strong all season only to have something happen to his No.26, picked up the hard fought win over DeGroff and Mark Johnston.
The Mod Lites made an appearance Saturday night. In the 15-lap feature, Lowell Zehr first held off Justin Williams and then battled with Justin’s father, Doug. In one of the most entertaining passes for the lead, Doug Williams waved at Zehr as he took the lead on the last lap and the win.
Saturday, June 8 will be another night of racing. On the race card will be the Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modifieds, SUNY Canton Sportsman, NAPA Late Models, E&V Energy Novice Sportsman and Four Cylinder Stocks.
Sportsman crew members will take center stage as they will be involved in a pit-stop competition on the front straightaway.
Gates will open at 5 with racing at 7 p.m.