Evans Mills, NY-Evans Mills Raceway Park kicked off a busy summer schedule with the first of three extra lap events for the 2023 season. The Inaugural Zeigler ’67 was held in conjunction with Legends Night. Former track owner and builder Bob Zeigler passed away during the winter and his family and EMRP management teamed up to host the first memorial race in Bob’s honor, a 67 Lap Sportsman Modified Race. There were many extra incentives for not only the modified drivers, but in all classes throughout the heat races and features. In addition, over 20 classic cars were displayed in Midway throughout the night, concluding with a parade for the race fans during intermission.
The first feature of the evening was the Christman Fuel Service INEX Legends, led to the green flag by Devin Thornton and Cody Draper. Thornton would get out to commanding lead during the early laps as Draper would secure second place. As Thornton and Draper would continue to set the pace, Chris Malbeuf would work his was into the third position as the first caution would fly on lap 9. On the restart, Thornton would pull away again, as Draper would try to keep it close. Two laps later, Draper would encounter mechanical problems and be forced to drop out of the race. On the restart, Thornton would remain the man to beat and pulled away from the rest of the pack. After enduring a difficult start to the season, Thornton would go on to win his first feature of the year. Kyle Hart would finish second and Brayton Malbeuf took home third.
The Excess Storage Pro Late Models took to the track next. Rylee Gill and Chuck Meyer made up the front row. Meyer would try to power by Gill on the outside, but the low line prevailed as Gill led the first lap. Gill would have too much for the other cars as he led every lap and took him his second checkered flag on the season. Meyer would finish second and Tyler Papin crossed the line in third.
The Classic Asphalt Modified Series made the first of two stops at EMRP as Eric Gall and Andy Fera led the cars of the 30’s and 70’s to the green flag. Fera had problems on the initial start which prevented him to complete any green flag laps. On the restart Gall pulled away and started to distance himself from the field. John Semmler would begin to chase down Gall. Just as Semmler got with striking distance, he would spin in turn 2. On the restart, Gall would pull out to an even larger lead. Semmler quickly recovered to find himself in second as he began to chase down Gall. With two laps remaining Semmler would try to get past Gall as the leaders worked through lap traffic. Gall would hold on to the lead and take the feature win. Semmler finished second and Dennie Gervais finished third.
The Sport Compacts and Thunderstocks to took to the track next. David Paige and Tim Greenfiled started on the front row for the 20-lap feature. Paige would lead the early laps as Kevin Greenfield worked his way to the front from his 6th place starting position. By lap 4, Greenfield would get by Paige on the high side to take the lead. The feature would run caution free, to the dismay of the field, as Greenfield would checkout on the second-place car. Jock Symonds, making his first appearance of the season would move into second place by the halfway mark, but would not be able to chase down the leader. Greenfield would cruise to his 4th victory of the year in the Thunderstocks. Mike Greenfield would finish second and David Liscum finished third in the Thunderstocks. Symonds would win the Sport Compacts followed by Chuck Powelcyzk and Justin Coachman.
24 Caskinette Ford Modifeds took the green flag for the Inaugural Zeigler ’67 which paid $1967 to the winner and had $600 in contingency money award throughout the field. Geoff Sharkey and Caiden Rogers were the pole sitters. Sharkey would grab the early before the first caution flew on lap 5. Unfortunately, 7 caution flags would fly in the first 23 laps as the field struggled to find a groove. After weeks of struggling on restarts, Sharkey would maintain his top spot on the restarts and set the pace. On a lap 17 restart, Andre Roggie worked his way to second, from his 11th starting position. Sharkey would hold off Roggie on the restart but would not be as lucky on a restart 3 laps later. Roggie would inherit the lead on the restart on lap 20. The race would go green for the next 13 laps, as a new face would emerge in second place, Kreig Heroth. Roggie would build a healthy lead but would be erased by a lap 35 caution. Roggie and Heroth would now be the top two. Heroth would pressure Roggie on the restart but could not find a lane to get by. Heroth would be content in second, as Roggie continued to turn in consistent quick laps. The race would remain green and by lap 57 it appeared lap traffic would come into play. Roggie had built a straightaway lead. Heroth quickly closed the gap as Roggie was held up by a pack of 5 slower cars. Heading into turn 1 on lap 61, Roggie chose to go high and Heroth picked the low lane as the leaders sandwiched a lapped car. Roggie would lose grip and the lead as Heroth darted by on the bottom to take the lead. Heroth would lead the final 6 laps are Roggie couldn’t run down the leader. Heroth crossed the line first to cash in on the largest pay day the season to date. In victory lane, Heroth mentioned he is “comfortable in longer distance races” and knew that a long green flag would come and just tried to be patient and wait for the right time to strike. Roggie would have to settle for a disappointed second place finish. Tony Pettinelli finished third, followed by Sharkey with his best finish of the season in fourth and John Ramsey finished fifth.
Next weekend EMRP celebrates Flag Day presented by Carthage Savings. The Caskinette Ford Modifieds, Excess Storage Pro Late Models, Christman Fuel Service INEX Legends and the Sport Compacts and Thunderstocks will be in action. Pit gates open at 3pm, General Admission at 5pm and racing starts at 6:30pm. Pit pass $35, Adults $15, Military $13, Children 10-17 $10 and under 9 free with paid Adult