By Jay Shimel
Evans Mills, NY-The cross flags flew on the 2023 racing season Saturday night at the Evans Mills Raceway Park. Clear skies and warm temperatures welcomed race fans, drivers and crew members for the inaugural running of the 4-Banger Nationals presented by Coca-Cola of Watertown, NY.
The Excess Storage Pro Late Models kicked off the features for the evening. James Kiah and Tyler Papin made up the front row as Kiah took the early lead. Papin and Rylee Gill would battle side by side for the first seven laps, as Kiah would build a healthy lead. Gill would clear Papin on lap 7 and start to run down Kiah. There wouldn’t be enough laps left as Kiah would cross the line first, winning his first feature of the year. Feature Results: 1)James Kiah, 2) Rylee Gill, 3)Tyler Papin, 4)Joe Clark
Geoff Sharkey and Tony Pettinelli brought the Caskinette Ford Modifieds to the green flag for their 35-lap feature. Pettinelli would grab the early lead and start to distance himself from the rest of the field. Only two cautions would slow the field on laps 10 and 12. Pettinelli would keep the top spot on the first restart, but Andre Roggie would pass Pettinelli on the lap 12 restart. The next lap, Pettinelli fought back to reclaim the lead. The veteran driver out of Rome, NY would once again build a commanding lead on his competitors. Joe Papin and Kreig Heroth would start to march to the front and find themselves with a shot at the lead in the closing laps. Papin got by Roggie for second with 5 laps remaining. On lap 32, Papin would pressure Pettinelli for the lead. Coming out of turn 4, Papin would power by and take over the top spot. Papin would lead the final 3 laps and win his 3rd feature in a row after earning his first ever feature win 3 races ago. Feature Results: 1)Joe Papin, 2) Tony Pettinelli, 3)Kreig Heroth, 4)Andre Roggie, 5)Jeff Pringle, 6)Steven Sherwood, 7)Kaden Rogers, 8)John Ramsey, 9)Scott Dinzler, 10)Brad Winters, 11)Kevin Warren, 12)Geoff Sharkey
21 Sport Compacts and Thunderstocks would roll out to start the inaugural 30-lap, 4-Banger Nationals paying $500 for the Sport Compact winner and $300 to the Thunderstocks winner and $100 to start the race. The first half of the race was caution plagued as drivers struggled to find a rhythm. Some heavy hitters would find trouble early ending their chances at the big payday. Throughout the cautions, Mike Greenfield looked to dominate in his Thunderstock and Justin Coachman flew up through the field to find himself in the top spot by lap 8, after starting 15th. The final caution slowed the field on lap 16 as Coachman remained in first as Joe Pettinelli would be sitting in the catbird seat. The final 14 laps would run caution free which would allow the field to get spread out. Coachman maintained his lead, but Pettinelli wouldn’t allow him to get to far ahead. As the final laps approached, the leaders would encounter heavy lap traffic. Coachman would navigate through the first group of laps cars as Pettinelli followed in his tracks. On the final lap, one final lap car stood in the way of the checkered flag. As the leaders entered turn one, they chose to go on the high side to get by. On the exit, the lap car exited high, blocking Coachman. Pettinelli would get to the bottom lane as they entered turn 3. The slower car dropped to the low lane. Pettinelli would make contact, sending the lap car back up the track, blocking Coachman again. Pettinelli would get by, leading only one lap, the final one! Mike Greefield would be the man to beat as he won his 3rd Thunderstock feature in a row.
Sport Compact Feature Results: 1)Joe Pettinelli, 2)Justin Coachman, 3)Chuck Powelczyk, 4)Bridget DeMarse, 5)Sam Curcie, 6)Mike Cole, 7)Steven Denton, 8)Billy Matteson
Thunderstock Feature Results: 1)Mike Greenfield, 2)Tim Greenfield, 3)Justin Pope, 4)Tyler Collette, 5)Jared Gilson, 6)Anthony St. Mary, 7)Michael Marcinko, 8)Kyle Hart, 9)Ryan Wurtz, 10)Angela Pettinelli, 11)Justin Burns, 12)Jerry Rogers, 13)Kevin Greenfield
The final feature of the evening was the Christman Fuel Service INEX Legends. Brody Beckwith and Brayton Malbeuf were the pole sitters. 3 quick cautions came out on laps 4 & 5. On the lap 5 restart, Kyle Hart darted around leader Brayton Malbeuf to take the lead heading into turn 1. No one would have anything for Hart, as he cruised to his second feature win of the season. Feature Results: 1)Kyle Hart, 2)Chris Malbeuf, 3)Brayton Malbeuf, 4)Devin Thornton, 5)Brody Beckwith, 6)Evan Thomas, 7)Kyle Wurtz, 8)Carrie Carr, 9)Camdin Cook
Next weekend EMRP hosts the annual Nicole Berry-Garnsey Health and Wellness Night, presented by Samaritan Medical Center. The Caskinette Ford Modifieds, Excess Storage Pro Late Models, Christman Fuel Service INEX Legends and the Sport Compacts and Thunderstocks will also 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.