Wagner Leads First Timers to Wins at Path ValleyNewsPhoto


From his fourth place start Mike Wagner II of Harrisonville took the lead on lap two and led the 305 Sprints by half the track Friday night on an exceptionally smooth Path Valley Speedway Park.

Mark Grove of Chambersburg in Thunder Cars and Dave Leidy of Neelyton in Mini Stocks both won their first ever Path Valley features. Jimmy Brookens of Fayetteville won his second of three features run in the 600 Sprints and Steve Dunmire of Ford City won his first of the season in 270 Sprints.

Next week’s rotation Friday, April 20, will see the Legends and V8 Super Stocks on the track along with the four regular weekly classes, with gates open at 5 p.m. Then Saturday, April 21, the Strictly Stocks will again attempt their first race on the Path Valley clay.

Wagner passed Cowboy Jim Kennedy for the lead at the end of lap one and said in victory lane that racing on the smooth and soft clay was easy. The younger Wagner was never challenged as two cautions regrouped the field and he won by more than half the track. The front five were Wagner, Wes Zimmerman, Mike Freet, Tim Damiani and Jim Kennedy, and Wagner and Jeff Sell won the heat races.

Dusty Summers led the 270 Sprints for 17 laps as Steve Dunmire and Heath Hehnly battled and swapped second place. Then the only caution on lap 18 let Dunmire slip past Summers and he finished with a lead of less than a car length. The front five finishers were Dunmire, Hehnly, Summers, Jason Houtz, and Tom Tice, and Jim Still and Dunmire won the heat races.

Jimmy Brookens said winning is always easier starting from the pole and he led every lap with Jim Young and Heath Hehnly right behind him. Three cautions forced restarts and each time Brookens kept the lead. The front five a car apart were Brookens, Hehnly, Young, and then Tyler Walton and Aaron Sphar. Heat winners were Jeff Stelter, Spahr and Young.

Mark Grove took the Thunder Car lead from Derrick Varner on lap two and ran away as defending champion John Rasp and regular announcer Rob Keller vied for second. The first five across the finish line were Grove, John Rasp, Keller, Denny Scofield and Buddy Smith. Rasp and Buddy Smith won the heats. Grove said that although he has won races at other tracks, this was his first win at Path Valley and the track management deserved special credit for a smooth program and an exceptionally smooth track.

Kyle Wiser took the lead in Mini Stocks on the second lap but by lap 10 he was seeing Leidy beside him. As the race went non-stop Leidy started his pass on lap 15 and completed it on lap 18 to put a thrilling conclusion on the fast night of racing. The front five in Mini Stocks were Leidy, Wiser, Tim Burkholder, Kevin Thomas and Jake Shoup and the heat winner was Kevin Thomas.

Race Director John Winsett said the teams owed a word of thanks to track foreman Mike Gipe for all the work he put into the track during the week to make it so smooth and firm. “The drivers were also very well behaved tonight and we thank them for a thrilling show that finished by 10:30,” Winsett said.

The Path Valley Speedway Park is located in Spring Run PA a mile north on PA Route 641 from the intersection with PA Route 75, halfway between Port Royal and Hagerstown. It is five miles east from the Willow Hill Exit 14 of the PA Turnpike. From March to October, Path Valley races stock cars and sprints Friday nights and AMA bikes or Strictly Stock junkyard cars Saturday nights.

The phone number at the track is 717-349-7111. For information on the 2007 schedule and rules, race teams and fans can consult the website at www.pathvalley.com or they can email Two Wheel Promotions at twp@pathvalley.com.

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305 Sprints – 1. Mike Wagner (started 4), 2. Wes Zimmerman, 3. Mike Freet, 4. Tim Damiani, 5. Jim Kennedy, 6. Mark Watkins, 7. Craig Laudermilch, 8. Jeff Sell, 9. Brett Hockenberry, 10. Michael Heckman. Heats to Wagner, Sell.

Team

Hi res photo