STEVE DREVICKI WINS SPEEDSTR OPENER IN ACTION TRACK USA
TAKEOVER EVENT #1 OF THE 2017 SEASON AT LINDA'S SPEEDWAY...
Moments after pulling into Victory Lane an excited Seth Spayd gives the #1 sign
which he earned by outlasting a stellar field of All-Star Slingshot Drivers.
Story by Barry Angstadt
Jonestown, PA - Last season, in his first year of USAC All Pro SpeedSTR competition, Steve Drevicki served notice that he would be among the top contenders each time his RoadRunner Race Fuels/ VP Race Fuels No. 19s took the green flag. On Friday night at Linda's Speedway, in the first Action Track Takeover Night of the new campaign, Drevicki became the year's first winner of a SpeedSTR main event.
The Reading driver, who notched one triumph at Action Track USA in Kutztown during the 2016 season, moved past Jeff Hartman to snare the runner-up position on lap three as polesitter Doug Manmiller set the pace in the early going. Briggs Danner followed Drevicki by Hartman, and the top four ran in almost nose-to-tail formation for the next three circuits.
Drevicki found the opening he needed as he and Manmiller negotiated turn two on the sixth trip around the ultra-fast, super smooth quarter-mile. He ducked under Manmiller's No. 00 as they exited the corner, then finally completed the pass as the duo throttled off the fourth corner and onto the homestretch.
Defending National SpeedSTR Champion and a four-time winner at Linda's in 2016, Tim Buckwalter, slipped back a couple of spots during the early laps, running fifth for much of the first half of the 30-lap event.
A red flag for a flipping Tom Mayberry, with 12 tours complete, brought a temporary halt to the fast and furious competition throughout the pack. Mayberry was not injured.
When the action resumed, Tyler Ross, making his SpeedSTR debut, broke into the top five and, in the process, dropped Buckwalter to sixth.
Another red flag occurred when Ohio's Matt Westfall, taking his first ride in a SpeedSTR, pounded the backstretch wall with nine to go. Westfall was unhurt in the incident.
On the restart, the red flew once again as TJ Mayberry, in the middle of a solid top-ten effort, got some major air time as he barrel rolled in turn two.
When the race went back to green, still with 21 revolutions in the books, Manmiller powered around the top side of Drevicki and reclaimed the lead as Drevicki's car twitched a bit as he mashed the accelerator off corner number four.
"I'm not sure what happened on that restart," said Drevicki afterward. "I may have gotten hooked from behind, or maybe the tires sealed over under the red...I'm not sure, but we weren't as good on the restarts after that."
This restart proved beneficial to Buckwalter, too, as the Pottstown, Pa. charger sliced his way back to into fourth position.
The caution appeared one lap later, with 22 circuits now scored, and the next restart changed the entire complexion of the race.
Drevicki darted back in front of Manmiller to once again snatch the top spot, then Manmiller's mount suddenly slowed and headed for the pit exit in turn two.
"I don't know what happened to Doug, but it was a shame for him; he was really good tonight. I was just ready to be aggressive on that restart. With these cars, you've got to be aggressive and up on the wheel at all times."
As Manmiller departed and they roared down the backstretch, Danner and Ross tangled while fighting for second and both cars spun. Buckwalter appeared to catch a piece of that incident and he also headed for the pits under the ensuing caution period.
The running order now had Drevicki in front with Jeff Hartman holding down the runner-up slot and Dylan Hoch up to third. Mike Bednar, a one-time Linda's victor last season, also made his first appearance of the night inside the top five.
With five to go, Hoch's No. 35 pulled up lame and he drove through the pit exit gate, handing third to Bednar. Danner came storming from the back of the pack, challenging for a top five spot as the laps wound down, but he got completely sideways in three and four on lap 27, falling back several positions as he detoured through part of the infield.
At the finish, it was Drevicki by 1.362-seconds over Jeff Hartman, whose car would not pass post-race tech inspection, resulting in a DQ for the Jersey driver. That moved Bednar to second in the final rundown, with Steven Nederostek rallying late for what became a third-place finish. Tim Iulg and Matt Janisch completed the top five.
Buckwalter had the quickest lap in the Timed Dashes, with Manmiller second fastest. Both drivers earned automatic transfers to the main event.
Heat race victories went to Bednar, Hoch, and Drevicki. Ed Kenderdine, also taking his first laps in a SpeedSTR, won the B-Main.
The next Action Track Takeover Night at Linda's Speedway is scheduled for Friday, June 9.
USAC All Pro SpeedSTR Finish, 30 laps: 1.Steve Drevicki, 2.Mike Bednar, 3.Steven Nederostek, 4.Tim Iulg, 5.Matt Janisch, 6.John Bockhorn, 7.Ray Nemeth, 8.Jason Miller, 9.Ed Kenderdine, 10.Briggs Danner, 11.Joe Vacarro, 12.Dylan Hoch, 13.Tyler Ross, 14.Doug Manmiller, 15.Tim Buckwalter, 16.Jason Rochelle, 17.Keith Prutzman, 18.TJ Mayberry, 19.Matt Westfall, 20.Brandon Auman, 21.Phil Meisner, 22.Tom Mayberry. DQ: Jeff Hartman DNS: Jay Hartman, Jason Musser, James Morris, Earl Paules.