Moler Raceway Park Proves that Numbers Do Lie – Quite often actually…
Heat Race One saw Dillon Huron in the black 17h machine drop the hammer and bust out in front of Joel Ortberg in the ten lap preliminary event. It didn’t take long for smoke to chirp from the underbelly of Huron’s car. It came and went, appearing most strong turns one and three four and eventually enveloped the entire car. Huron held off the charge of John Whitney Jr. for several laps before something let all the way go in an eighties rock concert-like smoke show which swallowed the whole car, he emerged pulled in and re-appeared but his night of racing came to an end at that point. Whitney led Ortberg and a strong and smooth running Kellen Kenneda to the checkers.
Heat Race Two featured Barry Doss starting on the pole in the finely turned out #13 next to Mark Frazier in the beautiful blue #9F. Equally well adorned cars warmed up in the form of the brand new scheme on the #12D fielded by Chris Carpenter and the more black than orange #32 of long time Moler regular Chad Stapleton. The drop of the green meant get going in a hurry for Barry Doss who knew he’d need to be on top of the game to beat the always stout Frazier. He beat the #9F into Turn One but then seemed to bog down a bit upon exiting Turn Two. Frazier leaped high to take advantage but the veteran Doss burped the throttle and guided the car back to the lead as they flashed by the line. Frazier was then the one to push up the track in Two as he put the car on the outside of Doss coming out of the corner. Chad Stapleton was watching this development from third and took full advantage of the slight stumble to blast by Frazier on the low side going down the back chute. Chris Carpenter was forced to pull off during the slicing for the lead. Carpenter’s exit Frazier went into a nearly full broad slide up the track in Turns One and Two Doss and Stapleton then set off on an extended battle which featured side by side racing for the better part of three laps. Doss ran high and Stapleton low until Stapleton took a quick slide in Turn Two, cracked the throttle and jumped right back on it, he gained on Doss who was running the middle groove on the heavy track featuring a ton of fluff on the high side. Doss took the win over Stapleton and Frazier but all gained plenty of knowledge for the feature.
The Feature Event promised to be a good one based on the Heats but it would have been hard to predict that it was going to be as stellar as it turned out…and that’s what brings throngs of fans to one of the World’s most popular spectator sports. Doss followed the same formula he found success with in his Heat Race, this time he knew he needed to use his outside of row one starting position to blitz the pole sitting John Whitney Jr into Turn One and out of Turn Two. The plan worked…until they came out of Two, attacked the backstretch and were suddenly a three car blob moving as one unit into Turn Three. Chad Stapleton was pasted to the back of the edging ahead Whitney, then affixed to the back of Doss. He was going with or around whoever he came to first, but since they were side by side he floated back and forth waiting for any opening he could get. That chance came when Doss slipped a bit in Turn Three, as Stapleton ripped low he made contact with Doss’s car, contact for which he quickly and decisively apologized for later in the evening.
In two more action filled laps Stapleton took the point, Whitney assumed the role of the man in third easing left to right in hopes of finding an advantage. Looking low on Doss into Turn Three looked promising but he couldn’t finish the pass. Doss was by far the best car off of Turns Two and Four at this point in the contest but the smoothest running car was the number seven of Kellen Kenneda. He’d enter smoothly and power off the corners and is for sure emerging as a “Guy to Keep an Eye On” every time out. He seems to learn quickly from experiences and has been taking advantage of every opportunity to improve in every way possible.
Chad Stapleton began to put some distance between himself and Second Place running Barry Doss. John Whitney Jr. was all over Doss and that pair was edging to an advantage over Mark Frazier. Chris Carpenter took the 12D to the pits nearing the halfway point of the contest. Stapleton’s lead was the largest as Whitney was dogging Doss at every inch of the track but his inability to get a good run off of Turn 2 was scraping his momentum to the point that it hurt the entire lap, thus giving Doss an advantage that he used to its fullest. Whitney has won far too much to be discouraged, he simply adjusted his line to use more of the turn in the middle and cut it smoothly low around the hub of the track out of Two and likewise out of four. Along with his adjustment, Doss moved up half a lane and the pair began to close steadily on the once disappearing Stapleton in the lead.
Seeing drivers go to school on the track, the car setup and the line of the opponent is one of the intriguing thing about any form of Motor Sports. Whitney’s adjustment made all the difference in the World. Smoother exits allowed Whitney to move by Doss and now they were both within five car lengths of Stapleton. Several of the ensuing laps produced an outstanding side by side duel where Whitney would nose to the lead only to have Stapleton roar back. The battle raged on until the laps ran out with Whitney getting such a good launch off of the turns that he’d be inches ahead at the line on several occasions. The white flag lap was just as good as the batch that preceded it, they poured the power and skill into the car and tried to ring every ounce of speed out of the machines. Coming out of Turn Four for the last time it was Stapleton who lurched ahead and won by a matter of inches over Whitney Jr., Doss, Frazier, Kenneda and Ortberg.
Stapleton was appreciative to the fans in attendance, his sponsors, the team at Moler Raceway Park and made an open apology for the contact with Doss and a passionate request for the fine patrons of the sport at the same time. It was a truly entertaining night in the Late Model Division.
Late Model Finish
32 – Chad Stapleton
33 – John Whitney Jr
13 – Barry Doss
20 – Joel Ortberg
9F – Mark Frazier
12d – Chris Carpenter
17h – Dillon Huron