Middletown, NY — (October 26, 2013) — The Orange County Fair Speedway and Jeff VanSteenburg have a love hate relationship. VanSteenburg has had plenty of success at the Hard Clay while also suffering some major disappointments. On Saturday afternoon, as part of the 52nd Annual Eastern States Weekend, VanSteenburg felt some love from the historic facility as he drove to the win in the 25-lap Capital Region Sprint Series main-event.
“This is the greatest,” stated VanSteenburg. “Everyone comes to Eastern States Weekend and I’ve been coming here since I was a kid. This is a dream come true for me.”
VanSteenburg started on the point for the feature with youngster and multi-time series winner Jordan Thomas to his outside. At the initial green VanSteenburg was able to get the jump and the lead. Before a lap could be completed, Mark Sasso and Kyle Smith crashed hard into the third turn wall necessitating a red flag. Both drivers were uninjured.
A second restart watched as VanSteenburg again gained the edge on Thomas. Thomas pushed the envelope in turns three and four attempted to secure the lead. He went to the outside but the car didn’t stick as he slid up to the outside and eventually into the fourth turn wall causing his No. 79 to flip. He walked away unhurt but the red flag was displayed a second time.
Once racing resumed it was all VanSteenburg during the early go as he opened the gap quickly on the second place running Scott Flammer and then eventually Mario Page who made the move by Flammer on lap eight.
VanSteenburg was the leader on lap 11 when caution again struck as Chuck Alessi spun in turn four. Once back to green, VanSteenburg picked up right where he left off holding off Page for the race lead.
“The car was great tonight,” said VanSteenburg. “We had it setup up so tight you had to drive it like you were mad at it and I like it that way. All I had to do is not screw up. The car was so good I don’t think I ever spun a tire. I just tried to keep my momentum up.”
The top two remained unchanged even as VanSteenburg caught the tail end of the field on lap 19. He was patient while methodically working through traffic always keeping Page at bay and taking the chances when he had to.
One final caution slowed the pace on lap 21. Gary Palmer Jr., who was running the top ten, got a right rear flat causing him to slow on the speedway forcing the yellow.
The restart didn’t slow VanSteenburg at all as he picked up the pace allowing him to drive away from Page to claim his second win of the 2013 season. Page crossed the line in second followed by series point leader John Matrafailo in third. Former Orange County Modified regular Scott Goodrich finished in fourth with recent Penn Can Speedway winner Joe Kata in fifth.
Pit Notes: 24-cars entered into the Saturday afternoon event…Heat wins were garnered by Sasso, Mike Esposito and Brittany Tresch…Ed Newhauser flipped in his heat race and returned to the feature earning hard charger honors after advancing 15 positions to cross the line in eighth.
CRSA Kennedy Towing A-Main Feature Finish:
1) 1 – Jeff VanSteenburg, 2) 10L – Mario Page, 3) 17 – John Matrafailo, 4) 30 – Scott Goodrich, 5) 10 – Joe Kata, 6) 25 – Darell Quackenbush, 7) 39x – Scott Frack, 4N – Ed Newhauser, 9) 2 – Brittany Tresch, 10) 5T – Mark Taylor, 11) 9 – Gary Palmer, 12) 5 – Justin Barger, 13) 98T – Frank Jashembrowski, 14) 19 – Chuck Alessi, 15) 11 – Mike Esposito, 16) 4J – Christian Rumsey, 17) 46 – Curtis June, 18) 79 – Jordan Thomas, 19) 706 – Mark Sasso, 20) 4 – Kyle Smith, 21) X – BK Rizzo, 22) 19eM – Emily VanInwegan, 23) 37 – Scott Flammer, DNS) M16 – Justin Hoffman
MAGSARUS Hard Charger Award: 4N – Ed Newhauser (+15)