By Brian Liskai
MECHANICSBURG, PA (4-29-11) – It’s the little things that
can make a sprint car driver great. One of those intangible traits that you
just can’t teach a driver is to be aware of what’s going on around him and
adjust accordingly. Royersford, Pennsylvania’s Steve Buckwalter did just
that Friday at Williams Grove Speedway, moving his line late in the race to
hold off several challenges from Rick Lafferty to claim the O’Reilly Auto
Parts All Star Circuit of Champions victory at the historic track.
“It’s so hard when you start out front…you run around the top all night and
that’s naturally where you want to go. You hope you get down before they
get ahead of you,” said Buckwalter beside his Sunny Hill Farm Trucking
backed #17b. “I ran hard the first couple of laps and got out in the lead.
I figured if I stayed up top I could look out the left side of my car and
see when they started getting close. As soon as they got close, I dropped
down…I guess it was the right move.”
It was a clean-sweep for “Royersford Rocket,” as Buckwalter also won the
ARDC Midget feature.
For Buckwalter, the $5,000 win was his first against the All Stars and his
second overall this season in Central Pennsylvania. Buckwalter, the 2010
ARDC Midget champion, has won both midget features held so far in 2011.
Buckwalter grabbed the lead from his pole position at the drop of the green
flag with Curt Michael and Brian Leppo in tow. Brian Montieth drove by Rick
Lafferty to take fourth on the fifth lap and immediately set his sights on
third place Leppo. They traded the third position in turn three but Leppo
regained the spot off turn four.
Alan Krimes was on the move from his ninth starting spot as he drove by
current Dale Blaney, the current All Star national point leader, and Stevie
Smith to take sixth. While Buckwalter and Michael ran comfortably in the
top two spots, all eyes were on the tremendous battle for third which
features three-wide racing between Leppo, Lafferty and Montieth. Lafferty
finally wrestled the spot away as Krimes drove by Montieth and then Leppo
to take fourth on lap 13.
Lafferty continued his drive to the front, passing Michael for the
runner-up position on lap 16. However, Michael fought back to regain the
position as Krimes moved into the fight as well. Buckwalter pulled away
from Michael and that intense battle for third. Lafferty drove by Michael
again in lapped traffic with Krimes following into third with eight laps to
go. Just as Lafferty and Krimes began to close on Buckwalter with five laps
remaining, the leader moved his line.
Buckwalter raced to the checkered flag by a couple of car lengths for his
second career victory at Williams Grove Speedway. Lafferty, Krimes, Michael
and Smith rounded out the top five, followed by Fred Rahmer, Greg Hodnett,
Montieth, Leppo and Lance Dewease. The highest finishing All Star regular
was Blaney in 11th. The All Stars have never beaten the Williams Grove
regulars in a sanctioned race.
“We’re going to stop asking people questions and do what we think the car
needs,” said Buckwalter. “We get it to feel right for me. Clair and Jan
Ritter…I can’t say enough about them. We don’t have a ton of equipment or a
bunch of money, but somehow they come up with the money to do it. Ever
since we switched to this Maxim Chassis we’ve been super fast. We wrecked
on Saturday at Lincoln and we built this car on Tuesday.
O’Reilly Auto Parts A-Main Results: 30 laps: 1. Steve Buckwalter, 2. Rick
Lafferty, 3. Alan Krimes, 4. Curt Michael, 5. Stevie Smith, 6. Fred Rahmer,
7. Greg Hodnett, 8. Brian Montieth, 9. Brian Leppo, 10. Lance Dewease, 11.
Dale Blaney, 12. Don Kreitz Jr. 13. Chad Layton, 14. Tim Shaffer, 15. Danny
Dietrich, 16. Tyler Walker, 17. Daryn Pittman, 18. Doug Esh, 19. Todd
Shaffer, 20. Justin Henderson, 21. Adam Wilt, 22. Jessica Zemken, 23.
Kerry Madsen, 24. David Gravel
For complete Results Check out www.allstarsprint.com.