Auto City Speedway
Results May 5th
Auto City Speedway Results 5/5/2023
Well, opening night at Auto City Speedway was delayed by one week as good ole Mother Nature took the win on April 29th, but this past Friday, yes, you read that right, Friday, we kicked off the season opener with the Domino’s Fast Friday, Cinco De Mayo, Maximum Destruction and lots of racing as well. It was nice to see the fans coming out to support Auto City on this Friday night as it has not been the norm for Auto City to race on Fridays, but note, there will be a few more “Domino’s Fast Friday” night race events this season.
The weather did hold off on this “full moon night”, even though it was a bit overcast with a spring chill in the air which made it a perfect night for racing.
The races did get off to a little bit of a late start due to checking, double checking the electronic timing system. Once it was set and ready, it was time for qualifying.
Qualifying started the evening out and the ‘new sponsored and revised’ Red Apple Fireworks FWD (front wheel drive) Warrior’s series. There were some new faces and familiar faces behind the wheels. When it was all said and done, it was Jason Jones in his #11j getting fast time with a 16.03 and being the only one being in the 16 second bracket. Note, just a couple weeks ago, he was turning laps at the FWD dirt race at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, where he did encounter the wall there and had to do some major work on his ride to get it ready for the opener this night. Obviously, he and his crew/friends did a really good job on getting it right.
The All-American Trucks series returned, and it was 2022 runner up, Dan Shamel in his blue & white #47 taking the top spot with a 17.380 with his brother, Joe Shamel in the 47X a tick off with a 17.381.
Top qualifier for the Herald Pure Stocks was a former champion at Auto City, Lonnie Saumier Jr. in the #M15 (note, this was not Lonnie’s primary car) with a 16.05 and a few ticks off his pace was Mike Mosier in his blue #22 Monte Carlo with a 16.07.
A new division at Auto City is the “Pro Street Stocks”, which race on the big ½ mile track. It was nice to see some returning veteran drivers being a part of this class. When all the competitors were clocked, it was Nick Lechota in his brand-new Chevrolet Camaro getting fast time with a 16.78.
So, after invocation and the National Anthem, it was time for the 2023 race season to begin. The All-American Trucks were up first for their thirty-lap feature race. Leading the way to the green flag was Anthony Richardson (#422) and Jason Wolf (#77). Richardson took the early lead in his purple #422 and did have some challenges from the #81 of Brannon Cudd and also Jason Grissom (#224). Grissom got by Cudd and tried every possible way to get by Richardson, but with no avail. This giving Richardson his first win of the night, but note, Richardson was not done by any means. Brannon Cudd did finish third.
The Pro Street Stocks were second on the schedule and it was good to see racing back on the ½ mile. With that being said, it did take a few tries to get the thirty-lap feature going. The first attempt was Lonnie Saumier Jr. in his white and green #M15 alongside Tim Kirby’s silver #81. When the green flew, Kirby got loose in turns one and two sending Adam Rowe (#0) over the embankment and creating a full restart. With the second attempt, it was Casey Snover #32 alongside Saumier Jr. and that didn’t work out as well. So, the third attempt was made again, Saumier Jr. now with Nick Lechota as his door. This did work out as the race was on. Lechota took the lead with the likes of Duane Damon #2, Snover, Jeff Owens #65, Jim Miller Sr. #K9 and Bruce Dutton Jr. #19 all vying for position behind Lechota. As the laps clicked off, there were a few cautions for miscellaneous spins. There was some series side by side battles going on back in the pack. With a few of the restarts, it was Owens who got to the second spot and was trying to keep pace with Lechota, but when the checkered flew, it was Lechota’s Showcase Auto Sales Camaro getting the win over Owens, Saumier Jr., Damon and Miller Sr. respectfully. It had been a while since Nick and family had been at Auto City, but as the family joined him for photos and accepting the trophy, Nick gave the trophy to Kim Cudd’s son, “Michael”, who helps hand out the trophies to the drivers. Without getting into any personal details, it was a heartfelt gesture by Nick and family, as his wife, Tiffany does so much for Hurley’s Children’s Hospital and is hosting a race at Birch Run Speedway called “Down Right Awesome” featuring the Modifieds.
Next on the schedule was a Max D race called the “I-75” race for twenty laps. This is where two full size school buses are also on the track with competitors as ‘obstacles’ to hinder the drivers. The buses travel around the track and a mild pace, but when they put on their emergency lights, no competitor is allowed to pass. Once the lights are off, it is race on. This race had a ‘stand still’ start and once the crowd counted down to green, the twenty-eight drivers tore off. Early front runners were Anthony Richardson, J. D. Doorenbos (#B-57), the “Ironman” Gerald Persails Jr. (#80) and in the latter laps, Jason Grissom (#224) in his now Crown Vic and Aaron Abeare (#422) where the ones in pursuit trying to get the lead and stay there. There had to be a red flag displayed as Ken Cotrill (#244) had to stop and bail due to a fire that developed. The Auto City Safety Crew were immediately on the scene as well as one of the bus drivers, James Clayton to assist, as Ken got out safely and the fire was extinguished completely, and his truck removed from the front stretch.
After they went back to green and all the slowing and going was completed, it was Anthony Richardson getting the win, followed closely by Grissom and Abeare. It was a good night to have the numbers 4, 2, 2, 4 of almost any combination.
The thirty lap Herald Pure Stock race was next on the agenda. Leading the field to green was Jim Miller Jr. in his brand-new Buddy Baker paint schemed Chevelle #9 (lettering was not completed, so it was just black and silver) and the “Weezie’s Warriors” pink and black painted #54 of J.T., James Clayton.
Miller Jr. took the early lead for about the first ten laps being challenged by Clayton who looked high and low trying to get by Miller Jr. While this battle was going on, the likes of Nick Johnston (#7), Lonnie Saumier Jr. in that uncharacteristic (#M15) he had that night and Mike Mosier (#22). Miller Jr. started to develop a mechanical issue and faded back as the laps counted down relinquishing the lead to Clayton who tried to hold off Saumier Jr. who was now in the second spot. Saumier Jr. did eventually get by Clayton for the lead and stayed there till the checkered. Following Saumier Jr. was Clayton, Mosier, Johnston and Andrew Burton (#05) in that order.
It was now the Red Apple Fireworks FWD division to take to the track for their twenty-lap feature (note, there is an A + B series in this division). Leading them to the green was the #14 of Jeffery Asmus and the #70 of Charlie Boone (returning from a year off from Auto City and former All American Truck driver). Well, that first start didn’t go too well and there had to be a complete restart, this time with the #95 of Keith Rivers III and Boone leading the way. When the green flew, it was two and three wide racing throughout the pack. It did not take long for Jason Jones in his screaming #11j to work his way to the top spot. Once there, it was like he was shot out of a cannon as he pretty much ‘buzzed’ the whole field. When the twenty laps were completed, it was Jones with the win for the A series and distancing himself from Rivers III, Michael Schmidt who was driving his brothers #31 car (last year he drove the #53), Troy Deuscher in the #83 and Boone. The B series was won by Rod Nettleton in his #33. Both series were combined in this one feature for tonight.
The Auto City Figure 8’s was next with their fifteen-lap battle and it was Andrew Burton in his #05 leading them to the green with Anthony Richardson #422 starting right behind him. These two last year put on a major clinic on Auto City’s figure 8 race as they battled each and every week with both giving it 110% and this season started just how last season ended, both were battling for the lead as soon as the green flag dropped. Burton led for the first part, but Richardson had his #422 tuned in for this race as he did get by Burton for the lead. Burton tried his hardest to work his way back around Richardson, but with a few 'run offs' onto the infield grass, it broke his momentum and had to settle for a second-place finish. Getting third was J.D., John Doorenbos in his B-57 Frankenstein.
The ten-lap Flagpole Race was next and again, if your vehicle had a #4, 2, 2 in it…you were going to be in good company and yes, that was the case as it was Anthony Richardson again, getting the top finish. Note though, it was the #224 of Grissom in his Crown Vic and Aaron Abeare in his #442 all battling throughout going around the ‘flagpole’, but following Richardson was Abeare and the Frankenstein B-57 of Doorenbos coming home third.
Next was the fifty-lap Enduro race which started with a standing start. After the crowd counted down to start the race, it was…you know who…yes, the #422 of Richardson jumping to an early lead bobbing and weaving through the twenty-five plus competitors. But Richardson’s Max D truck did get a good workout throughout the night and ended up with a rear gear letting loose causing him to drop out. That gave the lead to Zack Lopez’s powder blue #18 truck and even after spinning coming out of turn four, gathering it back up and getting it back in the right direction, he kept the lead and took the checkered for the win.
To end the night, it was the School Bus Figure 8 ten-lap race. It was drivers, J.T. Clayton, Anthony Richardson, Tim Kirby, Jason Jones, Zack Lopez, J.D. Doorenbos and Paul Rigda III all challenging for position with some three wide racing as well as some ‘bump drafting’. With the momentum, speed and weight of the buses, Paul Rigda III ended up over turns three and four embankments landing the bus on its passenger’s side. Paul did climb out the driver’s window to stand upon the bus waving to the crowd showing he was OK. Once the bus was righted, it was pushed along the front stretch with Paul poking out the windshield waving to the crowd.
That completed the event for this night and understand, we combined the Max D rainout night with a Domino’s Fast Friday night of racing. So, fans were treated to both.
The next race is FRIDAY, May 12th, start time of 7:30pm.
Check out all the details on upcoming events at www.autocityspeedway.com or the Auto City Speedway and Outdoor Events Facebook page and “We’ll See You at the City”.
"The Auto City Wolfman"
Article Credit: Randy Adam
Submitted By: Sharon Fischer