Will Thomas Captures Late Model Budweiser 100

August 30, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Will Thomas has had a lot of success in his visits to the Holland NASCAR Motorsports Complex over the past five years, and Saturday evening, August 29th, the Sharpsville, PA driver continued his mastery of the high-banked Western New York oval, scoring his third Late Model Budweiser 100 win in four seasons in a thrilling duel with Dave Heitzhaus.

In other Holland action, points battles came into play in four divisions, as Mike Fiebelkorn, Jr. of Eden, NY picked up his second NASCAR Ragingwolf.com SST Pro Modified win and moved himself into a virtual tie for the points lead, Dave Krawczyk of Kenmore, NY notched Charger win number three to open up a slight lead in that points battle, Nick Welshans of West Falls, NY took his fifth Pro Four win to edge his way to the top of the standings, and Eric Brown of Holland earned his fifth consecutive Thiel Motorsports 4-cylinder Hornet win to creep to within a few points of the top of the charts. Camden Barber of Bliss, NY took his third Holland win of the season in the final visit of ‘09 by the Casey’s TQ Midget Series, and Jesse Baker of Buffalo rolled to his first M&M U-Pull-It Figure 8 Car win of the year.

George Skora III launched into the Bud 100 lead from the outside pole, but was outrun by Dave Russell for the top spot on a lap 8 restart. Russell, in his first start after a long recovery from highway collision injuries, proceeded to open up some ground over the field, but eyes were on Dave Heitzhaus and Will Thomas, as both drivers were slicing through the field from their ninth and tenth starting spots. Heitzhaus was first to arrive, as his mount was set up to handle the inside groove, which he used to get under Skora for second on lap 21. Heitzhaus started to close on the leader, and by lap 35, was on Russell’s tail. The past Holland Limited Modified and Late Model champ then used lapped traffic to his advantage, slipping under Russell for the top slot on lap 39. In the meantime, Thomas had broken free of the pack, taking third from Skora on lap 36.

A lap 40 caution period slowed the field, and on the lap 43 restart, Thomas was able to power under Russell for the runner-up slot. This set the table for the rest of the race, and Heitzhaus and Thomas would play a cat-and-mouse game with one another, while Russell was able to keep close, but was never in a position to challenge. Thomas made repeated attempts to take Heitzhaus on the high side, but Heitzhaus was able to keep his mount ahead down low. A lap 62 restart went in Thomas’ favor, as he was able to get a good top side run and finally get around Heitzhaus for the lead on lap 63 - but Heitzhaus wasn’t done. Thomas shifted his lane down a half groove to try to thwart Heitzhaus’ preferred low groove, but Dave surprised Will by going upstairs and racing around Thomas to re-claim the lead on lap 74. Heitzhaus looked as if he just may be able to win a first ever Bud 100 after 20 years of trying, as he held off a few Thomas thrusts for the top spot. However, it appeared as if the tires on the Heitzhaus mount were beginning to fade in the late going, as Dave washed up on the turn 2 exit on lap 98, allowing Thomas to get a wheel underneath going into turn three - the pair traded paint exiting turn four, with Thomas executing the winning pass en route to the two-to-go signal. Heitzhaus tried to get an outside lane run at Thomas on the next circuit, but it wasn’t to be, and Thomas was able to roll on for a two car length margin of victory and the $2000 winner’s share of the purse. For the second consecutive season, Heitzhaus led the most laps of the race, but had to settle for a second place showing.

Russell concluded an excellent run in a brand new car to claim third, about a half-straightaway behind the lead pair. Todd Hoddick, the 2008 Bud 100 champ, had a good mid-race battle with George Skora III and Rich Skora before pulling away over the latter stages to claim fourth, while Rich Skora, never worse than sixth through the race, was rewarded for a solid drive with a fifth place showing.

Only six caution flags slowed the pace, and 15 entries were running at the checkered flag, with the top nine on the lead lap.

In the 40 lap main for the NASCAR Ragingwolf.com SST Pro Modifieds, Neil Hopkins and Justin Shepker made contact while racing for the top slot on lap 14, bringing out the yellow. Mike Fiebelkorn, Jr. was able to take advantage of the restart to scoot his Fiebelkorn’s Collision/Mikey G’s ride under Tim Welshans for the lead, and used the final 25 laps of caution-free racing to roll away for the victory. Amy Catalano was able to make a next-to-last lap pass of Welshans to claim the runner-up slot, with Welshans recording a third place finish in his strongest outing of the season.

The two drivers atop the Charger points charts had their shoot-out on the track in the 30 lap main. Dave Krawczyk was able to work his WNY Wraps/Ohio Tech Monte Carlo under Jerry Kosmowski for the lead on lap twenty, with Mark Hoch following through a lap later to claim second. Over the final nine circuits, Hoch tried outside challenges for the lead, but Krawczyk was up to the task, holding on for a car length margin of victory over Hoch. Jim Mallaber had a steady race throughout, claiming third at the checkers.

After a scramble on the first attempt to get the 20 lap Casey’s TQ Midget Series feature underway, the race went caution-free, and Camden Barber was able to take advantage of the full green conditions to roll away for the victory. Barber slipped under Mike Blair for the point position on lap 2, then checked out. Jamie Collard rolled into second on lap 11, but was unable to reel in the high-flying Barber and had to settle for second. In an exciting third place run, Justin Mapes just nipped Blair at the line.

Nik Welshans raced his Klispie Motorsports/West Falls Racing Nissan by Chad Pusloski on the 10th circuit of the 25 lap Pro Four main, then survived a restart with just two laps remaining for his fourth win in the last five outings. J.D. Roberts edged Bob Marzec at the line for runner-up honors.

Eric Brown raced by Eric Marzec on a lap 11 restart for the lead in the 30 lap Thiel Motorsports 4-cyl. Hornet run, and had to endure two more restarts over the final five laps to maintain his winning streak. George Quintana came back through the field after involvement in a lap 24 shuffle to edge Jeff Szafraniec at the line for second.

Jesse Baker led all eight laps of the M&M U-Pull-It Figure 8 Car main for his initial victory of the season, ahead of Bill Lutz and Butcher Palmer.

News and Notes

During the on-track autograph session prior to the start of the Budweiser 100, funds were collected to assist the recovery efforts in the flood ravaged community of Gowanda - the fan donations were turned over to Late Model of Tomorrow racer Nick Crassi, who serves as the Disaster Coordinator for Gowanda .... a moment of silence was held in memory of Buffalo firefighters Chip McCarthy and Jonathan Croom, who last their lives in the line of duty this past week - Hornet racer Elaine Pimpo had graphics on the hood of her car reflecting a tribute to the fallen heroes ... Dave Russell was not the only Late Model racer making a season debut - Dave Heitzhaus was also making his first start anywhere this season, Todd Hoddick, though busy with his SST Modified Sportsman this season, debuted a brand new Late Model for his first full fendered race of ‘09, and Bob Weber was on the track for only his second outing of the year ... Ohio racer Mayo Spence made his first ever Holland visit, but front suspension issues forced an early departure from the 100 ... heavy overnight and early Saturday morning rains made the grassy areas of the infield quite swamp-like, proving a challenge to the tow truck and push truck operators as they attempted to assist out of shape racers on the infield grass throughout the evening ... Going into next Saturday’s final points night of racing, things are very tight in five divisions - Mike Fiebelkorn, Jr. and Justin Shepker are locked up in virtual tie for the Ragingwolf.com SST Pro Modified points lead, T.J. Johnson holds a two point advantage over Eldon King III in the Late Models of Tomorrow chase, Dave Krawczyk has a 23 point margin over Charger rival Mark Hoch, Nik Welshans has the Pro Four points lead, but just 15 markers separate first from fourth, and Jeff Szafraniec has but a five point advantage over Eric Brown in the Thiel Motorsports Hornet standings.

Double points will be on the line for all divisions on Saturday, September 5th, as it will be season championship night at the Holland NASCAR Motorsports Complex. The full card will feature the NASCAR Raginwolf.com SST Pro Modifieds, Late Models of Tomorrow, Chargers, Pro Fours, Thiel Motorsports 4-cyl. Hornets and ladies-only Queen Bees, and the M&M U-Pull-It Figure 8 Cars. Pit Gates will open at 3:00, grandstand gates at 5:00, and racing will get underway at 6:00 pm. For more information, contact the Holland office at 716-537-2272.

RESULTS SUMMARY – August 29, 2009

LATE MODELS – Budweiser 100
Finish- Start - Car # - Driver - Hometown - Laps - Running/Reason Out
1. - 10 - 9 - WILL THOMAS – Sharpsville PA - 100 - running
2. - 9 - 45 - Dave Heitzhaus - Strykersville NY - 100 - running
3. - 6 - 93 - Dave Russell - Clarence NY - 100 - running
4. - 8 - 49 - Todd Hoddick - Lancaster NY - 100 - running
5. - 3 - 56b - Rich Skora - Eden NY - 100 - running
6. - 17 - 47 - Scott Wylie - Blasdell NY - 100 - running
7. - 12 - 11 - Bob Weber – Clarence Center NY - 100 - running
8. - 5 - 3 - Jeff Brown - Hamburg NY - 100 - running
9. - 4 -50 - Mike Fiebelkorn, Jr. - Eden NY - 100 - running
10. - 7 - 4s - Chris Ross – Ballston Spa NY - 99 - running
11. - 19 - 2x - Dave Whittaker – Orchard Park NY - 99 - running
12. - 2 - 65 - George Skora III - Eden NY - 99 - running
13. - 11 - 52 - Tom Reese, Jr. – West Seneca NY - 99 - running
14. - 1 - 29 - Richard Arndt - Colden NY - 99 - running
15. - 14 - 2 - Ron Nurmi - Hamburg NY - 90 - running
16. - 15 - 53 - Jason Petri - Yorkshire NY - 42 - mechanical
17. - 16 - 83 - Mayo Spence – Perry OH - 37 - mechanical
18. - 18 - 18 - Bill Catania – Erie PA - 27 - mechanical
19. - 13 - 56y - Scott Skora - Eden NY - 6 - damage
Heat Race Winners: Will Thomas, Dave Heitzhaus, Todd Hoddick.
Lap Leaders: 1-7: G. Skora, 8-38: D. Russell, 39-62: D. Heitzhaus, 63-73: W. Thomas, 74-97: D. Heitzhaus, 98-100: W. Thomas.
Caution Flags - 6: laps 6 (56y), 13 (debris), 40 (83), 59 (2x, 3, 11), 69 (4s, 50), 93 (65).

40 laps: 1. (started 10th) MIKE FIEBELKORN, JR., 2. (12) Amy Catalano, 3. (2) Tim Welshans, 4. (8) Justin Shepker, 5. (14) George Skora III, 6. (15) Rick Kluth, 7. (3) Don King, 8. (7) Kevin Lewis, 9. (5) Kevin Miller, 10. (9) Neil Hopkins, 11. (4) Ed Weber, 12. (13) Dick Kluth, 13. (6) Jeff Ruddy, 14. (11) Joe Evans, 15. (1) Mike Stevenson.

30 laps: 1. (started 9th) DAVE KRAWCZYK, 2. (12) Mark Hoch, 3. (2) Jim Mallaber, 4. (11) Jim Loffredo, 5. (4) Shawn Lafferty, 6. (5) Al Grimmer, 7. (8) Ted Welshans, 8. (6) Jerry Kosmowski, 9. (7) Joe Eck, 10. (3) Zach Myers, 11. (10) Tom Northem, 12. (13) Jerry Carpenter, 13. (14) Dave Wilson, Jr., 14. (10 Rich Carnes.

Casey’s TQ MIDGET Series
20 laps: 1. (started 4th) CAMDEN BARBER, 2. (14) Jamie Collard, 3. (10) Justin Mapes, 4. (3) Mike Blair, 5. (13) Mark Schulz, 6. (6) Jim Fleischman, 7. (12) Vince Christiano, Jr., 8. (5) Charlie DiRosa, 9. (8) Dean McConnaughey, 10. (9) Arik McGruder, 11. (7) Jonathan Reid, 12. (11) Rich Watkins, 13. (1) Nelson Rung, 14. (15) Ryan Hessler, 15. (2) Shawn Nye. Did Not Start: Chad Heywood. Dash for Cash Winner: Jamie Collard.

25 laps: 1. (started 4th) NIK WELSHANS, 2. (3) J.D. Roberts, 3. (1) Bob Marzec, 4. (5) Josh Hathaway, 5. (2) Chad Pusloski, 6. (7) George Quintana, 7. (6) Joe Mastrocicco III, 8. (8) Eric Brown.

Thiel Motorsports HORNETS
30 laps: 1. (started 11th) ERIC BROWN, 2. (14) George Quintana, 3. (13) Jeff Szafraniec, 4. (12) Jammer Meuckl, 5. (9) Samantha Lutz, 6. (5) Ben Russo, 7. (4) Kyle Skoney, 8. (15) Elaine Pimpo, 9. (2) Tony Carbone, 10. (16) Butcher Palmer, 11. (6) Jesse Baker, 12. (1) Jerry Toms, 13. (10) Kim Marzec Skoney, 14. (19) Waylon Price, 15. (18) Bill Lutz, 16. (7) Eric Marzec, 17. (8) Robin Frey, 18. (3) Josh Hunter, 19. (17) Robert Palmer.

8 laps: 1. (started 1st) JESSE BAKER, 2. (4) Bill Lutz, 3. (3) Butcher Palmer, 4. (2) Waylon Price.