EVANS MILLS, N.Y.-If the start of the show is delayed by a few minutes so that all fans can move through the front door, they know it will be a good night. With the afternoon rain, the track provided Facebook updates every 30 minutes. When it became clear that there would be a full race night, another house full of fans enjoyed a great tribute night to Kevin Ward. Jr. and the blowing speed of the cars of the Empire Super Sprint Car series tour. The evening was from the Westward Painting Company and Caskinette Ford sponsored. Sprint cars were in the low mark of 13 seconds, about 2 seconds faster than the heavier Ford Caskinette Modifications that run at Evans Mills. The fastest lap of the evening was shot by the #10h by Kelly Hebing at 13.06, who is only shy of 104mph. Kelly won her heat race, which took her to the pole for the 25-lap feature. During the break, several T-shirts from an air rifle were fired into the back of the Ford F-150 pace caskinette truck into the crowd.
The first race of the evening was for the Fidelis Care Inex legends, who had boosted their number of cars in previous weeks. Unfortunately, this would turn out to be another slam-bang affair where there is a lot of contact throughout the race, which leads to a series of folded race cars. Dalton Rombough started on point in the # 41, but was ejected in the first round. Josh Marchese in the # 31 and Coleby Felber in the #14 were fighting a feisty struggle for leadership, but they would also be in touch. A tangle of several cars halfway through the race brought out a few more cars. Breanne Gilligan in the #33 had done well around the field and held the lead until the end, Brad Salatino being second in the #13, Marchese again being third, Zach Anderson fourth in the #46 and newcomer James Anderson fifth in the # 25.
The Caskinette Ford Modifieds could not race side by side as effectively as in previous weeks, but nevertheless delivered a feisty fight for position on the track. Larry Welling Jr. at # 48, he drove all the way from pole position, but he received heavy pressure from Mason Spencer at #30 and Mike Ramos at #09 for most of the race. Spencer had to be especially vigilant as Ramos made several moves and waited to take second place if Spencer was not fit at all trying to get past Welling. In the end, it was Welling on Spencer in the second and Ramos in the third. Casey Sykes had a good run in #1 and finished fourth, while Steve Fuchs finished fifth in #4 and Geoff Sharkey had one of his top rankings in #66 for sixth place.
At that point, there was a break when the cars of the SSE were driven onto the track so fans could get off and get photos and autographs. A large number of fans descended on the track, each personally greeted by Peggy Gill. The autograph session was followed by a special presentation by Kevin Ward Jr. scholarship award by Lee and Peggy Gill. Orange rally towels were handed out to racing fans in jerseys. When the track was cleared by fans and sprint cars were pushed back, the ESS field of 12 riders formed three rows for the famous four wide tributes often seen at the scene of sprint cars. This special formation and the fans who brought the orange napkins in honor of the memory of Kevin Ward Jr.standing and waving were a breathtaking moment of the evening, all under a rising orange moon before the third turn.
Grandson Tucker Cavanaugh waved the green flag, pole sitter Kelly Hebing got off to a bad start, but got a second chance when Dave Axton’s No. 2 left the first corner and had to be picked up on the hook and brought to the box. Hebing had a better start the second time, but Scott Holcomb was a little better in the # 91 and shot in the front row. Holcomb set a pale pace and opened up a massive lead on the field, but a few runners started hitting their groove and advancing. Matt Tanner’s # 90 flew as did Jeff Cook’s # 10. They started closing the gap on Holcomb, and until Lap 23, Cook had the fastest lap of the race with just over 13.1 seconds. A yellow flag with two laps left bundled the field, but Holcomb was undeniable and then turned in the fastest lap of the race on the way to victory. Cook was second and Dylan Swiernik in Tanner’s # 7c pu in third place. The Ward family joined the Holcomb winner for the Victory lane photo and there was a large group of happy people on the track.
The last race of the night was a green to checker affair with Josh Verne Sr.in the X-car, which barely stopped Tim Dunn in the #96t for victory in the Compact Sport division. Trevor Halliday finished third in the # 61x, followed by Chuck Powelczyk in the #17 and Amanda Dafoe in the #61. Josh Verne Jr. won the Serv Pro Thunder Stock class in a special tribute car with the number 200 in memory of his grandfather Niles Busler.
The large amount and a few extra prizes for the 50/50 draw brought the card amount to $1443, slightly the biggest jackpot of the season. Next Week Aug. 24th, the track honors all tickets purchased for the rainy August. 10 show and the amount of previously purchased 50/50 tickets will be added to the evening sale. Watertown Savings Bank will return as a sponsor of the Autograph Night, children will be invited to make posters for their favorite runner, and at the break there will be a second round of spectator races. Go to the Facebook page for a list of access rules and conditions. Evans Mills Raceway Park continues its ascent into the asphalt racing world, as big crowds and big races have become the norm. See Aug. 24.!