The opening race for the Laurel Highlands IMCA Race Saver 305’s was slated for Dog Hollow Speedway on Friday May 12th however Mother Nature had other ideas and the races were cancelled. Also on this evening was to be Round 1 of the Summer Showdown 2017 points series, with the rain out Clinton County Motor Speedway became the kickoff for the series points on Friday May 19th with Kyle Ganoe the feature winner of the LHSS/PASS co-sanctioned event. The first race of the 2017 season for the LHSS was held Saturday May 20th at the Hesston Speedway for Round 2 with 17 sprint cars on hand to compete. Rookie sprint car driver Mike Wenrick made his first Laurel Highlands start in the 54m while Jonathon Jones returned to the drivers seat after a couple seasons off in the familiar 12J. The heat race action was good in both heats as Rob Bartchy won his heat from the pole position and Scott Lutz captured his heat race from the second starting spot. The finishing positions for the heats are as follows:
1. Rob Bartchy, 2. Drew Ritchey, 3. Reed Thompson, 4. Steve Kenawell, Jr., 5. Judi Bates, 6. Ryan Lynn, 7. Coltt Lepley, 8. Mike Alleman, 9. Mike Wenrick.
1. Scott Lutz, 2. Nathan Gramley, 3. Ron Aurand, 4. Jonathon Jones, 5. Joe Zap, 6. Brad Mellott, 7. Jim Kennedy, 8. Rob Felix.
For the 20-lap feature an invert of 6 cars put Ron Aurand and Reed Thompson on the front row and at the waving of the green flag the Lewistown Wolverine jumped into the lead and set the pace with Thompson, Gramley, Ritchey, Lutz and Bartchy giving chase from the front three rows. Within a few laps Scott Lutz moved into second giving chase to the pace setting leader with Nathan Gramley, Drew Ritchey and Steve Kenawell, Jr. settling in behind. It looked like the feature could go green to checker as lap after lap the action kept up until around lap 16 when Mike Wenrick snapped the left rear axle coming down the front stretch bringing out the yellow. By this time Nathan Gramley moved into second spot, with Drew Ritchey, Scott Lutz and Steve Kenawell, Jr. in third through fifth, with Aurand still in first, when the green came out the leader took off with the field behind giving chase but it was Ron’s night as he held onto to capture his 2nd feature with Laurel Highlands. Coltt Lepley was running good until some motor troubles forced him out of the race and Jim Kennedy also pulled out with minor issues. The following is the finish of the main event:
1. 86 Ron Aurand, 2. 23 Nathan Gramley, 3. 880 Drew Ritchey, 4. 33 Scott Lutz, 5. 17K Steve Kenawell, Jr., 6. R6 Reed Thompson, 7. 26 Ryan Lynn, 8. 21 Rob Felix, 9. 12J Jonathon Jones, 10. 6x Brad Mellott, 11. 33z Joe Zap, 12. 121 Judi Bates, 13. 29B Rob Bartchy, 14. 46 Mike Alleman, 15. 7 Jim Kennedy (DNF), 16. 4L Coltt Lepley (DNF), 17. 54m Mike Wenrick (DNF).
The next race for Laurel Highlands and Round 3 of the Summer Showdown will be Sunday May 28th at the Fabulous Bedford Speedway over the Memorial Day Holiday.