The Laurel Highlands IMCA Racesavers were at the Fabulous Bedford Speedway for their final appearance at the historic half-mile fairground facility for 2019 on Saturday September 20th as part of the annual Bedford Fall Fest racing action. This night also marked the first ever inner-regional event in co-operation with the Pa Sprint Series. A similar event several years ago was rained out. To commemorate this big event a field of 29 sprint cars signed in to compete which is a new record for Laurel Highlands besting the 25 car count at Hesston several years ago. Among the regular campaigners who run at Bedford many of the drivers were seeing the Bedford facility for the very first time. It was great to see such a solid field of sprint cars on hand along with a beautiful day weather wise for the event. Three heat races were held along with a B Main event and taking the win in the first event was Scott Ellerman over first year sensation Garrett Bard, third went to Rob Bartchy with Devin Adams taking the fourth spot. Randy Sterling was fifth, Larry McVay a feature winner over Labor Day at Bedford was sixth, Reed Thompson was seventh, Zach Newlin finished eighth, Mike Alleman was ninth and Brad Mellott who experienced mechanical issues was a DNF for tenth.
Tyler Denochick who won his first ever Bedford main event back in May started on the pole for heat race number two with Dylan Proctor on the outside. At the green the two battled until Proctor took the point and went on to win with Denochick second, finishing third was Drew Ritchey while Erin Statler making her first Bedford start had a solid fourth place finish, John Fiore also making his initial Bedford start did a great job taking the fifth position while another first time Bedford visitor, Jake Frye nailed down the sixth spot, Ron Aurand a former main event winner at the big half-mile was seventh while Landon Price and Kenny Heffner finished in eighth and ninth respectively both were making first time visits to Bedford.
The third and final heat race saw Kyle Keen and Stevie Kenawell bring the field to the green with Kenawell grabbing the point and lead the field turning in an impressive run. He had Doug Dodson and Christian Rumsey giving chase and both doing a great job in their initial starts on the famous track. At the checker it was Kenawell taking the win over Dodson and Rumsey with Kyle Keen taking fourth spot. Jeremi Hanson was fifth with Dave Grube taking sixth, both drivers were making their first starts at the fairgrounds. Scott Lutz the 2019 Summer Showdown Champion was seventh with Ryan Lynn eighth, Jim Kennedy ninth and rookie Cassandra Minium making her first Bedford start was tenth.
With six cars from each heat advancing to the 25-lap A Main event and the final six coming from the B Main there were 11 cars scheduled to go in this 10 lap event. Reed Thompson and Ron Aurand brought the field to the green with Thompson getting a good start to lead and pace the field with Aurand, Newlin and Lutz giving chase. At the checker Thompson who is currently in second spot in the Summer Showdown points took the win with Zach Newlin second, Ron Aurand third, Scott Lutz fourth, Landon Price fifth and Ryan Lynn getting the last transfer spot in sixth, Mike Alleman was seventh, Cassandra Minium was eighth but did not finish she dropped out of the event around lap 7. Three drivers did not make the call for the event, Kenny Heffner, Jim Kennedy and Brad Mellott.
Twelve drivers, the top four from the three heat events redrew for the feature with Kyle Keen and Garrett Bard getting the front row berths. At the drop of the green first year rookie sensation Bard, took the lead over Keen with Dodson, Denochick, Bartchy and Ritchey giving chase. Bard who copped his first IMCA Racesaver feature win a few weeks ago at Port Royal Speedway and followed that up with a feature win at Bedford over the Labor Day weekend looked comfortable as he paced the field, Garrett is also a winner and tough competitor in the 600cc mini sprints. On lap 9 pole sitter Kyle Keen lost a front tire going into turns one and turn spun heading toward the outside wall and then was hit by Randy Sterling ending both of their runs for the night, also involved was Devin Adams who started in the seventh spot and was knocked out of the action. AS the laps ticked off after the restart, Bard again paced the field with sixth place starter Drew Ritchey working his way to the runner-up spot looking to make a challenge while Christian Rumsey who started 10th moved up to 4th as Rob Bartchy, Stevie Kenawell and others made their moves. Jeremi Hanson who started 15th also broke into the top ten and did Larry McVay who started 16th. Getting the Hard Charger Award should have been Landon Price of Fleetwood who started in 23rd spot and worked his way to the top ten. When the checkers flew it was Garrett Bard taking his second Bedford feature win in a little over two weeks and making an outside pass coming out of turn 4 to go from 3rd to 2nd was Doug Dodson who went high around Drew Ritchey.
Tough luck for Dylan Proctor who was unable to start the event due to an apparent mechanical issue? He came in as the field was pacing before the start from his 11th starting spot, also dropping out early was Scott Lutz with unknown problems. The finishing order for the 25 lap feature is as follows: 1. 95 Garrett Bard, 2. 20 Doug Dodson, 3. 880 Drew Ritchey, 4. 1R Christian Rumsey, 5. 29B Rob Bartchy, 6. 17K Stevie Kenawell, 7. 6 Tyler Denochick, 8. 36 Jeremi Hanson, 9. 83 Larry McVay, 10. 69 Landon Price, 11. R6 Reed Thompson, 12. 8D Scott Ellerman, 13. 56 Jake Frye, 14. 86 Ron Aurand, 15. 2 Erin Statler, 16. 11z Zach Newlin, 17. 3D Dave Grube, 18. 26 Ryan Lynn, 19. 91J John Fiore (DNF), 20. 17KK Kyle Keen (DNF), 21. 99 Devin Adams (DNF), 22. 00s Randy Sterling (DNF), 23. 33 Scott Lutz (DNF), 24. 92 Dylan Proctor (DNS). The following drivers did not qualify for the A Feature: 6x Brad Mellott, 7 Jim Kennedy, 97 Kenny Heffner, 46 Mike Alleman, 21m Cassandra Minium. The Laurel Highlands IMCA Racesavers would like to thank all of the drivers and teams who supported our series at the Bedford events in 2019 and to the Padula’s, Bedford Fair Board who allow our sprint cars to compete at the historic track.A thank you to the Pa Sprint Series and Rod Ort, Dave Ort, Stephanie Dodson for holding an inner regional event with us and hopefully a second event will happen in 2020?
The final event for Laurel Highlands in 2019 will be Saturday October 5th at the Greater Cumberland Raceway in Maryland and will be the final point event for the Summer Showdown.