As the weather continues to play havoc on area race tracks it is inspiring to see promoters go all out to get the show in. A huge thank you to Dan Savino and his track personnel at the Dog Hollow Speedway last night for taking a huge risk and not cancelling the racing program. Many of our teams did not chance the long tows in case of a rain out while others rolled the dice and as always a big thank you to the 16 sprint car teams who came to race. Making their first Laurel Highlands starts were Vince Dougherty, Andy Cavanaugh, Jimmer Seger, while Eric Husick made his first appearance at Dog Hollow. Good to see other competitors such as Greg Dobrosky, Jake Gomola and Brian Wright join our ranks for the first time this year. Thus far Laurel Highlands has 3 of 5 events in the books with 33 drivers taking part so far. Our Race Saver region has had its share of ups and downs since our first season in 2012 however we are starting to see dividends as our car counts are finally respectable at most of our events and this wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and support of the racers. The weather last night made for a fantastic race track and everyone seemed fast and that was apparent in heat number 1 as Tyler Denochick grabbed the lead at the start and checked out with Greg Dobrosky, Jake Gomola giving chase. There was lots of great action throughout the pack and at the checker is was Tyler Denochick winning, second went to Greg Dobrosky, third Jake Gomola, fourth Randy Sterling, fifth Ron Aurand, sixth Bob Garvey, Jr., seventh Eric Husick, eighth Andy Cavanaugh.
Heat number two was also a competitive race as Drew Ritchey, Kyle Ganoe, Jonathon Jones and Brian Wright looking strong and racy. Ganoe and Ritchey started on the front row and raced into turn one with the Everett driver getting the lead with Ganoe behind. The first four cars stayed fairly close for the 8-laps with Drew Ritchey taking the win, second went to Kyle Ganoe, third Jonathon Jones, fourth Brian Wright, fifth Ryan Lynn, sixth Vince Dougherty, seventh Ray Sheetz, eighth Jimmer Seger.
For the 20-lap feature the top 3 from the two heats redrew for starting positions with Drew Ritchey pulling pill #1 putting him on the point with Jake Gomola going in second spot, Greg Dobrosky and Tyler Denochick making up row two while Kyle Ganoe and Jonathon Jones made up row three. With everyone looking fast all night the expectations were high that the feature would be a competitive one. At the green Ritchey and Gomola led the field into turn one as Gomola found a sweet spot and rocketed into the lead. The field began sorting itself out and around lap 4 the yellow came out as Greg Dobrosky got high in turn one and went down over the banking and come back out on the backstretch and at the same time Drew Ritchey stopped on turn 4 a victim of a mechanical failure. Seems bad luck follows him to Dog Hollow. As the green waived again the speedster from Seneca took off to lead with Jonathon Jones pouring on the coal and moving up to second as the race went on. Tyler Denochick and Kyle Ganoe also moved into the top spots as did Brian Wright who looked real strong all night and had his best Dog Hollow performance. One other yellow slowed the pace when Jimmer Seger’s car quit running on the back stretch a victim of a mechanical failure. At the checkered flag this is the finishing order: 1st 4J Jake Gomola, 2nd 0 Kyle Ganoe, 3rd 6 Tyler Denochick, 4th 12J Jonathon Jones, 5th 28 Brian Wright, 6th 26 Ryan Lynn, 7th 86 Ron Aurand, 8th 11x Bob Garvey, Jr., 9th 00s Randy Sterling, 10th 88 Greg Dobrosky, 11th 12H Eric Husick, 12th 99 Ray Sheetz, 13th 27 Vince Dougherty, 14th x7 Andy Cavanaugh, 15th 2 Jimmer Seger, 16th 880 Drew Ritchey.
Of quick note it was good to see Jeff Bacha attend the event and help out in the pits. Hopefully in the future he will get the new #48 race ready and rejoin Laurel Highlands. Nice to see Skip Dougherty as well, he competed in the very first Race Saver event at Dog Hollow in October of 2011 and also over the next several years, his son Vince now drives the #27. Jimmer Seger making his debut is the Father of 410 driver Jimmy Seger and I think Jimmer had a good time!!! Nice to see Andy Cavanaugh make the long tow from Oil City, he is new to sprint car racing and looked good throughout the night. Rookie Eric Husick is getting better with each race, last night was his 3rd night out with the LHSS and he looked comfortable. Our next stop is Sunday May 27th at the Fabulous Bedford Speedway.