Sunday, May 13, 2012
'Nitro' Nick Pecko Finally Scores First Career Sport Modified Victory at Mountain
by Gene Ostrowski
ST. JOHNS, Pa. -- For over three seasons now, “Nitro” Nick Pecko of Vandling, PA has been trying to victory lane in the Sport Modified division at Mountain Speedway. Bad luck and gremlins denied him of that feat in the past, but the curse has been lifted, as Pecko finally accomplished the feat Sunday at Mountain Speedway. In his first start of the season, Travis Fisher of Fern Glen, PA took the Late Model victory and Paul Morgan, Jr. came from the last starting spot to claim his first win of the season in Factory Stock competition. Matt Pappa took the INEX Legends victory and Alex McCollum notched his third straight Bandolero win.
Pecko started from the pole position and led the opening circuit of the 40-lap Sport Modified main event over Scott Adams, Todd Baer, Jim Bojohnny and Tommy Wanick. With Pecko still in command, Dave Brigati worked by Wanick for fifth on lap four and the disposed of Bojohnny for the fourth position three laps later.
The first of four cautions flew on lap 15 When Robert Fink and Wanick tangled in turns one and two. Both drivers were forced to restart from the tail end of the field.
With a clean restart, Pecko resumed the race lead and Baer got by Adams for second. Six laps later Brigati too the third spot from Adams.
The caution flag waved on lap 27 when Adams got sideways out of turn four. Frantz tried to duck underneath him and the two touched and then Frantz spun.
With the green back out, Brigati overtook Baer for second and set his sights on Pecko. Meanwhile, Jason Hearne cracked the top five and ran in the fourth position.
Despite several attempts from Brigati, Peck held his own, trying to fend off the charge.
The yellow waved with three laps remaining when Todd Baer tagged Frantz on the backstretch and when green flag racing resumed, Hearne, who had restarted in third, just edged Brigati to the stripe for second.
Following a yellow with two laps remaining, Hearne and Brigati battled for second, not denying Pecko his first open wheel Sport Modified victory. Hearne settled for second, followed by Brigati, Wanick and Adams.
Heat race victories went to Dave Brigati and Nick Pecko.
Brad Brown led the opening circuit of the 30-lap Late Model feature before Travis Fisher overtook him. Over the next few laps, Austin Kochenash battled Joe Burns for second and then the yellow flag waved when Kyle Harvell touched Lorin Arthofer on lap six.
Fisher continued to lead over Burns, Kochenash, Brown and Arthofer for the restart, but Kochenash moved by Burns and solely into the second position on lap nine.
Following a yellow on laps 23, Fisher did his best and kept Kochenash in his rearview mirror. However, the caution waved once more, this time on lap 26 when Arthofer made contact with Harvell, who spun in turns one and two. Burns, who had nowhere to go, piled into the mix, as did Stone Phillips. With significant damage, Burns and Harvell were unable to continue. With a nearly flat right rear tire, Kochenash was forced to surrender the second spot to pit under the caution.
Green flag racing resumed and Fisher went on to take the victory over Arthofer and Kochenash. With his best career Late Model finish, Phillips ended up fourth, followed by Brown.
Austin Kochenash and Travis Fisher were heat race winners.
Todd Gadoury started from the pole position in the 20-lap Factory Stock main but Dan Pawlicki led the first circuit over Gadoury, Rich Paciotti, Kenny Kleppinger and Mark Martini.
The yellow flag waved on lap three when Keith Frankenfield and Trevor Ahouse got tangled up in turn two. Green flag racing resumed and Paciotti grabbed second from Gadoury and Martini followed through for third.
Paul Morgan, Jr. started dead last in the event because his he didn’t run the heat race. Instead, hi father, Paul Morgan, Sr. ran the heat and won. Morgan, Jr. climbed to third and raced with Paciotti for second. The pair raced hard until the yellow flew on lap eight when Paciotti spun out of turn two.
Pawlicki still had the lead for the restart, but Kleppinger pounced into the top spot. He led at the halfway mark over Pawlicki, Martini, Morgan, Jr. and Paciotti.
Martini moved to second following the restart and Morgan, Jr. followed. Martini challenged Kleppinger for the lead on lap 12 and appeared to have the position, but that changed in a hurry when the pair collected in turn three. The changed of events moved Morgan, Jr. to the top spot.
The lap 12 restart went by the wayside when Stephanie Moyer and Kendall Foulk tangled in turn one and once green flag racing resumed, it was Morgan, Jr. who took the checkers over Paciotti and Gadoury. It was the first time in history where a father won the heat race and then handed the controls to his son, who went on to win the feature. Ahouse finished a career best fourth in the division and Pawlicki completed the top five.
Heat race wins went to Mark Martini and Paul Morgan, Sr.
Gene Drew grabbed the lead from pole sitter, Russell Sniffen, Jr. following the start of the 20-lap INEX Legends feature. He led the first lap over Brandon Michael, Scott Hubler, Sniffen and raven Schrantz before the yellow flag flew when Kevin Nowak spun in turns one and two.
B. Michael then took command of the event following the restart and Hubler climbed to second. Matt Pappa took the third spot from Schrantz and then overtook Hubler for second on lap three. One lap later Pappa got by the leader and began to set sail.
The red flag flew on lap nine when Sniffen’s car rolled on its side in turn two. Luckily, he was not severely injured.
With the green back out, Pappa continued to lead over Hubler, Todd McCollum, B. Michael and Chris Young, but the yellow waved on lap 12 when a car spun on the backstretch. The restart changed up the running order as McCollum and B. Michael tangled as they took the green.
Pappa was untouchable over the closing laps and remains undefeated at the speedway. Hubler settled for second, followed by Young, Schrantz and Nowak.
Matt Pappa and Todd McCollum were heat race winners.
Three Bandoleros took the green flag in the 15-lap main. Looking for his third straight win, Alex McCollum held the lead.
Kyle Fratesi had car trouble and headed to the pits in the early going and did not return.
McCollum went on to take the victory over Nick Harnage.
Mountain Speedway is just minutes from Hazleton, Pa, located on St. John’s Road, between Routes 93 and 309. Grandstand admission for all regular events is just $12 for ages 11 and older. Children 10 years of age and younger are admitted for free.
Please visit www.mountainspeedway.com for the entire 2012 schedule, point standings and up to date news and information.
Sport Modifieds (40-laps) 1. NICK PECKO 2. Jason Hearne 3. Dave Brigati 4. Tom Wanick 5. Scott Adams 6. Paul Frantz 7. Todd Baer 8. Robert Fink 9. Cam Ayres 10. Jim Bojonny 11. Chris Young Jr
Late Model (30-laps) 1. TRAVIS FISHER 2. Lorin Arthofer 3. Austin Kochenash 4. Stone Phillips 5. Bradley Brown 6. Kyle Harvell DNS: Mark Tyson DQ: Joe Burns
Factory Stocks (20-laps) 1. PAUL MORGAN, JR 2. Richard Paciotti 3. Todd Gadoury 4. Trevor Ahouse 5. Dan Pawlicki 6. Ken Kleppinger 7. Stephanie Moyer 8. Keith Frankenfield 9. Mark Martini 10. Kendall Foulk DNS: Eric Banashefski
INEX Legends (20-laps) 1. MATT PAPPA 2. Scott Hubler 3. Chris Young 4. Raven Schrantz 5. Kevin Nowak 6. Van Michael 7. Eugene Drew 8. Ron Poley 9. John Bacon 10. Malcolm Campbell 11. Alexandria Smith 12. Stephen Gaul 13. Butch Boyle 14. Cole Fratesi 15. Todd McCollum 16. Brandon Michael 17.Russell Sniffen Jr.
INEX Bandoleros (15-laps) 1. ALEX MCCOLLUM 2. Nick Harnage 3. Cole Fratesi