(BLOOMBURG 4-21-22) Early into in the afternoon on Thursday officials at the Bloomsburg Fair Raceway where facing a situation of yet another dreary forecast and could it impede the night of racing planned, especially with so many teams from across the country in town for the Tezos All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 competing in a $6000-to-win main event along with the All Pro SpeedSTRs.
Not about to toss in the towel the night went on as planned and when the gates eventually swung open hauler after hauler began to file in and likewise fans too and the result was an excellent crowd and bustling pit area plus a national audience watching on live streaming that put the racing spotlight on Bloomsburg.
As it turned out the track was perfectly groomed and both features produced fantastic action as fans witnessed some of the best drivers in the country take on the 3/8th mile dirt oval.
Anthony Macri of Dillsburg, considered one of the hottest Sprint car drivers in the nation right now, scored his fourth 410 Sprint win in a row. Meanwhile Tim Buckwalter of Douglasville held off perennial veteran Billy Pauch Sr., of Frenchtown, NJ and his son Billy Pauch Jr., from Milford, NJ in claiming the All Pro SpeedSTR laurels.
When the 30-lap All Star feature got underway Marci was set to start on the pole but was set back two spots for jumping the initial start. That put Australian Scott Bogucki in the top spot and he would then go on the lead the first nine laps followed by Bill Balog of North Pole AK.
Lapped traffic would become a big factor as the leaders began negotiating back markers by the fifth circuit. Keeping Bogucki close in his sights, Balog used the heavy traffic to catch and pass him with nine laps compete. And no sooner did the pass for the lead take place Bogucki got high in turn one and his car suddenly flipped after clipping the wall. He exited okay but the car was done for the night.
When the action resumed Balog now had Macri chasing him and within a few laps traffic again came into play. As the front pair reached the halfway mark they were in a torrid side-by-side battle while having to meticulously work around lapped cars.
And for Macri that would be his winning advantage as pulled back slightly in order to size up Balog and in doing so got him trapped behind oncoming cars and on lap 17 took over the lead. From then on he was able to drive a solid line and by the time the checkers waved he had a commanding lead.
“It’s always better to be in lapped traffic running second and I was able to zig when he (Balog) zagged. I was able to get through lapped traffic as efficiently as I could and we got the lead and it all paid off and here we are,” said Macri who won the night prior at Bridgeport Speedway and last weekend at Williams Grove and Port Royal Speedways.
“We’ve won four in a row before at Port Royal but to win four in row at four different tracks is pretty damn cool. My guys worked their butts off and I couldn’t be more proud of them and I’ve been trying to do my best behind the wheel.”
Balog held on for a solid second with Justin Peck of Moravia, IN, point leader Tyler Courtney of Indianapolis, IN, and Zeb Wise of Angola, IN rounding out the top five.
“This car feels pretty good and I feel happy with it right now. I have to be honest Macri and that team is super good but on the race track I felt that somehow we should have got the job done. I just made a little mistake and I got hung out to dry in (turns) one and two,” said Balog.
Parker Price Miller of from Kokomo, set a new track record in qualifying with a lap of 13.250 seconds. Marci, Bogucki and Blog won heat races.
For the 20 lap SpeedSTR event Pauch Sr., went to the early lead but behind him was a bevy of close racing breathing down his back as Buckwalter and Pauch Jr., went side-by-side while chasing right behind the leader. Also in the mix was last Thursday night Bloomsburg USAC winner and defending SpeedSTR champ Briggs Danner of Allentown.
By lap three Buckwalter not only shook off Pauch Jr., but quickly zeroed in on Pauch Sr., and the next time around was able to duck to his inside and snag the lead. There was no looking back from there on as he remained solid en route to his first time winning at Bloomsburg.
“The track was awesome and hats to the guys for the great surface they gave us. SpeedSTRs a lot of times get single file but we were able to really run two and three wide all race long and you could really blast it into (turn) one wide and get a good bite,” said Buckwalter.
“When you’re running with both Billy Sr., and Jr., and Briggs, those guys are so good and if show it to them and don’t finish it that might be your last chance so I knew I had to just wait and get a feel for the car.”
After taking the lead Buckwalter showed it was his race to lose as he maintained a consistent line on each passing lap. And despite a few cautions that bunched the field he never wavered.
“This is super exciting to win here. There’s a lot of history at this place and I’ve heard about it over the years and to be here in Victory Lane is a great feeling and hopefully when we come back we can repeat,” said Buckwalter.
Pauch Sr., held on to score second over his son while Alex Bright from Collegeville, also a winner here last Thursday with USAC and Tom Mayberry of Sellersville completed the top five.
“These cars are not well-balanced and you have to sit up in the seat and really drive them and I was giving it the best I could. Timmy got that run on me in (turn) four and my biggest problem was getting into (turn) one, I couldn’t negotiate the car from sliding up,” said Pauch Sr.
“I didn’t come here to run second I came to run first and I’d like to win at Bloomsburg and put that on my win list. This is a nice facility and they just need to massage it a little bit and you’ll have a hell of a race track here.”
Buckwalter swept the night by winning his heat. Pauch Sr., also copped a prelim verdict.
All-Star Sprints feature finish (30 laps): 1. Anthony Macri, 2. Bill Balog, 3. Justin Peck, 4. Tyler Courtney, 5. Zeb Wise, 6. Parker Price Miller, 7. Alex Bowman, 8. Brent Marks, 9. Dylan Norris, 10. Hunter Schuerenberg, 11. Mark Smith, 12. Cap Henry, 13. Cory Eliason, 14. Dominic Scelzi, 15. Ryan Smith, 16. Lucas Wolfe, 17. Tim Schaffer, 18. Devon Borden, 19. Chris Windom, 20. Chase Dietz, 21. Kevin Thomas Jr., 22. Christopher Bell, 23. Scott Bogucki, 24. Kyle Reinhardt DNQ: John Walp, Howard Bradley, Davie Franek
All Pro SpeedSTR feature finish (20 laps): 1. Tim Buckwalter, 2. Billy Pauch Sr., 3. Billy Pauch Jr., 4. Alex Bright, 5. Tom Mayberry, 6. Gary Wagner, 7. Rich Tobias Jr., 8. TJ Mayberry, 9. Dillon Steuer, 10. Dustin Morris, 11. Ryan Krachun, 12. Andy Haus, 13. Briggs Danner, 14. Scott Houdeshell, 15. Cale Zangli, 16. Louden Reimert, 17. Chase Walker, 18. Andy Ressler