Fiction writers could do no better than reality when it came down to the final third of a mile in the Haunted Hundred of the Tri Track Modified Series. What started a couple laps prior as a hard challenge for the lead ended up in turn four with cars flying in all directions and across the infield grass to avoid a spinning car, places changing and a leader disqualified for taking out his challenger. If some good came out of it, it was in Chase Dowling’s favor as he ended up with the big trip to victory lane. In the meantime, Ron Silk left his car sitting in turn four facing the wrong way for traffic and taking a dejected walk to the pit tunnel. Matt Hirschman, who had been the first to cross the finish line was sanctioned, losing the win.
Almost lost in the brouhaha, but not quite, was Ronnie Williams’ effort of the evening rewarding him with the TTOMS championship for 2019.
Could it have been predicted. Maybe so. When Mike Holdrige became airborne in turn four on perhaps wheel-to-wheel contact then went straight into the retaining wall at speed, that might have set the scene. Holdrige’s roof had to be removed to take him from the car and he was put on the gurney for an ambulance trip His injuries were serious but not life-threatening.
In the main feature, the race ran close to normal as Woody Pitkat and Matt Galko came out of the starting box door-to-door and Chris Pasteryak nailed fourth then got under Galko into second. As the field quickly strung out, Pitkat, Pasteryak and Galko ran bumper-to-bumper ahead of Les Hinkley, Hirschman and Dana DiMatteo, who was working under Derek Robbie.
The line stayed the same through Lap 12 as Silk began working his way under DiMatteo. Pitkat had two lengths on Pasteryak. Tommy Barrett had come from deep in the field, past Hirschman onto Pasteryak’s rear deck while Galko had faded to ninth. Williams came up onto Hirschman’s bumper a bit before Andy Jankowiak and Kirk Alexander connected and spun in turn three. Both went immediately to the pits. Pitkat came to a halt and was pushed in. Speedy dry came out all around the track. Pitkat returned to action but was unable to muster much speed thereafter. Still he suffered through to the end of the race.
The restart now had Hirschman with Williams alongside. Suddenly, Matt Swanson was in the second row with Les Hinckley while row three featured Russ Hersey and Jankowiak. Hirschman nosed out at the green then had the lead in turn one with Williams at his back. Swanson and Hinckley were arguing over third. Two laps more and Hirschman was leading by two lengths. Swanson had settled in behind Willaims and now Hersey was arguing with Hinckley over fifth. But Anthony Sesely came to a halt out of turn three and had to go off on the hook.
Hirschman was away again and Willams settled in.
At the halfway point, it was Hirschman, Williams, Swanson, Hersey and Richard Savary. But three laps later, Jerry Cipriano tried to pit and breezed past the exit and came to a halt in turn four. Caution flew.
Hersey was followed on the restart by Savary, Keith Rocco, Silk and Jankowiak. Once again, Hirschman took the lead in turn two Williams was outside Swanson, pulled ahead and dropped into second. Hersey followed with Savary and Rocco side-by-side behind him. But lap 58 saw DiMatteo head for the pits under green.
Hirschman settled in and Williams stayed in contact with Swanson following. Tommy Barrett moved into seventh. Hirschman was nursing a two-car lead on lap sixty-eight as caution flew when a car spun off at the stripe. A mob headed into the pits for adjustments and fresh tires.
Thirty-two laps remained as Hirschman and Williams came to the green again. He nosed out then took a one-car lead as Swanson dropped under Williams and stole second. Hersey ran fourth but Silk moved up and got by. Barrett then took over fifth with Kirk Alexander coming in behind him.
At the three-quarter mark (Lap 75), Hirschman had three cars on the field. Savary began dueling Pasteryak for ninth and succeeded him in the spot. Two laps later, Pasteryak spun on the back stretch.
Now, Hirschman had Swanson on his shoulder, Williams behind him and Silk was on the outside of row two. Hersey and Barrett were row three. A first attempt was spoiled as Robbie stalled and had to go off on the hook. Second try had the same cast of characters. Behind Hersey came Barrett and a resurgent Williams. Dowling and Savary followed.
Swanson nosed out but Hirschman recovered fir some side-by-side running. Swanson finally settled into second and Silk was fighting along outside Williams. Hirschman gained a car lead on Swanson but on lap 88 Russ Hersey spun into the grass on the front stretch. Hirschman again pulled ahead of Swanson on the restart, but this time, Silk got under Swanson looking for second as Williams followed Now it was Hirschman, Silk, Swanson and Williams. Dowling rolled up behind Williams. But lap 90 had another caution with Hinckley up by the turn one wall. He was able to drive away. Now Hirschman had Silk coming up to the line with him.
They ran wheel-to-wheel out of the box with Hirschman finally escaping Silk in turn four. Swanson ducked under Silk. They were door-to-door but Silk was able to edge ahead onto Hirschman’s bumper with five to go, but Swanson was on his and now Dowling moved tight into fourth. With three remaining, Silk looked underneath and was denied. He looked high and then dropped under and passed. There was contact and they came around into turn three. Hirschman dropped into the grass and came up into Silk who went into a spin. Swanson swerved to avoid and into the grass off turn four. The field scattered behind them. Hirschman came away from the contact and across the finish line as Swanson fought his car back to the track. Dowling crossed behind Hirschman, Rocco followed, then Jankowiak. Swanson fought his way back onto the track and followed Jankowiak over the line. Savary followed and then Williams, Pasteryak, Izzo and Michael Gervais completed the top ten finishers.