RAY ZEMKEN EARNS BIGGEST CAREER VICTORY
100-Lap Northeast Crate Nationals Win Worth $2,000
September 9, 2011 By Rob Hazer (Fultonville, NY) – With 52 cars on hand for the Hunts Machine Shop 602 Nationals, qualifying was a premium. When the dust settled on the event another brand new 602 Nationals champion was crown. Ray Zemken muscled his Jeff Taber’s Road Service 1z to the 100 Lap $2,000 to win Nationals championship.
Tim Hartman Jr. and Chip Constantino would lead the 31-car field to the green flag with Hartman Jr. taking the early lead. John Scarborough in the Pizza Logs 61 settled into 3rd, with the Dodson Construction 44 of Greg Pessalano 4th, and the Ken’s Logging & Landscaping 69 of Kenny Boniface rounding out the top five early in the event.
Racing was hot and heavy in the Nationals with each spot contested through the field. 3-Wide action through the middle part of the field between Lem Atkins, Adam Pierson, and Brian Pessalano.
Yellow would fly for the first time on seven for the 12H of Ken Hirsch who slowed on the backstretch causing the Grennon sponsored 20 of Jack Gentile to spin avoiding him in turn three.
On the restart Hartman Jr. was strong taking advantage of the Delaware start leading the field. Scarborough would slip under Constantino to take over the runner up spot; while Mike Tholin, Ray Zemken, and Justin Combes raced 3-wide just a few rows back.
Mike Ketchum started to make moves cracking the top 10 slipping by both Atkins and Greg Pessalano, while Jeremiah Munson began pressuring Brian Pessalano for a top five spot.
Yellow would come out for the second time in the early stages of the Hunts Machine 602 Nationals when defending Nationals champion Chad Edwards in the Accu-Contracting 37 slowed with a flat right rear. He would return to the field and restart 29th.
On the lap 12 restart it was all Hartman Jr. again pulling away from a now 2nd place running Scarborough followed by Constantino, Boniface, Greg Pessalano, Munson, Ketchum, Dave Constantino, Atkins, and Troy Palmer rounding out the top 10.
The leaders began to stretch it out with Scarborough doing all he could to chase young gun Hartman Jr. for the lead, while the race for 5th, 6th, and 7th was heated between Munson, Ketchum, and Pessalano. While that was taking place Ray Zemken began making his way forward cracking the top 10.
With 1/3 of the event in the books things started to get dicey between Dave Constantino and Troy Palmer while racing for a top 10 position. Contact between the two allowed the 374 of Chuck Allen slip by bringing Ray Zemken and the 15 of Adam Pierson with him. All this action couldn’t slow the rapid pace being set by Tim Hartman Jr.
On lap 27 the Nationals curse struck again for the 26 of Derrick McGrew, as a left rear flat tire sent him to the pits. He would retire from the event for the 3rd strait time.
Hartman Jr. began putting cars down at a lightning fast pace using the high side, low side, even the middle of the track. He would be slowed by a yellow flag once again for the 12H of Ken Hirsch who slowed with a flat tire on lap 29. The field would restack for an action packed restart at the Fastest 1/4 Mile On Dirt.
Hartman Jr., Scarborough, Constantino, Boniface, and Ketchum occupied the top five spots on the restart and once again Hartman Jr. went to work controlling the Nationals. Hard Racing for 3rd with some inadvertent contact between Boniface and Constantino allowed the 69 to take the position.
Three drivers were making big moves through the field at this point in the event, which included Ray Zemken, Rocky Warner, and the aforementioned Chad Edwards. Zemken had moved into 6th, Warner up to 8th, and Edwards from 29th to 10th with 31 Laps in.
Yellow flew for the 4th time when both Tyler Boniface and 4th place running Chip Constantino stopped with flat left rear tires. Both would return to the rear of the field and continue on.
On the restart a 3-wide was the story, as for two rows they were three deep. Ketchum running in the top five suffered contact resulting in the left front shock breaking and bringing out another yellow. Tough break for Ketchum who had finished the season top five in points at the Ridge.
Rack em’ and stack em’ one more time for a restart, which Hartman Jr. wasted no time in setting the pace again. Much like the year before when Edwards dominated after a battle with Wayne Sterns, it appeared nobody had anything for the Bemiss 22. Just then Kenny Boniface made his move.
Boniface began working the low line under Hartman Jr. for the race lead. Once again the Nationals fans were treated to a battle royal for the top spot. Boniface would pressure Hartman for the point, while Troy Palmer cracked into the 3rd position.
Hartman Jr. would begin to pull away from Boniface, while the top five looked a little different at this point in the 100 Lap Nationals event. Hartman Jr. was leading followed by Kenny Boniface, Troy Palmer, Ray Zemken, and Jeremiah Munson.
Yellow would slow the field once again on lap 39 when Dave Constantino and Greg Pessalano would end up facing the wrong direction. The field would realign and the green would fly again at the Nationals.
On the restart Hartman Jr. wasted no time taking a 2-car advantage, while Zemken began muscling the Palmer 17 for the 3rd position. Just then yellow would fly for the 2009 Glen Ridge Track champion Korey Wilder who came to a stop in turn two. At that time Chuck Allen would retire with broken suspension.
On the ensuing restart Hartman Jr. went back to work leading the Nationals, but it was short lived as Palmer made contact with the rear of Boniface dropping his front end sending the field scrambling for real estate.
Once again the restart saw Hartman Jr. dominate pulling 3-car lengths on Boniface who was under fire from Zemken. A lap later Zemken took the runner up spot and set his sights on leader Tim Hartman Jr. but a yellow would slow the field once again. 22 cars were left on the track at the mid waypoint.
Hartman Jr. fired the field on the restart and Boniface retook the runner up spot from Zemken who was under pressure from Scarborough and Edwards now racing in the top five. Chad Edwards from 29th early on worked his way around the Scarborough Teo Pro Car into 4th position and set his sights on the front running trio of Hartman Jr., Boniface, and Zemken.
In the second half of the Hunts Machine Shop 602 Nationals the field began to string out just a bit with Zemken close to Boniface for 2nd. Zemken then hit the left rear of Boniface after an aggressive move in turn three giving the 69 a flat tire. Boniface would retire to the pits under yellow.
Hartman Jr. appeared to be unstoppable, as he began running away from Zemken and Edwards. Scarborough was man handling his race rod in 4th with Brian Pessalano right behind him in 5th.
On lap 64 the race would change dramatically. Tim Hartman Jr. who had been so dominate in the Hunts Machine Shop 602 Nationals slowed with a flat right rear tire handing the lead to the 1z of Ray Zemken.
From there Zemken led relatively unchallenged for the remainder of the Nationals. Edwards who had worked so hard to get through the field was out of tire and couldn’t mount a challenge. Zemken would win his 1st 602 Nationals championship followed by Edwards, Scarborough, Mike Tholin, and Brian Pessalano. For Zemken the 100 Lap Nationals Championship was worth a cool $2,000 and the honors.
9/9/11 HUNT’S MACHINE SHOP NORTHEAST CRATE NATIONALS FEATURE RESULTS (100 Laps): 1) Ray Zemken, 2) Chad Edwards, 3) John Scarborough, 4) Mike Tholin, 5) Brian Pessolano, 6) Adam Pierson, 7) DJ Brundige, 8) Greg Pessolano, 9) Chip Constantino, 10) Jeremiah Munson, 11) Kaorey Wilder, 12) Chuck Allen, 13) Adam McAuliffe, 14) Justin Comes, 15) Dave Constantino, 16) Tim Hartman Jr, 17) Lem Atkins, 18) Chris Schaffer, 19) Tony Farone, 20) Ken Boniface, 21) Tyler Boniface, 22) Mike Ketchum, 23) Rocky Warner, 24) Ken Hisch, 25) Troy Palmer, 26) Derreck McGrew, 27) Jack Gentile, 28) Gary Siemons (DQ).
Heat 1 Finish (3 Qualified): Ken Boniface, Mike Ketchum, Greg Pessalano, Ray Zemken, Ken Hinsch, Derrick McGrew, Mike Burdo, Troy Palmer, Justin Forsthoffer, Shea Montgomery, Gary Siemons. (11 Total)
Heat 2 Finish (3 Qualified): Chip Constantino, Tim Hartman Jr, Lem Atkins, Jay Lias, DJ Brundige, Paul Dunham, CV Elms, Fred Muhlberger, Harry Shaffer II, Ryan Darcy. (10 Total)
Heat 3 Finish (3 Qualified): Chuck Allen, Mike Tholin, Adam McAuliffe, John Marsh Jr, Justin Combs, Chad Edwards, Jon Miller, Justin Boehler, Anthony Cardamone, Mark Mortensen.(10 Total).
Heat 4 Finish (3 Qualified): Jack Gentile, Adam Pierson, Jeremiah Munson, Chris Schaffer, Korey Wilder, Melony Coons, Gary Ostrander, Dan Santabarbara, Butch Wilcox, Tyler Boniface.(10 total)
Heat 5 Finish (3 Qualified): Brian Pessalano, Dave Constantino, John Scarborough, Cody Bleau, Jimmy Eaton, Kevin Chappy, Stan Lamiesz, Jim Bemiss, Jermy Pitts, Leo Soucie, Nick Lussier.(11 total)
Consi #1 Finish (4 Qualified): Ray Zemken, Korey Wilder, DJ Brundige, Chad Edwards, Fred Muhlberger, Mike Burdo, Jeremy Pitts, Stan Lamiesz, Leo Souice, Anthony Cardamone, Shea Montgomery, Jimmy Eaton.
Consi #2 Finish: (4 Qualified): Troy Palmer, Justin Combs, Tyler Boniface, Derrick McGrew, Justin Boehler, Jay Lias, Gary Ostrander, CV Elms, Justin Forsthoffer, Nick Lussier, Ryan Darcy, CV Elms, Cody Bleau.
Consi #3 Finish (4 Qualified): Ken Hinsch, Chris Schaffer, Jon Miller, Gary Siemons, Jim Bemiss, Kevin Chappy, Shea Montgomery, Paul Dunham Jr, Harry Shaffer II, John Marsh Jr.