WARNER FINALLY CRACKS NATIONALS VICTORY LANE
Becomes 6th Different Winner In Northeast Crate Nationals History
September 11, 2015 By Rob Hazer (Malta, NY) – Rocky Warner knew only one way to honor the fallen on 9/11, but he’d have to top a stellar record setting field at Albany-Saratoga to accomplish such a tribute. After the 100 lap Dodson Construction Northeast Crate Nationals presented by Adirondack Basement Systems and Dean’s Electrical Services the ‘flying squirrel’ did just that by becoming the 6th different Nationals champion.
Albany-Saratoga Speedway is without question a class act. From the moment the gates opened fans were greeted by a never forget 9.11.01 flag flying prominently by the speedway sign along with local fire departments using fire truck ladders to fly a larger than life American Flag. Fans from all over stopped to capture photos of the entrance to the speedway and just like that the Northeast Crate Nationals was trending through social media.
The evening started with a stirring tribute from announcer Dan Martin and moment of silence for those heroes and civilians who lost their lives 14 years ago on 9.11.01 when the twin towers fell in lower Manhattan, New York City. Local members of the color guard, armed services, fire, police, and EMT services presented the National Anthem, which received a roaring ovation from the crowd.
With pre-race ceremonies completed it was time to get the Northeast Crate Nationals underway. Time trials would lock the top six drivers into the redraw for the 100-lap Nationals feature event. Brian Krummel in the Smokers Choice number 88 earned top honors in the H&R Motorsports and Ryder Lawn Care time trials, which presented a $100 bonus for each of the top six qualifying drivers. Krummel was followed by fellow Middletown competitor Chris Stevens, Fonda Speedway track champion Rocky Warner, young lady hot shoe Allison Ricci, Albany-Saratoga regular Jon Miller, and the Dodson Construction 14 of Chad Edwards rounding out the ‘Super Six’ qualifiers.
Next up during the Nationals program was the Next Generation Roofing 15-lap qualifying mains. The winner of each would receive a cool $100 cash accompanied by a Final Reward trophy commemorating their win. The Donnelly Construction 9b of Hunter Bates, Grennon Project Services 27 of Jeremy Pitts, and Parillo Services 27m of Derrick McGrew visited victory lane with qualifying main wins.
The King Of Dirt Racing Series consolation events saw the Sowle Enterprises 1s of JaMike Sowle, Connecticut Valley Auto Auction 00 of Jason Gray, and 1-800-GOT-JUNK? 20 of David Schilling claim wins. After provisional starters were added it was time for the 100-lap Northeast Crate Nationals main event.
Scott Duell in the Lazzaro’s Auto Body 14x and Mike Tholin in the Carbs By James 24 led the 30 car starting field to Rich Peterson’s green flag. Duell quickly jumped into the lead, however Tholin was hanging out on the cushion right on the rear deck lid of the former Pro Stock champion.
King Of Dirt Crate Sportsman championship contenders Chad Edwards and Rocky Warner wasted no time battling for position in the top five. Warner would quickly put the Jake Spraker Used Cars 1J into 3rd by lap 4.
First yellow of the race flew on lap 4 when the Lussier’s Auto Body number 3 of Nick Lussier came to a stop in turn 4. The field would reset for a double file restart with Lussier rejoining at the rear.
On the restart Duell once again edged out into the top spot, but Tholin was pressuring using the top of the speedway. The aforementioned Brian Krummel had his HigFab chassis wound up moving from 7th to 4th in the early laps before the yellow flew on lap 10.
Top six qualifier Allison Ricci in the Backwoods Brew 406 found herself sitting off the backstretch after some inadvertent contact from another competitor. Ricci a fan favorite was able to rejoin the field at the tail end, but would have plenty of laps left to make her way back to the front.
On the restart Duell once again took the lead over Tholin, while Krummel began to pressure Warner for 3rd. Edwards and Pitts were locked into a battle for 5th when Tholin made a good run off turn 2 taking the lead from Duell on lap 16.
Derrick McGrew began to show he was a contender, as he started to pressure the Dean’s Electrical Services 09 of Connor Cleveland for the 6th position. Joey Scarborough in the Byrne’s Truck Equipment 38, West Fair Fish & Chips 7s of Michael Sabia, and BNC Motorsports 12 of Jon Miller all battled for position in the top 10 early on.
Back up front Krummel used a huge move on the outside of turns 3 and 4 to take 3rd from Warner and 2nd from Duell. In the runner up spot Krummel began to hunt down the highflying Tholin for the lead, but the caution flew on lap 23 for another top six qualifier Chris Stevens who had hit the implement tire in turn 2.
On the restart an intense 4-car battle raged for the top spot. Tholin using the bottom now had Krummel on his outside, while Duell and Warner ran side-by-side for the 3rd position. One quarter of the main event was complete and things were hot and heavy for the title of Nationals champion.
Yellow once again slowed the field on lap 30 for a multi-car tangle in turn 4 that included Michael Sabia, Joey Scarborough, Dan Santabarbara, David Schilling, and Nick Lussier. Most involved were able rejoin the rear of the field for the double file restart.
On the restart Krummel used the outside to take the top spot from Tholin, while defending Northeast Crate Nationals champion Tim Hartman Jr. moved his Bemiss Trucking 22 into the top 10 after starting 25th on the grid. 2014 track champion Jeremy Pitts was solidly into the top 5 while Cleveland, Edwards, and McGrew fought 3 cars deep for position.
By the halfway point in the race there was no shortage of side-by-side racing during the Nationals. The track had started to slick up just a bit, but the drivers were sticking it high and low. Warner/Tholin, McGrew/Cleveland, Edwards/Hartman Jr., Josh Sunn/Miller, and Pessolano/Ricci were all side-by-side battles.
Josh Sunn who started 18th on the grid had worked his way into the top 10, while Allison Ricci had rebounded from early race jingle to find herself just outside the top 10 in 12th.
Krummel began to navigate lap traffic, as Warner tried to keep pace. On lap 53 the shape of the 2015 Northeast Crate Nationals would change. The Smokers Choice 88 of Brian Krummel slowed in turn number 2 coming to a stop with an expired engine bringing out the yellow flag.
For Krummel it was a tough break, as for the 3rd year in a row something has kept Mr. Excitement from victory lane. Looking back in 2013 his night ended in frustration when the lead slipped out of his hands late in the rain-shortened event. Then in 2014 while setting a blistering pace on the outside in qualifying action his night ended after contact sent him hard into the front stretch wall. Now in 2015 an expired engine ended his night on lap 53, but count on Krummel and the Smokers Choice team returning in 2016 with more unfinished business in the Northeast Crate Nationals.
On the double file restart Warner was the new race leader followed by Pitts, Tholin, McGrew, Hartman Jr., Duell, Sunn, Cleveland, Edwards, and Pessolano rounding out the top 10.
McGrew challenged and took over 3rd from Tholin, while the West End Towing 24P of Brian Pessolano made a nice move in the black to pass both Edwards and Cleveland to move into the 7th position.
On lap 72 the yellow flew one more time for Michael Sabia who suffered front-end damage after hitting one of the infield tires. The restart didn’t go as planned when KOD point contender Adam Pierson stopped on the top of turn 2, while Dave Constantino, Allison Ricci, Chris Schaffer, and Andrew Buff were collected up in separate incidents. Ricci and Buff would continue on.
With 20 laps left in the Nationals Rocky Warner was on cruise control, while behind him Derrick Mcgrew tried finding a way to keep pace. Tim Hartman Jr. had taken 3rd away from Jeremy Pitts shuffling him back to 4th, as Josh Sunn, Scott Duell, and Brain Pessolano battled for top 6 positions.
Chad Edwards had settled into the 9th position, but behind him David Schilling and the Greg’s Towing 173 of Cody Bleau who started 24th were battling for the 10th position.
In the closing stages it was all about the flying squirrel Rocky Warner. Never had the Gloversville, NY native won the Nationals. He’d won Syracuse, he’d won races, he’d won championships, but never the Nationals. Rocky wasn’t going to be denied, as he took the double-checkered flags first becoming the 6th different driver to win the Northeast Crate Nationals. Warner was followed by McGrew, Hartman Jr., Pitts, Sunn, Duell, Kevin Chaffee, Pessolano, Edwards, and Schilling rounding out the top 10.
“I was pretty confident in the bottom tonight. The top looked really good, but with so many good quality cars and none of them going back around me we just settled in on the bottom,” said Warner in victory lane.
“The bottom started to go away a little bit late in the race and I’ll tell you the late race restarts had me a bit nervous. I can’t say enough for my fans, my family, all the crew guys that put the hard work in, and Jake and Nancy Spraker give me quality equipment. If it wasn’t for those guys we’d be doing something, but I don’t know if we’d be winning this race,” concluded Warner in victory lane.
“We didn’t draw real well and started tenth. We just took our time, stayed out of trouble, and tried to be there at the end. Second isn’t where we wanted to be, but we ran a clean race, we were there at the end, and my team mate for 2016 finished right behind us so it was a good race,” said 2nd place finisher Derrick McGrew.
“I wish we had a little bit better starting spot, but we were behind the 8-ball right after time trials. We didn’t make it through the qualifying main, didn’t make it through the consi, but luckily we got a provisional. We just threw the kitchen sink at the car for the 100 lapper and it was fast,” said 3rd place finisher Tim Hartman Jr.
- The Nationals was once again a smashing success at Albany-Saratoga Speedway. 65 cars entered the event, which is a Northeast Crate nationals record car count. It’s also the highest car count at any Sportsman race in 2015 thus far. There’s Syracuse, there’s the Outlaw 200 weekend, and there’s the Nationals. Easily the 3 biggest Sportsman races of the year with prestige, honor, and recognition.
- The new Nationals format was a hit, with time trials, qualifying mains instead of heats, and consi’s.
- The 100-lap main event took 48 minutes total even with a few cautions. In 6 Nationals events there has been 6 different winners.
- The 2015 Nationals was a story of hard chargers. Tim Hartman Jr. 25th to 3rd, Josh Sunn 18th to 5th, Kevin Chaffee with late race moves 28th to 7th, Brian Pessolano 17th to 8th, David Schilling 21st to 10th, Cody Bleau 24th to 14th, and Matt Hitchcock 29th to 15th.
- Fan favorite Allison Ricci timed in the top six, redrew 11th starting spot, and raced her way into the top 12 twice after incidents before ultimately finishing 17th. It was her first ever 100-lap event. Although the finish wasn’t what she’d hoped for, the young talented lady racer enjoyed her experience and is ready for 2016 already.
- Special thanks to Lyle DeVore, the entire Albany-Saratoga staff, the drivers, fans, and everyone involved for making the Nationals once again a game changer.
Anyone looking to get involved in King Of Dirt to compete, sponsor, or become marketing partners can contact series promoter Rob Hazer online, via E-Mail, or over the phone. Visit KOD online at http://www.speedzoneonline.org, Twitter @KOD_KingOfDirt, Instagram @kingofdirtracing, or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/kingofdirtracing.
To keep up to date on the great race place Albany-Saratoga visit them online atwww.albany-saratogaspeedway.com, @Albany_Saratoga on Twitter, or Facebook atwww.facebook.com/albany-saratoga-speedway.
09/11/15 KING OF DIRT CRATE SPORTSMAN SERIES NORTHEAST CRATE NATIONALS PRESENTED BY DODSON CONSTRUCTION, ADIRONDACK BASEMENT SYSTEMS, & DEAN’S ELECTRICAL SERVICES FEATURE RESULTS (100 LAPS) – 1) ROCKY WARNER, 2) Derrick McGrew, 3) Tim Hartman Jr., 4) Jeremy Pitts, 5) Josh Sunn, 6) Scott Duell, 7) Kevin Chaffee, 8) Brian Pessolano, 9) Chad Edwards, 10) David Schilling, 11) Mike Tholin, 12) Connor Cleveland, 13) Hunter Bates, 14) Cody Bleau, 15) Matt Hitchcock, 16) Nick Anatriello, 17) Allison Ricci, 18) Jon Miller, 19) Andrew Buff, 20) Jason Gray, 21) Dave Constantino, 22) Adam Pierson, 23) Chris Schaffer, 24) Michael Sabia, 25) Brian Krummel, 26) Joey Scarborough, 27) Nick Lussier, 28) Chris Stevens, 29) Dan Santabarbara, 30) JaMike Sowle.
DNQ – Rob Lanfear, Ken Conroy, Steve Abt, Jim Kraus, Mike Block, Bob Schmidt, Doug Flynn, Justin Smith, Pete Jeske, Jack Gentile, Tyler Johnson, Greg McCloskey, Mike Ostrander, Jack Swinton, Mike Coffey Jr., Matt Atwood, Skip Shippee, Scott Bennett Jr., Diana Huyck, Ricky Quick, Nick Hotailing, Kurtis Hohensheldt, Robert Bublak Jr., Justin Comes, Danny Cronk, Adam Gage, John Proctor, Pat Jones, Rich Ricci III, Jim Morgan, Joe Orlando, Ryan Stortini, Bruce Schwab, John Stowell, Shannon Donnelly.
H&R Motorsports/Ryder Lawn Care Northeast Crate Nationals Time Trial Results: 1-Brian Krummel (16.598), 2-Chris Stevens (16.612), 3-Rocky Warner (16.642), 4-Allison Ricci (16.443), 5-Jon Miller (16.651), 6-Chad Edwards (16.653), 7-Connor Cleveland (16.680), 8-Dave Constantino (16.690), 9-Derrick McGrew (16.721), 10-Hunter Bates (16.727), 11-Jason Gray (16.736), 12-Scott Duell (16.743), 13-Nick Lussier (16.745), 14-Mike Tholin (16.765), 15-David Schilling (16.778), 16-Joey Scarborough (16.780), 17-Brian Pessolano (16.795), 18-Nick Anatriello (16.813), 19-Ken Conroy (16.833), 20-Michael Sabia (16.849), 21-Josh Sunn (16.852), 22-Tim Hartman Jr. (16.870), 23-Nick Hotailing (16.873), 24-Cody Bleau (16.876), 25-Rob Lanfear (16.892), 26-Ricky Quick (16.900), 27-Danny Cronk (16.919), 28-Chris Schaffer (16.926), 29-Dan Santabarbara (16.929), 30-Pat Jones (16.943), 31-Jack Gentile (16.947), 32-Jack Swinton (16.960), 33-Justin Comes (16.985), 34-Adam Pierson (16.988), 35-Jeremy Pitts (17.000), 36-Andrew Buff (17.008), 37-Steve Abt (17.012), 38-Tyler Johnson (17.048), 39-John Proctor (17.061), 40-JaMike Sowle (17.062), 41-Scott Bennett Jr. (17.076), 42-Adam Gage (17.084), 43-Kevin Chaffee (17.089), 44-Diana Huyck (17.100), 45-Jim Morgan (17.116), 46-Doug Flynn (17.119), 47-Mike Ostrander (17.122), 48-Joe Orlando (17.178), 49-Justin Smith (17.228), 50-Matt Hitchcock (17.231), 51-Robert Bulak Jr. (17.238), 52-Pete Jeske (17.241), 53-Greg McCloskey (17.284), 54-Josh Stowell (17.292), 55-Shannon Donnelly (17.308), 56-Mike Coffey Jr. (17.353), 57-Rick Ricci III (17.371), 58-Bob Schmidt (17.390), 59-Skip Shippee (17.399), 60-Bruce Schwab (17.536), 61-Mike Block (17.642), 62-Matt Atwood (17.687), 63-Ryan Stortini (17.882), 64-Jim Kraus (18.304), 65-Kurtis Hohensheldt (DNT).
Next Generation Roofing Qualifying Main #1 Results (15 Laps) – HUNTER BATES, Connor Cleveland, Nick Lussier, Joey Scarborough, Adam Pierson, Tim Hartman Jr., JaMike Sowle, Chris Schaffer, Doug Flynn, Kevin Chaffee, Rob Lanfear, Shannon Donnelly, Justin Smith, Ken Conroy, Jim Kraus, Pete Jeske, Bob Schmidt, Mike Block, Steve Abt, Jack Gentile. (4Q/2R)
Next Generation Roofing Qualifying Main #2 Results (15 Laps) – JEREMY PITTS, Mike Tholin, Michael Sabia, Brian Pessolano, Jason Gray, Dan Santabarbara, Matt Hitchcock, Tyler Johnson, Dave Constantino, Matt Atwood, Mike Ostrander, Scott Bennet Jr., Skip Shippee, Diana Huyck, Jack Swinton, Mike Coffey Jr., Greg McCloskey, Nick Hotailing, Ricky Quick, Kurtis Hohensheldt-DNS. (4Q/2R)
Next Generation Roofing Qualifying Main #3 Results (15 Laps) – DERRICK MCGREW, Scott Duell, Nick Anatriello, Josh Sunn, Cody Bleau, David Schilling, Justin Comes, Andrew Buff, Danny Cronk, Robert Bublak Jr., Adam Gage, John Proctor, Pat Jones, Jim Morgan, Joe Orlando, Ryan Stortini, Bruce Schwab, Rich Ricci III, John Stowell-DNS. (4Q/2R)
1-800-GOT-JUNK? Last Chance Qualifier #1 Results (10 Laps) – JAMIKE SOWLE, Adam Pierson, Tim Hartman Jr., Chris Schaffer, Kevin Chaffee, Rob Lanfear, Ken Conroy, Steve Abt, Jim Kraus, Mike Block, Bob Schmidt, Doug Flynn, Justin Smith, Pete Jeske, Jack Gentile.
1-800-GOT-JUNK? Chance Qualifier #2 Results (10 Laps) – JASON GRAY, Dan Stantabarbara, Matt Hitchcock, Tyler Johnson, Dave Constantino, Greg McCloskey, Mike Ostrander, Jack Swinton, Mike Coffey Jr., Matt Atwood, Skip Shippee, Scott Bennett Jr., Diana Huyck, Ricky Quick, Nick Hotailing, Kurtis Hohensheldt-DNS.
1-800-GOT-JUNK? Last Chance Qualifier #3 Results (10 Laps) – DAVID SCHILLING, Cody Bleau, Andrew Buff, Robert Bublak Jr., Justin Comes, Danny Cronk, Adam Gage, John Proctor, Pat Jones, Rich Ricci III, Jim Morgan, Joe Orlando, Ryan Stortini, Bruce Schwab, John Stowell.
Contingency & Bonus Awards:
Hoosier Tire Certificate – Allison Ricci
Hoosier Tire Certificate – Cody Bleau
Elmo’s Speed & Supply Certificate – Rocky Warner
DKM Fabrication Certificate – Jeremy Pitts
Boyd’s Motorworks Certificate – Connor Cleveland
Race Pro Weekly Rookie Of The Race – Scott Duell
Lap Sponsorship Program Bonuses – Tim Hartman Jr., Scott Duell, Chad Edwards, Connor Cleveland, Matt Hitchcock, Jon Miller.
Horn Lady Motorsports Hard Charger – Tim Hartman Jr. (25th to 3rd)
HICO Fabrication Bumpers & Nurfbars – Nick Lussier
Fox Shocks $250 (Fastline Performance) – Scott Duell
OCFS Smokers Choice Eastern States Tickets – Jon Miller
Dirt Track Digest Lap Leaders – Scott Duell (1-16), Mike Tholin (17-32), Brian Krummel (33-53), Rocky Warner (54-100).
KING OF DIRT AND NORTHEAST CRATE NATIONALS is brought to you in part by sponsors and partners that include: Albany Saratoga Speedway, Fonda Speedway, Lebanon Valley Speedway, Basement Systems, Todd Lutinski’s Dry Zone Basement Systems, Kevin Koval’s Adirondack Basement Systems, Dodson Construction, Hoosier Racing Tire, Elmo’s Speed & Supply, DKM Fabrication, Fox Racing Shocks, Fastline Performance, Beyea Custom Headers& Exhausts, Bicknell Racing Products, Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar &Grill, DeLorenzo Speed Supply, Boyd’s Motorworks, Sign Action Productions, DH Graphix, Bill McGaffin Photography, Grennon Project Services, Lazzaro’s Auto Body, Saratoga Masonry, Horn Lady Motorsports, ASI Racewear, Jtees Screen Printing, Bloomfield’s Florist, Duell Family Racing, Dean’s Electrical Services, 1-800-GOT-JUNK, H&R Motorsports, Ryder’s Lawn Care, Next Generation Roofing, Smokers Choice, Speed’s Garage, Stone Motorsports & Auto Sales, Race Pro Weekly, Doug’s Dirt Diary, Final Reward Trophy, Dirt Track Digest, Sorrenti’s Pizzeria, and Mayhem Motorsports.