Buckwalter Is Best In SpeedSTRs at Middleford
Luke Thomas Wins 600cc Feature; Scott Neary Is Slingshot Victor
By Barry Angstadt
Seaford, DE (March 20) - It was not a good night to be the race leader in the SpeedSTR main event on Saturday at Middleford Speedway in Seaford, Delaware. Unless your name was Steve Buckwalter.
The Royersford, PA Rocket started sixth in the 30-lapper for the Speedway Entertainment All Pro SpeedSTRs powered by VP Racing Fuels. In the early going, Buckwalter watched as Louden Reimert, Briggs Danner, and TJ Mayberry took turns at the head of the field, only to fall victim to mechanical gremlins or, in Danner’s case, being passed by the eventual winner.
Reimert shot to the lead at the outset but slowed in turns three and four before one lap could be completed. That put Danner on the pole, but TJ Mayberry, searching for his first career SpeedSTR triumph, blasted by him on the restart and proceeded to set the pace for the first half of the race.
Buckwalter slowly worked his way forward from the outside of row three. Steve was just about the only driver to test a higher line around the quarter-mile, and he made it work. After he snared second from Danner, the chauffeur of Bob Swavely’s No. 56–named Gloria by the car owner—made a couple attempts to power around the high side of Mayberry’s No. 7R. At the halfway mark, Buckwalter ran high in three and four to build momentum, then shot low and under Mayberry to grab the top spot. Seconds later, Mayberry suddenly slowed and fell out of the race.
It was all Buckwalter from that point on, as the 2020 point champion at Action Track USA steered his mount to a 0.75-second victory over Danner.
“I haven’t been here since I was running micro sprints and this place was called Seaford,” said Buckwalter in victory lane. “It’s easy to see they’ve done a ton of work and it’s a nice facility; I like the track.”
“Bob (Swavely), Dave, and the rest of the crew spend a lot of time going over the car and really give me a good piece. I can’t thank them enough and we’re gonna try and win a bunch of these races this year. We’ve learned a lot over the past few years and we’re ready to win a lot.”
Danner, Jason Musser, Tom Mayberry, and Jeff Kot completed the top five. It was Kot’s first race on dirt after several years of racing TQ Midgets on asphalt.
Wyoming, Delaware’s Luke Thomas pounced when Nick Sapp tapped the inside berm in turn one. The tap shoved the front end of Sapp’s car to the right, breaking his momentum, and that is all Thomas needed to shoot past on the outside in the early stages of the 600cc micro sprint feature. Thomas went on to win by more than three seconds as Sapp, Wayne Scott, PJ Williams, Richie Hartman, Robert Pierce, and Daniel Dickerson wrestled for positions two through seven. At the finish, it was Thomas winning handily over Sapp, with Scott, Tyler Lindsay, and Williams making up the top five.
The All Star and Junior Slingshots began their 2021 Keystone Cup Tour at Middleford.
The All Star Slingshot feature was a good one, with Kyle Herve looking like a sure winner until defending World Champion Scott Neary made a bonsai run into turn three on the final circuit. Herve cut under Neary in four, but caught a ripple in the track and got out of shape, allowing Neary to beat him to the finish line by one-tenth of a second.
Dylan Hoch came from the back of the pack to finish third, just barely holding off an impressive James Hendricks. Tyler Ulsh finished fifth.
Brayden Morrison won a Junior Slingshot feature in Florida in February, and he followed it up with another triumph on Saturday at Middleford. Morrison led all the way as he swept both his heat race and the 15-lap main for the Junior Slingers.
Chase Zimmer wound up second, ahead of Chase Schott, CJ Kimm, and Hayden Kimm.
Jimmy Wills survived a few challenges from Tim White to win the 20-lap Mod Lite feature. Try as he might, White just could not keep pace with the high flying Wills, who led every lap. At the finish, it was Wills over White, with Josh Clark, Donnie Spicer, and Jacob King making up the first five.
An entertaining Super Truck main provided the nightcap on a chilly night of competition. Jerry Hill backed up his win at Georgetown one week earlier by passing Robert Smith with a power move on the outside at the halfway point of the 20-lapper. Smith would not let Hill get away, but he had to drive defensively, too, as Ryan Efford and Ronnie Halloway lurked close behind. Positions two through four changed throughout the second half of the race, but Hill proved too tough to beat as he held on the lead. At the checkered, it was Hill over Smith, with Efford fending off the challenges of Halloway for third. Dick Bochamp rounded out the top five.
Speedway Entertainment All Pro SpeedSTRs Powered by VP Racing Fuels, 30 lap Feature: 1.Steve Buckwalter, 2.Briggs Danner, 3.Jason Musser, 4.Tom Mayberry, 5.Jeff Kot, 6.Daniel Hudson, 7.TJ Mayberry, 8.Tyler Brehm, 9.Justin Thompson, 10.Tim Iulg, 11.Nick Pecko, 12.Louden Reimert. DNS: Phil Meisner, Dustin Morris.
600cc Micro Sprints, 25 laps: 1.Luke Thomas, 2.Nick Sapp, 3.Wayne Scott, 4.Tyler Lindsay, 5.PJ Williams, 6.Kris Thompson, 7.Bobby Watkins, 8.Fred Heinly, 9.Frank Holmes, 10.Rich Deck, 11.Daniel Dickerson, 12.Brian Hughes, 13.Kyle Herve, 14.Richie Hartman, 15.Robert Pierce. DNS: Jason Rush, AJ Chvostal.
Keystone Cup All Star Slingshots, 20 laps: 1.Scott Neary, 2.Kyle Herve, 3.Dylan Hoch, 4.James Hendricks, 5.Tyler Ulsh, 6.Brett Bieber, 7.Amanda Angstadt, 8.James Benz, 9.Jax Yohn, 10.Sam Neary, 11.Shelby McLaughlin, 12.Dave Carraghan, 13.William Mohring, 14.Steven McLaughlin, 15.Andrew Turpin, 16.Charlene Benz, 17.Thomas Nettleship, 18.Gavin Danner, 19.Aidan Donaldson, 20.John Heberling, 21. Tyler Hoch.
Keystone Cup Junior Slingshots, 15 laps: 1.Brayden Morrison, 2.Chase Zimmer, 3.Chase Schott, 4.CJ Kimm, 5.Hayden Kimm, 6.Austin Kroboth. DNS: Trevor Houghton.
Mod Lite Feature, 20 laps: 1.Jimmy Wills, 2.Tim White, 3.Josh Clark, 4.Donnie Spicer, 5.Jacob King, 6.TJ Williams, 7.Ronnie Halloway, 8.Brayden Benson, 9.Nick Nash, 10.Rick Wheatley.
Super Truck Feature, 20 laps: 1.Jerry Hill, 2.Robert Smith, 3.Ryan Efford, 4.Ronnie Halloway, 5.Dick Bochamp, 6.William McConnell, 7.Nathan Benson.