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Friday, November 25 - Today was forecasted to be a nice day and sure enough it was. It was sunny and windy with temperatures in the 60’s. Pat opted out on this trip and my brother, Bob, signed on to take the ride to the Jersey shore. An early morning call from Mike Knappenberger added him to the caravan and we met Bob at the Clinton Park & Ride at 9:45. From there it was smooth sailing on Black Friday and we arrived in the parking area of Wall around 11. Qualifying was scheduled for noon with feature racing following approximately at 2 which we all knew was very optimistic. The Wall website advertised the Friday grandstand admission for adults at $22. When we all walked up to the ticket booth the price was listed at $25. When I asked why the discrepancy the question was met by silence from the ticket seller. It is never good to start out the day with a sour taste in your mouth from the start. Upon picking a seat I struck up a conversation with the gentleman in front of me and asked him about the ticket discrepancy. He was told that the $22 was advanced ticket sell price and $25 was walk up price. I showed him the page printed off from the website with no mention made of advance ticket purchase. He had been upset with the difference in pricing also. My whole viewpoint of this is that if they had charged $22 instead of the $25 the majority of the fans would have spent the difference on food anyhow so they would not have lost anything and instead would have created goodwill.
Enough of the pricing issue and onto the racing. Racing would have gotten underway at 12:05 but for the second week in a row in New Jersey the malfunctioning transponders raised it’s ugly head. All divisions that ran heats were stopped upon entering the racing surface and checked to see if their transponder was picked up by the computer in the scoring tower. This caused some added downtime between events. The legend cars (30 strong) ran three good heats with one car barrel rolling three times in turn three with no injuries. The sportsman followed with three heats for their 26 car field and then there were two sessions of time trials, one for the nine car late model field and one for the 27 car SK/Wall modified field. The factory stocks got their chance to heat race next with three of them for a good 36 car field and these guys ran surprisingly well. The disappointing combined field of DIRT modifieds and sportsman (12) spun off their set of time trials with all qualifying completed by 2:55.
The 35 lap legend car feature was first up and took the green at 3:21. It was a competitive race for most of the distance but the last ten laps was like hell in a hand basket. Mike Alcaro was scheduled to start second but was sent to the pit and then the rear after not having all the required safety equipment on board. He steadily worked his way back up front and waited for the carnage in his path to clear before finally grabbing the lead with a few laps to go. Ryan Flores, who seems to be one of the Wall Stadium darlings and can do no wrong was stuffed into the homestretch wall on a late restart while running second by first place Kevin Wood. Flores, a crew member of the Stewart/Haas Sprint Cup team, took a nasty ride down the homestretch flipping over and destroying the front end of his car. The initial call was for Wood to go to the back but that was rescinded. Wood dropped from the lead shortly after the restart and Alcaro took the lead and the win after starting 28th. This one took over an hour to run. The late models were scheduled for 75 laps but management made a good call to reduce the number of laps to 50 for the nine car field. The field may not have been plentiful but it was diverse. Drivers from Western Pennsylvania, New England and Long Island were present. And the racing was the best of the day with only one caution with the entire 50 laps taking just 13 minutes to run. Wayne Helliwell from New Hampshire who races with the American Canadian Tour (ACT) tried everything legally he could to try to pass Long Island’s Jarrod Hayes but could not muster the speed to slip around him. And it was good to see hard, clean racing with no contact between the two. Hayes, a three time winner at Riverhead in 2011 came home the victor over Helliwell with local Rob Ormsbee picking up the show position.
The 50 lap sportsman feature was one of contrast with the first 25 laps run with four cautions and the last 25 ran with nine cautions. It was a slam bang affair with 25th starter, Kevin Eyres, running smoothly and waiting for his opportunity to make his final move to the front. Eyres won over the brothers Alspach, Zach and Trevor. This was not a showcase race. The 40 lap DIRT modified/sportsman feature was next on the agenda and was spun off in 14 minutes with only one caution. Stewart Freisen started fifth and quickly found the way to the front passing Dominick Buffalino for the lead. Friesen won over New Egypt regular, John McClelland, and midget and super modified driver, Joey Payne, in a car none of us had ever seen before. It was now 6:10, the sun had set over a hour and a half ago and it was getting colder. We decided to call it a day and pass on the factory stock race though if it would have been earlier we probably would have stayed as their heat racing was good.
The overall racing was not that spectacular but you couldn’t complain about the nice weather the day after Thanksgiving. One of these years we will return for the Saturday show as the TQ midgets now run on Saturday and many I spoke to raved over their feature on Saturday.
Looking for a race in December to keep the consecutive month streak alive as our December 10th race at the Delta Plex was cancelled due to double booking of the facility. Until next time take care and get ready for the cold months of winter.
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