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Friday, September 3 - It was the beginning of the Labor Day holiday weekend and earlier in the week we thought Bruce was going to have to work so there were no big travel plans made. It was not until Thursday that we knew we had the entire weekend free. Still we decided to stay close to home and even though after last year we said we would not return to see the triple 20s at William Grove, we found ourselves driving west on Interstate 78 to Williams Grove Speedway.
We arrived earlier then usual, at 7:15, as we got out of work early because of the holiday. Tonight’s format for the Jack Gunn Memorial was different then usual. First they ran time trials, something I do not care for. First out was Stevie Smith and his time stood as fast time throughout the time trials. The top 12 in time trials automatically made it into the main events with the remaining sprints running in two qualifying events. The qualifying events had seven and six cars repsectively with five to qualify from each. This did not make for real exciting races and by 8:45 the line-up was set for the first 20 lap feature.
The top eight times were inverted for the start and the 20 laps saw three cautions and took approximately 15 minutes to run. Racing was not bad with the fifth place starter Daryn Pittman taking the checkered in first. Second was fast timer, Stevie Smith, followed by Mark Smith, Danny Dietrich and Tyler Walker. My problem with this show is the down time between events. A normal show at the Grove consisting of the 410 and 358 sprints is always moving with a very short intermission if any. And even though this show had exhibitions by the vintage cars it is not the same as watching an action packed race. It was 1/2 hour from the qualifing events to the first feature and now another 1/2 hour before the second 20 lap event started. Granted they did have fireworks during this time but I was not there to watch fireworks.
Feature number two had only one caution and Tyler Walker took top honors in this event with Aaron Ott taking second followed by Steve Buckwalter, with a fine run. Chad Layton and Mark Smith rounded out the top five. Another 1/2 hour passed and the third 20 lap event took the green at 10:50. It paid $5,000 to win and the groove was high around the top. That is how it started out anyway. Then Don Kreitz Jr. took to the low side and simply drove by them all. It was not long and almost everyone was on the low side. Kreitz, who won the inaugural Jack Gunn Memorial back in 1999 won the event and the $5,000 prize. Steve Buckwalter finished second, Mark Smith was third with Stevie Smith and Danny Dietrich following. All racing was complete by 11:00.
The racing was not stellar and this one would go into the books as our worst night of witnessing racing at Williams Grove. Well, I guess you can’t have a great show every time.
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