Danny Stratton achieved a lot of “firsts’ with his win on Friday night in the season opener for the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) at Linda’s Speedway. The Batz family hosted what was the ARDC season opener as well as the inaugural event of ARDC’s short track series and Stratton made sure that his name would be part of those milestones when he captured the win in the twenty-five lap main event.
While Stratton captured the glory it was Bruce Buckwalter Jr. who captivated the attention up until lap twelve of the feature event.
Buckwalter set fast time during opening night time trials. After starting fourth in the second qualifying heat, Buckwalter took the lead at the half way mark and posted the win in heat race. His qualifying efforts coupled with his fast time put him on the pole for the feature event.
Buckwalter looked like the man to beat as he powered his BDB Construction/Fastener Specialties #83 out in front at the start. Stratton raced Tony DiMattia for second as PJ Gargiulo moved up to third with 2013 ARDC Champion, Trevor Kobylarz in hot pursuit.
As Stratton closed the gap on Buckwalter, Gargiulo and Kobylarz waged a heated battle for third. Kobylarz slid by Gargiulo to take the spot on lap six but Gargiulo came right back to regain the position. Kobylarz would make his pass stick on lap nine as Buckwalter led Stratton, Kobylarz, Gargiulo and Shawn Jackson with ten complete.
It was a perfect night for Buckwalter until the field came down the homestretch to complete lap eleven. Buckwalter slowed with a puff of smoke. As Stratton took the lead, Buckwalter exited through the turn two gate.
Stratton set the pace as Kobylarz set his sights on the leader. A three way battle was being waged for third with Gargiulo, 2014 ARDC Champion, Steven Drevicki and Shawn Jackson all racing for the same real estate.
After twenty laps of non-stop racing, Jackson clipped the wall on the homestretch and got upside down going into turn one. The driver was uninjured and was pushed back to the pits while the field realigned for a five lap shootout.
Kobylarz threw everything he had at Stratton in the final laps, sliding under the leader several times but Stratton was always able to drive off the top to maintain his advantage.
Stratton took the win over Kobylarz, Gargiulo, Drevicki and Brett Arndt at the checkered.
Heat races were won by Kobylarz and Buckwalter.
FEATURE FINISH (25 LAPS)
- Danny Stratton 2. Trevor Kobylarz 3. PJ Gargiulo 4. Steven Drevikci 5. Brett Arndt 6. Eric Heydenreich 7. Tyler Brehm 8. Shawn Jackson 9. Tony DiMattia 10. Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. 11. Brett Wanner 12. Jared Esh 13. Jim Radney DNS – Ryan Greth, Brenden Bright and Tommy Kunsman