Harry Meeks Sr. Photo
BOUC LEGENDS OF THE FALL WNNER, TOTH CROWNED HIGH GEAR TOWING CHAMP
Shut out of victory lane during the 2022 NES regular season, former track champion, Danny Bouc, was up to the challenge Saturday night winning the 75 lap Legends of the Fall feature. The victory, his fifteenth at the Route 539 speedway, was no walk in the park though as the action up front was fierce from green to checkered flag.
By the luck of the draw, Jack Butler drew the number two starting position and quickly outran polesitter Matt Stangle for the lead with Bouc doing the same running in second. Jeff Strunk occupied the number four position with Ryan Krachun rounding out the top five.
The fast paced action slowed on lap twelve when Willie Osmun came to a stop in turn for. Unable to continue, The Osmun machine was pushed into the pit area. With the green flag flying once again, the running order remained the same up until lap fifteen when Stangle moved into second.
Trying to stay close to leader Butler was no easy task for Stangle and on lap seventeen, debris was spotted on the speedway bringing out the caution flag and erasing Butler’s small but comfortable lead. The restart saw one more lap recorded before back to back caution flags slowed the pace.
Butler was up to his fifth restart as leader of the race and handled it well as Stangle was now second with Strunk third. Trying to rebuild his lead, Butler saw his efforts short lived when Jim Housworth came to a rest in turn four on lap twenty three bringing out the fifth caution flag of the event,
A quick restart saw Stangle outrun Butler to become the new leader as Bouc and newly crowned champion Brandon Grosso were third and fourth. The top four remained steadfast up until lap thirty two when Butler resumed the number one position.
Kevin Vaclavicek slowed on the front stretch one lap shy of the halfway point in the event bringing out another yellow flag period. During the caution period, track officials felt that Stangle jumped on the previous restart and was now placed fourth. Determined to win now more than ever, Stangle had his sights set on the leader, but it was Butler now dealing with the likes of Grosso and Bouc as the laps began to dwindle.
With seven laps remaining in the race paying $7500 to win, Butler was on route to the biggest win of his career, but the yellow lights flashed on as Cale Ross slowed going into turn one. During the caution period, speedway officials felt Butler had started too early on the previous restart and moved him back one spot.
This moved Bouc into the lead with Butler second as the green flag waved once again. The pace was a furious one over the final seven laps, but Bouc was able to answer the challenges and take the big win. Butler’s strong run earned him second place money with Stangle, Grosso, and Strunk rounding out the top five. Krachun held on for sixth with 2021 champion Mike Gular seventh, Rick Laubach eighth, John McClelland ninth, and Wade Hendrickson tenth.
In the twenty five lap High Gear Towing Crate Select Series finale, it was Dan Fleming walking off with the check worth $1,000. While Fleming won the battle, it was Joe Toth who won the war, being crowned the first ever Series champion worth $2,000.
Ryan Simmons was fortunate enough to pick the pole starting pumpkin, and many of the faithful fans thought this one might be over from the drop of the green, but such was not the case. Even though the likeable campaigner lead the first fifteen laps, it was apparent the car was not handling to perfection as he began to have issues negotiating the turns.
Fleming, who started in second, made his move on lap sixteen to pass the Simmons #20, as Joe Toth followed hm into second three laps later. Trying his best to notch only the championship but the win, Toth gave it all he had, but came up short with Fleming the big winner.
Following Toth across the line and turning in his best performance of the year was Nick Stephen as Eric Palmer and Nick Van Wickle finished fourth and fifth respectively.
The fifteen lap four cylinder feature was won by Joe Garey Jr., his first of the year. Robby Dunn finished second with Ian Ashford third, Eric Degler fourth and Kyle Hurley fifth.
Plans are already in high gear for the 2023 season, and the staff and management would like to thank all that supported the speedway in our twenty fifth year.