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Matt Pappa Victorious in Exciting Legendstock 2012 Event; Max Evans and Kenny Atkins Collect Wins

Monday August 6, 2012


With the chance to win a share of the $5,000 total purse and one of the three-foot tall guitar-shaped trophies, Legends drivers from around the Northeast and as far away as North Carolina and even Canada filled the pit area at Bethel Motor Speedway this past Saturday to take part in LegendStock 2012. The event, an INEX Asphalt Nationals qualifier, drew in some very impressive talent, making it a task to simply get into the field for the A-main.

The Legends started their day with European-style qualifying, and when all was said an done, Bethel’s defending Legends champion Matt Pappa – a Pro division driver – had put down the fastest lap of more than 40 cars in competition. Young Lions driver Kaz Grala, who made the trip from Massachusetts, had the second fastest time, and Semi Pro driver Ryan Mackintosh recorded the third fastest lap.

Heat races took to the track next, and provided some close, side by side racing action. Heat race winners were: Stephen Hershey (Pro), Grala, Pappa, Alessandro Vitelli (Pro), and Nick Ladyga (Young Lions).

Once the point totals were calculated, 11 cars took to the track for the C-main, with only the top two finishers transferring to the B-main. When the checkered flag waved, Zack Skolnick and Joey Ternullo were able to join the rear of the B-main.

The B-main included 12 drivers hungry for the six transfer spots to the A-main. Those spots went to Ladyga, Robert Silver, Matt Maring, current Bethel Pro/Masters points leader Joe Graf, Thomas Barton, and the LegendStock 2011 Masters winner Jim Sylvester.

Pappa started on the pole for the A-main, with LegendStock 2011 Bandolero race winner Grala to his outside. In the opening laps, the two put on a battle for the top spot, with Grala being scored as the leader for the first two laps. On lap three, however, Pappa took command of the race. At LegendStock 2011, Pappa took second to three-time event winner Daniel Hemric, but with other obligations keeping Hemric elsewhere, Pappa sent notice to the field that he wasn’t going to settle for second again.

The battle for the second spot early in the 50-lap event involved Grala, Vitelli, David Schilling, and even recent Big Money 100 winner Tyler Green. Vitelli, who has seven feature event wins at Bethel so far in 2012, came to second just before the caution flew on lap 12. The teenage driver from Connecticut was forced to the pits under the caution because his rear bumper was coming off. This handed second to Schilling, who has recorded eight feature wins at Bethel so far this year. When the green flag waved again, the fight for second heated up, with Schilling and Grala running in close quarters and swapping the spot several times. As the laps clicked off, Pappa began to distance himself from the field while the battle for second grew more intense with each passing lap. Schilling and Grala, both Young Lions, were competing for the same trophy, and both knew that only one could get it. With eight laps to go in the A-main, Mackintosh – who hails from Canada and recorded a Bandolero feature win at Bethel in 2009 – worked his way to the fourth spot, after having started tenth. Mackintosh quickly closed the gap between himself and the pair dueling for second, and put his own car into the mix. On the final lap, Mackintosh grabbed the third spot. Pappa was first to cross the line, followed by Schilling and Mackintosh. Following post-race tech, fourth went to Justin Bolton, and Jeremy Haudricourt rounded out the top five. Graf, who ended up seventh in the final rundown, was the Masters division winner.

The Bandolero race was also a national qualifier, and the nine- to 15-year-old drivers ran an action-packed, 15-lap feature. David French started on the pole, alongside 2009 Bethel Bandolero champion Joseph Graf Jr. French got out front at the drop of the green, but a three-way battle for the lead ensued between French, Graf Jr., and Rudy Roth IV, and French had to stay on his toes all three were in good position to take the win. Several times, Graf Jr. and Roth were side-by-side directly behind French, watching for the slightest opportunity to get by. With four laps remaining, Roth spun, and both he and Graf Jr. had to restart at the rear of the field. As a result, defending division champion Max Evans inherited second, and Christian Eckes moved up to third. They took the checkered flag in that order, but French was disqualified in post-race tech and the win went to Evans. Eckes was credited with second, and third went to 2010 division champion Mikey Policastro.

With more than half of the 2012 season already in the books, the competition in the Sam’s Towing Pro Stock division continues to be intense. Heading into this past Saturday’s event, only three drivers had multiple wins to their credit. Kenny Atkins, the 2010 Rookie of the Year in the class, bumped that total up to four when he captured his second win of the year. Atkins and Jim Helt made up the front row for the start of the race, and Atkins wasted no time putting his car out front. Larry O’Donnell – the 2011 Rookie of the Year – came to second just three laps in, but retired from the event just prior to the halfway point of the race. Over the second half of the event, Mark Sylvester and Ed Butler battled for the second spot, which resulted in contact on the final lap, and Butler was placed behind Sylvester in the final rundown. Atkins crossed the line ahead of Rick Smith and Charlie Howe Jr.

The scheduled Sportsman race will be held this coming Saturday, August 11th, before the start of the night’s regular events. The schedule for the night includes plenty of action, with a regularly-scheduled Sportsman race joining the Bandoleros, Pro Stocks, Street Stocks, BMS Modified, and 4 Cylinder classes. The ATQMRA Midgets will make their second and final appearance of the season, and the Legends will run an INEX national points race. With just $6 grandstand admission, there is something for everyone! Grandstand gates open at 1 pm for early pit registration, and pit gates open at 2:30 pm. Hot laps take to the track at 5 pm, and the one-of-a-kind excitement Bethel is known for goes green at 7 pm. More information – including a complete 2012 schedule – is available at www.bethelmotorspeedway.com, or by calling (845) 319-7908.

LEGENDSTOCK 2012 FEATURE FINISH (50 laps): 1. Matt Pappa (P), 2. David Schilling (YL), 3. Ryan Mackintosh (SP), 4. Justin Bolton (SP), 5. Jeremy Haudricourt (P), 6. Robert Silver (YL), 7. Joe Graf (M), 8. Dana DiMatteo (P), 9. Raven Schrantz (P), 10. Todd McCollum (P), 11. Dylan Izzo (P), 12. Cory DiMatteo (YL), 13. Alessandro Vitelli (P), 14. Stephen Hershey (P), 15. Thomas Barton (M), 16. Mike Alcaro (P), 17. Tom Sherman (M), 18. Nick Ladyga (YL), 19. Joey Padgett (YL), 20. Matt Evans (YL), 21. Jimmy Sylvester, 22. Matt Maring (SP). DQ – Kaz Grala (YL), Tyler Green (P). DNQ – Nicholas Sowa, Zack Skolnick, Joey Ternullo, Malcolm Campbell Jr., Casey Robicheau, Carl Vilardo, Brad Lowmaster, Bill Johnston, Jeffrey Lefcourt, Eugene Drew, Matt Gaughan, Joe Fresco, Fred Graf, Russell Sniffen, John Bacon, Jim Donelli.

BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Max Evans (B), 2. Christina Eckes (B), 3. Mikey Policastro (O), 4. Alex McCollum (B), 5. Rudy Roth IV (O), 6. Taylor Hurban (O), 7. Neil Rutt III (O), 8. Nick Morich (O), 9. Joseph Graf Jr. (O), 10. Christina Policastro (O), 11. Kaci Stackhouse (O), 12. Courtney Lefcourt (O), 13. Jared Palmer (O), 14. Joshua Zieres (O). DQ – David French (O).

PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Kenny Atkins, 2. Rick Smith, 3. Charlie Howe Jr., 4. Gene Morton, 5. Wayne Kmieczak, 6. Gene Palmer, 7. Joel Murns Jr., 8. Mark Sylvester, 9. Ed Butler, 10. Jim Helt, 11. Arthur McArthur, 12. Larry O’Donnell.

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This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Mike Neff.


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