September 14, 2003

Lape dominant at Run What Ya Brung

WEST HAVEN, VT. -  Race fans at Devil’s Bowl Speedway must have thought they stepped into a time machine and went back to the 1980s Sunday night.

Dave Lape and Jack Johnson, two members of the fifty-something generation who dominated Northeast dirt track racing in the 1980s, finished 1-2 in the 50-lap, Run What Ya Brung 358 modified that brought the 2003 season at the Bowl to a close.

Lape, driving the Andy’s Service Bicknell equipped with a wing he borrowed from sprint car driver Jim Senzio, took the lead on lap 21 and overpowered the field to win the top prize of $5,000 and take the first step to what could be a $20,000 bonus.

The Run What Ya Brung series will resume Friday night at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, and then moves to the high banks of Lebanon Valley on Saturday. The first driver who wins three of the races will receive a $20,000 bonus. The 56-year-old Lape already has a victory under his belt at Albany-Saratoga Speedway this year, as he recently won the 100-lap Big Block/Small Block challenge at the Malta track.

Once Lape got the lead, he was so dominant that he lapped all but three cars, and finished with a 10-second margin of victory over the 58-year-old Jack Johnson. The 10-second lead translated into more than a half-track.

Johnson had started on the pole, but had nothing to match the power of the Andy’s Service big block motor.

When Lape got out of his car in victory lane, he poured cold water over his feet, as a transmission problem had made the cockpit of his car uncomfortably hot during the final stages of the race. Bob Savoie, back behind the wheel of the Tim Groski-owned small block for the first time this season, finished third, while Mike Ronca was fourth, the last car on the lead lap. But Ronca picked up a $1,000 bonus for being the first CVRA small block across the finish line. Tim Laduc, who finished fifth, earned a $500 bonus.

Completing the top 10 were Kenny Brightbill, Jeff Trombley, Gene Munger, Don Ronca and Mike Ricci.

Frank Cozze, who had picked up $8,000 by winning the CVRA vs. The World show earlier in the season, and Mike Perrotte were quickest during time trials, but neither finished the feature. Cozze’s engine was smoking from the drop of the green flag, and he only lasted 10 laps. Perrotte dropped out with suspension problems on lap 17.

Ken Tremont Jr., who wrapped up the 2003 Albany-Saratoga Speedway track championship on Friday night, didn’t complete a lap of the 50-lapper on Sunday. He pulled back into the pits when the field went under caution on lap one because of front end problems, and was done for the night.

Chris Moore also had a short night, getting tangled up with Robert King between turns one and two on the first lap. Although King continued, Moore’s car suffered enough damage to end his night.

Fred Little picked up his second straight victory and third win overall in the 20-lap pro-street stock feature. Henry Tanner pulled right up on Little’s rear bumper in the closing laps of the feature, but had to settle for second, just 0.376 seconds behind the leader. Carl Vladyka was third, 2003 track champion Mike Haines finished fourth and Ed Thompson was fifth.

The top three cars were all running wings, while Haines opted to use sail panels on his car.
The cruisers were also on the final card of the season, with Jeremy Brownell getting the victory.

MODIFIEDS (50 laps): DAVE LAPE, Jack Johnson, Bob Savoie, Mike Ronca, Tim Laduc, Kenny Brightbill, Jeff Trombley, Gene Munger, Don Ronca, Mike Ricci, Robert King, Jeff Sheely, Stan Lemiesz, Ed Pieniazek Jr., Matt DeLorenzo, Rich Ronca, Lance Harting, Brian Whittemore, Mike Perrotte, Alton Palmer, Frank Cozze, Mike Romano, Ronnie Johnson, Chris Moore, Ken Tremont Jr.

PRO-STREET STOCKS: FRED LITTLE, Henry Tanner, Carl Vladyka, Mike Haines, Ed Thompson, Bob Schmidt, Randy Brownell, Joe Santoro, Rob Noviczski, Jeff Washburn, Robert Langevin, Jay Fitzgerald.

CRUISERS: JEREMY BROWNELL, Jason Bishop, Thomas Welch, Vince Greene, No. 127, John Sullivan, Brittany Ladd, Ron Zagata, Mike Pope, Harold Clothier, No. 87.