RUTHERFORD ROLLS TO COCA-COLA 100 WIN
By Dave Buchanan
Labor Day weekend means party time at Wyoming County International Speedway as the track held its yearly “Labor Day Party Weekend” headlined by the third annual Coca-Cola 100 for the SST Modified Series.
Kirk Rutherford stole the show in the main event as he led 82 of 100 laps to capture the Coca-Cola 100 title. Rutherford started eighth in 21-car field as he fended off a strong challenge from Erick Rudolph to secure the win
Rudolph, the defending race winner, had the luck of the draw as he started on the pole in the DeLange Racing/Original Pizza Logs #12. Rick Kluth shared the front row with Rudolph when the inaugural green flag waved.
Four caution periods during first 11 laps kept the race from getting up to speed as Rudolph held the top spot through the yellows. By this time Rutherford had worked his way up from his eighth starting spot to the runner-up position.
When the race resumed Rudolph and Rutherford raced wheel-to-wheel for several laps before Rutherford assumed the lead for good on lap 18. The pair proved to be the class of the field as they pulled away from the pack during long green flag runs, but Rutherford was never able to get more than a few car lengths ahead of Rudolph.
Several front running cars ran into with problems during the first half of the race, which forced them to retire or spend an extended amount of time in the pits. Wayne Lent was fifth on lap 21 when he ran into another car as the yellow flag came out. He suffered major damage to his right front wheel and lost a few laps while making repairs. Daryl Lewis Jr. blew an engine on lap 36 while running inside the top 10. WCIS points leader Jim Pierce retired on lap 44 with overheating problems. Phil Johnson dropped out with mechanical problems around halfway while he was running in the top five.
Rutherford and Rudolph continued to be the dominant duo as the race passed the three-quarter mark. On lap 78, Kevin Lewis slapped the front stretch wall, which forced the cars behind him to get on the brakes. Steve Fuchs apparently failed to slow up enough as he tagged Bill Mislin in turn one, which caused Mislin to spin and bring out the yellow flag again. Mislin and Fuchs were later black flagged for extra-curricular activities during the caution period that ended with Mislin using an extremely vulgar display of aggression.
Six cars remained on the lead lap when the race restarted with just 22 laps to go. Kirk Rutherford continued to stay far enough ahead of Erick Rudolph as he crossed the finish line first to win the Coca-Cola 100. It was his third win of the season at the Perry Bullring.
Neil Hopkins was able to run with the top two during the final stretch of green flag laps but had to settle for third. T.J Potrzebowski finished fourth. Kevin Lewis recovered from his brush with the wall to finish fifth. Jim Love was the hard charger of the race as he finished sixth as the last car on the lead lap after starting 17th.
For the second time this season in the Super Stocks, Kevin Herbert was able to grab two wins in the same day. Herbert won both the rain-delayed feature from August 24th and the regularly scheduled 25-lap race. The pair of victories increased his season total to seven as he has just about locked up the track championship.
The 4-Cylinder Wasps also had double features as they also made up their rained out race from the previous week. Birthday girl Margaret McDonald won the first race by less than a car-length over Kevin Grom. Otis Bradshaw, Chris Jones, and Bill Verwys rounded out the top five in the first race.
In the second feature Otis Bradshaw prevented McDonald from getting the sweep as he picked up his first career win. McDonald was forced to settle for second, as Bradshaw became the fourth different first time winner in the Wasps this season. Robert Dennie, Kevin Grom, and Kevin Miller posted top five finishes as well.
Kevin Grom tightened up the point standings in the division as he finished ahead of points leader Bill Verwys in both races. Grom gained significant ground in the second feature as Verwys had mechanical problems and finished 15th.
Dave Wollaber cruised to the win in the 20-lap feature for the Casey’s Midget Series. It was Wollaber’s fourth Casey’s Series win of the season. Wayne Turnbull was second. Charlie DiRosa, Mike Blair, and Justin Mapes rounded out the top five.
Next week, September 9, the Sunday afternoon racing continues at WCIS. The SST Modifieds and Mini Cup will run doubles features plus the Super Stocks and 4-cylinder Wasps will be in action. Racing starts at 2:30 PM.
The regular season concludes on September 16 with the double-points championship features, plus Junkyard Soccer and the NORA Limited Supermodifieds.
SST MODIFIED SERIES
Heat Winners – Erick Rudolph, Neil Hopkins, Kirk Rutherford
COCA-COLA 100 Finish – KIRK RUTHERFORD, Erick Rudolph, Neil Hopkins, T.J. Potrzebowski, Kevin Lewis, Jim Love, Butch Crawford, Randy Jazembak, Jeff Ruddy, Mike Bliss, Wayne Lent, Bill Mislin, Steve Fuchs, Tom Wiest, Phil Johnson, Jacob Logsdon, Jim Pierce, Dick Kluth, Daryl Lewis Jr., Jake Sapio, Rick Kluth DNS: Joe Evans
Heat Winners – Brian Gleason, Kevin Herbert
Feature (9/2) – KEVIN HERBERT, Mike Nichols, Marty Hughes, Kyle Sharpe, Dan Scott, Chris Ford, Chris Kline, Jacob Logsdon, Jim Frandsen, Tony Pangrazio, Bob Herman, Brian Gleason, Todd Stone DNS: Steve Vinyard
Feature (delayed from 8/24) – KEVIN HERBERT, Todd Stone, Kyle Sharpe, Brian Gleason, Dan Scott, Tony Pangrazio, Jacob Logsdon, Chris Kline, Steve Vinyard
4 - CYLINDER WASPS
Heat Winners – Margaret McDonald, Eric Hastrieter
Feature (9/2) – OTIS BRADSHAW, Margaret McDonald, Robert Dennie, Kevin Grom, Kevin Miller, Jason Adams, Eric Hastrieter, Wayne Semmel, Brian Lockwood, Chris Jones, Andy Howe, Paul McCarthy, Matt Ford, Cheryl Packman, Bill Verwys, Mike Shaugnessey, Mike Bradshaw, T.J. Drennen
Feature (delayed from 8/24) – MARGARET MCDONALD, Kevin Grom, Otis Bradshaw, Chris Jones, Bill Verwys, Mike Bradshaw, Robert Dennie, Brian Lockwood, Cheryl Packman, Paul McCarthy, Wayne Semmel, Kevin Miller
CASEY’S MIDGET SERIES
Heat Winners – Wayne Turnbull, Dave Wollaber
Feature – DAVE WOLLABER, Wayne Turnbull, Charlie DiRosa, Mike Blair, Justin Mapes, Vinny Christiano Jr., Cam Barber, Dean McConnaughey, Dan Dressel, Chad Haywood, Jim Fleischman, Mark Schulz