PIERCE, HERBERT, GROM CLINCH 2007 TRACK TITLES
By Dave Buchanan
Wyoming County International Speedway closed out the regular season portion of the 2007 campaign with the annual double-point Season Championships as the track titles in all three regular divisions were handed out. While one championship was already sewn up, the other two came down to the wire with every single point counting in the end.
In the SST Modifieds, Jim Pierce began the day with a 48-point lead over Kevin Lewis for the track title. Pierce expanded that lead after winning his heat race and he started on the pole for the 35-lap feature.
The Pierce championship freight train looked like it was going to roll on to the feature win, but trouble struck with just five laps to go. After leading the first 30 laps virtually uncontested, the motor in Pierce’s car expired with a cloud of smoke. Pierce was forced to watch the final five laps from the infield knowing he was going to finish 13th and that he gave Kevin Lewis an opportunity to steal the championship.
Lewis needed to win the race to pull off what would have been one of the biggest upsets in track history. He moved up to third after Pierce dropped out and had to pass Wayne Lent and Bob Reis to get the win. He was unable to improve his position, however, as Lent drove on to his first win of the year the Perry Bullring. Lewis had to settle for third and finished came up 11 points short of catching Pierce.
The championship is the first ever of Pierce’s career, as he becomes the fourth different SST champion in the last four years at WCIS.
Bob Reis finished second in the feature as he made his debut in the Withey Racing #29. Reis is a former Modified and TQ Midget driver and drove Supermodifieds at Oswego this season. Joe Evans finished fourth for his career best finish. Kirk Rutherford rounded out the top five.
Kevin Herbert had the Super Stock title wrapped up going into the final race, as had a dominant season with seven feature wins. Todd Stone won the final points race after taking the lead for on lap 11. It was Stone’s fourth win of the year. Brian Gleason finished second for his best run of the season.
Herbert celebrated not only the track championship, but his 30th birthday as well. It was the second-straight title for his car owner Bob Herman. Last year Herman won the title driving his own Wyco Sanitation #1.
The 4-Cylinder Wasp championship had been a season-long battle between friendly rivals Kevin Grom and Bill Verwys. Grom was the leader at the start of the day by 28 points. He expanded that lead during the heats after finishing third despite cutting down a tire. Luckily he was able to get it changed under the yellow flag with help from Verwys in a remarkable display of sportsmanship.
Both contenders started on the front row for the 25-lap feature. Grom quickly established himself as the leader and dominated the race. He led all 25 laps to win his fourth race of the year. Verwys had to deal with an ill-handling racecar and finished fifth as he conceded the championship to Grom.
Margaret McDonald finished second to finish her rookie year on a high note. Kevin Miller finished third in the race and in the final points. Otis Bradshaw was fourth.
Robbie Micoli and Jesse Hartloff split twin features in the Mini Cups. Team Skunkworks, led by newly crowned Wasp champ Kevin Grom, won the Junkyard Soccer tournament. They beat the Wyoming County Bulls in the championship game 1-0.
WCIS race fans and teams helped to raise over $250 for the Wyoming County SPCA. WCIS collected money and supplies for the shelter, which is in danger of closing. The staff and management of WCIS wanted to extend a thank you to all who contributed. The most generous donation came from the Herbert family as they donated several bags of dog and cat food and kitty litter.
There are two more shows left on the 2007 WCIS schedule. Next Sunday, September 23, is the Scale Nationals featuring racecars of the smaller variety. The Wasps, Casey’s Midget Series, Mini Cups, Legends, and go-karts are among the divisions that will be in action.
The season wraps up on Saturday, October 6 with the Coca-Cola Fall Shootout. The headline event that day is the Butch Drennen Memorial 75 for the SST Modified Series. That is the final SST Series race of the year. The Super Stocks will be running in the Dave London Memorial 50. The Street Stocks and Wasps are also on the race card that day. Racing starts at 2:30 PM for both events.
Heat Winners – Joe Evans, Jim Pierce
Feature – WAYNE LENT, Bob Reis, Kevin Lewis, Joe Evans, Kirk Rutherford, Dick Kluth, Craig Dolphin, Ed Weber, Jim Love, Greg Utberg, Tom Weist, Scott Combs, Jim Pierce, Jacob Logsdon, Jake Sapio, Toad Bradshaw, Mike Bliss
Heat Winners – Brian Gleason, Bobby Lippa Jr.
Feature – TODD STONE, Brian Gleason, Kevin Herbert, Bobby Lippa Jr., Marty Hughes, Ken Barber, Dan Scott, Bob Herman, Jacob Logsdon, Tony Pangrazio, Chris Ford
4- CYLINDER WASPS
Heat Winners – Chris Jones, Margaret McDonald
Feature – KEVIN GROM, Margaret McDonald, Kevin Miller, Otis Bradshaw, Bill Verwys, Chris Jones, Mike Bradshaw, Cheryl Packman, Matt Ford, Robert Dennie, Sam Mazzarella, T.J. Drennen, Wayne Semmel, Dan Seibert, Paul McCarthy, Jason Adams