By ERIKA PALMAI WAGNER
Burlington, NJ native Ryan Stillwaggon added his name to the prestigious list of Thunder On The Hill Racing Series feature winners this past Saturday night at Grandview Speedway after winning the twenty-five lap $500 to win Mid-Atlantic Sprint Series event. Stillwaggon, who started alongside runner up Tim Tanner Jr. on the front row, led every lap and survived multiple cautions as well as heavy lapped traffic on his journey to victory lane. 2017 MASS champion Eddie Wagner, Austin Bishop and Dave Brown rounded out the top five.
“I just want to thank Ray Dunckley from Speed Equipment Corp. for all of his support and help. Ray plays a major role in my racing program, and without him, a lot of this wouldn’t be possible,” Stillwaggon mentioned. “I also have to thank my brother Robbie for all his help, as well as Mike Stoer and Jeff Moules for their help tonight. We have a great team with a lot of knowledge, and that is always a great recipe for winning”.
With Stillwaggon taking command of the field as soon as the green flag dropped, a heated battle for the top five ensued between Tanner, Bishop, Wagner and Tom Carberry. An early caution was displayed on lap three for rookie Chad Connor who spun and came to a stop.
“The track was pretty racy, tight and the curb was tricky, but I’m not going to complain because its been awhile since I’ve seen a track with a cushion like that. Grandview did an awesome job with getting and keeping the track in shape all night, they never gave up!” Ryan said.
When the race resumed, the Quality Auto Body number 89 raced to the front and held over a straight away lead over Tanner and Bishop as the laps began to count down. Stefanie Palmai Carberry appeared to be making moves, as she battled with her brother in law Eddie Wagner for fourth, each swapping positions until eventually Wagner won the battle, setting his sights on third place.
Stillwaggon, who continued to strengthen his lead, began his encounter with heavy lapped traffic, later explaining how he was nervous not because he didn’t trust the course of the slower cars ahead, but because the track began to get tighter exiting the corners, and he was just hoping to get around everyone without losing concentration on the lead.
With two more cautions plaguing the end of the race, one for Brendon Poff flipping in turn two after contact with a yuke tire, and the other for Bryant Davis who spun with four laps to go, Stillwaggon had just one thing to conquer and then was holding on to that top spot.
“Before that last caution, few laps before, I jumped the cushion while maneuvering around lapped traffic, and we ended up bending the front pan hard bar, and wrecking the radiator tray, which resulted in cracking the actual radiator,” Ryan explained. “I lost a lot of water and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the temperature gauge, which never went down because the amount of water that was lost, so I was nervous. I just had to make sure I hit all of my marks, and using the cushion to my advantage, we were able to just cruise around the top. I lost a race here a few years ago because I switched my lanes and went to the bottom, so having that in the back of my mind, I made sure not to make that mistake again”.
This was Stillwaggon’s second win of the season, and his first at Grandview Speedway Inc.. Twenty-two cars signed into the nights activities for the Freiberger Excavating sponsored night, with three heat races going to Austin Bishop, Eddie Wagner and David Bonner. Along with the heat race winners receiving $50 cash from series sponsors Competition Suspension Inc., Freiberger Excavating and Professional Design Services, Kelly Racing Fuels awarded each victor with five gallons of free fuel.
The heat races saw plenty of action, with multiple cars exiting the track on stretchers, especially in heat number two when Samantha Lieberman, Joe Kay and Jon Haegele all were involved in an accident, where Lieberman ended up needing additional medical attention at the hospital. She was released the following day with a concussion and a bruised abdomen.
Dave Brown collected the $25 Bruce’s Auto Body award for advancing six positions (11th to 5th) and the Thayer Performance Burning Rubber challenge award which is a brand-new Hoosier Tire Midwest, Inc. Racing Tire RaceSaver Sprint Series spec right rear tire. Jon Haegele took home $25 for the worst pill draw, courtesy of Professional Design Services. Austin Bishop grabbed the $25 Bitner Automotive “Lightning Fast Time of the Night” award for turning a 12.796 second lap time during his heat race. Other contingencies handed out on Saturday was a $25 gift certificate to Tim Smolenyak courtesy of Todd’s Performance, and a $25 Diversified Machine, Inc. / DMI / BullDog Rears gift certificate to Scott Lutz for being the recipient of the Hard Luck award.
The Mid-Atlantic Sprint Series returns for the final time this season on Saturday, October 28th at Georgetown Speedway on day two of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Weekend. The Sprints will be completing a full night’s program for a higher purse, with a special giveaway courtesy of race sponsor ERK Steering. For more information on MASS and future events, visit www.masprintseries.com and be sure to follow us on Facebook at Mid-Atlantic Sprint Series.
Feature (25 Laps) – 1. Ryan Stillwaggon 2. Tim Tanner 3. Eddie Wagner 4. Austin Bishop 5. Dave Brown 6. Stefanie Carberry 7. Tom Carberry, Sr. 8. Tommy Carberry, Jr. 9. Scott Frack 10. Jon Haegele 11. Jeff Geiges 12. Zack Burd 13. Dave Bonner 14. Tim Smolenyak 15. Dan Leper 16. Bryant Davis 17. Brandon Poff 18. Chad Connor