BUTLER BLASTS TO INITIAL NES WIN; MELLOR MAKES IT THREE IN A ROW
Calling the New Egypt Speedway home for the 2022 season, young Jack Butler proved it to be a good move as he won the thirty lap Vahlco Wheels modified main event. The son of Gary Butler, a ten time modified feature winner and two time Sportsman champion, Butler bounced back in a big way as the team encountered driveshaft issues the previous week ending there night earlier than expected. With the field lined up for the initial start, the green flag fell, but before the competitors would exit turn two the yellow lights were flashing for a six car incident in turn two. Involved in the mishap were Tim Apgar, Kevin Vaclavicek, Rick Laubach, Louden Reimert, Anthony Tramontana, and Marty Resnick. The only casualty was Tramontana as the remaining cars lined up for another attempt at starting the event. When it did Frank Venezia took control with D J Hunt and Justin Grosso in tow. Butler replaced the Grosso Homes #J24 in third on lap four and moved the Hillcrest Engineering #5 into second on lap seven. Wasting no time, Butler slid around the Venezia #27 on lap ten and began to pull away from his peers. The race for second was becoming a heated one as Bryan Kuhl threw his hat into the ring joining Venezia and Grosso. Kuhl finally won the battle for second on lap thirteen and began to set sights on leader Butler. Patiently working his way through a very competitive field, current point leader Brandon Grosso finally cracked the top five on lap eighteen but was having a challenging time trying to maneuver around the 2020 champion, Danny Bouc in fourth. The absence of a yellow flag definitely played into the hands of Butler as Kuhl was fighting off the challenges of Justin Grosso trying to record his best finish of the season. Disposing of a few lapped cars when the five to go sign was given, Butler was flawless recording the well deserved win. Kuhl managed to win the war for second over Grosso with Bouc and Grosso rounding out the top five. Reimert made a great come back from the lap one incident to finish sixth with Jim Housworth seventh, Venezia eighth, Frank Cozze ninth, and John McClelland tenth. In the Larry’s Hot Rods and Harleys NEWS twenty lap feature, defending champion Rich Mellor made it three in a row. A green to checkered race, the event boiled down to another Mellor/ Mick D’Agostino contest as the field received the halfway sign. Mellor allowed D’Agostino the high groove and at times it appeared as though the Massachusetts driver would use the line to possibly record his sixth win of the season. But the young crafty driver of the #02 remained perfect over the final ten laps to record career win number twenty. Larry Drake had his second third place finish in a row followed by Ken Nealis, and Stan Ploski III. Rookie Zack Brown turned in a solid sixth place finish with Heidi Hedin, Al Cheney, Shea Wills, and Eric Miller rounding out the top ten. In the fifteen lap Wash Wagon feature, Scott Dunn of Trenton made it back to back wins. Taking the lead on lap eleven, Dunn held off Justin Dunn to score his third win of the season. Mike Fox crossed the finish line in third with Kelly Fleming and Ed Ford fourth and fifth. Next up on the schedule will be a night remembering one of the most likeable drivers to ever race at the Route 539 oval, Ron John Koczon. Joining the Vahlco Wheels Modifieds will be the High Gear Towing Crate Select Series – Round 5, Larry’s Hot Rods and Harley’s NEWS, and the Freedom Firearms Street Stocks.