Twin City Raceway was filled with the sound of roaring engines Saturday night on the oval dirt track, with many of the same names, plus some new faces, finding success.
Mike Thomas of Palmer swept all three races in the Legend car division – both heat races and the feature – driving the number five car.
“Eighteen years of experience in one of these will help,” Thomas said when asked how he keeps winning. “I put on a dirt tire, just experimenting a little, and one of the other racers had dirt tires and we’ll probably use this type from now on.”
In the Late Model category, it was a battle between Bob Reinhart and Joey Essex all night long, as Reinhart won the first heat race, but Essex took the final two, including an exciting last-lap pass in heat two.
Essex had been slowly chasing down Reinhart in the race, but was unable to get by.
In the final turn, Essex made a final charge, using momentum off the corner to pass Reinhart in a drag-race to the finish line, beating him by .33 seconds.
A similar storyline played out in the Mini-Stock division, as Carl Liebes and Andy Kircher, driving his 007 car, battled in all three races. Kircher won the second heat, but Liebes prevailed in the other two, including a close race in the first heat.
Kircher hit the turn four wall in the first heat, but still managed to finish second.
“The car was misfiring at higher RPM’s, again,” Kircher said. “I hit the wall on the first lap, but was catching him, but I just couldn’t get around him. I’d get beside him getting into the turns but couldn’t get the pull off the turns.”
Liebes said the racing was typical of Twin City Raceway.
“He was catching me, and I would pull him on the straightaways but he was all over me in the corners,” Liebes said. “It was a battle, and I knew that I had to keep my guns and drive good because with Andy, you make one mistake and he’s around you.
“We got into each other a couple times down in turns three and four and that’s just because of track conditions.”
In the A-Stock division, Daren DeVaney dominated, winning all three races, but took more pride in his other cars, which were being driven by his son, Cody, and daughter Brooke.
Daren said the whole family helps build the cars, and seeing his children succeed was the best experience of the night.
For Brooke, Saturday night was her first time racing, and she finished an impressive second in the feature race, behind her father.
“It was nerve-wracking, but fun,” Brooke said. “It had more horsepower than I thought there would be, but it was fun.
Brooke was actually running third on the final lap when the second-place driver, Dustin Bass, encountered a problem with his car in the final turn, and when he slowed up the track, Brooke swerved to avoid him and spun around backwards, finishing the race sideways. Bass ended up fifth.
“He hit the guardrail, and so I floored it and it started fishtailing, and I couldn’t catch it in time so I spun around and ended up in the middle of the track, but at least I crossed the line.”
Cody DeVaney enjoyed some success Saturday as well, finishing a high of third-place.
“It went very well, the track was set up very nice,” Cody said. “The last time we came here it was muddy and the race was cancelled, and the time before that it was dry and hard to handle.”
Brooke wasn’t the only rookie in the field Saturday night, as Kim Andreas decided to wheel a car in the Mini-Stock events.
“My adrenaline was just rushing the whole time and it was great,” she said. “It was a blast. My eyes were so dirty.”
In the B-Stock races, Bill Williams easily cruised to victory in all three events, setting the fastest laps in his number 38 car. The B-Stock races also included two trucks, driven by Jeff Bettis and Richard McGahan.
The only Sprint car racing was the number 10 Diary Queen machine driven by Pete Ischi, and Ischi was allowed to compete with the Late Models in the feature race.
The track featured a small change from past races, as officials placed orange cones circling the bottom of the track in the corners before the races. The cones essentially narrowed the track in the turns so that drivers would not be able to drive the low groove, and was done to help preserve the dirt which had been previously flooded from recent rains.
Some of the drivers did not notice it, while others said it affected their racing.
“Usually I run it into the turns a certain way but with the cones we had to run a lot higher,” Liebes said. “Unfortunately it’s pushing a lot of guys off, and you had to back off the throttle more to run fast.”
More than once, a driver ended up sliding off the track and behind the banked turns due to the narrower track.
“It’s basically just overshooting the corners, I just about did it twice,” Daren DeVaney said.
Cody DeVaney said it felt narrower.
“That doesn’t affect me though, I run the outside,” he said.