05.28.2011 Filed in: PPMS | BRP Tour | Press
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Kevin Bolland likes racing in his back yard. Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway is the closest stop on the BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour to his home in New Brighton. His victory was the second since the mighty Big Blocks returned to the track after a long absence.
Bolland turned a potential strategic error into an advantage. He set the car up to run on a slick track, but the track prep crew applied some water before the features got started. He was able to get a decent start and he ran with the lead group in the early going. As the race progressed, the track came to him and he was able to build a sizable lead.
Lapped cars were almost his undoing. "The lapped traffic played a role tonight," Bolland said. "Some of the lapped traffic slid up on the track and we really had to wait it out to get around them," he explained. Bolland countered by coming down off the cushion and using a low line to pick off the lapped cars. While this maneuver proved to be effective, it enabled Jeremiah Shingledecker to close in on him over the final ten laps. Shingledecker may have been more of a factor in the final outcome were it not for his own run-in with a lapped car with about five laps to go. Bolland was confident that he could have held off the challenge. "They might have caught us, but I don't think they would have gotten around us."
Lady luck put Brian Weaver and Jeremiah Shingledecker on the front row for the start of the 30 lapper. Weaver fired first and led the field into turn one. However, he was unable to hold the low line and that left the door open for Kevin Hoffman. His potent Big Block Ford powered off turn two with the lead. Shingledecker swooped by Weaver on the outside and it was soon apparent that Weaver was in trouble. He fell back due to a fuel feed problem that corrected itself somewhat as the race went on.
While Hoffman lead Shingledecker in the early going, the man on the move was Chad Homan. The New York invader was using the low line to great advantage. He worked into third by lap five and slipped under Shingledecker on the next circuit. He even challenged Hoffman, but Hoffman used a lapped car as a pick to maintain his lead. Hoffman was not as lucky the next time around. With the bottom lane open, Homan charged off turn two to grab the lead running down the long back chute.
Homan started to stretch his lead as the laps clicked off. However, the race took a dramatic turn on lap 11. Brad Rapp struck the wall in turn two to bring out the only caution in the race. Rapp was battling Brian Swartzlander for position at the time. Swartzlander slid up and Rapp had nowhere to go. "I didn't even know he was there," Swartzlander said apologetically. "I felt bad for him to get caught up in something like that."
While the field was circulating under the yellow, some cars kicked mud up from the apron into Homan's groove. He did not realize what happened and used his usual line entering turn one on the restart. He got into a four-wheel skid and surrendered the lead to Shingledecker. While Homan was scrambling to regain control, Hoffman slowed and soon retired from the race with a broken rocker arm.
Bolland went to the whip and raced past Shingledecker to lead lap 13. At the halfway mark, he led Homan, Shingledecker, Murdick, King and Swartzlander.
Shingledecker swapped places with Homan by lap 20 and he set out after the leader.
Bolland continued to lead, but Shingledecker was reeling him in. Shingledecker’s charge was slowed briefly by a shunt with a lapped car, and that may have preserved the win for Bolland.
While the fans were ready for a two-car battle to the checkers, the race ended in a most unusual fashion. On the final lap, one of the flagmen inadvertently hit the red light switch. He immediately put the green light on again. But, in that fleeting moment, some of the racers slowed their pace. None came to a complete stop, however.
Bolland was one of the racers who slowed and he passed under the checkers for the apparent win. Fortunately for him, Shingledecker also reacted to the flash of red and he crossed the line in second. Homan was a close third.
Behind the leaders, some positions did change. Dave Murdick, who took the white flag in fourth, was shuffled back to sixth. Brian Swartzlander advanced two spots. Murdick and company quickly lodged a protest.
After learning what happened, track and series officials agreed to hold the finish pending a review of transponder scoring records. A comparison between laps 29 and 30 showed, surprisingly, that Murdick and Swartzlander were the only affected racers.
The speedway stepped up to make up the difference in pay between fourth and sixth position. That left series officials to decide what to do about the points to be awarded.
After getting input from the speedway and from the involved drivers, series officials decided to revert to lap 29 scoring for the purposes of points.
Murdick was restored to fourth and Rex King Sr. held his fifth place finish. Swartzlander was scored in sixth, but paid for fourth as well.
Rounding out the top ten were Mark Flick, Rex King, Jr., Brian Weaver and Chris Haines.
Heat race wins went to Bolland, Swartzlander and Murdick. Bolland broke the track record four times during his heat, but Swartzlander lowered the mark even further in his heat. The record now stands at 19.377. .
There was no B Main.
No provisionals were needed to complete the field.
The Landrum Racer of the Race award was presented to Mark Flick for his smooth and steady run from fourteenth to seventh.
As the feature winner, Bolland also took home a prize from new series sponsor, R2C Performance Products.
BRP/Hoosier Tire Modified Tour Round Two: Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, Imperial, PA: May 28, 2011: 1. Kevin Bolland ($1,500); 2. Jeremiah Shingledecker ($1,000); 3. Chad Homan ($800); 4. Dave Murdick ($600); 5. Rex King, Sr. ($550); 6. Brian Swartzlander ($600); 7. Mark Flick ($450); 8. Rex King, Jr. ($400); 9. Brian Weaver ($360); 10. Chris Haines ($330); 11. Mike Turner ($320); 12. Shannon Whaley ($310); 13. Mark Frankhouser ($300); 14. Steve Feder ($290); 15. Shawn Fleeger ($280); 16. Tommy Mattocks ($260); 17. Carl Murdick ($240); 18. Randy Chronister ($230); 19. Don Brown ($225); 20. John Bichanan ($220); 21. Skip Moore ($210); 22. Kevin Hoffman ($205); 23. Brad Rapp ($200).
The roster of 2011 sponsors for The Modified Tour, Inc. includes: Bicknell Racing Products; Hoosier Racing Tire Corp.; World Racing Group - DIRTcar; Sunoco Race Fuels - Bazell Oil Co.; Approved Toilet Rentals, Inc.; Bert Transmission; Big Daddy's Speed Center Inc.; Bulldog Rear Ends - Diversified Machine, Inc.; Engles Trucking Services, Inc.; Bilstein Shocks – Fastline Performance; ISC Racers Tape; Hall's Safety Equipment Corp.; King Brothers; Kirkey Racing Fabrication Inc.; Landrum Spring; McCool's Signs and Graphics; Motorsports World; Oyler Photos & More; Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP; Preist Enterprises, Inc.; Pro Shocks; R2C Performance Products; RaceQuip; Ray's Racing Collectibles; Rock Concrete; Slippery Rock Sportswear; T & D Machine; Ultra-Shield Race Products; Valken Wheels; Winters Performance Products Inc.; and Wrisco Industries Inc. Watch for further additions to the list of 2011 sponsors.
Now entering its fourteeth year of success, The Modified Tour, Inc. racing series is a non-profit organization established to give the V-8 Modifieds in the Western Pennsylvania area the opportunity to compete for higher purses and for a seasonal point fund. It expands the profile for this exciting brand of motorsports throught the the tri-state area.