Kyle Merkle in only his second ever visit to the track, made it to Thunder Valley victory lane Saturday night. The event was the 35 lap Steel Block Bandit portion of the annual Windmill 100 celebration at the track.. In other action, extra distance in every division affected the outcomes as Tom Warren rallied late to take the Semi Late 25 lapper, Bill Replogle returned for another Pure Stock win and Kevin Beers won his first ever 4 Cylinder event in those 20 lappers.
For the Late Model segment of the Windmill 100 the Steel Block Bandit organization made their first ever Thunder Valley start. Rick Singleton drew the pole for the 35 lap event and quickly established himself with a lead. Fourth starting Kyle Merkle moved to second on lap three and began to narrow the distance on Singleton. When DJ Troutman arrived from his sixth starting spot, they both began to close on Singleton.
After the pair ran down the leader, Merkle slipped by Singleton for the lead on lap 13 with Troutman close behind, just before Singletons car came up lame and brought out the caution. On the restart, Merkle shot away from the field leaving Troutman in second. While Merkle led, Walker Arthur was knifing through the field. having started 20th in the field he was coming to the front.
But at the finish, Merkle had the field wired for the win. Troutman took second ahead of Sean Merkle, Matt Cosner, booper Bare and Arthur. Bo Feathers, Matt Emerick, Matt Sponaugle and Rick Hulson complete the top twn. Sean Merkle and Singleton won the heats
If the Sime Late event had been the regular distance, Dave Lee would have won. He took the lead at the drop of the green and hung on for 22 laps. As he led, The usual crowd was closing in. By lap 10 of the all green flag event, Tom Warren, Jim Sayler and Greg Cornell were in a pack with Lee. Switching positions almost every lap, the trio was all over Lee. Disaster struck Lee on lap 23 when a wheel flew off the car. In the melee, Warren emeged with the lead ahead of Sayler.
Over the last 2 laps, Sayler was all over Warren but could not make the move. Warren took his second win of the year, ahead of Sayler, 10th place starter Jeff Benson, Jamie Kohan and Bill Pluta. Lee and Warren won the heats.
Bill Replogle won yet another Pure Stock event, his 12th career win at the track. Tim Brown was the pole sitter and early leader but Replogle was blasting through the field. Justi n Milburn led lap four but Replogle was in front one lap later. Ryan Beckett chased Replogle until his car broke on lap 11. After that Brian Shaw then Milburn ran second but no one had a challenge for Replogle. Milburn was second at the line, ahead of Russ Hartman, RT Troutman, Terry Mitchell, Greg CornellJim Sacco, Chad Walter, Willy Ling and Shaw. With Walter pulled from the lineup the others moved up a spot.
Ling and Tim Brown won the heats.
Extra distance was the downfall of crowd favorite Louie Lugnut Orrris in the 4 cylinder finale. He took over from Leroy Booher on lap two and ran off from the field. On lap 15, Kevin Beers got by and went on to score his first ever track win. Dacron Powell was second ahead of Ian Will, Ray Edwards and Casey Fleegle. Booher and Edwards won the heats.
STEEL BLOCK BANDIT LATE MODEL 35 LAP 1 Kyle Merkle, 2 DJ Troutman, 3 Sean Merkle, 4 Matt Cosner, 5 Booper Bare, 6 Walker Arthur, 7 Bo Feathers, 8 Matt Emerick, 9 Matt Sponaugle, 10 Rick Hulson, 11 Tim Smith, 12 Wes Bonebrake, 13 Joe Leavell, 14 Matt Howsare, 15 Rance Garlock, 16 Kristian Looney, 17 Rick Singleton, 18 Ryan Christoff, 19 Dan Woodruff DNS Robby Black,Bill Burns
SEMI lATE 25 LAP 1 Tom Warren, 2 Jim Sayler, 3 Jeff Benson, 4 Jamie Kohan, 5 Bill Pluta, 6 Dave Whetstone, 8 Ray Sheetz, 8 Jason Vangilder, 9 Greg Cornell, 10 Dave Lee, 11 Jonathan Hayman, 12 Greg Hainsey, DNS Joe Pluta.
PURE STOCK 20 LAPS 1 Bill Replogle, 2 Justin Milburn, 3 Russ Hartman, 4 RT Troutman, Terry Mitchell, 6 Greg Cornell Sr, 7 Jim Sacco, 8 Willy Ling, 9 Brian Shaw, 10 Mike Barclay, 11 Tom Warren, 12 Ran Beckett, 13 Dave Beahr, 14 Jarrod Brown, 15 Jesse Hunt, 16 Mike Ott 17 Tim Brown, 18 Dave Green, 19 Jeff Brown, DNS Mike Duck DQ Chad Walter
4 CYLINDER 20 LAPS 1 Kevin Beers, 2 Dacron Powell, 3 Ian Will, 4 Ray Edwards, 5 Casey Fleegle, 6 Keith Deeter, 7 Jason Mullen, 8 Mike Meck, 9 Lou Orris, 10 Steve McMahon, 11 Matt Diehl, 12 Robert Bolland, 13 Mike Phillipson, 14 Leroy Booher, 15 Martin Vinosky, 16 Tammy Phillipson, 17 Tim Thomas, 18 Leder House, 19 Kenton Maust, 20 John Costa, DNS Jack Theys.