After a season frustration, Chris Rhodes scored big by winning the Late Model feature at Thunder Valley Saturday night. It was Rhodes’ third career win at the track and was came exactly one year since his last one. In other action, Dave Lee scored an improbable last lap Semi Late win, Bill Replogle took the Pure Stock event and crowd favorite Louie Orris won the 4 Cylinder finale.
A 2011 season which has included three times when he was unable to even start the feature event rewarded Rhodes with a low point average and he started the Late Model event on the pole. He rose to the occasion by grabbing the lead at the start and getting away from the field. Wayne Johnson roared into second spot in the early laps and actually ran Rhodes down by lap six, but then Rhodes picked up the pace and pulled away again.
Four cautions gave Johnson shots at closing on the leader but Rhodes shot away on every restart. At the finish Rhodes won by ten lengths over Johnson, who scored his best run in years at the track. Dan Lee, Chuck Clise, Greg Fetters, Jeff Miller, Tom Decker, Shawn Claar, Gene Kain and Travis Cottle completed the top 10. Rhodes and Lee won the heats.
Dave Lee was third as the Semi Late field took the white flag but managed to score his first win in almost a year after last lap drama. Dave Whetstone was the early leader as he got by Jamie Kohan at the start. Whetstone held off Jonathan Hayman until Greg Cornell arrived on the scene. Cornell got by Hayman on lap 10 and began his run on Whetstone.
Although he got alongside several times Cornell could not get by for the lead as Whetstone ran tough. As the leaders took the white flag, Lee was closing but still in third place. Going into turn one on the last lap though, the two leaders collided and spun out, leaving Lee as the surprised leader for the final lap shootout. Lee then led Brian Duffy to the finish to scored the win. Tom Warren raced from the rear of the field to take third, ahead of Hayman, Bill Pluta, Ray Sheetz, Joe Pluta, Cody Butterbaugh, Cornell and Whetstone. Cornell and Jim Saylor won the heats.
Rod Mock was the early Pure Stock leader as Bill Replogle was buried in the pack. After a masterful job of working traffic, Replogle turned up in second by lap 5 and took over one lap later. Mike Duck arrived in second spot one lap later and chased Replogle for the duration but never mounted a challenge to the finish.
Behind the top two, Mock held on for third, ahead of Justin Milburn, Jarrod Brown, Russ Hartman, Brian Shaw, Greg Cornell Sr, Willy Ling and Jesse Hunt. Mock and Replogle won the heats.
Lou Orris ran down early leader Ian Will to take over the 4 Cylinder lead on lap 5. From there on Orris led to the finish as the usual wild 4 cylinder racing went on behind him. A last lap caution gave Orris a breather but he managed to hang on for the win. Robert Pluta ran second at the end, ahead of Martin Vinosky, Will and Andrew Pluta. Orris and Robert Pluta won the heats.
LATE MODEL 25 LAP 1 Chris Rhodes, 2 Wayne Johnson, 3 Dan Lee, 4 Chuck Clise, 5 Greg Fetters, 6 Jeff Miller, 7 Tom Decker, 8 Shawn Claar, 9 Gene Kain, 10 Travis Cottle, 11 Tom Decker III, 12 Joe Brawley, 13 Ron Bottenfield, 14 Ryan Dixon
SEMI LATE 20 LAPS 1 Dave Lee, 2 Brian Duffy, 3 Tom Warren, 4 Jonathan Hayman, 5 Bill Pluta, 6 Ray Sheetz, 7 Joe Pluta, 8 Cody Butterbaugh, 9 Greg Cornell, 10 Dave Whetstone, 11 Jim Saylor, 12 Jason Vangilder, 13 Jamie Kohan, 14 Justin Robine, 15 Dennis Collins,
PURESTOCK 18 LAOS 1 Bill Replogle, 2 Mike Duck, 3 Rod Mock, 4 Justin Milburn, 5 Jarrod Brown, 6 Russ Hartman, 7 Brian Shaw, 8 Greg Cornell Sr, 9 Willy Ling, 10 Jesse Hunt 11 Paul Beahr, 12 Mike Ott, 13 Tim Brown, 14 Ryan Beckett, 15 Rob Varner, 16 Jim Sacco, 17 Chris Wolfe, 18 Terry Mitchell, 19 Preston Imler.
4 CYLINDER 15 LAP 1 Lou Orris, 2 Robert Pluta, 3 Martin Vinosky, 4 Ian Will, 5 Andrew Pluta, 6 Casey Fleegle, 7 Keith Deeter, 8 Nathan Kanitsky, 9 Skip Bryner, 10 Matt Diehl, 11 Mike Lauffer, 12 Ray Edwards, 13 Leroy Booher, 14 Nick Zborovancik, 15 Dave Lambert, 16 Tim Thomas, DNS Nathan Vinosky