Defending Late Model champion Greg Fetters started out the new season with a big win in the 2012 opener at Thunder Valley Saturday night. While Fetters’ win came in the Late Model headliner, the star of the night was Jim Sayler who set two speedway marks by winning the accompanying Semi Late event. That win for Sayler was his 31st Semi Late win at the track, making him the all time class win leader. At the same time the win, combined with 3 Limited Late Model wins was his 34th at the track overall, breaking a tie with Scott Rhodes to become the winningest tract driver of all time. Bill Replogle won the Pure Stock event before Dave Lambert won the 4 Cylinder finale. Lambert also set a record of sorts as the first driver to ever win two Joe Padula winners hats in one weekend as he was also the Friday winner at Bedford.
It took three tries to get the Late Model event under way setting the stage for a caution filled event. Steve Everhart took the early lead but Greg Fetters hunted him down. The pair battled as Chad McClellan jockeyed into position in third. Fetters pulled even with Everhart on lap 6 but the two leaders tangled going into turn three. Everhart spun but Fetters did not, inheriting the lead. McClellan applied pressure for several laps but Fetters got stronger at the end and ran off for the win.
McClellan settled for second at the line, followed by Chuck Clise and Dan Lee. Everhart roared back for fifth while Ron Bottenfield, Ted Gallaher, Mike Altobellyi Jr, Travis Calhoun and Gene Kain completed the top ten. Clise, Tom Decker and Fetters won the heats.
Sayler started seventh in the Semi Late field and started his climb forward immediately as Billy McClellan led early. Several drivers had shots at McClellan but it was Sayler in position by lap 6 as he edged ahead. Saylor took the lead while Greg Cornell was all over McClellan until lap 11 when he got by for second. Cornell then chased Sayler to the end as Sayler scored the historic victory. McClellan took third followed by Jamie Kohan, Jason Vangilder and Tom Warren. There were not heats for the short Semi Late field.
Mike Duck started on the Pure Stocl pole and led easily early. but Bill Replogle arrived late and applied pressure in the closing laps. As the pair whipped through heavy lapped traffic, Replogle made his move and he emerged with the lead on lap 16. Once ahead Replogle ran off to the win over Duck. Ryan Beckett was third followed by Charlie Walters, Jim DeArmitt, Justin Milburn, Jared Brown, Mike Ott, Jim Sacco and Russ Hartman. Beckett and Replogle won the heats.
Keith Deeter was the early 4 Cylinder leader as the usual herd developed behind him. Dave Lambrt emerged in second by lap 4 and wrestled with Deeter until he took over on lap 8. From there on Lambert raced on for his historic win. He was followed by dead last starting Cale Martin, Deeter, Garrett Watkins, Ray Wright, Dustin Drake and Robert Pluta. Watkins and Lambert won the heats.
LATE MODEL 25 LAPS 1 Greg Fetters, 2 Chad McClellan, 3 Chuck Clise, 4 Dan Lee, 5 Steve Everhart, 6 Ron Bottenfield, 7 Ted Gallaher, 8 Mike Altobelli Jr, 9 Travis Calhoun, 10 Gene Kain, 11 Bill Burns, 12 Dale Claycomb, 13 Tom Decker III 14 Chris Rhodes, 15 Dave Lee, 16 Jason Hess,17 Cory Weaver, 18 Tom Decker Jr, Doug Glessner, 20 Rick Singlton, 21 Shawn Claar, 22 Wayne Johnson DNS Matt Emerick, Matt sala
SEMI LATE 20 LAP 1 Jim Sayler, 2 Greg Cornell, 3 Bill McClellan, 4 Jamie Kohan, 5 Jason Vangilder, 6 Tom Warren, 7 Dave Whetstone, 8 Jeff Benson, 9 Bill Pluta.
PURE STOCK 18 LAPS 1 bill Replogle, 2 Mike Duck, 3 Ryan Beckett, 4 Charlie Walters, 5 Jim Dearmitt, 6 Justin Milburn, 7 Jarrod Brown, 8 Mike Ott, 9 Jim sacco, 10 Russ Hartman, 11 CMark Field, 12 Preston Imler, 13 Terry Mitchell, 14 Willy Ling, 15 Aliucia Foy, 16 Chris Wolfe, 17 Jstin Vaughn, DNS Greg Beckett, Brian Shaw.
4 CYLINDER 15 LAP 1 Dave Lambert, 2 Cale Martin, 3 Keith Deeter, 4 Garrett Watkins, 5 Ray Wright, 6 Dustin Drake, Robert Pluta, Mike Meck, 9 Mike Hagens, 10 Jeremy Miller, 11 Dan Jackson, 12 Doug Hostettler 13 Josh Datko