Nobody enjoys Pocono more than the great fans of Pennsylvania's countryside. New York City, Philadelphia and the Quakers are all ready for an excellent 2.5-mile bout across the northern Appalachian plains. Ryan Heuser is looking for four-in-a-row in hopes of resurging a nearly heart-broken season into one of sheer jubilation. He will start 12th.
Rick Jackson starts on the pole in conventional form with John Battista on the outside lane. The #39 would endure a terrible restart, getting passed by 3rd place Craig Lee exiting turn-1. Lee and Jackson would find themselves side-by-side on the second backstretch before the #101 took the top-spot outright to lead lap 1. A few circuits later, Matthew Dominique would seize first place.
Rob Scarberry and Mike Carroll make contact entering turn-3, bringing out the first caution flag on lap 6. Tony Long whacked the drivers-side of Carroll, sending the #15 into the outside wall while Dan Johnston pulverized the rear of the #50. Johnston's durable All-State front-end remained in tact to forge a 20th place finish while the others dropped outside the top-37.
Horror occurred on pit road when Geno Sphere and Ryan Heuser body-slammed during their initial stops. Heuser was attempting to exit his pit after a 2-tire change while Sphere darted for the same space. This sent the #138 hard into the Steven Spears stall directly in front. The Mello-Yello crew barely escaped from the mayhem, though Heuser destroyed the radiator and effectively ended his race. He would finish 42nd after five weeks of outright dominance. Spears and Sphere would wind up 25th and 35th respectively.
Craig Lee avenged his teammate's misfortune by re-taking the lead just before the yellow. Zakk Miller earned it himself with a two-tire change, leading the field on the restart. John Battista took it away on lap 14, hogging the top-spot for 20-straight laps before a Johnny Reed Foley pass on lap 34. Battista would steal it back the following lap and orbit another 22 laps up front.
It was the John Battista and Alan Nesfeder show at the top of the heap as we closed towards the halfway point. Nesfeder took the lead outright on lap 59 while towing Donald Stewart, Dave Miller, Foley and Matthew Dominique from behind. This would be Nesfeder's second-straight race competing for the win after last-week's 3rd place effort at New Hampshire.
Nesfeder came from the 31st starting spot to shatter through the field and take the lead, earning one spot for every two laps of action. He would be re-passed by Battista on lap 63, leading through green flag stops before handing it off to Donald Stewart after the cycle. Both Alan and Stewart are looking for win number two on the season, with Battista miraculously waiting for his first despite leading twice as many laps as the two combined.
A tunnel-turn pass on lap 76 sent the #78 to the front just in time for the Halfway Bacon Bonus. He would remain there through lap 90 as he and Battista swapped the immortal position several times. An excellent green flag stop by Battista gave he and Stewart a three second gap while Matt Raboin, Dave Miller, Tim McDonnell, Nesfeder, Logan Sheets, Zakk Miller, Ken Joynt, Randy Dobbins, Bill Werkheiser and Bink Lucas all sandwiched together a pack in effort to catch the top-2. They would eventually do so.
A debris caution in the middle of green flag pit stops nearly swapped the lead group with 26 laps remaining. Seven cars would stay out on at least one-lap old tires while Sheets, McDonnell, Michael Henson, and Nesfeder came out of the pits as the first cars with purely fresh rubber. The drivers lapped by the caution held up the leaders after the restart, checking up the field and initiating contact between Steven Spears and John Tharp from the back. Tharp meandered towards the turn-3 wall and into Jimmie Stevens, while Dalton Lucas, Mark Guthrie and Markell Murphy tangled during the aftermath. Murphy was the only driver unable to continue.
John Battista led the 16-lap shootout to the checkered flag. He and Stewart were divided by the lapped car of Alex Crapser until Alan Nesfed
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The Championship picture looks pretty stout, with the average finish of our points leader a very moderate 14th. Nobody has had a perfect year, with the dominant drivers of the early season falling back rapidly while the top-3 in points were struggling at the time. In fact, Foley, Rick Jackson and Craig Lee were 13th, 18th and 27th in the points after five races. Quite a turnaround run, with Dave Miller and Matthew Dominique the only two consistently inside the top-10 all season. Jackson will start on the pole in hopes of his eighth-straight top-7 finish and 40+ points gained on Foley to take the lead in the standings. John Battista will be on his outside row looking for his first victory of the season. He was a top-3 favorite to win the Championship this year, and looks to go on the stretch of the century after a disappointing first-half of 2022.
Ryan Heuser looks for four victories in-a-row for the first time since he himself performed the same feat back in 2011. Then he won at Dover, Charlotte, Kansas and Pocono. He will come back to the Pennsylvania grasslands in an attempt to perform the same feat 11 years later. Rick Jackson's seven straight top-10 finishes are impressive as well, but lost in the headlines to the Heuser domination. Normally drivers with these achievements are well within the running of the drivers Championship. Due to his multiple DNF's and missed races, it only adds an abstract storyline for the ages apart from the close Championship race. He still has a chance to clinch the chase, and a fourth-straight victory will propel his chances. Heuser will start 12th.
Current Points Positions 1. Johnny Reed Foley: +278 2. Rick Jackson: +238(+1) 3. Craig Lee: +227(+1) 4. Dave Miller: +197(+2) 5. Matthew Dominique: +150 6. Tony Pizzaro: +150(-4) 7. Zach Michael: +105 8. John Battista: +62(+2) 9. Zakk Miller: +20 10. Alex Crapser: +10(+1) ----------------------------------- 11. John Tharp: -10(-3) 12. Bill Werkheiser: -17 13. Jimmie Stevens: -67 14. Bink Lucas: -67(+1) 15. Scott Jackson: -101 (+1) 16. Donald Stewart: -114(-2) 17. Markell Murphy: -215 18. Ryan Heuser: -239(+4)
It would appear that Johnny Reed Foley may take claim of the regular season crown after 8-straight top-20 finishes. Tony Pizzaro and Zach Michael have handed the lead over despite having a 170-point advantage over the rest of the field only 10-races ago. These two will start 13th and 18th in hopes of reclaiming their early-season momentum down the remaining seven-race stretch.
Rookie Bink Lucas earned his first Extravaganza Series pole and carried the field to the green. He led the first several laps before an attack by Alan Nesfeder sent the #78 to the front with a QSM tow-line from behind. It would only be his third lap led since his victory at Texas.
Nesfeder was able to cross the line at the helm four times before a re-pass by Lucas for the lead. The constant battling brought Ryan Heuser towards the front, passing ten racecars in thirteen laps to score the advantage. In typical "Rocket Man" fashion he would remain there for quite some time.
Several engine failures would demise some competitive cars due to the long straightaway RPM's. The first to go was Cristian Torres with a blown piston, dropping him from 18th to 20th in the standings and nearly out of chase contention. A camshaft took out Matt Raboin 50 laps later, earning his 11th 27th-or-worse place finish in 2022 and also out of contention.
Lap 124 brought out the first caution flag of the event. Michael Henson and Dan Johnston tagged entering the front-straightaway, sending Michael into the inside wall front-end first. He would limp to 21st after the devastation, with Dan finishing inside the top-20 for the fourth time in five weeks.
It took Craig Lee eight laps to burrow from 5th to take the lead after the restart. He, Heuser and Dave Miller would pull away from the rest of the pack, proving the Quick-Silver setup package was in full demand at New Hampshire once again. They would pull to a three second advantage over the Pizzaro-Jackson teammates.
Steven Spears endured a multitude of complications coming to the 100-to-go mark. A flat tire on lap 197 forced him to park against the turn-2 apron to bring out the second caution. The third yellow flag came out one lap after the re-green, with Spears finding himself against the inside wall on the backstretch after contact with Rob Scarberry. He would finish 37th.
Craig Lee would remain at the helm for 20 more circuits before Dave Miller took his first lead with an inside pass exiting turn 2. He would remain there for a decennium, unable to pull away from his teammates and earn his second flat-track victory of the season. Ryan Heuser was on the charge at took it away with 64 laps remaining.
Completely out of nowhere, John Battista had been easing his way from his 38th starting spot to finally reach the lead group. Once he did, he was able to pass them all and maintain the advantage over the hot-streaking Heuser and his entire brigade. He took the spot with 36 laps remaining in hopes of earning his long awaited first victory of the season.
Between the two, Heuser entered his final pit stop a couple of laps earlier and endured only 3.5 seconds of gas before high-tailing it back onto the track. Battista's stop was just over 6 seconds, dropping him to eighth coming out of the pits with less than 10 laps to go. Heuser had narrowly edged out teammate Dave Miller, while the top-10 from behind was within five seconds of each other battling for the win.
Heuser was able to maintain a duel car-length advantage and pull off another miraculous victory thanks to the gas man. It is his third-straight and fourth in the past five events with an average finish of 1.2 in t
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Ryan Heuser comes into New Hampshire with three wins in his last four events, dominating the show in excellent fashion entering one of his favorite racetracks. He took the checkered flag at New Hampshire back in 2020, sandwiched by two victories from second-in-points Tony Pizzaro. The #12 team will attempt to regain their early-season stride after only one top-10 finish in his last six events. He will start 13th with Heuser gridding 9th. Bink Lucas earned his first career pole and will lead the masters of Extravaganza to the green. He comes in 131 points behind 10th place John Battista who remains winless on the year. Points leader Johnny Reed Foley comes in with eight-straight top-20 finishes and looks to continue to streak starting 11th in the field. Tony Long beat all of the top points-getters in time trials, entering the event fourth in hopes of a Cinderella victory at New Hampshire!
Current Points Positions 1. Johnny Reed Foley: +288 2. Tony Pizzaro: +235 3. Rick Jackson: +201(+3) 4. Craig Lee: +200(-1) 5. Matthew Dominique: +158(+2) 6. Dave Miller: +150(-1) 7. Zach Michael: +124(-3) 8. John Tharp: +61(+3) 9. Zakk Miller: +45(-1) 10. John Battista: +43 (+2) ----------------------------------- 11. Alex Crapser: -43(-2) 12. Bill Werkheiser: -68 (+2) 13. Jimmie Stevens: -72 (-3) 14. Donald Stewart: -131 (+2) 15. Bink Lucas: -131 16. Scott Jackson: -141 (-3) 17. Markell Murphy: -202
In a world filled with cataclysmic devastation and torment, the Extravaganza Series brings light to all who look forward to a welcoming pastime. The seats will be packed to witness Rick Jackson lead the field to the green in an attempt to win his first event of the season. He's led a league-leading 772 laps without one and is one of the favorites for victory tonight at Chicagoland.
Dan Johnston blows up on the start while Rick and points leader Johnny Reed Foley race side-by-side racing into turn 1. The #44 Crown Royal machine would dominate the first green flag stint before a caution flag on lap 41 re-bunched the pack. Teammate Tony Pizzaro made an audacious three-wide maneuver on the ensuing restart to record the first lead change of the night.
The caution was brought out by a crash between Jimmie Stevens and Steven Spears on the backstretch, with both cars receiving minimal damage. Three laps after the next restart saw Logan Sheets and Cristian Torres crash into the outside wall on the frontstretch. Sheets would finish 20th by the end while the others limped to the finish 26th and worse.
Adam Crapser, Dakota Wilkins, Jonathan Skrabacz and Rob Scarberry all fell out after a devastating accident in turn-2. Crapser's wind was knocked out, though he turned out well after another scary head-on impact. Scott Drake and Tony Pizzaro swapped the lead after Drake stayed out during the yellow. John Battista and Michael Henson did the same for the upcoming green flag run, battling for supremacy before Pizzaro re-took command on lap 65.
Lap 100 saw a horrendous crash starting with contact from Zakk Miller and Tim McDonnell. Dalton Lucas tagged the rear of the Bepis Mustang, pirouetting across the backstretch before Geno Sphere annihilated his quarter panel. Miller flipped twice, miraculously continuing on for 14 more laps before the engine finally quit. Sphere's day ended immediately, finishing 36th.
Pizzaro relinquished the lead to Dave Miller and John Tharp during pit stops. Miller led through lap 120 before a three-wide bonzai move by John Tharp sent the #14 in control of the pack. Despite hard-charging efforts by Pizzaro and Alex Crapser to re-take the lead, eventually Tharp, Ryan Heuser and Bill Werkheiser towed their line away from the rest of the field through the halfway point.
Alan Nesfeder suffered an unfortunate night after fighting inside the top-3 early in the go. A backstretch crash between he and Zach Michael sent both drivers into a dangerous frenzy across the asphalt. Michael would limp to 34th place after a myriad of engine trouble, dropping to 7th in the standings. On lap 180, Nesfeder and Dave Miller wrecked on the frontstretch, destroying the rear of the #78 machine. Miller suffered front end damage and finished the night in 25th place. Nesfeder hobbled to 28th.
Ryan Heuser led the following restart mired behind Craig Lee and Matthew Dominique, who were both trapped multiple laps down after their short-pitting strategy went awry. Bill Werkheiser endured several attempts at passing the Rocket Man before succeeding on lap 204. Heuser would nab it back two laps later just before the next caution flag.
Bill's pit crew was able to grant their driver the lead with a miraculous pit stop. Heuser and Werkheiser were side-by-side for half of the subsequent 37 laps before an open lane on the inside of lapped traffic granted Heuser the advantage. He would maintain a two car-length leverage coming to ten laps to go.
The top two in points both suffered severe devastation towards the end of the event. Points leader Johnny Reed Foley and Matt Raboin went for a spin with 62 laps to go. Miraculously, Foley was able to power his way through the field and finish 11th despite minor damage to the right side. Raboin would finish 17th. Tony Pizzaro was able to stalemate Foley atop the points while cruising along in 7th late. Unfortunately, Alex Crapser blew a tire directly in front and the Fenway Frank machine slammed into him, darting his Fusion into the outside wall. Both drivers would drop outside of the top-20 after excellent top-10 runs. This would also bring the event to a close with two laps remaining.
We are halfway through the season with several contenders behind the 8-ball. Former Champions Ken Pettit, Tim McDonnell and Ryan Heuser linger outside the top-25 in points while Jimmie Stevens, Bink Lucas and Cristian Torres find themselves within a race-distance away from the chase. It's a high intensity battle for the Championship lead with Johnny Reed Foley atop for the first time in years. Tim McDonnell handing everything from their Championship running stable is paying off for Foley, while McDonnell looks to be turning the tide with five top-16 finishes in his last 6 events. These two will qualify second and third on the grid. Two-time winner in the last three events Ryan Heuser is mired back in 31st, easily his worst start of the season. Rick Jackson will lead the field to the green. His cousin Scott won this event last season and looks to battle back after two straight finishes outside of the top-30. Can Scott, Rick, or John Battista finally crack the win column? Can Tony Pizzaro take back the points lead? Will Steven Spears battle for the win again at his most dominating racetrack? The answers will be told at Chicagoland!
Current Points Positions 1. Johnny Reed Foley: +262 2. Tony Pizzaro: +240 3. Craig Lee: +213 4. Zach Michael: +167 5. Dave Miller: +161 6. Rick Jackson: +145 7. Matthew Dominique: +120 8. Zakk Miller: +91 9. Alex Crapser: +4 10. Jimmie Stevens: +2 ----------------------------------- 11. John Tharp: -2 12. John Battista: -10 13. Scott Jackson: -66 14. Bill Werkheiser: -98 15. Bink Lucas: -110 16. Donald Stewart: -124 17. Markell Murphy: -139 18. Cristian Torres: -171
We will see a change for the points lead when this event is said and done. 42 drivers come into Daytona with the hopes of building momentum for the final 9-race stretch and bring the Championship trophy a step closer to the homeland. 160 laps of high-intensity action at 200+ MPH doesn't play well with some of the contenders. It thrives for Johnny Reed Foley and Rick Jackson, looking to continue each of their top-10 streaks with a victory tonight.
Ryan Heuser starts on the pole for the first time this season. This statistic is surprising considering his 7th place average starting position in 2022. He would lead the first 7 laps before Johnny Reed Foley draft-trained his way around with the help of William Perry. Foley, Randy Dobbins and Zach Michael would each swap the top-spot during the first 25 circuits.
The frontstretch grandstands were witness to severe devastation on lap 26. Slumping points leader Tony Pizzaro made contact with Markell Murphy during a four-wide scramble for the 6th position. Pizzaro flew through the infield and almost pulverized the pace car, slamming hard into the inside wall with the left front of his Fusion. The accident would inevitably back him up to second in the standings, finishing last and going a fourth-straight event without a lap led.
Despite the severity of the crash the race remained green. Ken Pettit and Logan Sheets alternated the lead, though Foley would be the primary mainstay through lap 44. Ryan Heuser would nab the vanguard and lead all but one lap before green flag pit stops commensed on lap 50.
After the stops only five cars remained in the lead pack for the second run. Craig Lee dominated the entirety of it, gaining ten full seconds on the second pack in 40 laps of action. The field was separated into three packs through the halfway mark, with Scott Drake, Matt Raboin, Dalton Lucas, Matthew Dominique, Adam Crapser and Geno Sphere all losing the field and falling one lap down. John Tharp fell from 8th to 11th in points by the race's end after a blown right rear tire.
A debris caution on lap 94 brought the field to a hault for the first time all night. Lee would lead the halfway bonus money and commanded the field to the re-green. David Butterworth, John Battista and Michael Henson all took their turns at the front as Lee dissipated in horsepower. Donald Stewart and Tim McDonnell grabbed their bonus bucks as well before Lee and Michael Henson tag-teamed back to the lead.
A pinnacle three-wide move by Ryan Heuser on lap 114 set the standard for three-wide lead changes during the later laps. John Battista would make the same move one lap later, looking strong in hopes of finally capturing his first victory of the season. Donald Stewart sat atop the heap for five laps as well.
The best action of the night occurred with less than 40 laps to go as Tim McDonnell and Zach Michael engineered intensity at the front. Craig Lee re-took the lead on lap 125, with him and Michael Henson dominating the show as we headed for the final green flag stops. Henson has had a god-send season so far after clawing his way back into the top-35 in points after Martinsville. He could very well win his first event since Bristol of 2017.
Fate would strike with 24 laps to go with a crash taking out Michael Henson and over a dozen other racecars. Zach Michael and Dakota Wilkins tagged on the exit of turn 4 and flew up the racetrack, knocking Steven Spears head-on into the outside wall with the rest of the pack. John Battista and John Tharp slid across the top of the racetrack, diving down into Henson while Donald Stewart and Dalton Lucas failed to avoid Spears from behind. The entire track was blocked from there. Alan Nesfeder, Scott Jackson, Randy Dobbins and Jimmie Stevens all wrecked attempting to avoid the excessive carnage, while Bink Lucas demolished and flipped Champion Ken Pettit, stopping right-side-up against the commitment cone. In total, 17 cars were involved in the accident with 11 unable to continue.
The restart saw Markell Murphy and Johnny Reed Foley up at the front attempting to stretch the fuel. They would agonizingly fail to reach the miracle, stopping for gas and letting Cristian Torres lead the pack with 15 laps to go. Zakk Miller had miraculously repaired
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Johnny Reed Foley climbs the ranks of Extravaganza glory, going from 10th to 2nd in the standings after six-straight top-10 finishes. He has accumulated 230 laps led during that span and has ben revitalized as arguably the most dominant driver in the series. Here are the other drivers amassing greatness over the same span:
Dominance Over Last Six Weeks 1. Johnny Reed Foley: 4.7 AFP, 230 laps led 2. Craig Lee: 8.3 AFP, 94 laps led 3. John Tharp: 8.5 AFP, 51 laps led 4. Zakk Miler: 8.5 AFP, 26 laps led
Daytona would normally even out the playing field and destroy one of these hot-streaks. In this case, these are the four drivers who have dominated recently at the beach. Foley, Lee and Tharp combined to have won 6 of the last 11 races here and look to continue their greatness at this facility. Rick Jackson, Ryan Heuser, Tony Pizzaro and Foley come in as the odds-on favorites for victory. Heuser will start on the pole. Tim McDonnell comes in as the fan favorite on the outside front-row, hoping to recapture his glory at the event that held his last win one year ago. Tim may have captured the flag two-years straight if not for a lap last accident with Dale Rosendaul in 2020. Good luck to all at Daytona!