Max Blair Dominates at Little Valley
by Dave Sully
LITTLE VALLEY, NY- Max Blair, from Centerville, PA, showed why he has
authored over 200 wins in his career, as he swept the Super Late Model
and Crate Late Model Features at Little Valley Speedway on Friday, June
9th before a dedicated following. The 27 year old son of long time Super
Late driver Robbie Blair, a many time winner himself, took home $3,558
for his night's work.
Blair started eighth in the 13 car, 25 lap Super Late Feature, but was
on the prowl early, moving into third by the fourth lap, while veteran
Bump Hedman drove out to a seemingly commanding lead. While Blair's trip
to third went quickly, his ascension to second was a little more
problematical, as he ran into stiff resistance from long time Little
Valley competitor, Dutch Davies. Hounding Davies both high and low it
took seven laps before he was able to complete the pass for the
runner-up spot, ultimately driving around Davies on the outside in the
often treacherous turn two. Blair allowed, “There wasn't much room when
I got to one. I ended up way above the cushion. I thought it was going
to hurt me, but it launched me through the center of the corner. I had
such a run. I got pretty lucky there.”
From there, the obviously faster Blair quickly ran down Hedman, driving
past him for the lead two laps later. By lap 17, he had built nearly a
straightway lead and he cruised to the win. Davies. who claimed second
from Hedman late, finished second, with heat winner Greg Oakes, and Chad
Valone rounding out the top five.
Blair offered, “I love racing here. That has a lot to do with it. When I
come here, I want to win more than anywhere else.”
The 25 lap Crate Late Model Feature was the Duclon Memorial, named for
famed car builder Mike Duclon, originally scheduled for the May 28th
opener, which was rained out. Starting on the outside pole, Blair
blasted into the lead at the drop of the green and was never challenged,
easily managing a lap six caution and opening a straightaway lead at the
checkered flag. Heat winner Brad Mesler finished second, while Jeremy
Wonderling made a determined run from tenth to finish third. John Waters
and Jason Knowles rounded out the top five.
Commenting on his dominance Blair gave credit to his father, noting, “It
doesn't hurt to have Rob Blair in my corner. He's one of the smartest
people in this sport. That's where it's at, right there.”
The 25 lap E-Mod Feature was the Randy Bradley Memorial, named for the
long time driver and dedicated car owner, whose family helped make it
one of the highest paying E-Mod races in the area- $2,000 to win. After
a first lap mishap eliminated one of the potential favorites, Dan
Davies, Joel Watson took the early lead, with former Super Late star,
David Scott, who famously won nine straight SLM Features at the speedway
some years ago, moving into second on lap two.
Scott hounded Watson for seven laps before easing into the lead inside
in turn four. He then opened a good lead, when suddenly on lap 15, his
car suddenly slowed, allowing Watson to close dramatically. Watson drove
past Scott to take the lead before Scott righted the ship and retook the
top spot. Scott explained, “When I got in the ripples, the car would
stall. It would just stop running. It'd take sixty to seventy feet
before it would start running again. I thought I had a pretty good lead
before Joel drove by and I thought I can't let this happen.”
Once ensconced back in the lead, Scott, from Garland, PA, went on to the
win, easily weathering two cautions along the way. Watson settled for
second, with Vic Vena, who came from eleventh to claim the hard charger”
award, finishing third. Tim Peterson and Al Brewer completed the top
Scott, who struggled in his heat race, offered. We didn't change
anything for the feature. I figured I drove around this place enough
that I'd figure out a way to get around here pretty good. The track was
good. You could race all over that thing. He added, “I've known Randy
(Bradley) for a long time, so this race is pretty special to me because
we were fairly close friends.”
Finally, Vic Vena, from Portville, won an abbreviated 12 lap Pro Mod
Feature over Nate Hartzell. The race drew a disappointing five cars. The
class, featuring a crate motor and operating under RUSH rules, had hoped
for a better turnout and looks for improvement in the future.
NOTES: The weather, which has plagued the speedway for several years,
costing the track more than half its shows, finally yielded a beautiful
night for racing...................The hope is that the weather
cooperates on Monday, July 3rd, when the track will present its most
diverse racing card ever, the traditional Freedom Daze Special,
sponsored by Media One Group. Along with its signature Super Late
Models, the Crate Late Models, the BRP Big Block Modified Series, back
after a long absence, the Modified Sportsman with their first appearance
with the Bellinger Electric Lightning Series, and the Street Stocks will
comprise the ambitious card.
Super Late Models: (25 laps) – 1. Max Blair, 2. Dutch Davies, 3.
Bump Hedman, 4. Greg Oakes, 5. Chad Valone, 6. John Lobb, 7. Chris
Hackett, 8. Nathan Hill, 9. Dave Dubois, 10. Mike Wonderling, 11. Terry
Porter, 12. John Lacki, and 13. Damien Bidwell DNS: Bobby Rohrer. Heat
winners were Blair and Oakes.
Crate Late Models: (25 laps) – 1. Max Blair, 2. Brad Mesler, 3.
Jeremy Wonderling, 4. John Waters, 5. Jason Knowles, 6. Paul Grigsby, 7.
Chad Valone, 8. Bill Holmes, 9. Wyatt Scott, 10. Steve LeBarron, 11.
John Haggerty, 12. Erin Peters, 13. DJ Krug, 14. Zack Wiech, and 15.
Chad Silleman. Heat winners were Mesler and Blair.
E-Mods: (25 laps) – 1. David Scott, 2. Joel Watson, 3. Vic Vena,
4. Tim Rockwell, 5. Tim Peterson, 6. Al Brewer, 7. Jeff Johnson, 8. Kirk
Bradley, 9. Mike McGee, 10. John Woodward, 11. Kyle Bedell, 12. and 12.
Dan Davies. DNS: Mike Potosky. Heat winners were Watson and Bradley.
Pro Mods: (12 laps) – 1. Vic Vena, 2. Nate Hartzell, 3. Steve
Dixon, and 4. Chad Silleman. DNS: Kevin Ruhlman. Heat winner was Dixon.