Holtgraver & Stewart Share The Spotlight As Attica Celebrates 25th Anniversary
By Brian Liskai – Attica Raceway Park Public Relations
(Attica, OH) Attica Raceway Park is quickly becoming one of Danny Holtgraver’s favorite tracks. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania resident passed Dale Blaney with two laps to go in the Kistler Racing Products Fremont/Attica Sprint Title (FAST) feature to score the win in the first of two 25-lap features on the Eric Phillips 25th Anniversary Classic. In the second feature, Bixby, Oklahoma’s Shane Stewart held off a charging rookie D.J. Foos to score his third career win at the track on American Powersports/Sutton Bank Night.
In the first of the 25-lap features (which counted as a full points race), Holtgraver, who scored his first career UNOH All Star win at Attica last year, led early, but lost the lead to Blaney with 10 laps to go as they raced in lapped traffic. But, a red flag with five laps to go gave Holtgraver a chance to regroup and he drove to the top edge of the track when the green flew and battled with Blaney until driving by on lap 23 and went on to score his second career victory at “Ohio’s Finest Racing” speed plant.
“When Dale drove by me I just tried to stay calm. I guess the whole time I really wasn’t running the top hard enough. I kind of just said screw it on the restart cause I had to..it was going to be my only shot. And when he went back to the bottom I found out the top was going to hold me. I couldn’t tell racing if I could trust it at first, but it worked out,” said Holtgraver in the Engine Pro Victory Lane beside his Rob Hunter/Bryan Grove owned machine. “I have to thank Canton Erectors, Berlin Natural Bakery, Classic Ink, DKW Transport, Kistler Engines, J&J Racing and VRP Shocks.”
In the second 25-lap feature (which was a non-points race), Stewart, aboard the Joe Gaerte #3G, would lead all the way, but it wasn’t easy. Foos, who charged from 18th starting spot to a fifth place finish in the first feature, would drive into second on lap five after a spirited battle with Greg Wilson, and with eight laps to go was closing quickly on Stewart. But, a caution with six laps to go gave Stewart the break he needed as he drove to the victory.
“I can’t thank Joe (Gaerte) and Tim (Norman) and Cindy enough for working hard for me and putting me in this race car. It’s one of the four, five, six or seven I’m going to be in this summer. Very thankful to be the pilot of that thing. It’s a brand new Cool chassis which are made in Australia and a lot of people aren’t familiar with them,” said Stewart of his Gaerte Engines/XYZ Machining/Red Line Oil/All Star Performance backed machine.
“We made a lot of whole sale changes after the first A-main and track position was huge. The way the top got cleaned off…just starting on the front row was definitely vital. Everyone did their job and I didn’t run off the race track. That kid in the 53 (Foos) was fast all night and it’s good to see all the young kids. The sport just keeps getting younger and younger and the future looks pretty bright. I’m proud I can still have people like this call me and have me run their car. You will see me quite a bit around here this summer…here and Fremont and we are going to try and do Ohio speedweek. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to victory lane here. I was telling the guys earlier I let one of the Brad Doty Classics slip away on the last lap to Danny Smith. It’s always great to win here,” added Stewart.
In the first 25-lap 410 feature, it was Holtgraver and Bryan Sebetto who brought the field to the green, with Holtgraver rocketing into the lead. Cap Henry would spin after a lap was complete and when the green flew again, Holtgraver would continue to lead as Brandon Martin, sporting a paint scheme similar to the legendary Mark Keegan X car, would drive into second. After a lap three caution, Holtgraver would drive away again with Martin, Sebetto, Blaney, Brad Bowman, Stewart and Craig Mintz in tow. With five laps in, all eyes were on Foos who had moved from his 18th starting position to 8th.
The top four would remain Holtgraver, Martin, Sebetto and Blaney as they raced into heavy lapped traffic by the 13th circuit. Martin would pressure Holtgraver as Blaney closed. Blaney would grab second on lap 14 and drive under Holtgraver for the lead a circuit later. Sebetto would take third from Martin on lap 17 with defending track champion Mintz moving into fifth on lap 17, ahead of Stewart and Foos.
With five laps to go, Travis Philo would get upside down, collecting Henry. When the green reappeared, Holtgraver jumped to the high side challenged Blaney for the lead while Sebetto, Martin, Mintz, Foos and Stewart gave chase. Blaney and Holtgraver would race side by side over the next two laps before Holtgraver executed his winning high side move on lap 23 to take the lead. Holtgraver went on to the victory over Blaney, Sebetto, Mintz and Foos.
The top eight finishers were inverted for the second 25 laps feature after Holtgraver drew a card. That put Greg Wilson and Stewart on the front row. When the green flew Stewart quickly grabbed the lead over Wilson with Foos driving into third over Blaney, Martin, Sebetto and Holtgraver. Henry would bring out the caution on lap five just as Foos grabbed second from Wilson. On the restart Blaney would drive into third, but he and Wilson waged a tremendous battle over the next several laps until the caution flew for a Cole Duncan spin on lap 9.
Stewart was able to get great restarts and pulled away slightly from Foos with Wilson, Blaney, Martin, Mintz, Caleb Griffith and Sebetto in tow. With 8 laps to go, Foos began chopping into Stewart’s lead a tenth of a second a lap and was within a car length of the leader when the caution flew for Mintz, who suffered a broken front suspension part with six laps to go.
Again Stewart would get a fantastic restart and pulled away for the win with Foos, Blaney, Martin and Wilson rounding out the top five. Foos would earn a $500 bonus from the Kistler Racing Products FAST Champion Series for having the highest average A-main finishing position among the FAST Series drivers.
Night #3: Kistler Racing Products F.A.S.T. Championship Series presented by KS Sales & Service
Attica Raceway Park – 5/17/12 – 410 Sprints (37 Cars)
Heat 1 (8 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 9-Dean Jacobs ; 2. 2-Dale Blaney ; 3. 11X-Brandon Martin ; 4. 32M-Tony Beaber ; 5. 29-Rob Chaney ; 6. 35-Stuart Brubaker ; 7. 22-Cole Duncan ; 8. 38-Dennis Wagner ; 9. 69-Scott Curren ; 10. 98-Robert Robenalt
Heat 2 (8 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 3G-Shane Stewart ; 2. 54-Cap Henry ; 3. 83-Tim Shaffer ; 4. W20-Greg Wilson ; 5. 14H-Todd Heller ; 6. 45L-Brian Lay ; 7. 2M-Dallas Hewitt ; 8. 27P-Paige Polyak ; 9. 39M-Matt Merrill
Heat 3 (8 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 5T-Travis Philo ; 2. O9-Craig Mintz ; 3. 55-Brad Bowman ; 4. 9Z-Duane Zablocki ; 5. 16-Chris Andrews ; 6. 2+-Brian Smith ; 7. 40-Caleb Helms ; 8. 5R-Byron Reed ; 9. 4-Danny Smith
Heat 4 (8 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 24H-Bryan Sebetto ; 2. 45-Danny Holtgraver ; 3. 9W-Brandon Wimmer ; 4. 40DD-Caleb Griffith ; 5. O-Justin Henderson ; 6. 53-DJ Foos ; 7. 97-Phil Gressman ; 8. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild ; 9. 11N-Ed Neumeister
B-Main #1 (10 Laps – Top 3 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 16-Chris Andrews ; 2. 29-Rob Chaney ; 3. 22-Cole Duncan ; 4. 35-Stuart Brubaker ; 5. 5R-Byron Reed ; 6. 4-Danny Smith ; 7. 40-Caleb Helms ; 8. 38-Dennis Wagner ; 9. 69-Scott Curren ; 10. 98-Robert Robenalt ; 11. 2+-Brian Smith
B-Main #2 (10 Laps – Top 3 finishers transfer to the A-feature)
1. 53-DJ Foos ; 2. 45L-Brian Lay ; 3. 14H-Todd Heller ; 4. 27P-Paige Polyak ; 5. O-Justin Henderson ; 6. 2M-Dallas Hewitt ; 7. 11N-Ed Neumeister ; 8. 39M-Matt Merrill ; 9. 97-Phil Gressman ; 10. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild
A-Main #1 (25 Laps)
1. 45-Danny Holtgraver; 2. 2-Dale Blaney; 3. 24H-Bryan Sebetto; 4. O9-Craig Mintz; 5. 53-DJ Foos; 6. 11X-Brandon Martin; 7. 3G-Shane Stewart; 8. W20-Greg Wilson; 9. 40DD-Caleb Griffith; 10. 16-Chris Andrews; 11. 9W-Brandon Wimmer; 12. 9-Dean Jacobs; 13. 55-Brad Bowman; 14. 83-Tim Shaffer; 15. 9Z-Duane Zablocki; 16. 45L-Brian Lay; 17. 22-Cole Duncan; 18. 14H-Todd Heller; 19. 29-Rob Chaney; 20. 54-Cap Henry; 21. 5T-Travis Philo; 22. 32M-Tony Beaber
Hard Charger: 53-DJ Foos[+13]
A-Main #2 (25 Laps)
1. 3G-Shane Stewart; 2. 53-DJ Foos; 3. 2-Dale Blaney; 4. 11X-Brandon Martin; 5. W20-Greg Wilson; 6. 45-Danny Holtgraver; 7. 40DD-Caleb Griffith; 8. 24H-Bryan Sebetto; 9. 9-Dean Jacobs; 10. 9Z-Duane Zablocki; 11. 32M-Tony Beaber; 12. 54-Cap Henry; 13. 9W-Brandon Wimmer; 14. 55-Brad Bowman; 15. 35-Stuart Brubaker; 16. 16-Chris Andrews; 17. 14H-Todd Heller; 18. O9-Craig Mintz; 19. 22-Cole Duncan; 20. 29-Rob Chaney; 21. 83-Tim Shaffer; 22. 45L-Brian Lay
Hard Charger: 32M-Tony Beaber[+10]