NEW ARDC CHAMPION CLOSES SEASON WITH A WIN
It was the final race of the season for the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) as the wingless midgets competed as just one of the five divisions in the final Thunder on the Hill event of 2014 at the Grandview Speedway.
Steven Drevicki had already clinched the 2014 ARDC Championship prior to the final event. With the title in hand, Drevicki was now free to race on the final night and not be concerned about points. Drevicki took full advantage of the opportunity and it paid dividends for the first time champion.
“I’m really looking forward to racing at Grandview this weekend,” Drevicki related in the days prior to the final race. “By clinching the title after Path Valley, I can go into Grandview to race for the win and not have to worry about the points.” With the Grandview Speedway just a short distance from his Reading, PA home, Drevicki was anxious to pick up his first win at his home track.
Timed warm-ups determined the top twelve fastest for the final race with those twelve drivers then drawing for their starting positions. Brenden Bright has the fastest time. Drevicki timed fifth quick and then drew the pole for the start of the twenty-five lap main event.
In spite of his pole position start, Drevicki still had his work cut out for him. Alex Bright, with five ARDC feature wins to his credit, started outside pole in the Mike Heffner owned #27.
Drevicki took the lead at the wave of the green with Alex Bright right on his tail. Billy Pauch Jr., driving a team car to Drevicki, powered past PJ Gargiulo to take over third following a lap four restart. Pauch Jr. made a three car race for the lead as Gargiulo, Ryan Watt, 2013 ARDC Champion, Trevor Kobylarz and Brenden Bright followed.
Brett Arndt lost power as the field headed down the homestretch to complete lap eleven and then needed a caution when he and Ryan Greth tangled between turns one and two.
Following the single file restart, Drevicki held a car length or two lead over Alex Bright who was now fending off the challenges of Pauch Jr. for second. Gargiulo and Kobylarz rounded out the top five with plenty of action to follow among the likes of Brenden Bright, Danny Stratton, Watt, Tim Buckwalter and Jim Radney.
Stratton had just broken into the top five when driveline issues sent him pit side. Brenden Bright was also sidelined with a flat tire with just nine laps remaining.
With plenty of pressure coming from Pauch for second, Drevicki was able to pull away from his rivals in the final laps. Pauch used a slide job to pass Alex Bright for second as they raced in turn three but Bright returned the favor in the next corner and regained the position.
Drevicki led the way to the checkered, adding a third win to his championship season and his first ever at the Grandview Speedway. Alex Bright finished second with Pauch, Jr. taking third. Kobylarz finished fourth with Gargiulo rounding out the top five.
The win also gave Drevicki the win in the Hilbert on the Hill Challenge sponsored by Bob Hilbert Sportswear. Drevicki will be awarded 100 Express White shirts for his team at the upcoming ARDC banquet in November.
FEATURE (25 LAPS) 1. #19 Steven Drevicki, 2. #27 Alex Bright, 3. #28 Billy Pauch, 4. #1 Trevor Kobylarz, 5. #5 PJ Gargiulo, 6. #52 Tim Buckwalter, 7. #95 Jim Radney, 8. #20 Ryan Watt, 9. #83 Bruce Buckwalter, Jr., 10. #8 Kyle Lick, 11. #54 Austin Burke, 12. #97 Tyler Brehm, 13. #78 Nick Wean, 14. #33 Danny Straton, 15. #92 Brenden Bright, 16. #46 Brett Arndt, 17. #4 Ryan Greth, 18. #44 Brett Wanner, 19. #7 Shawn Jackson, 20. #21 Thomas Kunsman, 21. #75 Billy Courtwight