It is the dream of every open cockpit racer in the Northeast and beyond to win at the famed Williams Grove Speedway.
PJ Gargiulo fulfilled that dream on Friday night – opening night of PA Speed Weeks – when he captured the win in the twenty lap feature for the wingless midgets of the American Racing Drivers Club. (ARDC)
“I’ve dreamt of winning here for so long,,” Gargiulo exclaimed in Victory Lane. Gargiulo, who has fond memories of first coming to Williams Grove at the age of five or six, got to see those memories through the eyes of his nephew, Jo-Jo who was on hand for his uncle’s big win. It brought Gargiulo’s dream full circle, remembering his thougths when he was his nephew’s age.
“This place (the Grove) is just incredible,” Gargiulo stated. “When I first joined the club (ARDC) and saw Williams Grove on the schedule – the thought just gave me the chills!”
Brett Wanner and Jim Radney led the ARDC field to the green flag with Wanner moving out in front on the start. Radney dropped into second but was quickly replaced by Hyper Racing team mate, Ryan Greth half way through lap number one. Greth moved in to challenge Wanner for the lead but Wanner held his ground and the top spot. Gargiulo moved up to third and closed the gap on Greth. Gargiulo made several attempts on Greth in the corners on lap four but Greth was able to hold off his advances.
With five laps scored, Wanner led Greth, Gargiulo, Brett Arndt and Tim Buckwalter.
It became a three way race for the lead between Wanner, Greth and Gargiulo. On lap six. Gargiulo dropped to the bottom of the track to move ahead of Greth. Going into turns one and two, Gargiulo poked the nose of the Speer’s Oil #5 to the inside of Wanner. Wanner opened the door and Gargiulo went into the lead as the field exited turn two.
Gargiulo put some distance on his competition as Greth ran second, ahead of Wanner. Tim Buckwalter went to the top of the track to make his way to the front, picking up the third spot on lap eight.
The caution came out on lap ten when Trevor Kobylarz spun after having a tire go down. Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. headed to the pits under the caution after coming to a stop on the track. Gargiulo led Greth, T Buckwalter, Arndt and Wanner on the restart as 2014 ARDC Champion, Steven Drevicki battled with Nick Wean just outside the top five.
Tim Buckwalter went to the outside of Greth to take over second one lap past the half way point. On lap twelve, T Buckwalter ran into problems as he caught the cushion in turn four and went for a wild ride in the Heffner #27. After going over several times, Buckwalter came down the race track where he made contact with Greth and Wanner who were running third and fourth at the time. The impact caused Greth to get upside down as well. All drivers were okay. Wanner attempted to restart but headed to the pits before the green flag.
Gargiulo went back to work and concentrated on hitting his marks as the laps counted down. The battle was on for second as Arndt and Drevicki raced side by side, lap after lap, with Arndt maintaining his advantage.
When the checkered flag waved, Gargiulo drove to the win followed by Arndt, Drevicki, Wean and Radney.
Qualifying heats were won by Tim Buckwalter and Nick Wean.
ARDC moves into the holiday weekend with two nights of racing. On Friday night, ARDC returns to Linda’s Speedway for the running of the “No Bull 25” in honor of six time ARDC Champion, Ray Bull. After an exciting season opener at Linda’s, many are looking forward to the return of the midgets to the Jonestown, PA track. On Saturday night, ARDC makes it first over appearance at Lanco’s Clyde Martin Speedway to celebrate the Fourth of July. For many of the competitors, this weekend marks the return to speedways that they know well from their days in Micro Sprint competition.
FEATURE RESULTS (20 LAPS)
1. PJ Gargiulo, 2. Brett Arndt, 3. Steven Drevicki, 4. Nick Wean, 5. Jim Radney, 6. Shawn Jackson, 7. Jamie Spears, 8. Brett Wanner, 9. Tim Buckwalter, 10. Ryan Greth, 11. Bruce Buckwalter, Jr., 12. Trevor Kobylarz DNS – Jason Rice