Soon after Tim Buckwalter captured the 2012 American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) Championship, he announced his plans to compete on the Pennsylavania Small Block Modified Circuit. The Grandview Speedway has become the second generation racer’s Saturday night home and just maybe, all those laps logged on Grandview’s third mile paid off in dividends for Buckwalter as he captured his second ARDC Midget win of the season in one of the wildest finishes in recent memory.
Tommy Kunsman and Ryan Greth led the starting field to the wave of the green flag with Kunsman jumping out in front for the first two laps. PJ Gargiulo quickly moved up to take second after starting in seventh with just one lap scored. Gargiulo took over the lead on lap three. Tim Buckwalter closed in on Gargiulo as the two drivers crossed the start/finish line side by side to complete lap five. Buckwalter moved ahead in turn one to take the lead on lap six.
Nick Wean also made his way by Gargiulo on lap six as Buckwalter led Wean and Gargiulo. Two laps later, Gargiulo had plenty of company as Danny Stratton and 2014 ARDC Champion, Steven Drevicki closed in to challenge for the third spot. Brett Wanner, the feature winner in ARDC’s last event, brought the yellow out as he came to a stop on the homestretch with mechanical issues.
Buckwalter was able to pull away from the field on the subsequent restart as Stratton closed in on Gargiulo around the half way mark. Wean began to show some muscle as he moved in on Buckwalter but a slip on lap sixteen allowed Gargiulo to take over second. Wean came back one lap later to regain the spot.
With just five laps remaining, everyone got serious as Wean closed in on Buckwalter and Stratton pressured Gargiulo for position.
The leaders took the two to go sign with Wean right on Buckwalter’s tail. As the leaders ran through turns one and two, they closed in on the back of the field as Brian Gilmore loomed on their radar. It was the final lap and both Buckwalter and Wean needed to decide what route to take around the slower car. Everyone held their positions as they raced down the backstretch. Gilmore opened up the bottom of the track, allowing Buckwalter to go to the inside to make his pass. Buckwalter pulled even with Gilmore but just the slightest of hesitations allowed Wean the opportunity to stake his claim. Buckwalter and Wean raced into turn four with Wean moving to the bottom of the track to make his move. Contact was made between the two leaders. Buckwalter spun counter clockwise and up the track while Wean got out of shape on the bottom by the gurardrail. Buckwalter spun the car around and continued as Gargiulo shot through the opening ahead of Wean. Buckwalter got to the checkered flag first but the margin was narrowing as Gargiulo was quick to react. Wean made it to the line to take third with Stratton finishing fourth and Drevicki rounding out the top five.
After a long battle, Brenden Bright won the race for sixth followed by Tony DiMattia, Bruce Buckwalter, Jr., Trevor Kobylarz and Shawn Jackson.
Wean set fast time during timed warm-ups. He was the only ARDC competitor to break the fifteen second mark. Wean was also the Bob Hilbert Hard Charger recipient after he advanced from his eleventh place start to finish second.
Next event on the ARDC schedule is the Eastern Storm at the Grandview Speedway on Tuesday, June 2nd.
FEATURE (25 LAPS)
1. Tim Buckwalter 2. PJ Gargiulo 3. Nick Wean 4. Danny Stratton 5. Steven Drevicki 6. Brenden Bright 7. Tony DiMattia 8. Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. 9. Trevor Kobylarz 10. Shawn Jackson 11. Ryan Greth 12. Troy Betts 13. Brian Gilmore 14. PJ Pavlick 15. Austin Burke 16. Tommy Kunsman 17. Brett Wanner 18. Jim Jackson 19. Brett Arndt 20. Jim Radney DNS – Billy Courtwright