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Racing recap: Cavalcade Weekend

Racing recap: Cavalcade Weekend

Surgener, Rudzik, L. Ripley, Urdiales, T. Ripley, and Johnson Win Big Money at Cavalcade!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Barberton Speedway: After a long season of points racing, testing, tuning, slaving over hot uncooperative cars, and testing one’s automotive knowledge to its limits, it was time for one of the most favored events of the season. The season ending Cavalcade of Drivers was upon Barberton Speedway and everyone was ready to go out and win the big prizes that came with their respective divisions. On the line was simply money and pride. No points, no worries about ‘what would happen next week if I mess up this week?’, just some fun flat out racing over three days. Between Saturday and Sunday’s races, many drivers stayed in the pits and enjoyed the company of their peers throughout the night. It’s true, Cavalcade is truly a holiday in the racing world, and winning this one would be the ultimate gift!

The first to cash in on a win was Mason Surgener in the Bandoleros. The 2019 points champion wanted redemption for a blown motor in the season-ending race and set out to win it all this weekend. Starting off with the heat win on Saturday, Surgener was primed to get to the front. With a small field of Bandoloeros, anyone had a shot at winning. Rookie Ryan Likens brought the field to green but was quickly overtaken by Michigan standout Joel Smith. Smith would lead the race’s first seven laps until his car began to develop a push on corner exit. Surgener, who had made some bold three-wide passes to get to 2nd on track, took advantage of the push and passed Smith just before the race’s first and only yellow. On the restart, Surgener powered away from his competition as Madison Lengyel passed her way through the field to get to 2nd on track behind Surgener. Lengyel gave chase to Mason but the laps were running out. Surgener would run off with the race and sweep the weekend as Lengyel would come home in 2nd place. Surgener stated that he is likely moving on next year to pursue bigger races and will likely not be able to run for points next year at Barberton but he stated that he will still like to come and race when he has time.

Greg Rudzik made it the ‘Michigan Sweep’ as he brought home the Legend feature win on Cavalcade weekend. After coming home 3rd to Derik Gacom in Saturday’s heat race action, Rudzik adjusted his hotrod to do battle Sunday. When the green flag flew, Chuck Witt and Gacom brought the race to speed and the action was intense from the get-go. Witt and Gacom didn’t give an inch and the duo ran hard side by side. Behind them, a Talladega-style pack of three and four wide racing followed with almost no issue. The first issue came when Rudzik, Dan Shively, and Anthony Price all checked up in turn three. Rudzik spun, Shively and Price collided, and the yellow flew. From there, the race tamed down a little as drivers caught their breath. On the restart, Bandolero champion Cris Breads worked through to take the lead from Gacom and he set sail in clean air as the race leader as positions behind him swapped. His lead would last seven laps until Rudzik would eventually catch and pass Breads. As Rudzik set out in clean air, the race’s second yellow would fly for a spin. Rudzik would survive everyone’s shot taken at him over the last four laps and would take home the win in the Legend feature!

The Monte Carlos and Malibus of the Street Stock division took to the track and Modified-standout Lucas Ripely bested them all! After coming home third to Steve Mowery in the slow heat, Ripley went to work on his car. With the field of eighteen separated by less than eight-tenths of a second, track position was key! Ripley would take the lead on lap one of the event as cars shifted and shuffled behind him for valuable position. On lap three, Steve Mowery would challenge Ripley for the lead, but Ripley would hold true up front. On lap seven, Jeff Kuykendall would take a shot at Ripely for the lead, but mechanical problems would take him out of the feature just a lap later. Mowery would power back by Kuykendall’s ailing car and set his sights on Ripley once again. On lap ten, Mowery finally wrestled the lead from the #67 of Ripley and led two laps until Josh Way would sneak past him for the lead. Way, the 2015 Cavalcade winner set his sights on clean air and looked unbeatable until an incident involving him, Mowery, and Ripley sent him to the back. This would move Mowery and Ripley back to the front just before halfway. From halfway to the end, it was a slugfest as Mowery and Ripley would take shots at the front. The duo became a trio with ten laps to go as 2019 champion Cyler Bertram found his way to the front duo. Bertram would get one shot at Ripley, but Ripley was too strong. As Ripley began to pull away with eight laps to go, Bertram and Mowery could only watch as Ripley grew his lead to half the back stretch. Ripley would bring home the win and celebrate with his crew.

On hand next was the much-anticipated Late Model feature and Tony Urdiales went back-to-back winning this year’s event. When the green flag flew, young phenom Dave Kalb Jr. sped past polesitter Dino Campolito to take the lead on the event’s first lap. Kalb looked unbeatable as 2011 champion of the division Jesse Adams worked Kalb over for many laps. The two would run side-by-side for several laps until a lap ten caution gave Adams the advantage on the restart. Adams would speed to the front and Kalb would fall back to third as Gary Whipkey would pass him for second. Whipkey and Adams began working one another over but the two would make contact. Adams and Whipkey would spin in front of the whole field and an astounding seven cars would be involved in the melee. The race was halted and crews and fellow drivers assisted everyone who went pitside for repairs. Amazingly, every driver who went pitside was able to continue, granted they looked a little worse for the wear. On the restart after the field was re-racked with Whipkey and pitted cars starting toward the back, Tony Urdiales sped around Kalb to take the lead. As Urdiales led, several competitors would go pitside as their equipment was unable to continue against the rigors of the 50-lap Cavalcade event. Urdiales, on cruise control, found his mirror filling up with a familiar sight as Gary Whipkey was able to work from last to 2nd and was quickly tracking Urdiales down. Urdiales pulled into gear and the duo began to slug it out for the feature win with twenty laps to go. Urdiales ran offense most of the battle as Whipkey had to carefully work Urdiales so as to not hit him. With five laps to go, Urdiales began to lose brakes a little, giving Whipkey an advantage. Whipkey used the final few laps to set up a pass, but going into turn one on the final lap, Whipkey had to get on the binders to not hit Urdiales, giving advantage to Urdiales. Urdiales would lead the final lap take home the win by less than a quarter of a car length over Whipkey!

Fans gathered their breath and then gasped as the large Modified field pulled onto the track. They were treated to a father-son battle of the ages as Todd Ripley would best his son Lucas. When the green flag flew for this race, Ron Ridenour and Mike Walsh would run side by side for the lead but the race would quickly come to a halt as four cars came together off of turn two on lap one. With a quick cleanup came a quick return to action and Ridenour and Walsh continued their battle on the next restart. On lap two, Lucas Ripley would work past both drivers and take the lead of the event. As he checked out, Bob Page and Todd Ripley worked forward and found their cars in 2nd and 3rd spot after ten laps. After a spin between Roger Miller and Sam Bigham slowed the pace and brought the field back in touch with Ripley, the race resumed on lap eleven. Page would give way to the elder Ripley for second and watch as father and son battled on track. Todd worked Lucas over lap after lap but could never get the bite off the corner. Just as it looked that Lucas would be able to set the cruise control on this race, another yellow for a spin by Norm Taylor on lap eighteen gave Todd the chance he needed. On the restart, Todd powered past Lucas and began logging laps in clean air. The lead would be short-lived as Lucas would power past father Todd on the outside on a restart just past halfway. Lucas’ lead was short lived as well as Todd rallied back and passed his son on lap 30, this time for good! Todd began running off with the feature race as Lucas ended up having to battle with 2015 Cavalcade winner Norm Taylor. This was Todd’s 2nd win of the year, with the other coming at MIdvale just before midseason. This was also his first Cavalcade win as Lucas had bested him last year.

The call was made and all 30 drivers who made the call for the Compact feature would run one event, and ‘Big Money’ Erik Johnson bested his 29 colleagues. When the green flag flew, Scott Kitchen, 2018’s most improved driver, showed why he won that award. As he led the early part of the race, several top competitors would fall pitside with mechanical failures from contact on the tight quarters of Barberton. Kitchen and Dan Buckey ran side by side for much of the opening ten laps until they were both overtaken in a dazzlingly bold three-wide pass by 2018 champion Sheldon Sommers. Sommers would lead as Buckey and Kitchen fell back a couple spots. While Sommers led, it was Tim Likens working toward the front. After starting 8th, Likens was in 2nd behind Sommers. After the two battled, Likens took advantage of lap traffic to take the lead from Sommers and set his #14 Cavalier in clean air. A caution for a spin by Chase Skeens brought the field back to Sommers and leader Likens. On the restart, Sommers and Likens continued their fight for the front but they had a rear bumper full of Erik Johnson. Johnson had survived much of the early melee and was poised to make his way to the front. Just past halfway, Johnson passed Sommers for second, three laps later, he would best Likens for the lead. As he led, Sommers and 2019 Midvale season champion Kyle Finlayson began battling for 2nd. The duo became a trio when Mike Scott worked his red #117 into the picture. The three heavyweight drivers battled in hopes they could get second and set their sights on the Painesville standout Johnson, but laps ran out. Johnson took the win after commanding much of the second half of the race. He would close out the decade by being the last driver of this decade to hoist hardware in victory lane.

The 2019 Cavalcade ended the season and the decade in a grand fashion and many fans and drivers are already excited to see what the 2020 decade has in store for Barberton Speedway. Who will be the first to win a race and kick off the 2020 decade the right way? We will see! One thing is for sure, we here at Barberton Speedway can not do it without the support of everyone. Whether you’re a proud ticket-holder, a driver, crew member, employee, or simply good for sharing our articles, pictures, and events on Facebook, everyone plays an integral part in the continued success of Barberton Speedway. We thank each and every one of you from the bottom of our hearts and can not put into words how important each and every person is who enters our gates. You fans, drivers, crew, staff, and supporters make the show. While we here have a little quarter mile track in Norton, Ohio, it takes people to make it go from a track to something much more magical than that. Many great drivers have won thanks to the support of everyone, and some winners have gone on to do great things in the ranks of NASCAR and other highly-regarded forms of motorsports. Weather the week goes well or not for a driver, fan, employee, or supporter, it’s the journey that counts and you never know when history will be made! Because of that, we thank you for always being there with us. We look forward to the next decade and look forward to seeing many new winners! Who knows, we might have another Jeff Gordon or Dale Earnhardt in our field! Regardless, thank you, everyone! You mean a ton. Come celebrate our season ending banquet on January 11, 2020 and we look forward to seeing what magic awaits the next decade!

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