Bob Close, Nathan Short, Randy Hall and Pat McGuire Are Opening Night Winners at Stateline Speedway

By Glenn Slocum

    CloseWinClose.JPG (487638 bytes)     The air was cool but the racing hot as Stateline Speedway got its 2003 season underway.  Taking the inaugural feature wins of 2003 were Bob Close in the Super Late Models, Nathan Short in the Outlaw Cadets, Randy Hall in the E-Mods and Pat McGuire a double winner as he won the Limited Late feature and the Super Sportsman event. Tommy Fox and Barrett Brown won the spectator events. One hundred and thirty four cars were on hand with thirty-seven Super Late Models in attendance. The racing surface was smooth and very fast. The Super Late LMDriverWinSmall.jpg (47957 bytes)Model and Limited Late Model division ran their event in the “World War” format where the top three cars run alone for the final five laps. The story in the Super Late Models was the great run by Scott Johnson who gave veteran Bob Close a hard run for the first place money.

        Brian Crandall brought the first Spectator feature event of the 2003 season to the line, but it was Dana Wellington who led lap one with Crandall second and Rush Firestone third. Wellington lost the handle in turn one on lap two giving the lead to Crandall with Tommy Fox now second and Firestone third. A tractor tire pushed from the infield on to the speedway brought out the second yellow as Fox took the lead with Vic Earle moving to second and Crandall dropping to third. Crandall moved up to second with two to go. Fox won the event with Crandall second and Earle third.

        Feature number two for the Spectator division was brought to the speedway by Kevin Bremett who managed to lead lap one after which the yellow was shown for another tire on the speedway this time under the 40 car. Bremett remained in the lead on the restart with Paul Norman second and Nate Lester in third. Bremett smoked his engine as Norman and Chris Couchenour tangled on the back stretch allowing Barrett Brown the number one position with Ron Fish second and Joe Houser third. Brown won the race to turn one on the restart and led the field by straightaway to win the event with Brian Graham second and Nate Lester third.

        Greg Johnson was the early leader in the Outlaw Cadets with Phil Knight second and Terry Daniels third.  Nathan Short moved by the early leaders on lap five and two laps later Tom Norland hit the wall in turn three bringing out the first yellow of the event.  Short was still leading with Johnson second, Knight third and Ron Seeley fourth and Daniels fifth. Norland’s car sustained heavy right front damage and was towed from the speedway. Short nearly lost the lead on lap eight going wide in turn four but recovered retaining the lead. Knight lost the handle on lap ten for the second yellow allowing Seeley to move up to the third spot. Louie DeDionisio was now in the fourth spot and last years champ Jeff Van Arsdale fifth.  Short won going away with Johnson second, Seeley third and DeDionisio barley holding off Van Arsdale for fourth.

        Seventeen Super Late Models were relegated to the consolation event to vie for the last five starting spots. Doug Eck lead the first lap as Ward Schell had problems in turn three. Dave Shagla was second on the restart with Dave Hess Jr. third, Dave Norton fourth and George LaBarbera fifth. The yellow came out on the restart as Schell was in the wrong spot being collected Andy Boozell and Kelly Frederes in an accident on the back stretch. Eck retained the lead with Hess second then Jay Watson third. Watson moved to second then first by lap five as Eck faded to third. Moose Dunnewold spun on lap eleven as Watson lead followed by Hess, Eck, Shagla and Dave Norton in the last qualifying spot. The last five laps say fierce racing back in the pack as Watson cruised to the win. Hess, Eck, Shagla and Norton were the final four qualifiers.

        The first attempted start on the Super Sportsman feature failed and Bob VanArsdale had to leave the speedway with a flat as the cars were aligned for a complete restart. Starter Spanky Hall did not approve the second attempt but the third attempt worked and Pete Volpe led lap one with Pat McGuire in hot pursuit. McGuire gained the top spot on lap two. Don McGuire moved up to third on lap four as brother Pat gained a ten-car length lead over Volpe. Hank Francis brought out the caution on lap eight letting Volpe and Don McGuire close up to the rear deck of Pat McGuire. Pat McGuire gained a comfortable lead on the final laps to win the event with Volpe second and Don McGuire third.

        Randy Hall spun to avoid hitting leader Applebee on the initial start necessitating a complete restart. Applebee lost the lead to Ron Roncaglione but Hall passed Roncaglione at the starters stand for the lead at the end of lap one. A wreck on the backstretch collected Tim Rater and Mike Boyd stopping the race before two laps were complete. Randy Parmenter stopped on the restart before the green came out. Hess moved out front after an initial challenge by Dave Hess Jr. while Al Cressley assumed the third spot. A Chris Peterson spin brought out the yellow on lap six with Hall in control, Hess second, Cressley third and Roncaglione in the fourth spot. Hall retained control on the restart with Hess staying within striking distance. Chris Peterson, Stu Rickard, Joel Watson, Chad Silleman and Greg Oakes spun on lap eight for the next yellow. Hall took the crossed flags for half way one lap latter with Hess giving chase followed by Cressley who was fighting off a challenge by Mike Hess. Greg Oakes spun in front of the leaders on lap twelve and a number of cars spun to avoid him. Hall won the race to turn one once again as he and Dave Hess Jr. moved away from the rest of the field. Cressley narrowly defeated Mike Hess at the finish line for third with Dave Hess second and Randy Hall the winner and leader of every lap.      

         Twenty-six Super Late Models reported to the speedway for the main event with Scott Johnson on top after one followed by Dave Scott, Bob Close and Chad Ruhlman. Brad Fiesler spun on lap four and Bump Hedman hit a tire on the infield for the first caution. Rod Maloy was forced into the fence on the restart and the green was followed by the yellow. Brad Fiesler spun up against the fence on the restart then was struck by Jay Watson it what appeared as a very hard collision. Both drivers were okay after the incident but neither could continue. Close challenged Johnson over the next two laps but Close could not make the pass. John Lacki spun on lap six and the field was slowed by Spanky Halls yellow once again. The top four on the restart were Johnson, Close, Dick Barton and Dave Scott. Johnson moved high with Close in the low groove on the restart. Close and Johnson swapped the lead twice in the next six laps before Johnson managed a two car length lead. Barton was a distant third and Scott fourth. Johnson slipped up the speedway on lap twelve allowing Close by too lead the next two laps. Chad Valone spun on lap fifteen for the next caution. The top five on the restart were Close, Johnson, Barton, Scott and Urban. Chad Ruhlman got by Scott for fourth on the restart as Close retained the lead. Bump Hedman, Dave Shagla and John Lacki spun as the field was brought under yellow for the final five lap run for the top three cars. Close, Barton, and Johnson remained on the speedway for the final five laps. They were restarted three wide but Johnson spun ruining the first restart. Close controlled the next restart on the low side with Johnson trying every thing up high to get around while Barton could not keep up with the two leaders. The race finished with Close winning by two car lengths over Scott Johnson and Dick Barton a distant third.

             Mike Moore led lap one of the Limited Late event but a caution was shown on lap two for Bobby Rohrer, Andy Knight, Andy Sweetland, Ed Simmer and Todd Church. Simmer went to the pits as the race was realigned. Veteran Mike Moore was out front with Pat McGuire second and Paul Briggs third. Briggs slipped on restart allowing Tom Hagberg the third spot. McGuire moved under Moore on lap five but could not make the pass as Hagberg followed the two leaders looking for an opening. Moore was in lap traffic on lap nine when a spin by Tom Schnars and Paul Briggs slowed the race. McGuire make the pass on lap ten and one lap later the yellow appeared and the car of Bob Vogt struggled to get into the pits. McGuire dominated to lap twenty as all but the top three were sent to the pits for the “World War III” finish. McGuire continued his dominance through the final five laps but Hagberg slipped by Moore for second.



   Heat 1: DCP_0011.JPG (75574 bytes) Brian Crandall, Kevin Bremett, Dennis Lunger
   Heat 2: DCP_0012.JPG (75832 bytes) Dana Wellington, Jason Heslop, Tommy Fox

   Feature 1: Tommy Fox, Brian Crandall, Vi Earle Sr., Dennis Lunger, Rush Firestone, Dana Wellington, Ron Bush, Steve Keith, Dave Auge, Merle Burlingham

   Feature 2: Barrett Brown, Brian Graham, Nate Lester, Paul Norman, Joe Houser, Ron Fish, Jim Leonard,   Chris Couchenour, George Thomas, Kevin Bremett



    Heat 1: DCP_0018.JPG (75678 bytes) Dale Applebee, Dave Hess Jr., 1
    Heat 2: DCP_0019.JPG (79761 bytes) Ron Ronconlio, Randy Parmenter, Stu Rickart
    Heat 3: DCP_0020.JPG (74950 bytes) Randy Hall, Al Cressley, Matt Swanson,

    Feature: Randy Hall, Dave Hess Jr., Al Cressley, Mike Hess, Kevin Decker, Shane Applebee, Dale Applebee, Ron Roncaglione, Justin Carlson, Bill Thomas

    Outlaw Cadets:

    Heat 1: DCP_0013.JPG (76891 bytes) Phil Knight, Dustin Eckman, Ron Seeley
    Heat 2: DCP_0014.JPG (76374 bytes) Greg Johnson, Terry Daniels, Jeff VanArsdale

    Feature: Nathan Short, Greg Johnson, Ron Seeley, Louie DeDionisio, Jeff VanArsdale, Clarence Dickerson, Pete Alspaugh, Dustin Eckman, Phil Knight, Rick Loomis

Limited Late Models:

      Heat 1: DCP_0021.JPG (79564 bytes) Mike Moore, Todd Church, Joe Weber
      Heat 2: DCP_0022.JPG (80183 bytes) Paul Briggs, Pat McGuire, Bobby Rohrer

      Feature: Pat McGuire, Tom Hagberg, Mike Moore, Joe Weber, Bobby Rohrer, Mike Coyle, Andy Sweetland, Andy Knight, John Cline, Tom Schnars, Steve Moynihan, Todd Church, Paul Briggs, Bob Vogt, Ed Simmer

Budweiser Super Sportsmen:

      Heat 1: DCP_0015.JPG (73806 bytes) Pete Volpe, Dave Cummings, Bobby Rohrer
      Heat 2: DCP_0017.JPG (76054 bytes) Pat McGuire, Joe Buccola, Don McGuire

      Feature: Pat McGuire, Pete Volpe, Don McGuire, Dana Cummings Jr., Randy Parmenter, Joe Buccola Jr., Bobby Rohrer, John Robinson, Mike Murray, Hank Francis

American Racer Dash: Dick Barton, Rich Gardner, Randy Lobb, Bill Cunningham

   Late Models:

      Heat 1: DCP_0023.JPG (74909 bytes) Scott Johnson, Rich Gardner, Dan Armbruster, Rod Maloy, Wally Fox
      Heat 2: DCP_0024.JPG (76266 bytes) Dave Scott, Dick Barton, Brad Fiesler, John Lacki, Tom Roncaglione, Chris Blose
      Heat 3: DCP_0025.JPG (75018 bytes) Bob Close, Randy Lobb, Brian Emory, Dave Lyon, Bump Hedman, Dave Shagla
      Heat 4: DCP_0026.JPG (77868 bytes) Chad Ruhlman, Bill Cunningham, Matt Urban, Chad Valone, Chris Hackett
      Consolation: Jay Watson, Dave Hess Jr., Doug Eck, Dave Shagla, Dave Norton

      Feature: Bob Close, Scott Johnson, Dick Barton, Chad Ruhlman, Dave Scott, Matt Urban, Dan Armbruster, Bill Cunningham, Rich Gardner, Dave Lyon, Chris Hackett, Randy Lobb, Brian Emory, Dave Norton, Rod Maloy, Doug Eck, Wally Fox, Bump Hedman, Dave Hess, John Lacki, Dave Shagla, Andy Boozel, Chad Valone, Todd Roncaglione, Brad Fiesler, Jay Watson.