Fan Notes from Wayne County All Stars

Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Wayne County SpeedwayWayne County Speedway (Tom Myers) Orrville, Ohio- The All Star Circuit of Champions sprint car series had initially planned their May 14th race at the Joliet, Illinois dirt track. That didn’t work out and the series was able to quickly schedule Wayne County Speedway on the same day. This made me happy because the All Stars were only going to visit the Orrville dirt track once in 2022 for their annual Speed Week visit. And since I live right down the road, it was a real treat to have another race dropped in my lap!

The weather had been beautiful all week long, but Saturday’s forecast wasn’t looking good. As Saturday approached the forecast got more favorable. On race day, a few showers were scattered around the area but the chance of rain kept decreasing. Would we get this in? Oh Ohio, why all the drama? There were thunderstorms to the east and south and north, but after a brief early afternoon shower, the rain stayed away and we got to see a good program.

After Justin Peck ran 2nd with the WoO at Lincoln earlier in the week, I said to myself, “Self, Justin is going to win the next race.” And he did at I-96. So tonight, I figured he would be the favorite. I kind of have been waiting for someone to break out and go on a streak with the All Stars. Every one of the travelers up to this point, have been up and down, save for Parker Price Miller who has been consistently in the top 10 every race and Sunshine, who has 2 wins. So, who will emerge as the heavy this year? The non-wing guys who are winging it with the All Stars this year are struggling….but they are incrementally getting better. Eliason, who was last year’s favorite to win the title, has been struggling. So, it will be interesting to see who gets going and how this shakes out.
Justin Peck's muscleJustin Peck's muscle As I entered the pits and walked around, I noticed there were some really big dogs in the pits. By dogs I mean canines, like dogs. Peck has this humongous animal that stands guard at his hauler’s rear door. Justin won the big dog award for the evening. Greg Wilson’s hauler was parked right beside Peck’s hauler. So as I was talking with Joe Lewandowski, who is working with Greg Wilson, I said, “ I guess you guys are runnin’ with the big dogs tonight.” That got a chuckle and Joe commented that Justin’s dog would stand 8’ tall if he was on his back legs!

When the program got underway, the weather was beautiful…. but clouds were all around and off in the distance…creeping ever closer. The track was in great shape. It was smooth and tacky all evening. As the 27 winged sprint cars started time trials, the wind was blowing slightly from behind the stands, keeping all the dirt away from the spectators. In addition to the All Star regulars, Buddy Kofoid was on hand. In addition to Buddy, we had Greg Wilson and Carson Short ready to race. Brandon Spithaler was racing the Grove 28 recently vacated by Tim Shaffer. Will Brandon follow the All Stars in this car from here on out? We don’t know, still up in the air. Cale Thomas was also on hand driving the 101 car. Adding to the mix was Trey Jacobs, who won at Attica a week ago and Cody Bova, who won his first 410 race here at Wayne County a few weeks ago against a good field of cars.

The top 10 in time trials were fast timer Zeb Wise, followed by Parker Price Miller, Buddy Kofoid, Justin Peck, Cory Eliason, Hunter Schuerenberg, Kyle Reinhardt, Cale Thomas, Brandon Spithaler, and Bill Balog.
Buddy Kofoid had some misfortune at Wayne CountyBuddy Kofoid had some misfortune at Wayne County The heats were entertaining, especially the 2nd heat. There were 3 heats with the top 6 advancing. In the first heat, the winner was Peck, followed by Wise, Balog, Reihhardt, Short and Courtney. The first heat treated us to good racing as there was a lot of slicing and dicing. However, the wind changed and now the dirt was blowing in our faces! The 2nd heat was really exciting as Thomas and Eliason and PPM battled it out for the first 3 or 4 laps, exchanging slide jobs and dicing back and forth, all three cars racing side by side at breakneck speeds. Eventually Thomas pulled away and Cap Henry snuck by both Eliason and PPM to get 2nd. The finish was Thomas, Henry, PPM, Eliason, Malcuit and Wagner. The third heat was a doosy simply because of the excitement Buddy Kofoid provided and it wasn’t intentional on his part. Schurenburg and Spithaler started in the front row and they battle it out for the lead but Spithaler spins it on lap 2 and goes to the back. On lap 5 Bova blows a motor and Hubler spins out. The running order is Schurenburg, Kofoid up from 4th, Bogucki, Wilson, Jacobs 5th, Windom 6th, Spithaler 7th. On the restart, Spithaler gets by Windom. Windom then tries to get back around as Spithaler gets a little crossed up and Windom spins out and has to go to the tail. With 2 laps to go, on the restart Kofoid, who is the fast timer in this group, tries to make up ground on Schurenburg to get that first spot and go to the dash all by himself. But Buddy gets his right rear too close to the turn 2 guardrail and catches it and launches himself up and over and out of the track. It took a little bit, but Buddy got out under his own power. The finish was Schurenburg, Bogucki, Wilson, Jacobs, Spithaler and Windom.
Hunter Schuerenberg won at Wayne County SaturdayHunter Schuerenberg won at Wayne County Saturday After the heats I went back to the pits and Buddy’s car was sitting there without much activity around it. I mean, the crew was lazily removing the crushed top wing and a few other things so it looked like Buddy was done. The left rear shock was not attached to anything at the top of it, so that may have been a broken frame. However, as they were coming up to B-main time, all of a sudden, Buddy’s crew started running across the pits and to another smaller trailer. Upon opening the trailer, they wheeled out a backup car that looked identical to the original, except the tail tank was number 1 instead of 11. They pushed the car over to the big trailer and proceeded to get it ready for the B. They barely got it out in time. Starting at the back, Buddy struggled to move forward and gained only 2 spots. He was in the A, but they ended up parking it for the night instead of racing the A.

The dash was all Spithaler as he raced away for the win. He was followed by Schurenburg, Peck, PPM, Wise and Thomas.

As the A was getting ready, a big, ominous cloud was getting so close to the track and you could see the rain. But it never quite reached the track. Hurry up, hurry up! Let’s get this race in!

At the start, it looked like Schuerenburg jumped before Spithaler did and Hunter grabbed the lead. I thought they would bring it back but it stayed green. Spithaler fell back, but Schurenburg stayed out front all the way. Around lap 15, Peck got around 2nd running PPM and then started to chase Schuerenburg, even getting close in traffic, but a yellow on lap 28 cleared away the lappers and Hunter had a clear track for the restart. Peck made a valiant charge but it was Schurenburg passing the checkered flag first. Peck, Wise, PPM, Courtney, Thomas, Wilson, Eliason, Henry and Spithaler rounded out the top 10.

Thank you All Stars and thank you Wayne County Speedway! See you at the next race!