By FRANK CATIZONE
MIDDLETOWN, NY – Divisional titlists Brett Hearn, Anthony Perrego, Grant Hilfiger and Bob Sleight Jr. were all victorious last Saturday night as the Orange County Fair Speedway closed the curtain on its 100th anniversary regular season calendar.
Hearn, who called OCFS his Saturday night home for the first time in many years, achieved a goal he set for himself prior to the season as he won his second straight 30-lap Modified feature to lock up the 16th championship of his decorated career at the track.
“It was our focus all season long to win the Modified championship,’’ said Hearn, who vacated the upstate Lebanon Valley Speedway after learning OCFS was offering $40,000 to win its 2019 crown. “That was quite a chunk of change to race for and something we definitely set our sights on.’’
Hearn, who earned his last championship here in 2006, utilized his consistency of top five performances throughout the campaign to remain on top of the standings as both Tommy Meier and Craig Mitchell remained within striking distance. However, the track’s all-time winner stepped up his game the past two weeks and pretty much ran away with the title.
Hearn, who now has 919 career victories, finished the season with 1,045 points to easily outdistance Meier, who finished in second place with 949 markers. Former Grandview Speedway champion Mike Gular advanced to third place in the standings with 941 points, while Jimmy Horton (917), Matt Janiak (913) and Mitchell (913) followed.
Hearn, who has collected 308 of his career wins at OCFS, inherited first place after 18 laps were completed when leader John Ferrier’s car broke while racing off the fourth turn and forced him to retire for the evening.
Hearn, who started 10th in the 27-car field, and Perrego both marched their way through the pack to stand in second and third place before Ferrier dropped out. But Hearn, who passed Perrego for second in the 15th circuit, stood tall as he ran away to finish more than two seconds ahead when the checkefred flags flew.
Perrego, who claimed his second Small Block Modified championship during the past three seasons, picked up his sixth victory of 2019 in the 25-lap feature and finished ahead of Hearn in the standings with 782 points.
Perrego, who has dominated the division the second half of the season, took advantage of a caution period with 18 laps completed to close in on leader Danny Creeden, who was enjoying a very comfortable cushion.
Perrego was able to move ahead of Creeden with a homestretch pass to complete 22 laps and Harn moved into second place a lap later. Perrego then went on to secure his 12th OCFS career win as he finished ahead of Hearn, Creeden, Tyler Boniface, Mitchell and Brendan Finley.
Hearn finished second in the standings to Perrego with 732 points, while Boniface (710), Creeden (674) and Jerry Higbie (674) followed.
Hilfiger has been the dominant force in the Sportsman ranks all season long, but had to contend with different challengers throughout the campaign before securing his first OCFS championship behind his sixth win in the 20-lap main event.
Hilfiger, who never won here prior to the 2019 season, had his hands full throughout the race as Bobby Flood and Mike Sabia were glued right to his bumper. Flood actually grabbed first place with nine laps completed before action was slowed when Dylan Smith slowed in the fourth turn.
Hilfiger was able to retake the lead following the ensuing restart and then held off Sabia to the finish to collect his initial track crown with 1.208 points. Sabia was also second in the standings with 1,180 points, while Jared LaBagh (1,136), Greg Sleight (1.096) and Sam Martz Jr. (1,028) followed.
Bob Sleight Jr. also claimed the first championship of his OCFS racing career as he captured his fifth victory of the season in the Street Stock 15-lap main event.
Bob Sleight Jr. wrestled first place away from Jim Maher following an 11th-lap restart and then held on to finish ahead of Maher, Edgar Hedges, Ray Tarantino and Dan Maher.
Bob Sleight Jr. finished the second with 856 points with Dan Maher (794), Jim Hajkowski (792), Joe Scheffold (778) and Jim Maher (778) following.
Modified Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. Brett Hearn, 2. Anthony Perrego, 3. Mike Gular, 4. Jimmy Horton, 5. Matt Janiak, 6. Sam Martz Sr., 7. Dillon Steuer, 8. Jerry Higbie, 9. Danny Creeden, 10. Tommy Meier, 11. Bob McGannon, 12. Michael Storms, 13. Matt Hitchcock, 14. Brendan Finley, 15. Brian Krummel, 16. Chris Whitehead, 17. Rich Eurich, 18. John Ferrier, 19. Gary Edwards Jr., 20. Steve Dodd, 21. Chris Shultz, 22. Tyler Boniface, 23. Bob Hentschel, 24. L.J. Lombardo, 25. Donnie Wilson, 26. Craig Mitchell, 27. Josh Delea. Did Not Start: C.G. Morey.
Small Block Modified Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Anthony Perrego, 2. Brett Hearn, 3. Danny Creeden, 4. Tyler Boniface, 5. Craig Mitchell, 6. Brendan Finley, 7. Dillon Steuer, 8. Gary Edwards Jr., 9. Mike Gular, 10. Jimmy Spellmon, 11. Jerry Higbie, 12. Frank Venezia, 13. Tom Hindley, 14. Allison Ricci, 15. Joey Bruning, 16. Bob Hentschel, 17. Patrick Reiser, 18. Chris Stevens, 19. Richard Smith, 20. Tommy Meier, 21. Rich Eurich, 22. Ray Jashembowski, 23. Tyler Treacy, 24. Scott Ferrier, 25. Mark Bishop, 26. Joe Bonetti, 27. Roger Henion Jr., 28. Kirk Horton, 29. Brian Krummel, 30. Michael Sabia, 31. Johnny Illanovsky.
Sportsman Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Grant Hilfiger, 2. Michael Sabia, 3. Bobby Flood, 4. Dan Morgiewicz, 5. Jared LaBagh, 6. Greg Sleight, 7. Travis Green, 8. Joe Bonetti, 9. Connor Cleveland, 10. Jeff Higham Jr., 11. Corey Cormier, 12. Sammy Martz Jr., 13. Joe Conklin, 14. Cole Hentschel, 15. Charlie Loiodice, 16. Mel Schrufer, 17. Ken Ferrier, 18. John Brown, 19. Patrick Murphy, 20. Jake Bedell, 21. Matt Shultz, 22. Christian Rumsey, 23. Marshall Jones, 24. Jimmy Johnson, 25. Clinton Mills, 26. Cole Stangle, 27. Dylan Smith. Did Not Qualify: R.J. Smith, Mike Barbieri, Michael Orlando, John Farissier, Daryl Ford, Ken Ryder, Troy Arnold, Russell Crotty, Ryan Neiger, Jeff Jones, Rob Wosyluk, Rafaele Carson, Johnny Illanovsky.
Street Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Bob Sleight Jr., 2. Jim Maher, 3. Edgar Hedges, 4. Ray Tarantino, 5. Dan Maher, 6. Charlie Donald, 7. Rob Taylor, 8. Jim Hajkowski, 9. Jack Beaumont, 10. Nick Giardini, 11. Emerson Cargain Jr., 12. Joe Scheffold, 13. Emerson Cargain Sr., 14. Dylan Gannon, 15. Tom Cilurso, 16. Jack Dekker, 17. Wayne Taylor.