George Skora III sat in his stock car Saturday night at Holland Motorsports Complex, just moments after his fifth-place finish wrapped up the track’s 2013 NASCAR Pro Modified points championship.
A Holland official handed him a baseball cap bearing the words “Holland Motorsports Complex 2013 Champion”.
“This is what this is all about,” proclaimed a smiling Skora as he showed off his cap.
It was a big moment for the Eden-based driver, who felt the elation of winning a Holland championship just as his dad, George Skora Jr., did when he won the facility’s NASCAR Charger title in 1984.
With a field of 23 cars running the 50-lap NASCAR Pro Modified event, Skora III ran a conservative race, which he entered with a 52-point lead over Dave Catalano.
This is the second straight year that Skora III has won a championship. He earned the NASCAR Late Model points title a year ago at Lake Erie Speedway. Lake Erie officials dropped the class this season.
“It’s pretty neat going from a Late Model championship at one track and coming back the next year to a different track and winning here with a totally different car, the Modified,” Skora said. “It’s great.
“I’ve been coming here for years as a little kid and I always dreamed of coming out of Turn Four to the checkered flag and now I’m sitting here with a couple wins this year and the championship.”
It was a special postrace celebration for his father.
“I’m real proud of him,” said Skora Jr., of his son. “He’s been doing this for quite a long time and I had 100 per cent confidence he could get the job done.”
Kirk Totten won the 50-lapper and is the early favorite to win Holland’s Bud 100 next week. He won the George Decker Memorial 100 there last month.
Ben Russo turned in the drive of the night to defeat Dice Racing teammate Jeff Szafraniec for Holland’s Hornet class championship. The pair came into the race tied for the lead.
Szafraniec and Russo started in the 11th and 12th positions. At the conclusion of the first lap, Russo was involved in an incident in which another Dice Racing teammate, Bill Lutz, was flipped. Lutz was uninjured and Russo went to the pits for repairs. Meanwhile, Szafraniec had advanced to sixth.
Then Russo put on the drive of his life from the back of the pack, restarting 16th. By lap six Russo passed Szafraniec, then passed Chris Powers for second with 35 laps remaining. Russo caught leader Ken Hejna at the halfway mark, built a good lead, then survived two late restarts to win over runner-up Szafraniec and claim the crown by four points.
“The cautions were great,” said Russo, a five-time winner this year at Holland. “I like running heads up like that. I don’t like running out front by myself. That’s no fun. It was good competition. I had a brand new car this year and now I’m going to try to move up to another class.”
For the fourth time in the last six years and third year in a row, Eldon King III claimed the Holland NASCAR Late Model championship. This time it was not easy. King came to Holland six points behind Brandon Glover, but by winning Saturday’s race with J.D. Roberts next followed by Glover, he overcame the deficit.
“Luck was with us tonight,” said King III. “We ended up winning with a car finishing between us and Brandon and that was it.”
Shawn Nye (TQ Midgets) and Jason Eck (Figure-8) were also crowned Holland champions.
Pete Bicknell overcame a few obstacles Friday to earn the Ransomville Speedway DIRTcar 358 Modified championship.
Despite intermittent rain delays and a blown motor that dropped Bicknell to 14th, he was able to hold off Erick Rudolph, who placed 11th. Bicknell started the race just 14 points ahead of Rudolph, who also had problems.
Following a lap 26 rain delay, Bicknell began to drop back through the field with engine woes.
On lap 29, Rudolph was involved in an accident and went to the pits for repairs. He returned a lap down as the race was restarting. Bicknell was forced to retire from the event and Rudolph finished the race but could not get back on the lead lap. Ryan Susice won the 52-lap race.
“The motor went sour,” said Bicknell. “I tried to keep babying it but not run it too hard but finally I just couldn’t run it no longer.”
Jesse Cotriss captured the Sportsman championship.