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SIXTH SPORTSMAN VICTORY AT PERRY FAR FROM ROUTINE FOR BLISS, CREW

Ray Bliss Jr., won his sixth Sportsman 20-lap feature of the season at Perry Speedway Saturday, but his latest triumph was far from routine.

During his heat race, the 19-year-old Bliss blew out his car's engine and appeared to be finished for the evening. Undaunted, Bliss and crew sped to their racing shop, 15 minutes away from the track in Warsaw, and loaded another engine.

After the crew changed the engine in time to make the starting lineup for the feature, Bliss found himself starting 12th in a field of 20.

But he worked his way to the front and passed leader Dave Sanders in the fourth turn of the final lap to record the dramatic victory. Sanders got caught in lapped traffic, further helping Bliss' effort.

Sanders placed second, with Russ Lyons, Bob Richmond and Bill Hirsch completing the top five.

Heat wins in the Sportsman went to Pancho Cartwright, Sanders and Rich Vargo.

Bill VonGunden won his initial Street Stock race of the year at Perry and picked a prime week in which to do it.

With the win, Von Gunden earned a guaranteed starting spot in the Western New York Street Stock Shootout Aug. 5 at Freedom Speedway. Jim Mazur, Jeff Ellinwood, Ron Evans and Jim Majchrzak were next across the line. Thirty-one Street Stocks were on hand, with Mazur, Ellinwood and Rick Tingue taking heat wins and Dale Hamilton finishing first in the consolation race.

Dave Stolzenburg, a rookie to the Cheap Stocks at Perry, took the lead at the start and never was headed in scoring his first career win in the class' main event. Bob Court, Dick Brown, Dan Hurlburt and Sean Gillespie were next in the 29-car field, with Hurlburt, Court and Brown winning heats and Mike Williams the consolation race.

Saturday's racing was plagued by persistent rain early in the evening's program but the Perry track crew worked hard to keep the racing surface in order.

Rain forced cancellations at Lancaster National Speedway and Dragway, Holland International Speedway, Ransomville, Merrittville, Oswego, Spencer and Genesee Fair.

Lancaster Dragway, which has lost five of six dates to rain this season, tries again Tuesday night with the Street and Heavy class championships for a $1,000 purse. Test and Tune and Spectator drags also are on the card, with eliminations at 6 p.m. and racing at 8.

At Holland, seven NASCAR Late Model Pro-Stock, three NASCAR six-cylinder Modified, six NASCAR Charger and 13 Challenger drivers currently are competing for their respective division's McGard Rookie of the Year honors.

Two Holland NASCAR Late Model drivers -- Dean Ferri (ninth, 1,043 points) and Danny Knoll Jr. (10th, 1,012 points) -- are in the top 10 in NASCAR's Northeast Regional Championship standings. Each has only seven races on the books, while point leader Ed Spiers, who races outside the area, leads with 1,624 on 12 starts. At season's end, only a driver's best 20 races will count.

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