The most important pass that Mark Schulz had to make on his way to victory in the Raceway Speed & Performance King of The Hill 100 at Ransomville Speedway Saturday may have come during his qualifying race earlier in the night.
That pass earned him the pole for the King of The Hill event, and it proved to be a key advantage. He went on to score his second consecutive win in the prestigious special for the DIRT Pro-Stock cars.
Schulz passed Tom Walker on lap three of the night's first qualifying race and went on to win the 10-lap preliminary event, thus earning the pole position for the feature. In the King of The Hill itself, he had a few scares following restarts from other competitors but all were short-lived as he led all but one lap.
"I didn't want to see the restarts," said Schulz the 1999 Ransomville Pro-Stock champion. "I didn't have enough gear in the car to take restarts and I was hoping for some longer green flag runs because the car was really good on green flag runs. We took some gear out of it to try to get it to hook up off of the turns and it kind of backfired with all those restarts but we got through it."
Schulz was referring to a caution-filled 100-lap affair that saw the yellow flag wave 13 times. On repeated occasions, he would move out to comfortable leads during brief green flag periods. Then caution flags would wave and on ensuing restarts he would get challenged by his foes in which the competition would pull even through the first two turns until his car got back up to speed. This pattern would repeat itself throughout the race as he would then rebuild a big lead until the next yellow.
Schulz jumped into the top spot at the beginning of the race, followed by brother Dan Schulz, Pete Stefanski and Jody Herriven. Herriven advanced to second a lap later. Schulz maintained the top spot as Stefanski moved to second and Jason Boyle third. Stefanski and Boyle had contact while running alongside each other in the first turn on lap 35 and both spun, bringing out the fifth caution flag. Pat McCoy inherited second and followed Schulz for most of the remainder of the race.
On lap 50, the field was given the red flag for a mandatory fuel stop with Schulz, Pat McCoy, Walker, Mike Williams and Stefanski comprising the top five. Schulz next survived caution periods on laps 55, 63, 71, 81,and 88 to remain out front. On lap 91, McCoy moved alongside him.
As the two were exiting Turn Four on lap 91, McCoy and Schulz made contact. Schulz maintained control but McCoy flew into the infamous "Ransomville moat," the ditch that parallels the frontstretch portion of the track. McCoy drove through the moat and kept going but had to go to the pits a lap later with problems. Schulz went on to the win with Walker, Williams, Steve Lewis and Phil Schepes completing the top five.
"That was one of those deals where on restarts he was able to pull up alongside me," Schulz said of the final bump with McCoy. "We really started pounding on each other. With no mirrors I couldn't see where he went to. I had no idea he went into the moat."
Also at Ransomville on Saturday, Derek Smith inherited the lead under caution on lap 25 when leader Rick Sinnott went to the pits, and Smith retained the top position from there to win the 50-lap Street Stock race.
Sinnott jumped into the lead at the beginning of the race but Genesee Speedway champion Jon Rivers stole the lead on a lap-9 restart. Sinnott would regain the lead a lap later while Smith moved into second on the 12th circuit.
Once out front, Smith held a three car-length lead over Don Barnes. Meanwhile, Nick Micallef was on the charge from his 17th starting spot and gained third late in the race. On lap 46, Micallef would sail past Barnes coming out of Turn Two and earn second. He could not catch Smith and settled for second with Barnes third.
Sinnott and Shawn Graham won Street Stock Dash for Cash events and Stefanski did likewise in the DIRT Pro-Stock Dash for Cash. Saturday's card completed Ransomville's 2000 season.
Chris Dow became the first woman to win an Empire Super Sprint (ESS) feature race when she emerged victorious Saturday night at Merrittville Speedway. She will try for a second straight win when the ESS concludes its points season, traveling to Little Valley Speedway next Saturday.