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Two-car pileup in US Open leaves both drivers fuming

In the waning laps of Saturday's 50-lap Late Model event during Dunn Tire Raceway Park's 23rd annual US Open Weekend, Bobby Weber and George Skora III were having an intense battle for the lead while the rest of the starting field was a full straightaway behind, led by third-place runner Scott Skora.

Everything changed in a blink of an eye when Weber and Skora III suffered a huge crash on lap 47 that saw both drivers' attempt for victory go away in body panel-crunching fashion. That paved the way for Scott Skora to earn his first career US Open victory in dramatic fashion.

DTRP's annual US Open Weekend is the area's largest annual multi-day asphalt stock car racing event.

After trying for several laps to go high and low to pass Weber, Skora III went up high on the backstretch and with a lapped car underneath, tried to go three wide by Weber. Suddenly Weber and Skora III made contact, with Weber flying into and nearly over the backstretch wall. Skora III's disabled car limped to the pits. Scott Skora inherited the top spot and went onto victory from there.

Afterward Weber and Skora III had very angry words for each other about the race-changing incident.

"He just kept mirror-driving me high and low and anywhere I wanted to go," said Skora III. "I finally had enough. With four laps to go in the US Open, I'm going to win it. I was better than him and he knew it. He kept running me into the wall so Bobby Weber got everything he deserved tonight."

Meanwhile, Weber was very disturbed after the race as he watched his heavily damaged machine be taken off the flatbed truck.

"I was going around a lapped car and he [Skora III] tried making it three wide," said Weber. "It was totally uncalled for and very unprofessional. It's just ridiculous. I have no respect for that little kid [Skora III] anymore. He's done. I'll give him no respect and no room anymore. He can look forward to this."

Weber also said that his car was running on just seven cylinders after about lap 35.

Far happier was race winner Scott Skora.

"It was Lady Luck," said Skora. "Those two were definitely the fastest. I had a good car but I didn't have nothing for them, but I ended up in Victory Lane and the happiest day of my life just happened."

In other US Open racing, Chuck Hossfeld held off Matt Hirschman by inches and won both the Race of Champions (ROC) Modified Tour 100 Sunday as well as the ROC season championship.

"Matt's a great racer and we just happened to beat him today," said Hossfeld.

On the drop of initial green flag, polesitter Hossfeld took the lead but Daren Scherer took it away a lap later. Scherer maintained the front spot until Hirschman grabbed the lead out of Turn Two on lap 60. On lap 71, Hirschman got trapped in traffic and Jimmy Zacharias grabbed the lead.

Hossfeld sailed into second on lap 79 and then overhauled Zacharias for the winning pass with 8 laps remaining. He then survived the last lap side-by-side battle with Hirschman. Andy Jankowiak recovered from a mid-race spin when he was spun by Patrick Emerling and charged back to the front on lap 56 and regained the lead from Tony Hanbury and went on to a convincing victory in Sunday's Sportsman 75 over Bobby Holmes.

"This car was on rails and I want to dedicate this win to Ray MacIver," said Jankowiak. MacIver is a long-time speed shop owner and former driver who died last week after a lengthy illness.

Perhaps the most impressive drive of the weekend was turned in by Jay Mudra, the winner of Saturday's Dave London Memorial 50 for the Super Stocks. Mudra was trying to fly in for the race from his son's hockey tournament in Philadelphia. The flight was delayed for two hours and Mudra arrived at DTRP at 6 p.m., missing practice and his heat race. He started 19th in the 50-lapper but managed to charge through the pack and passed Mike Scott on lap 19 and went onto the win.

Also Saturday, Brian Frost led all 25 laps to best a 29-car field in the 4-Cylinder feature. On Sunday, Jake Vernon was victorious in the Legend car race. Timex Morgan took the 25-lap TQ Midget affair, and Cory Gallagher was best in the Street Stock 50-lapper.

DTRP promoter Ralph Galluzzi announced Sunday that former Western New York native Tim Packman has been hired full time to become his DTRP's President of Stock Car Operations. Packman will work from his Charlotte home until he relocates back to the area. Lori Overdorf will continue as Stock Car Coordinator.

email: lawrence_o_14075@yahoo.com