In just his second season of competition in Lancaster National Speedway and Dragway's weekly stock car program headlining Sportsman division, Shawn Nye captured the track's 2017 Sportsman season point championship. Nye finished fifth during Lancaster's season championship regular season 35-lap finale this past Saturday evening to clinch the title.
Other divisional champs crowned at Lancaster Saturday where Rich Sharpe, Street Stocks and Bobby Woch, 4-Cylinders. Kyle Hutchinson captured the NYPA TQ Midget Series title.
Nye, who captured two wins during Lancaster's season, came into the 35-lapper holding a 32 point edge over Kevin Miller. Miller was forced to drive the Joe Brainard entry Saturday after encountering mechanical gremlins in his No. 45 car Saturday during practice. Nye started tenth and drove a steady race. Miller, started 16th and finished 15h giving Nye the title. Jake Lyon won the 35-lap race.
"My car was fast all year," Nye said. "I just kept it clean and it was good. We actually messed up with the right front tonight. The bar was real free in the front. It never came in like we planned. Luckily I just got a top five. I got a track championship in the TQ Midgets at Holland in 2013 so this is career championship No. 2 for me. The Sportsman class has been good for me and hopefully soon a move up to Modifieds is in my future."
For drama, the 4-Cylinder season points battle came down to a joust between Woch and Jason Anasiewicz. Woch entered the 25-lap feature race just a single marker ahead of Anasiewicz. Woch placed third and Anasiewicz, fifth to give Woch the crown by five points. Woch's No. 45 car was ailing on the evening but the decision to stick with this machine and not resort to utilizing the No. 37 backup car ended up being the correct call.
"In the heat race the tranny was slipping and shutting the car down," Woch said. "I didn't know what it was so I jumped in the pits right away and said we got to go get the No. 37 and I'll start last (17th) in the feature. My crew chief Tommy Lalomia said that the fluid was low. He said why don't you run it (No.45) in the feature and you can keep your starting spot (7th). It was a good call. It was still breaking up in the feature starting on lap 12 and I said this is over but I hung on somehow and ended up getting the championship." Joe Brunka won Saturday's 4-Cylinder feature.
Sharpe, Lancaster's 2015 Street Stock champion, dominated the Street Stock season at Lancaster gathering a spectacular nine wins on the year. He had the title clinched coming into Saturday.
"It was a challenge," Sharpe said. "I missed the first week of the season because of work and then we came out strong the second and third week that we raced. We won the second week and then we're sitting there thinking maybe we should go for the points title. I ended up getting wrecked the third week and then I went on that seven win race streak during the season and that was the difference."
Veteran Ken Maltby, after years of trying, won his first career Lancaster 25 lap Street Stock race Saturday while Sharpe overcame a lap 18 spin after contact with Andy Cryan while wrestling for the lead following a restart to eventually place third.
"My team don't quit," Maltby said. "We blew a motor and borrowed one this season. Then we built a new one and they just keep throwing stuff at us and it was a little loose tonight but loose is fast and I finally got the win here."
Hutchinson finished second to winner Dave Wollaber in the NYPA 20-lapper Saturday driving his back-up TQ Midget to lock-up the NYPA points title. "We actually switched cars right before the heat race because we had some trouble with our primary car. My car was quick. If we had a couple more laps I might have had something for Dave."
Lancaster will conclude their 2017 stock car action with the 29th annual U.S. Open Weekend, Sept. 22-24.
HOLLAND CHAMPS WELSHANS AND PALMER CELEBRATE
Nik Welshans overcame adversity to win the Holland NASCAR Charger championship this season. On July 22 Welshans suffered a heat race incident but rebounded later that same night to win the feature race. August 10 he had his throttle stick during a Thursday practice session that heavily damaged his car. He borrowed his brother Ted's car for Holland's race two night later but that feature rained out. He then got his own car back for the remainder of Holland's season which ended Sept. 2. Nik is Holland's 2009 Pro Four champion.
"In the heat race on July 22, a guy got into me and broke my axle," Welshans said. "I ended up bouncing off the wall a couple times. We were able to put another axle in and come back out for the feature and we won that night.
"With two or three weeks to go in the season my throttle stuck in practice and I stuffed it in the wall pretty hard, "Luckily Mike Fiebelkorn Sr., was able to straighten the frame out and me and my dad and my brothers got the rest of car back together. I think this season was a mixture of a lot of hard work and a lot of luck so it's never easy. I'm super happy."
Welshans had two Holland wins in 2017.
Bob Palmer dedicated his 2017 campaign in Holland's Hornet class to the memory of his late father Donald "Butcher" Palmer who died unexpectedly last year. In come-from-behind fashion, the younger Palmer came away with the Holland Hornet championship, earned during Holland's final night Sept. 2 when he erased a ten point deficit he had to Bob Bogner coming into the finale.
Palmer finished Holland's Sept. 2 event in fifth while Bogner placed seventh.
"I really don't know what my dad would say about my championship but I know he'd be very proud of me and proud of everything we did this year," Palmer said. "He probably wouldn't believe that I got the championship this year for him. I had three wins at Holland this year. I was ten points behind Bob but I made it up."