Midgets: Nick Fornoro Scores First NAMARS Win
10 May 1998By LES MESZAROS
DEGRAFF, OH: High flying Nick Fornoro was on top of his game Saturday night as he chalked up his first ever NAMARS Auto Value midget win at the Shady Bowl Speedway in DeGraff, OH. Fornoro, from Reeders, PA, did not coast to the win as was heavily pressured by A.J. Davis in the final laps of the 25-lap contest. Fornoro used the potent combination of a Hawk chassis and Auto craft to bring home the victory.
At the drop of the green flag Kevin Besecker jumped out to and early lead but team mate Nick Fornoro finally caught up with Besecker on lap 5 and ducked to the inside on the back stretch to take the lead. Once in the lead Fornoro continued to set a quick pace. The entire field was clicking off laps at a furious pace when the only caution of the race came out on lap 18 for Kevin Besecker and David Gough rolling to a stop in turn 1 with mechanical problems.
Now second running A.J. Davis was right on Fornoro's rear bumper. These last seven laps were just as furious as the first 18 as Davis pulled along side Fornoro in every corner trying to nudge past. Fornoro held his ground and managed to cross the finish line a half a car length in front of Davis. Completing the top five were Jim Sawyer, Dick St. John and A.J. Fike.
NAMARS defending champion and midget legend Mel Kenyon set fast time out of 31 midgets at the speedway. Rookie Matt Westfall, Chuck Leary and Nick Fornoro recorded heat race victories. A.J. Fike was the semi-feature winner. A.J. Fike was the other double winner as he won the Australian Pursuit race and took home $400.
NAMARS NOTES^Veteran drivers Mike Schuyler and Chuck Leary qualified through their heat races but had to with draw from the feature because of mechanical problems^Next week NAMARS will be at Columbus Motor Speedway in Columbus, OH on Saturday night and Toledo Speedway in Toledo, OH on Sunday night^Up and coming Jim Sawyer finished third in the feature, his best finish ever^A very large crowd on hand on a cool evening^The drivers in the feature race represented eight different states^The Rally Super Trucks had the biggest field of the season and put on another exciting exhibition race.
Qualifications: 1. Mel Kenyon, 3K Racing,61, 13.03; 2. Chuck Leary, Dan Leary, 30, 13.10; 3. Doug Wright, Doug Wright, 19, 13.13; 4. Jim Hettinger, Don Smith, 71, 13.21; 5. Dick St.John, Gary Mullins 12, 13.22; 6. A.J. Fike, A.J. Fike 69, 13.27; 7. Jim Sawyer, Jim Sawyer, 59, 13.42; 8. A.J. Davis, Margaret Owen, 28, 13.42; 9. Nick Fornoro, McClellan Motorsports, 2, 13.42; 10. David Gough, Amy Gough, 6, 13.54; 11. Kevin Besecker, McClellan Motorsports, 3, 13.55; 12. J.R. Armstrong, Chuck Rencurrel, 56, 13.66; 13. Matt Westfall, Jack Hammonds, 54, 13.67; 14. Tom Johnson, Tom Johnson, 11, 13.82; 15. Matt Estep, Beeline Motorsports, 8, 13.82; 16. J.D. Turner, Bruce Turner, 53, 13.89; 17. Don Moore, Moore Family, 55, 13.95; 18. Brandon Hartsell, Ed Hartsell, 11, 13.96; 19. Randy Dailey, Stephanie Dailey, 78, 14.01; 20. Mike Schuyler, Dick Schuyler, 10, 14.05; 21. Kevin Newton, Steve Newton, 14, 14; 22. Wayne Chinn, Chinn Motorsports, 71, 14.33; 23. Ken Drangmeister, Ken Drangmeister, 76, 14.49; 24. Jeff Hilbert, Mike Nowicke, 16, 14.52; 25. Marc Longworth, Marc Longworth, 34, 114.63; 26. Brian Martin, Brian Martin, 93, 14.84; 27. Jay Mason, Jay Mason, 4M, 15.13; 28. Pam Drangmeister, Pam Drangmeister, 78, 15.17; 29. Jason Fuller, Keith Faulkner, 9, 29.13; 30. David Cowing, Megan Shuster, 3, NT; 31. Don Lehmann, Lehmann Racing, 31, NT.
First Heat (8 laps): Westfall, Chinn, Kenyon, Daily, Sawyer, Gough, Turner, Longworth, P. Drangmeister, Hettinger.
Second Heat (8 laps): Leary, Besecker, Schuyler, St.John, Davis, Fuller, K. Drangmeister, Johnson, Martin, Moore.
Third Heat (8 laps): Fornoro, Armstrong, Wright, Hartsell, Fike, Hilbert, Newton, Estep, Mason.
Semi-feature (10 laps): Fike, Sawyer, Gough, Turner, Estep, Hilbert, Lehmann, K. Drangmeister, Longworth, Hartsell, Mason, P. Drangmeister, Newton.
Austrailian Pursuit (6 laps): Fike, St.John, Wright, Kenyon, Leary.
Feature (25 laps) (Finishing position, starting position, name, hometown): 1. (4) Nick Fornoro, Reeders, PA; 2. (5) A.J. Davis, Spartanburg, SC; 3. (6) Jim Sawyer, Hamilton, OH; 4. (8) Dick St.John, Milwaukee, WI; 5. (7) A.J. Fike, Galesburg, IL; 6. (11) Matt Westfall, Ludlow Falls, OH; 7. (9) Doug Wright, Lafayette, IN; 8. (12) J.D. Turner, Cincinnati, OH; 9. (14) Randy Daily, Kalamazoo, MI; 10. (19) Jason Fuller, Plymouth, IN; 11. (17) Jeff Hilbert, Louisville, KY; 12. (13) Brandon Hartsell, Joilet, IL; 13. (18) Marc Longworth, Trenton, OH; 14. (20) Donnie Lehman, Springfield, IL; 15. (16) Ken Drangmeister, Crown Point, IN; 16. (15) Wayne Chinn, Tipp City, OH; 17. (10) Mel Kenyon, Lebanon, IN; 18. (3) David Gough, Machesney Park, IL; 19. (2) Kevin Besecker, Greenville, OH; 20. (1) J.R. Armstrong, Parker City, IN.