St. Johns, PA (10/24/2016)- After nearly a week since its completion, Evergreen Raceway in St. Johns, PA has reviewed their “King of the Green” feature film several times to help determine the official finish of what was intended to be their biggest and best show to cap off the regular racing season.
Following time trials, in which the top 15 advanced into the feature, a consolation event took place for the Tour Type Modifieds. Five cars were to advance into the main event. However, as the top four finishers crossed the stripe to take the checkers, a melee took place off of turn four. With the track blocked and with the red flag out, the true finish from fifth place on back was up in the air, which promoted track management to allow non-qualifiers to waive their green money to start the main event.
Twenty seven cars started the feature and with 69 laps complete and nearly two hours after the green flag dropped, Brian DeFebo of Berwick, PA took the checkered flag and the $4,000 prize. Zane Zeiner was the runner-up, followed by Darren Scherer, Matt Hirschman and Eric Mauriello.
Austin Kochenash set fast time that afternoon to earn the pole position and when it was all said and done, Hirschman claimed the Tour Type Modified championship.
With two laps remaining in the INEX Legends event, Alex McCollum overtook Bryan Kelly and then grabbed the checkered for his first King of the Green victory. Brandon Oltra was declared the Legends track champion.
Travis Fisher of Fern Glen, NY grabbed the Late Model victory over Mike Sweeney and divisional champion, Nick Ross.
CJ Lehmann of Long Island, NY dominated the Street Stock event and took his first King of the Green victory. Charlie Castiglione is the divisional champion.
The track scoring system was off, on and then off again throughout the show and the frustration level amongst both officials and drivers grew. Meanwhile, the fans in attendance were shocked with disbelief and many of the drivers drove every lap like it was the last.
“As stated before, we failed.” noted Evergreen Race Director, Jeff Owler.
“We’d like to thank all of the fans and drivers for coming out for what was supposed to be a great weekend of racing. On the flip side, we want to also apologize to them all for the chaotic show.”
“We know the facilities could have been cleaner and the show should have been better, shorter and full length. This was a lesson learned and we are already working on back up plans and plans to back them up moving ahead.”
The initial and main problem for the track on Sunday was the scoring. Track officials corrected it several times throughout the day and once it worked for a while, it would mysteriously go back down.
In turn, that caused a conflict and race officials did not follow through or be stern enough with on track driver problems because so much going on. They felt that if they removed a driver who was fighting to keep a spot under caution because they weren’t confident with the scoring. Two people had control over the format of the race and had not been on the same page when it came to the event format.
Since, officials have discussed Sunday’s issues and will implement immediate fixes, such as purchasing a new scoring computer, along with a secondary one with the scoring software installed and ready for use.
Cameras will be installed and pointed toward the track, including at the finish line, with instant playback. This will take place in the spring, prior to the start of the 2017 season.
Rules will be thoroughly looked into and changes made to include changes with the “golden standard” of racing overall compared form track to track. This also includes a process for any infractions happening at the track and what kind of disciplinary action will be handed out. They will also be posted in the pit area for the drivers and crews.
“We all learned a lot this season and a very valuable lesson was learned on Sunday”, noted speedway co-promoter, Gene Ostrowski.
“As long as Evergreen Raceway as a whole learns from those mistakes, and everyone focuses all of their attention to correcting the issues, we’ll be well versed, respected and ready for problems before they arise. It’s a great facility that many of us grew up it.”
“ We’ll make things right, stay focused and keep plugging along.”
Speedway promoter, Jason Makarewicz said that he feels absolutely horrible over the happenings from their “King of the Green” weekend. And, since the finishes are now official, drivers and owners are asked to contact him for their payout.
“Even though Sunday was a tough pill to swallow for everyone involved, there is no way we’ll hang our heads and walk away from this track or the sport”, noted Makarewicz.
“We began to move forward the following day and we’re going to keep moving forward to make this the track that people want to attend frequently.”
Evergreen Raceway would like to thank Mike O’Brien, who is not a track employee, for offering his race video for the official review. Not only did Mike offer it, but he also hand delivered it, driving it from NJ to PA. In turn, Evergreen also wants to thank Pollack Towing for helping Mike out when his vehicle broke down on his way to deliver the video.
The second half of the Modified field/finish was nearly impossible to determine. The Modified driver pay is the same from 16th on back and the drivers that were 16th or worse will receive 16th place points.
Modified (69-laps) 1. BRIAN DEFEBO 2. Zane Zeiner 3. Darren Scherer 4. Matt Hirschman 5. Eric Mauriello 6. John Fortin, Jr 7. Austin Kochenash 8. Paul Hartwig, Jr 9. Amber Fortin 10. John Markovic 11. Rob McCormick 12. Chris Young 13. Robbie Walton 14. Brandon Oltra 15. Brian Sones 16. Jimmy Zacharias
Late Model (50-laps) 1. TRAVIS FISHER 2. Mike Sweeney 3. Nick Ross 4. Steve Shultz 5. Broc Brown 6. Mitch Hawk 7. Kyle Harvell 8. Geno Steigerwalt 9. Paul Skodacek 10. Francis Gross III 11. Eric Zeh 12. JR Roth 13. Chris Burge DNS: David Rigan
Street Stock (50-laps) 1. CJ LEHMANN 2. Randy Schlenker 3. Todd Ahner 4. Scott Adams 5. Steve Shultz 6. Charlie Castiglione 7. Randy Ahner 8. Brian Brown 9. TJ Gurskey 10. Eric Kocher 11. Steve Hoffman 12. Jason Kuhn 13. Matt Schlenker 14. Mark Martini 15. Josh Mooney 16. Paul Morgan, Jr. 17.Greg Long 18. Justin Morgan 19. Joe Stavoy 20. Mike Piecho 21. Lyndsay Buss 22.Neil Rutt 23. Zach Graver 24. Mile Pollack 25. Rich Paciotti 26. Kevin Weierbach Jr 27. Dean Kline 28. Gary Noe
INEX Legends (30-laps) 1. ALEX MCCOLLUM 2. Bryan Kelly 3. Brad Lowmaster 4. Kevin Young 5. Vinny Delaney 6. Key Young 7. Pat Judson 8. Artie Peterson 9. Jerry Curran 10. Jeff Otto 11. Pat Verwys 12. Jonathan Parson 13. Noah Youngcourt 14. Mitch Dowd 15. Peter Bruno 16. Brandon Oltra