Raabe Survives Demanding Race Track For 358-Modified Win; Smoke Ends Seven-Year Sportsman Dry Spell

By: TIM BALTZ – HOGANSBURG, NY – With plenty of precipitation falling from the sky in the days leading up to this past Friday night’s action at the Mohawk International Raceway, the track crews worked many tireless hours to get the track race ready. Drivers did have their hands full and survival was the name of the game.

It was a family affair on the front row for the Twin Leaf Stores 358 Modified feature and John and Madison Mulder led the field to green with the father besting the son into turn one over Chris Raabe, Matt Woodruff and Louie Jackson Jr. It did not take long for the first yellow to fly as Ryan McLean spun his machine in turn two and would become stuck in the infield mud. On the restart John Mulder was able to hold the lead but Raabe would make run on the outside lane. Off turn two Mulder also would fall victim to the infield mud as he spun in turn two. When the green flew Raabe would regain the lead with Madison Mulder now picking up the second spot Louie Jackson Jr, Lance Willix who had charged from 18th spot up to 4th and Demetrios Drellos completing the top 5. With a tacky surface it was hammer down through the remaining laps. One by one drivers steadily fell out of the event due to mechanical failures and by lap 17 Lance Willix saw his great run come to an end with a problem in turn four. Not many cars were left on track of the 19 starters forcing race officials to shorten the event 25 laps. On the restart Raabe knew it was time to go and so did Madison Mulder as they broke away from the field over Drellos, Jackson and Jordan McCreadie. On lap 19 the great run ended for Madison Mulder as he broke his front end coming off turn 4, and the yellow would fly. On the final restart Raabe would drive away from the field and march on to become the first two-time winner at Mohawk in 2019. Demetrios Drellos made a late charge to get by Louie Jackson Jr. for 2nd while Jordan McCreadie and Tim Fuller completed the top 5.

The Crossroads Tobacco Sportsman were ready for 25 laps and Kristian Smoke was ready to go to work as he took the lead in the early laps over Dustin Bradley, Ben Wheeler, Ricky Thompson and Shaun Shaw. It had been a long time since Kristian Smoke went to victory lane, seven seasons to be exact, and on this night his car was the fastest machine out there as he held a solid 5 car length lead as behind him Ben Wheeler and Dustin Bradley had their own battle for 2nd. Wheeler would get the position but the driver on the move was Ricky Thompson. With tough conditions Ricky Thompson was able to muscle his way to the top 3 getting by Dustin Bradley on lap 12, then set his sights on Ben Wheeler for 2nd. On lap 17 Thompson made his way to the runner up spot but had some work to do to run down the leader. With 5 laps to go Kristian Smoke still held a comfortable advantage and not even a small dose of lapped traffic was slowing his pace. It had been since June 26th of 2011 since he last went to victory lane at the Cornwall Motor Speedway. On this night Kristian Smoke would make a triumphant return claiming his first win of the year in the caution free event. Ricky Thompson, Ben Wheeler, Dustin Bradley and Zach Arquiett would complete the top 5.

The Novice Sportsman were ready for their 15-lap event and Dan Beachard was looking to grab his first ever win while Gavin Riddell, Deric Ellsworth and Joshua Pete completed the top 3 in the early going. Beachard would make it tough on Riddell through the opening laps as he held the bottom lane comfortably forcing Riddell to try and make a move on the high lane. Beachard ran a great race for the opening 9 laps until they raced into turn three where Beachard made his only mistake. In turn the leader slipped up off the bottom lane and Gavin Riddell would take the spot coming to the line with 5 laps remaining. From there it was no contest as Gavin Riddell soared on to his 3rd win of the 2019 season. Dan Beachard would grab his best finish of the season with a runner up effort over Deric Ellsworth, Joshua Pete and Chris Reeves.

The 15 lap Mod Lite feature was anything but smooth sailing on this night as track conditions were not favorable for them. Styles Arquiett who won the previous week would break the front end in turn 4 bringing out the yellow. On the next restart Matt Fregoe would come off turn 4 out of shape and take a hard flip down the front stretch bringing out the red flag. Emergency crews rushed to the scene immediately and Fregoe was able to climb out without any injuries. He would take the mandatory trip in the ambulance for precautionary measures. When the all that was over with Steve Comeau, who was making his 3rd start of the year, would hold a comfortable lead but points leader Kevin Foster was on the charge as he jumped into third by half way getting by Harley Brown. One lap later he would charge by Scott Waldriff for 2nd and the battle was on. As the laps wound down Steve Comeau kept getting faster and it appeared that Kevin Foster would once again be the bridesmaid in a Mod Lite feature. With no cautions over the remaining laps, that is exactly what would happen as Steve Comeau would march on to claim his first win of the season. Kevin Foster would claim his 5th consecutive runner up finish over while Scott Waldrif, Ian Bressett and Harley Brown completed the top 5.

In Bandit action Terry Green Jr was the driver to beat as he held the the lead early on over Jeff Putnam, Matt Zira, Justin Pope and Francis White. Green was looking to add his name to the list of winners in the Bandit class but had his hands full with Zira and Pope right there to challenge him all race long. On lap 9 traffic came into play and Justin Pope saw an opportunity to take the top spot heading into turn 1 and brought Matt Zira with him to the runner up spot. On the final lap Matt Zira found his way to the inside lane and pulled even with Pope as they raced into turn 3. Coming off turn 4 it was a side by side battle for the win and by mere inches at the line Matt Zira would not be denied as he took his 4th straight win in thrilling fashion. Justin Pope settled for 2nd over Terry Green Jr., Jeff Putnam and Francis White.

This coming Monday night the 6th annual Pete Mitchell Memorial event will highlight the night for the Crossroads Tobacco Sportsman division along with round 4 for the DirtCar 358 Modified Series and Tim Fuller will try to defend home turf against the invaders. The Mod Lite division will be on the card as well for a special Mod Lite Challenge event. Further details on the event can be found on our website at mohawkintlraceway.com. For breaking news on everything happening at the speedway, be sure to give us a follow on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Twin Leaf Stores 358 Modified (30 laps)

CHRIS RAABE, Demetrios Drellos, Louie Jackson Jr., Jordan McCreadie, Tim Fuller, Michael Maresca, Matt Woodruff, Tommy Jock Jr., Madison Mulder, Lance Willix, Ryan McLean, Alex Therrien, John Mulder, Preston Forbes, Carey Terrance, Jason Riddell, Alan Therrien, Jeff Trapp, (DNS) Billy Dunn

Heat Winners: Demetrios Drellos, Madison Mulder and John Mulder

Crossroads Tobacco Sportsman (25 laps)

KRISTIAN SMOKE, Ricky Thompson, Ben Wheeler, Dustin Bradley, Zach Arquiett, Shaun Shaw, Shane Pecore, Jason Rose, Justin Lalncette, Thomas Cook, Anthony Rasmussen, Brianna Ladouceur, Andy Howard, RJ Tressider, Robert Delormier, Cedric Gauvreau, Delbert Legrow, Jason Bruno, Greg Snyder, Billy Cook, Jonathan Rush, Mike Stacey, (DNS) Eric Gauvreau and Darryl Mitchell

Heat Winners: Ricky Thompson, Shaun Shaw and Dustin Bradley

Novice Sportsman (15 laps)

GAVIN RIDDELL, Dan Beachard, Deric Ellsworth, Joshua Pete, Chris Reeves, Cory Castell, Jonathan Rush, Gage Howard, Dan Reif, (DNS) Matthew Bourey

Heat Winners: Dan Beachard and Gavin Riddell

Mod Lite (15 laps)

STEVE COMEAU, Kevin Foster, Scott Waldrif, Ian Bressett, Harley Brown, Nick Mallette, Scott Sharpe, Tristan Dibble, Gilles Comeau, Craig Donnelly, Brad Reif, Jason Premo, Matt Fregoe, Styles Arquiett

Heat Winners: Nick Mallette Kevin Foster

Bandit (12 laps)

MATT ZIRA, Justin Pope, Terry Green Jr., Jeff Putnam, Francis White, Dan Snyder, Terry Lamica, John Martin

Heat Winner: Justin Pope