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Stuhler reaches Hagerstown Speedway milestone

June 17, 2005

HAGERSTOWN, MD - It's history and now in the record books at Hagerstown Speedway. Gary Stuhler, in his 30th year of racing, is the all-time leading late-model winner following Saturday's victory of the fourth and final segment of the Winchester/Hagerstown Shootout. The Greencastle, Pa. veteran finally surpassed the tie of 114 wins he's had with Rodney Franklin since winning the same race 364 days ago.

"I'm proud of what we've done," Stuhler said. "It's been a long time coming. I was beginning to wonder whether we'd ever get it. I think I won my first race here in 1986 in Bobby Allen's car."

Stuhler started from the pole and led all 40 laps, interrupted several times for cautions that erased his lengthy leads. In the final 21 green-flag laps, he continued on to seal the win with a four-second triumph over D.J. Myers.

"We got lucky starting on the pole . . . that helped," Stuhler said. "We've been struggling all year. This car just isn't good to us. We've been trying some things each week. We'll have to keep working at it. I found a pretty good line on the bottom, and then I saw Nathan and Jeremy on the scoreboard. I knew they started pretty far back and I was waiting to see one of them on the outside and nobody came. My crew gave me a sign that I was getting away from them, so that helped."

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In the Open Competition pure stock event, Hagerstown's Mike Warrenfeltz picked up his second season win after taking the lead on the fourth circuit and driving away to a four-plus-second romp over Dean Holmes. James Mongan of Warfordsburg, Pa. started eighth in the 30-lap enduro dash and chipped away at Mark Vegh's lead until catching him in traffic on lap 19 and slipping past.

Showers interrupted the Bull Durham/Shorty Bowers Memorial on May 21, but it's now been completed with David Williams of Avenue, Md. winning the second 20-lap segment. Jason Covert got the first win after showers stopped the race at 16 laps.

Stuhler pulled to the front over Roy Deese Jr. and Frankie Plessinger and led until lap six when Plessinger got a flat when battling for fifth. Stuhler pulled out to another lead with Deese five seconds behind on lap 13 when the next yellow waved. The battle for second was intense from the start with Jeremy Miller momentarily getting second on lap 20 before Durboraw took the spot. D.J. Myers then showed his strength and moved past on lap 28, but Stuhler had a nearly five-second lead and was working through the rear of the field.

Miller ended third followed by Durboraw and Bo Feathers. Devin Friese came from 19th for sixth spot, with Deese, Alan Sagi (from 21st), Plessinger (from the rear) and Allen Brannon completing the top 10.

Heats went to Joe Leavell, Durboraw, Mike Hardy and Plessinger. Sagi won the consolation

In the four-race series paying additional bonus money, Stuhler and Durboraw each had a first, second, third and fourth to tie for the top spot. Feathers finished third with Miller and Brannon taking the other paying spots.

Ashley Barrett led the pure stocks from the outside pole. But Warrenfeltz came from eighth and, once taking the lead, he was gone. Holmes got past Matt Kearns on the 12th lap and held the spot with Kevin Keefer getting a fender ahead of Kearns at the finish.

"That thing was awesome tonight," Warrenfeltz said. "The harder I ran it, the better it worked. It's been a long time since I won one like that when I was pulling away from everybody."

Williams led the first three laps of the postponed race. Durboraw and then Stuhler passed him by the sixth lap, but he didn't give up. He battled back to regain second on the ninth and then retook the lead on the 12th lap. He held to a 10-length lead over Jeremy Miller, who had come from 24th to second by the 13th lap. Stuhler, Andy Anderson and Deese were next, followed by Durboraw, Covert, Paul Crowl, Brannon and Jonathan Dehaven.

"I sure didn't think it was going to turn out this way," Williams said. "We just hung in there. I pushed the car a little too hard in the beginning and I had to get in my mind to slow down and just give it what it wanted, and it worked out for the better. When two of the best drivers on the East coast get by you, you pretty much say you're going to settle behind them. We're used to track conditions like this and it worked out better for us."

With the rain, Covert never got to stand on the front stretch that night.

"We got to start out front that night," Covert said. "Andy (Anderson) ran me clean. It's a pleasure to run with these guys. Last year we ran good and did everything but win one. We wanted to win one here, especially here. There's no harder place. The first day after Frank bought this place, me and my dad, uncle and cousins came to the first race and we came to the $50,000 to win race. It's amazing to actually win a race here. I just want to get another one now."

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