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Stuhler highlights night of dominating runs at Speedway

April 10, 2011|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Gary Stuhler used his first start of the season at Hagerstown Speedway on Saturday night to add to an already sterling record at the track, posting yet another Late Model feature win.

In dominating fashion, Stuhler — who turns 56 years old Wednesday — led from flag-to-flag in his brand new black No. 17 Rocket-chassis racer. He was rarely challenged as he cruised to his 129th career victory at the track.

The Greencastle, Pa., driver started from the pole and quickly stretched his lead before a late cautions bunched the field with about five laps to go in the 25-lap event.

“That starting spot helped a ton,” he said. “Everybody’s put a whole team effort into this and all these guys have worked their tails off. They’ve been up every night this week pretty late … it was just one of those dream nights.”

It was almost a scary scene with four laps to go. Brent Smith touched a car in the back stretch and spun, nearly hitting a gap between the outside retaining wall. The wreck brought out a red flag and sent Smith and Matt Murphy to the pits on a tow hook.

Nick Dickson finished second followed by Roy Deese Jr., Jim Bernheisel and Greg Satterlee in the top five.

Stuhler has created a legacy in Hagerstown with his long-running career. He has two Late Model track championships in 1990 and 2003 and is the track’s all-time leader in wins.

Still, he remains modest and downplays his success.

“I enjoy racing,” Stuhler said. “It’s getting a little tougher as I get older, but like I say, with a good group of people and guys behind me … it’s just a whole team effort. They all do it and I just drive it.”

On a night when Stuhler won again, Kenny Moreland made his first trip to Victory Lane at Hagerstown, leading every lap of the Late Model Sportsman 20-lap feature.

“There’s not a slow car here at all,” Moreland said. “I was just on the wheel, keeping it straight, doing the best I could do.”

Steve Axtell Jr. and reigning track champion Pete Weaver, who started 12th, raced to second- and third-place finishes. Trevor Feathers and Glenn Elliott rounded out the top five.

Keeping with the trend, Kenny Dillon led all 15 laps en route to a Pure Stock win to open the night’s feature card. With only 13 total teams present, no Pure Stock heat races were run.

Dillon edged runner-up Dave Stouffer Jr. in a close battle to keep the lead throughout.

“Every win here is a big win,” said Dillon, who started on the pole. “I’m happy to be here.”

Last week’s winner Steve Lowery, along with Drew Fitzsimmons and Charlie Pensinger, finished in the top five.

Hagerstown Speedway’s season continues on Saturday with the second appearance of the new Hobby Stock Cruiser division. Warm-ups begin at 7 p.m.

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