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Chris Haskell at Whip City

BY MARK McKEON

WESTFIELD, MA – Facing a total of 48 opponents, Chris Haskell won a pair of late season, extra distance races at Whip City Speedway, taking both the 30 lap East Coast Mini Sprint Association 750cc Fall Final and the 25 lap Empire Lightning Sprints/ Whip City 1200cc feature.

A statistically improbable chain of events placed Haskell on the pole for both races. During time trials, he tied for eighth fastest in both classes, but because he was the second car to do so, he was awarded ninth. Only 8 cars were eligible for each Dash for Cash, so he was relegated to the sidelines for those races. The winner of each Dash was tasked to draw a pill numbered between 5 and 12 for the invert and both winners drew number 9, which placed Haskell on the pole for both races.


“It was an amazing night,” Haskell said. “Getting the pole for both races was a gift and I still can’t believe it, the odds of that happening are just ridiculous. Going into the night, I thought we had a good shot at winning the 750 race, but I really didn’t expect to win the 1200 race.”
In the 750cc Fall Final, Haskell instantly capitalized on his pole position starting spot and romped to a wire to wire victory over 23 competitors. Despite the large field and extra distance, the race was slowed by only four caution flags.
Mark Taylor had a solid second place run. Mike King, who set the fastest time and won the Dash, completed the podium and Rick Stone was fourth. Kyle Spencer rim rode and crawfished from 22nd to 5th, picking up the Hard Charger award in the process. Fourteen-year-old Sportsman driver Tyler Jackson was first-in-class, finishing fifth overall.
The Empire Lightning Sprints/Whip City 1200cc feature was a much harder fought win for Haskell. Outside polesitter John Virgilio, who clearly had the fastest car and hottest set-up, led for 22 laps of the 25 lap event, beating Haskell off the line at the initial start and on two subsequent restarts. Haskell was relentless in his pursuit however, and executed an inside pass on Virgilio near the end of a long green flag run.
“There was no way we were as fast as John Virgilio in the first half of the race, he was just flying and he was also able to get through the traffic better than I was,” Haskell continued. “I don’t know if his tires were going away or if his motor was laying down, but my car was coming to me and I started catching him in the second part of the race. I tried to pass him once, but I made a mistake and he just flat drove away from me. Then he got caught in some lapped traffic and I went under all of them in turn 3 and 4. Both John and I were avoiding the low side in 3 and 4 because we wouldn’t stick, but I only had a couple of laps left, so I went low and it stuck.”
“A couple of weeks ago, we didn’t even have a car for the 1200cc race but Billy Adamsky had one with a blown motor that he said we could use. We took his blown motor and parts from a couple of motors that we had in the shop and Richie Woods made up one good one for us to put in Billy’s car. My father and Richie and everybody else worked really hard, but the whole thing was kind of a hodge-podge deal. I still can’t believe it,” Haskell concluded.
Virgilio finished a close second, followed by master motor maker Richie Wood. Fast timer and Dash winner Matt Norrie came from ninth to finish fourth and clinched the inaugural Empire Lightning Sprints points championship. Multi-time CNYMS champ Don Harvey raced from 14th to finish 5th.
Joe Szczapa took home the 1200cc Hard Charger award by clawing his way from 24th to 11th. Anthony Nocella garnered the well earned Hard Luck award by getting wheels-up for the second consecutive week.
The 1200cc win earned Haskell $750 from a total purse of over $4,000. Race sponsors were Affordable Disposal, Alloy Wheel Repair, Dick’s Road Service, K&S Powersports, Phillips Industrial Services and Taylor Energy-Taylor Oil Co.
Haskell’s share of the 750cc Fall Final $3500 purse was again $750, due part to race sponsors Affordable Disposal, Cornwall Water Supply, Dick’s Road Service, Haskell Motorsports, Ron Hunt, International Paper Products, Lasco Roofing, McKeon Brothers Racing Team, Phillips Industrial Services and Taylor Energy. Whip City Speedway supplied the trophies.
Additional 750cc contingency winners were Dirt Williamson (Sportsman Hard Charger 21/10,) Ed LeClerc (First-On-The-Hook,) Walt Feldman (Hard Luck,) Tyler Jackson (Highest Finishing Driver age 18 or younger) and Rick Stone (Highest Finishing Driver age 50 or older).
The Quad 4 Midgets had a 10 car field, including 3 that were running with rookie stripes, which bodes well for the future of this exciting, wingless class. Joe Krawiec once again took Skip Matczak’s Seals-It Midget to victory lane after taking the top spot from early leader Dave Blaze. R.J Tufano dug deep to come from fifth to second, Kelly Ferrell was third, and second generation driver Steve Csiki was fourth, in only his second start in a vehicle larger than a Kart.
Andrew Mullen won the 250 Youth Sprint feature and Kara Franqueza was second.
There are two more weeks of racing left on the Whip City Speedway schedule and the points championships are up for grabs in all six of the evening divisions.

Empire Lightning Sprints/Whip City Speedway 1200cc Feature: CHRIS HASKELL, John Virgilio, Richie Wood, Doug Norrie, Don Harvey, Mike Kiser, Charlie Pease, Justin Phillips, Shaun Gosselin, Peter Dance, Joe Szczapa, Dale Friedly, R.J. Tufano, Matt Norrie, Jerry Sehn, Will Casazza, Jamie Kiser, Paul Rose, Pat Kuerner, Christian Wright, Pat Potter, Jamie Beaudry, Jon Moore, Anthony Nocella, Todd Lapp.

1200cc Time Trials: Doug Norrie-13.39, Jon Moore-13.45, Pat Potter-13.46, Peter Dance-13.51, Don Harvey-13.52, Mike Kiser-13.55, Richie Wood-13.58, John Virgilio-13.65, Chris Haskell-13.65, Jamie Beaudry-13.68, Charlie Pease 13.68, Anthony Nocella-13.75, Matt Norrie 13.79, Justin Phillips-13.81, R.J. Tufano-13.87, Will Casazza-13.93, Jerry Sehn-14.05, Joe Sczczapa-14.09, Paul Rose-14.49, Todd Lapp-14.62, Jamie Kiser-14.62, Pat Kuerner-14.75, Christian Wright-14.78, Shaun Goddelin-16.78, Dale Friedly NT.


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