Awtey Tops Jennerstown Late Model Finale

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JENNERSTOWN, Pa. – Local favorite Barry Awtey celebrated in victory lane after winning Saturday’s Martella’s Pharmacies Late Model season finale at Jennerstown Speedway.

While Awtey celebrates his victory, Albert Francis locked up the division championship.

After Garry Wiltrout, Teddy Gibala and Francis won the preliminary heat races, the  Martella’s Pharmacies Late Model division’s 30-lap feature race began with championship contender Awtey taking the lead.

Starting the race from the pole, Awtey entered the final race eight points behind in the championship standings. Francis, leading the championship, started the race in 10th. The most recent race winner, Gibala, also in championship contention, started 12th, trailing by nine points in the standings.

Before lap one was completed, a nine-car crash was triggered, when multi-car contact caused recent winner Joe Maruca to spin in turn one. All three drivers atop the point standings avoided damage, and all drivers involved were uninjured.

On the restart, Awtey ran off from all challengers, leading by a comfortable margin. By lap four, Gibala advanced to fourth place, with Francis racing in sixth position. Second-year late model competitor Jarred Barclay has looked poised for his first victory, in recent weeks.  A former winner in the Modified division, Barclay held the runner-up spot until the midpoint of the race.

Gibala, the leading winner of 2019, grabbed the second position from Barclay on lap 15.  Four laps later, Francis passed Barclay for third spot, placing all three title contenders in the top three of the running order.

Although Gibala advanced 10 positions, he was never able to gain on leader Awtey. Awtey’s lead was insurmountable and Gibala closed out his season with a second place run. Awtey, a five time Jennerstown champion, did everything he could on the final night of action to try and earn more points toward the title.

Awtey led every lap of the feature, pulling away from the competition, and scoring his second victory of the year. However, it wasn’t enough to stop Francis from claiming the championship after a solid season that included three victories.

Other winners Saturday included Tom Golik (Stoystown Auto Wreckers Modifieds), Casey Fleegle (Ron’s Collision Center Street Stocks), rookie Kyle Burkholder (Farmers Union Co-Op Chargers) and Evan Nibert (Somerset Trust Co. Fast ‘n Furious 4-Cylinders).

Other divisional champions at Jennerstown Speedway included Anthony Aiello (Stoystown Auto Wreckers Modifieds), Fleegle (Ron’s Collision Center Street Stocks), Dale Kimberly (Farmers Union Co-Op Chargers) and Jeff Vasos (Somerset Trust Co. Fast ‘n Furious 4-Cylinders).