HAGERSTOWN, Md. — The son of veteran Kenny Dickson, Lewistown, Pa.’s Nick Dickson put it all together Saturday night at Hagerstown Speedway on Fire and Rescue (EMS) Appreciation and ARCH (Auto Racing Club of Hagerstown) Nights to capture his career first triumph in the Buchanan Auto Stores Late Model Championship Series, a goal he set for this season.
“Our to do list for this year was to win one at Winchester and here and we did it the last two times out,” Dickson said. “We’re thrilled. To win here is so awesome. I’ve struggled here a lot but I knew I was going to get it.”
Dickson started sixth after a redraw by kids from the stands for each of the top nine qualifiers. He was into second on the ninth lap, charged past Gary Stuhler for the lead on lap 13 and later beat him to the finish by 5.28 seconds.
“Tonight is our first win here and this is the place to win. Here is where the cars are. You get a lot of recognition, “Dickson said. “Gary Stuhler, I’ve been watching him since I was born. He’s my hero. To get past him, it’s a tough deal.”
Needmore, Pa.’s Chris Ebersole previously won in the enduro dash races but Saturday’s race was only his third in the Ernie D’s pure stocks and he drove like a veteran to win by a length in a final lap shootout.
“I knew Tony would be all over my bumper,” Ebersole said. “I’m in complete shock that ‘I’m even here this early in the game. It’s amazing.”
Gary Proctor of Big Pool, Md. scored both the make-up D & D Auto Recycling hobby stock feature from the previous week, leading three laps and again in the scheduled event, leading the final ten laps, both coming from 12th place.
Proctor said, “I saw a hole on the inside. I thought to myself. ‘I better take it.’ Sometimes you have to push the limit. I guess I made it four wide.”
Frankie Plessinger charged around the outside to beat pole sitter Dan Stone off the second turn for the late model lead while Stuhler quickly dropped into the runner up position as Dickson was third by lap six.
Following a ninth lap restart, Stuhler, Plessinger and Dickson diced positions with Dickson taking charge on the 13th circuit and saying “goodbye” as he pulled away by three seconds in the next three circuits. Dickson was into rear traffic by the 19th lap but continued to surge towards the finish and stretched his lead to 5.28 seconds over Stuhler at the checkered with Plessinger holding off Stone for third at the line.
“As soon as I got this car, it’s a totally different world than I’m used to,” Dickson said. “Last year and the years before, I was doubting myself a little bit as a driver. Right now, I can’t do wrong. This Mastersbilt by Huey, it’s working well, I feel the motor is strong, the car is stronger, the tires, we’re good right now.”
Stevie Long ended fifth ahead of Alan Sagi and Jerry Bard, the Nininger Tire and Auto Hard Charge who came from 16th. George Moreland, Andy Fries and Roy Deese Jr. completed the top ten.
Stuhler, Dickson and Plessinger won the heats while Ashley Barrett was the consy winner. Tim Murphy received the Nininger Hard Luck award.
Keith Koontz charged from the outside pole of the pure stocks to lead over Billy Ecton Jr while fourth starting Ebersole took third from Charlie Pensinger on the third lap and second on lap seven. The youngster Koontz continued to hold on until Ebersole drove past two laps later while Tony Catlett took second on the tenth. Ebersole kept a steady pace and was able to hold Catlett off when a yellow interrupted the final lap. Koontz held to third over Steve Lowery and Pensinger. Heats went to Ecton Jr. Ebersole and Danny Beavers.
In the D&D hobby stock make up from the previous week, Tom Caravello led from the outside pole over Nick Dibella and Kenny Thomas while Proctor came to the front and finally took the lead from him with two to go. Proctor won by 1.38 seconds over him as Lane Hessong, Mark Vegh and Kyle Durboraw were next. Vegh and Proctor had won the heats.
In the scheduled feature, Caravello took the lead from his third starting spot while he and Gary Breeden drove side by side for the first three laps until Thomas and Proctor arrived at the front and joining in the three and four wide competition.
Proctor took the bottom opening off turn two to make the four wide pass and go ahead on lap six. Following an eighth lap restart, he stretched his lead over Thomas to 2.1 seconds to make it his third straight win this season. Dibella, Matt Smith and Breeden were next. Thomas and Dibella were the heat winners.