HAGERSTOWN, Md. – Jeremy Miller timed third, finished second in his heat and topped Friday night off at Hagerstown Speedway by winning the Three State Flyers 44-lap 28th Annual McBee/Hays Memorial in the Buchanan Auto Stores late models for the second time in his career.
He previously won the 2004 event which honors Ronnie McBee, the former driver of the Ronnie “Speedy” Hays late model and longtime car owner Hays, who passed away after battling medical problems for a number of years.
Miller, of Gettysburg, started from the pole after a youngster pulled the number one for him when the top two from each heat drew for position. It was his Hagerstown career 29th late model triumph and also established a new track record for the non-stop 44 laps in a time of 15.57 minutes. .
“The races are so tough today that the starting spot helped a lot but we’ve also came from the back down here,” Miller said. “We weren’t perfect but we did get a little luck from that little boy tonight. Probably this is all due to him, so we have to thank him for that. I wanted to win one for my mother, she’s always watching over us. My wife Julie and daughter Morgan couldn’t be here tonight but I know they’ll be happy.”
Miller beat JT Spence out of the starting gate with Marvin Winters and Jason Covert in tow. Spence was nearly two seconds behind by the sixth lap with seventh starting Joe Leavell moving into fourth the next circuit. Eighth starter David Williams was up three positions when Miller was approaching the rear of the field by lap 12.
Spence closed and was on Miller’s bumper by the 13th lap while behind him, Williams got past Winters and joined the lead duo by the 17th lap.
Spence found a way around Miller to lead lap 18, but Miller battled back to regain the spot the next lap while still trying to get past the cars of 2011 event winner Rusty Sites and newly crowned late model sportsman champion Justin Weaver.
Williams grabbed third from Spence on the 22nd lap with Miller maintaining control and passing Weaver on the 26th while Williams tagged along and challenged Miller.
Miller later cleared Sites on the 38th lap with Williams following while 13th starting Mark Pettyjohn, who earlier passed his brother, Kenny, headed past both Covert and Winters into fourth.
Miller sped to the victory by .673 second over Williams with M. Pettyjohn taking third from Spence on the final lap.
“When we started off, we had our car about perfect but then we didn’t tighten up enough and we really couldn’t maneuver,” Miller said. “I think this is the toughest competition in this area that I’ve ever raced against. It’s just very, very tough. Everybody has the same stuff and a lot of time, luck of the draw helps and little tweaks here and there.”
“When I was a kid, I remember watching Ronnie McBee race and it was pretty awesome. I remember it but don’t remember everything. They rank him up there as one of the best. It’s a pretty cool accomplishment.”
Winters ended fifth as Covert, K. Pettyjohn, Gregg Satterlee, Leavell and Jerry Bard rounded out the top ten. Heat winners were Spence, K.Pettyjohn, Joe Leavell and Covert while Trever Feathers and Tyler Hershey were the B Main winners. Dan Stone ended 11th after coming from 25th and earned the Round Hill Auto hard charger award.
Friday’s event was the final point race with Kenny Pettyjohn earning his first Buchanan Auto Stores late model championship.
Dave Stouffer Jr. took the lead in the Ernie D’s pure stocks with third starting Lane Hessong moving into second on the third lap. Following a fifth lap restart, Hessong stayed with Stouffer and later cleared him around the high side to take over on the tenth lap.
Kevin Boyer came from 12th spot into the runner up spot with two to go, but 17 year old Hessong held on for a one length victory while Chris Ebersole took third from Stouffer on the final circuit. Charlie Pensinger ended fifth. It was the first pure stock win for Hessong with car owner Dave Hessong pleased with a first win plus the season championship for another car driven by Darrin Younker who got wrapped up in a fifth lap incident and ended ninth.