WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. ~ On a night when he and seven other drivers were honored for winning five or more driving titles during their careers Chas Okerson won Saturday’s 40-lap main event for Downs Ford Modified stock cars at Wall Stadium Speedway.
It was the second win of the year for the third mile paved oval’s only 9-time driving champion.
Jason Treat of Jackson and first year Modified driver Chad Churilla of St. James, N.Y. wrestled for the lead side-by-side for the first four laps before Churilla made the outside lane work to take the lead. By the halfway point Shaun Carrig of Little Falls moved into second to challenge Churilla before Jackson’s Steven Reed took over the second spot later in the race and immediately went after the leader.
On several restarts Churilla and Reed raced side-by-side with Churilla holding down the top spot by inches each time. Meanwhile Okerson was able to slip into third to make it a three-car fight for the first spot.
The big turning point in the race came on a restart with just a handful of laps remaining as Churilla and Reed raced into the first turn. Racing side-by-side their cars touched with Churilla’s No. 32 spinning from contention. Officials soon announced that they felt that Reed contributed to the miscue and he was told to report of the rear of the field.
That put Okerson in the lead and he ticked off the final laps for the win. Carrig was a strong second with Brick’s Shawna Ingraham, Trevor Alspach of Willingboro and Howell’s Eric Mauriello completing the top five.
“I have to say that I got lucky tonight,” Okerson said. “But we had the car running real good and I had to have it that way to get to the position I was in. This was a great night between the win and the ceremonies to honor all the drivers before the races. I want to thank the Krause family for all they do.”
The Limited Late Models battled in a non-stop 50-lap main event with Brick’s Ronnie Mullen the early leader before Chatham’s Nick Shaw took command just past halfway. Last year’s champ Brian Doyle of Ronkonkoma, N.Y. soon moved into second and chased Shaw to the final lap. On that lap Doyle took the lead and raced to the win. Brick’s Ronnie Mullen advanced to second, while Shaw settled for third. Daryn Miller and Anthony Crimaldi wrapped up the top five.
Point leader Scott Riggleman of Manchester took the lead on lap 11 and went on to win his fifth Factory Stock race of the year.
After suffering through bad fortunes in recent weeks Manasquan’s Kenny Van Wickle won the 30-lap Sportsman feature over Kenny Matlach of New Hyde Park, N.Y. who returned from a devastating crash just two weeks earlier. Point leader Kevin Davison of Howell, Holmdel’s Andrew Krause and Brick’s Dominic Fattaruso were third through fifth.
Cassandra Denis won her second ladies’ Powder Puff race of the year.
Chas Okerson, Shaun Carrig, Shawna Ingraham, Trevor Alspach, Eric Mauriello, Jonathan Mandato, Steven Reed, Jason Treat, Chad Churilla, Scott Brannick, Andrew Krause, Adam LaCicero, Chris Reynolds, Alspach, Keith Mulleneaux, Chris Lane, Glenn Slocum, Chris Hamilton, Derek Hopkinson, Kevin Davison, Jason Hearne, Ronnie Mullen