HAGERSTOWN, Md. – Brian Tavenner was the Topless Late Model winner on Ernie D’s Auction Night at Hagerstown Speedway Saturday evening, picking up the $2,500 triumph plus another $600 from Ernie D’s.
It not only was a triumph, but Tavenner’s career first in Late Models and the first for the Winchester driver since he last won in 2005, a season in which he won seven Pure Stock features, the last one on Sept. 17.
Tavenner was greeted by a throng of well-wishers upon exiting his racer; family, drivers that he just beat, former drivers, crew and the last to pass his congratulations on before being interviewed was Winchester legend Buddy Armel.
“I don’t even know when I won last,” Tavenner said. “It was back in my pure stock days, back in 2004, 2002, something like that. This is crazy. I know starting position is everything here. When you have that #72 (Jason Covert) sitting there looking at you on the outside, you’re looking like “Man.” You have a lot of tough guys here to beat; Hagerstown has the class of the field. Starting up front definitely helped. This just goes to show you dreams really do come true. Everyone does so much for this team, I’m just so glad it finally showed.”
Tavenner and Covert occupied the front row from the time trialed heat wins but Covert was called for jumping the initial start and sent back five rows. Keith Jackson advanced alongside as Tavenner took the lead over him and group one fast timer Marvin Winters.
The green flag remained over the field as Tyler Hershey got past Winters on the eighth lap while Tavenner maintained his lead over Jackson and got to the rear of the field by the 18th lap, lapping one car and another with two to go which allowed him to open his lead just a little more as he drove on to win by 2.149 seconds over Jackson, Hershey, Winters and Andy Anderson.
The Topless Late Model Sportsman $1,000 to win 25-lap feature went heads up from the invert with Scott Palmer and Rodney Walls on the front row with Walls rolling around the top to take charge leaving Palmer and Justin Weaver to battle for the runner up spot.
Cautions on the 15th and 18th adjusted the field with Bobby Beard powering past the pair to take second on the 20th lap but Walls had the car to catch and pass and he went on to claim his first win since September 2010 by 1.376 seconds over Beard, Palmer, Weaver and Cody Kershner.
“This is great. It was 2010 since I won here,” Walls said. ”That’s why we concentrated on running here this year. I wanted to get another one. I didn’t know what kind of a lead I had. I just tried to hit my marks; I wasn’t slowing down for anything tonight.”
With a heads up start from the heats, Chris Ebersole pulled to the Pure Stock lead with Kevin Koontz into second the next lap. Ebersole maintained a comfortable lead as Mike Corbin worked his way from 14th to take second with three to go. Ebersole’s fourth triumph of the season was by three lengths over Corbin, Craig Parrill, Brandon Churchey, and the A Bargain Towing Hard Charger from 17th and 15th starter Keith Koontz.
Gary Proctor charged from seventh to the lead following a second lap restart while Tom Caravello moved into second on the same lap as did Matt Wampler into third after starting tenth. Wampler went to the outside to take second on the tenth lap and then went around Proctor on the 12th for the lead and win.
Kurt Welsh took the lead of the Classic Car Series from the outside pole and led all 12 laps with pole setter Steve Clemo following for second and third was Charlie Summers, winner during the series’ visit in May.