PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — John Zych Jr. “came, saw and conquered” Saturday night, prevailing in the Northeastern Midget Ass’n’s first visit to Airborne Speedway in 42 years.
Grabbing the lead early, Zych ( Zych 9) survived a mid-race battle with Ian Cumens (Seymour29) to win the 25-lapper, his third checkered flag of the season.
A side-by-side battle with eventual runner-up Cumens, set in motion by a lap 14 restart, was the only real challenge for Zych who took the lead shortly after a lap four restart. Seth Carlson beat Russ Stoehr (Dumo’s Desire 45) in the battle for the final podium spot while Randy Cabral (Bertrand 47) edged Anthony Marvuglio (Bertrand 74) for fifth.
Moving into second on lap eight after a battle with Stoehr, Cumens was 10 car lengths behind Zych when the final yellow showed. Cumens, on the outside, made a serious challenge and hung out there for four laps before Zych finally got away coming out of four completing lap 18.
“The fact that [Cumens] stayed out there worried me,” admitted Zych, the point leader. “I couldn’t get to the outside and it disrupted my momentum. I knew I had to clear him on the bottom.”
“For a second there I did have the lead,” said Cumens, pointing out, in the end, the difference was “he was good from the center out. My car liked it on the outside and was good going in.” He was, taking every advantage, knowing Zych “would give me plenty of room.”
The final restart did set up two terrific late race battles. Carlson got by Stoehr on the green, but couldn’t get away while quarter lap behind them Cabral, driving without power steering, had his hands full with teammate Marvuglio. Spinning on the first lap, Cabral actually started last.
Four laps in yellow flew again, Todd Bertrand going off in two and Doug Cleveland losing a wheel in four. Zych, now sitting sixth, took to the outside on the green and within a lap passed Stoehr for the lead down the back chute. “That wasn’t in the plan,” said Zych. “I wanted to show some patience but the opening was there and I made the decision to go.”
Ian Cummens won the NEMA Lites feature.
John Zych Jr., Ian Cumens, Seth Carlson, Russ Stoehr, Randy Cabral, Anthony Marvuglio, Bethany Stoehr, Joey Payne, Phil DiMario, Paul Scally, Bethany Stoehr, Keith Botelho, James Santa Maria, Todd Bertrand, Doug Cleveland.