Rich Vleck, HAMMETT, PA, (May 24, 2015)- After his win Saturday Night at Stateline Speedway, Sammy Reakes IV admitted it took some luck for him to score the victory; after his win on Sunday Night at Eriez though, there was no question about his ability to win races on the Patriot Sprint Tour.
Reakes, 27, of Palermo, NY, took the lead from Scott Kreutter on lap 11 and held off a hard-charging Jared Zimbardi over the second half of the race at Eriez Speedway to sweep the Memorial Day Weekend Doubleheader and establish a healthy point lead through the first five races on the PST America Series.
“The car was amazing, especially those first 15 laps,” declared Reakes in Victory Lane. “Towards the end, the bottom end was starting to blow off, but we were good enough.”
In 2014, Reakes won his heat and finished in 7th in his first appearance at Eriez. Sunday night started out similarly as Reakes drove to another heat race win, but this time around, he went forward from the fifth starting spot to get his Tub Surgeon No. 17 to the front.
On the opening circuit, Reakes made a three-wide move underneath Jack Sodeman Jr. and Mitch Brown, entering turns three and four. Sodeman and Brown made contact while Reakes got to third. After the races only caution flag on lap two, Reakes moved around Jimmy Stitzel for second place and set his sights on the leader.
“I like this place a lot,” noted Reakes after the race. “It reminds me a lot of Brewerton and I’ve got a lot of laps at that track in a sportsman car so it helped me to run the bottom here, especially in turns one and two where you’ve got to hug the bottom yet keep the car free.”
After getting by Scott Kreutter on lap 11, Reakes started to pick his way through lapped traffic. Jared Zimbardi moved around Kreutter for second on lap 16 and immediately began putting pressure on Reakes for the lead. Zimbardi, who was blasting his No. 35 around the top of the track, got close on many occasions but just could not find the run to take the lead.
“Scotty gave me a run and then with two to go I saw Jared show me his nose in the middle and I said I better step it up and get by these lapped cars because he’s not going to mess around,” added Reakes.
The win capped off a dream weekend for the fourth year sprint car shoe. After winning in his second sprint car start, a few tough years made this weekend even sweeter for the Palermo, NY driver.
“The way we have come out this year is just awesome, especially after the way we have struggled the last two years. We got our motor program back on track, I got myself back on track with the maintenance and spending time in the garage with my dad, who just slaves on this thing.”
It was another quality run for Zimbardi, who scored his fifth-straight top five at the site of his first career PST win back in 2007. He noted after the race that he felt the car was strong on the top, but just could not find consistent bite off of turn four to take the lead.
Despite slipping back to a third place finish, Pole Position Raceway Polesitter and heat race winner Scott Kreutter was happy to have his first top five of the season. The three-time Eriez winner felt that a poor shock on the right rear may have been the culprit late in the race.
Weekend invader Jimmy Stitzel had a solid night, coming home in the fourth position. Former PST rookie of the year Steven Hutchinson Jr. scored a career-best fifth-place finish at the site of his first career top 10 back in 2012.
Jack Sodeman Jr. suffered noticeable damage to the C.J. Jones-owned No. 10J but was able to cross in sixth, ahead of Evingham Site Excavation Four Laps of Fame Dash Winner George Suprick, who was seventh. Dane Lorenc was eighth, while Darryl Ruggles charged back up to ninth after getting involved in a lap 2 crash. Kyle Drum rounded out the top 10.
A total of 24 sprints helped to pack the pits for the tradition Memorial Day Sunday race. It was a warm, yet overcast day that produce a light sprinkle but could not prohibit the 14th PST race at Eriez from taking place.
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Patriot Sprint Tour America Series Results: 5/24/15, Eriez Speedway, Hammett, PA.
A-Main (25 Laps)- 1. Sammy Reakes IV (17), 2. Jared Zimbardi (35), 3. Scott Kreutter (52), 4. Jimmy Stitzel (4), 5. Steven Hutchinson Jr. (2), 6. Jack Sodeman Jr. (10J), 7. George Suprick (87), 8. Dane Lorenc (00), 9. Darryl Ruggles (48JR), 10. Kyle Drum (47), 11. Dave Just (54J), 12. Joe Trenca (98), 13. Gary Edwards (57), 14. Joe McEwen (44), 15. Alysha Ruggles (48A), 16. Tyler Graves (25G), 17. Jake Muench (14), 18. Dennis Wagner (38), 19. Steve Glover (121), 20. Stan Zanchin (94), 21. Dave Wickham (80), 22. Scott Just (54JR), 23. Mitch Brown (10), 24. Steve Collins (67).
Lap Leaders- Kreutter 1-10, Reakes 11-25.
Evingham Site Excavation Four Laps of Fame (4 Laps)- 1. George Suprick (87), 2. Darryl Ruggles (48JR), 3. Dane Lorenc (00), 4. Scott Just (54JR), 5. Joe McEwen (44), 6. Steve Collins (67).
Heats (8 Laps Each)-
Race 1: Sodeman, Zimbardi, D. Ruggles, McEwen, Edwards, Trenca, Glover, A. Ruggles.
Race 2: Reakes, Hutchinson, Suprick, Drum, Collins, Graves, Wagner, Zanchin.
Race 3: Kreutter, Brown, S. Just, Stitzel, Lorenc, D. Just, Muench, D. Wickham.
Hoosier Tire Canada/ Mike Emhof Motorsports Recipient: Zimbardi
Pole Position Raceway Pole Winner: Kreutter
Patriot Sprint Tour America Series Point Standings (Top 10)- Reakes 690, Drum 634, Kreutter 596, Hutchinson 569, Zimbardi 568, S. Just 563, D. Just 554, Collins 553, Glover and Suprick 535.
Evingham Site Excavation Four Laps of Fame Dash Series Standings (Top Five)- Zimbardi 12, Brown 11, Kreutter 10, Lorenc 9, Drum Collins and Suprick 7.
Patriot Tank Lines Hard Charger of the Season Standings (Top Five)- Zimbardi 33, T. Wickham 24, D. Just 20, Tanner and Reakes 18.
Danny Willmes Enterprises Lap Leader Standings (Top Five)- Reakes 21, S. Just 19, Barney and Stillwaggon 16, Zimbardi 15.