HOPKINSON WINS THRILLING WALL STADIUM MODIFIED OPENER
WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. ~ Derek Hopkinson raced from tenth on the starting grid to grab the lead with three laps remaining to win the long awaited season opening 40-lap Modified stock car feature race at Wall Stadium Speedway Saturday night. Due to COVID-19 restrictions the spectator gathering was limited in size for the season opener that was delayed since late April.
Defending champion Steven Reed and Blake Barney, both of Jackson, wrestled side-by-side for the lead in the early going as Eddie McCarthy of Brock and Holmdel's Andrew Krause watched from third and fourth positions. Krause and McCarthy slipped into second and third spots near lap 15 with Krause soon swinging to the outside lane to battle side-by-side for the top spot.
Krause was finally able to inch into the lead at the halfway point, but this race was far from over. Meanwhile, Hopkinson had climbed into third position.
Reed regained the lead with an inside lane pass on a lap 27 restart and Hopkinson was quick to take over second. Hopkinson then shadowed Reed until lap 37 when he muscled his way into the inside lane and then raced on for the win. Reed, Krause, Barney and Manasquan's Kenny Van Wickle completed the top five.
“The car was great to be able to get me to the front from tenth,” Hopkinson said after the win. “At the end of the race I knew I had to get to the inside. I just had to drive it in there and hope for the best. It worked out for me tonight!”
Bryan O'Shea of Neptune City was in the spotlight the entire way as he won the 25-lapper for the Factory Stock cars. Billy Both of Rahway chased him to the finish, while defending champion Elliott Wohl of Beachwood was third. Manchester's Scott Riggleman and Howell's John Carpenter wrapped up the top five.
Early leader Alonzo Morales of Burlington and Wall's TJ Graves offered up a battle royal through most of the 25 lap 4 Cylinder Stock main event as Neptune City's Ryan Maher ran a tight third. But when the lead duo tangled on the front stretch with one lap to go and Graves spun from contention, Maher was able to avoid the mayhem and race to his career first main event win. Morales recovered for second, while Ian Ashford of Farmingdale, Chuck McDonald of Groton, Ct. and Doug Ashford of Farmingdale wrapped up the top five. Graves was scored 11th.
Howell's Eric Lane raced to victory in the season's first 25-lapper for the Sportsman racers. Jarret DiGiantomasso of Jackson was the early leader in this race, but when his motor exploded on lap seven the resulting oil spill also ruined the night for his brother, Carsten DiGiantomasso. Brick's Robert Sutphin was also involved in the resulting tangle but was able to continue.
Lane picked up the lead at that point and raced on to the win. Sutphin recovered from that early flat tire to finish second, while Jonathan Laureigh of Lanoka Harbor, Jake Nelke of Manahawkin and Neil Rutt III of Edison were third through fifth.
Daniel Carter of Cortland, N.Y. grabbed the win in the Legend Cars 25-lapper, fighting off Kevin Nowak of Medford, N.Y. most of the way. Bryan Gardella of Brick and Quinn Trimmer of Waldwick wrapped up the top five.
Defending Limited Late Model champ Chris Silvestri of Hazlet outlasted the competition to win a shortened opening night main event. Jackson's Greg Gastelu, Mike Tillett of Bayville. Buddy Miller and Stephen Puglisi wrapped up the top five.
The 2020 Saturday night regular season continues this Saturday (August 1) evening with the Modifieds, Sportsman cars, Factory Stocks, 4 Cylinder Stocks, Legend Cars and the Limited Late Models in action. On this evening the speedway will observe its 70th anniversary with a celebration that will feature several special guests. The pit area will open at 12:30 p.m. Grandstands will open at 4:30 p.m., qualifying starts at 5:45 p.m. and main event action starts at 7:00 p.m.
Current plans call for Saturday night racing action to continue through early October with schedule details at wallspeedwayracing.com.
Wall Stadium is located on Route 34 in Wall Township, N.J., just one mile north of Garden State Parkway exit 98 and Interstate 195 exit 35B. The speedway hotline number is 732-681-6400 and email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
MODIFIED FEATURE – 40 Laps – 1. DEREK HOPKINSON, TOMS RIVER, 2. Steven Reed, 3. Andrew Krause, 4. Blake Barney, 5. Kenny Van Wickle, 6. Jason Treat, 7. Ron Frees, 8. Joey Merlino, 9. Eddie McCarthy, 10. Robert French, 11. Glenn Slocum, Jr., 12. Kevin Davison, 13. Kyle Scisco, 14. Tommy Martino, 15. Tyler Truex, 16. Ricky Collins, 17. Dom Fattaruso
FACTORY STOCK FEATURE – 25 Laps – 1. BRYAN O'SHEA, NEPTUNE CITY, 2. Billy Both, 3. Elliot Wohl, 4. Scott Riggleman, 5. John Carpenter, 6. Mike Montano, 7. Tom Rajkowski, 8. Robert Stack, 9. John Bowers, 10. Brian Osborn, 11. Neil Rutt III, 12. Darren Cox, 13. Robert Ptaszynski, 14. Matt Badessa, 15. Terry Cain, 16. Nick Catone, 17. Steve Mangano, 18. Joe McGrath, 19. Nancy Riggleman, 20. Kevin Flores, 21. Nick Killmer, 22. Tony Bartone, 23. Tim Majek
4 CYLINDER STOCK FEATURE – 25 Laps – 1. RYAN MAHER, NEPTUNE CITY, 2. Alonzo Morales, 3.Ian Ashford, 4. Chuck McDonald, 5. Doug Ashford, 6. Cody Critelli, 7. William Cross, 8. Sal Liguori, 9. Sean Vulsanic, 10. Nicole Razzano, 11. TJ Graves, 12. Deanne McLaren, 13. Mike Kane, 14. Darianne McLaren, 15. Ronnie Mullen
SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25 Laps – 1. ERIC LANE, HOWEL, 2. Robert Sutphin, 3. Jonathan Laureigh, 4. Jake Nelke, 5. Neil Rutt III, 6. Rob Anderton, 7. Tomas Stainionis, 8. Jimmy Wolcott, 9. Sal Liguori, 10. Kenny Reaves, 11. Rob Schultz, 12. Jarret DiGiantomasso, 13. Carsten DiGiantomasso
LEGEND CARS FEATURE – 25 Laps - 1. DANIEL CARTER, CORTLAND, N.Y., 2. Kevin Nowak, 3. Peter Bruno, 4. Bryan Gardella, 5. Quinn Trimmer, 6. Eric Green, 7. Joe Przybylinski, 8. Charlie Hodge, 9. Austin Bellemare, 10. Phil Bogdan, 11. Roger Nickerson, 12. Lianne Sharry, 13. Steven Woytysiak
LIMITED LATE MODEL FEATURE – 18 Laps – 1. CHRIS SILVESTRI, HAZLET, 2. Greg Gastelu, 3. Mike Tillett, 4. Buddy Miller, 5. Stephen Puglisi