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BARBERTON SPEEDWAY; MANGUM, SHREFFLER, MAZZAGATTI, BIGHAM, SCHMITT WIN A SCORCHER!

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BARBERTON SPEEDWAY; MANGUM, SHREFFLER, MAZZAGATTI, BIGHAM, SCHMITT WIN A SCORCHER!

BARBERTON SPEEDWAY; MANGUM, SHREFFLER, MAZZAGATTI, BIGHAM, SCHMITT WIN A SCORCHER!

Barberton Speedway

Keyboard player for ‘The Four Seasons’ Bob Gaudio and his future wife, Judy Parker sat down one night in 1975 and wrote a billboard ‘Hot 100’ topping song ‘Oh What a Night (September 1963). And for drivers, fans, officials, crews, and anyone at the track, Saturday at Barberton Speedway was a night that had many saying ‘Oh WHAT a night!’ Triumph for some, heartache for others, and a common enemy in the mounting pressure to succeed despite a post COVID shortage of tires and increasing temperatures as the season progresses through its hottest nights were all on hand. And as Mr. Gaudio and Mrs. Parker wrote….. Oh what a night it truly was!

Paul Mangum III took home what is expected to be the final uncontested Purestock feature of the season. Father, fabricator, builder, chief mechanic, and supporter in Paul Mangum Jr. stated that he is buying cheap front wheel cars and beginning to build them for young up and coming drivers. Elsewhere, drivers Tim Farrar and Jason Deal are also helping to aid the effort to build the division with purely stock, inexpensive, and fun to drive cars as TJ Farrar, and Jordan Greathouse look to make their maiden voyages soon. Mangum III is excited for the opportunity for this as he wants to really test his ever-increasing driving proficiency. It’s going to be fun to see what happens in this division as more cars make it to the track.

Meanwhile, Brent Schreffler returned to his winning ways as he bested a superb mix of Midvale and Barberton aces to take home the win in the Compact division. The race got started with a veteran in Mike Tulley making his return to competition and taking off with the race’s lead. Tulley led many laps until a veteran in her own right in Alyson Smith made the pass in turn three to take the lead of the event. Smith had been riding a wave of momentum as she had finished no lower than fifth and led more laps than anyone else in the division. A stout season had her sitting 2nd in points and she wanted to continue her strong season with a win. She stayed up front through halfway and battled hard with Will Custer for many laps until Custer was able to power by on the low side with a few laps left in the event. Custer and Smith had yarded the field and were poised to settle this event between them, but Midvale ace Jamie Leslie and Shreffler were closing in on the duo. Shreffler made the move on Leslie and Smith and was getting closer to Custer as the race entered its final moments. Shreffler dove low into turn three, and the two cars made contact. Shreffler continued on, but Custer was forced to box for a new tire after the caution flew with just a couple laps to go. Shreffler, Leslie, and the ‘Silent Assassin’ Eugene Kopp all began to settle it out on the restart. Shreffler was able to hold off the challenges over the final three laps, and took the win under caution after Leslie and Tim Kalp got into a crunch on the back stretch after the white flag flew.

A quick cleanup, and the Late Models were out and about with Mike Mazzagatti taking the win after getting his car repaired after a bad wreck the event prior. The green flag flew as polar opposites in ageless driver Dave Martin and Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Kevin Garner brought the field to speed. Martin secured the lead after a small slip off of turn two by Garner and began to pull away from Roger Smith and company. Smith kept low on Martin, hoping for a slipup from the veteran. Smith for his wish off of turn two as Martin left just enough real estate for Smith to get his Mopar nose under Martin’s black #3. Smith assumed the lead and led up until the race’s only yellow flew for Garner sliding down the back stretch after losing what little grip his aging tires had. Smith restarted the event, but Mike Mazzagatti was able to make the high side work for the lead after a two lap scramble for the lead. From there, it was Mazzagatti off to the races. Smith sat in 2nd place and Jeff Taylor followed suit in third place. The top three separated their cars from the rest of the field, but Mazzagatti began to separate himself from the other two. He drove off to an easy win and celebrated in front of the many fans that were able to beat the heat.

As the U.S. Olympic Team is being selected for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the U.S. colors were showcased in Victory Lane with Sam Bigham taking home yet another win in the Modified division! Bigham took the lead of the event on lap one as mayhem ensued behind him. A yellow flew early for an isolated incident, but the night was heating up. The restart saw Bigham and Todd Ripley duking it out for the lead while drivers ran three wide behind them. Going into turn three, the pot boiled over as Paul Price got spun around. Price would be T-boned by several drivers and a red flag was displayed for the cleanup that ensued as four cars retired from the event. The race restarted and Bigham, again, battled with Ripley for many laps as other drivers began to retire as they realized their cars were too damaged to continue. Todd Ripley lost 2nd place to his son Lucas, and Lucas began to reel in Bigham. With screaming and used up tires, the two youngsters kept poise as they battled for the lead. Bigham did have a trick in his book. He knew that Ripley’s trademark pass is using motor off of the corner to make the pass. If the tires can’t grip, then motoring past another driver is made hard. As a result, Bigham would exit the corners a little shallow and make sure he was defending as much track as he could. It worked and he was able to take home a brilliant win in the Modifieds!

BARBERTON SPEEDWAY; MANGUM, SHREFFLER, MAZZAGATTI, BIGHAM, SCHMITT WIN A SCORCHER!
BARBERTON SPEEDWAY; MANGUM, SHREFFLER, MAZZAGATTI, BIGHAM, SCHMITT WIN A SCORCHER!
BARBERTON SPEEDWAY; MANGUM, SHREFFLER, MAZZAGATTI, BIGHAM, SCHMITT WIN A SCORCHER!

Pappy Mill-I mean- Tim Schmitt Jr. took home the win in Street Stocks over Ron Miller, John Ambrose, and many more all star drivers! The green flag flew and was quickly followed by a yellow flag after Ambrose and Lee Bonnell made contact. All parties were unharmed and were able to continue. The race restarted with Cody Collmar and Cam Curto, legends in their former divisions, meeting up on the front row. Collmar took the lead early and looked good as he logged laps in clean air. He would stay up there until Schmitt was able to get the run he needed to assume the lead from Collmar. Schmitt began to lead as the race settled into a long, intense, green flag stretch to the finish. Behind Schmitt watched Ron Miller and John Ambrose making passes to get into the 2nd and 3rd positions. Miller began to catch Schmitt as Ambrose battled with Paul Wright (subbing for Preston Walker). The isolated two car battles were joined around the track as drivers jumped positions behind the quartet. Miller kept tight to Schmitt, trying to run him as aggressively clean as he could. Small nudges were just enough to let Schmitt know that he had a challenge, but the knocks went unanswered. Schmitt kept the door to the lead closed, and he sped into the 2021 record books as yet another winner in the Street Stock division. He celebrated with fellow drivers and both members of the Schmitt and Miller families.

Photo Credit: Barberton Speedway

Barberton Speedway

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