By Mike Strevel
Ind. (June 1, 2003) –
The Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper
Super Sprint Series is enjoying
a great start to the 2003 season
and there is one young man
enjoying it more than any one
else. The 22 year old racer from
Millbury OH a suburb of Toledo
Brian Lay is leading the Owen’s
Petroleum Rookie of the Year
points standings and what helps
that is winning features like he
did Saturday night at Baer Field
Speedway in Fort Wayne IN.
This young driver with less than
20 appearances in a winged
sprintcar now has captured his
second AVSS feature of the
season. The race at Baer Field
was the fifth of the season and
this amazing talent Lay was able
to pass two-time AVSS champion
Bill Tyler on lap 19 of the 30
lap feature and cruise to the
The chilly May day started with
33 AVSS teams checking into the
pits in Fort Wayne and after
hotlaps it was time for Hamilton
Trucking qualifying. The fastest
man at the ultra fast half-mile
was Warsaw IN driver Denny
England at 14.734. It was Kevin
Newton second quick at 14.786
and Ryan Katz third at 14.928.
The United Trailers heat race
went to Kevin Feeney, Newton
took the Dowker Engines heat and
Gary Fedewa picked up the
Wolverine Steel heat race. The
17 car Jim Benson B-Main went to
Johnboy Hotchkiss over Travis
Miniea, Danny Williams, Doug
Stepke and Hank Lower. The Lane
was awarded to Troy Underwood.
This made it a 21 car-starting
field for the 30 lap main event.
All 21 starters saluted the very
vocal Baer Field crowd with the
AVSS three wide salute and then
it was time for pole sitter Bill
Jacoby and outside front row
driver Bill Tyler to lead the
feature to the green. The main
started with Tyler taking the
lead before Doug Stepke and Hank
Lower were involved in an
accident on the backstretch on
the first lap. The Stepke car
was finished for the night and
Lower was able to return after
changing a flat tire.
The race restarted and Tyler
once again took control in his
Thunder Chassis. The yellow was
thrown again on lap nine for the
spinning Jay Rohrback car. The
main restarted and the next lap
a three-car incident in turn two
developed. Everyone but Danny
Williams and Mark Tarlton
avoided the spinning car of
Feeney. The Williams car was
slowing to avoid Feeney and
Tarlton came around turn one
with no where to go and
collected Williams. The race was
red flagged to aid with clean up
and let the teams refuel.
The last 20 laps went nonstop
and they were some of the best
sprint action seen at Tom Isch’s
fine facility in quite some
time. The restart after the red
flag had Tyler still in the
lead, but there were several
cars on the move to close on
Tyler. The fast qualifier
England who started tenth was
moving through the pack and was
in the top five by half way. The
car really on the hunt was Lay
who had started seventh and was
second before the red flag was
thrown. The Ohio driver Lay was
very patient in trying to find a
way around the veteran Tyler and
it took until lap 20 for Lay to
finally make a beautiful high
side pass of Tyler and take the
This action up front was
incredible, but there was a
couple of amazing stories
unfolding in the back of the
field as 20th starting Tom
Fedewa who had motor problems in
qualifying was flying through
the pack and was seventh at half
way and was actually racing for
third at the end before taking
fifth at the end.
The race behind Lay between
Jason Blonde, Bill Jacoby, Ryan
Katz and England was incredible
and eventually it was Blonde
able to take the runner up
The young Ohio driver was able
to pull away over the last few
laps and take his second feature
win of his young career. The
Cherry Bomb Air Freshners 45 car
was heavily damaged two weeks
ago at Kalamazoo, but there was
no way of telling as he topped
the 33 car field in Fort Wayne.
The top ten finishers were Lay,
Blonde, England, Tyler, T.Fedewa
from 20th, Katz, Jacoby, Jeff
Bloom, Hotchkiss and Newton. The
AVSS officials would like to
thank the great fans and the
fine staff of Baer Field for an
The AVSS gets next weekend off
before returning for a big
double header weekend on the
13th and 14th of June. The
Friday the 13th show at Toledo
Speedway is being billed once
again as the “World’s Fastest
Short Track Race” and will
feature AVSS and ISMA. The next
night will be at Auto City
Speedway in Flint MI. The AVSS
Suspension Spring Specialist
driver of the race at Baer Field
was Jason Blonde and the
Hamilton Trucking $100.00 winner
was Denny England. The AVSS
website is www.supersprints.com
for more news about the Auto
Value Bumper to Bumper Super
1. 84 Denny England 14.734 2. 99
Kevin Newton 14.786 3. 35 Ryan
Katz 14.928 4. 45 Brian Lay
15.011 5. 55 Jason Blonde 15.062
6. JB Johnboy Hotchkiss 15.213
7. 98 Kevin Feeney 15.227 8. 82
Travis Miniea 15.289 9. 24 Bill
Tyler 15.317 10. 44j Bill Jacoby
15.335 11. 33 Jay Rohrback
15.356 12. 70 Dennis Craft
15.365 13. 26 Jeff Bloom 15.425
14. 65 Danny Williams 15.437 15.
71 Curt Shumaker 15.471 16. 69
Chris Hettinger 15.472 17. 9
Mark Tarlton 15.513 18. 42 Gary
Fedewa 15.517 19. 37 Hank Lower
15.652 20. 66 Doug Stepke 15.754
21. 8G Jimmy Halloway 15.798 22.
92 George Gustafson 15.811 23. 4
Troy Underwood 15.845 24. 14
Dave Baumgartner 15.880 25. 11
Dennis Venia 15.891 26. 6 John
Batts 16.155 27. 97 Ben Hidy
16.239 28. 43 Jason Fuller
16.277 29. 8 Ryan Davis 16.278
30. 27 Rick Toncray 16.409 31.
3A Mike Astrauskas 18.811 32. 20
Tom Fedewa N.T. 33. 61 Marv
United Trailers Heat 1- Feeney
2.Bloom 3.Jacoby 4.Lay 5.England
6.Hettinger 7.Lower 8.Venia
9.Astrauskas 10. Gustafson 11.
Dowker Engines Heat 2- 1. Newton
2. Tarlton 3. Rohrback 4. Blonde
5. T.Fedewa 6. Miniea 7.
Williams 8. Underwood 9. Davis
10. Batts 11. Stepke
Wolverine Steel Heat 3- 1.
G.Fedewa 2. Katz 3. Shumaker 4.
Tyler 5. Craft 6. Hotchkiss 7.
Baumgartner 8. Toncray 9.
Halloway 10. Hidy
B-Main 1. Hotchkiss 2. Miniea 3.
Williams 4. Stepke 5. Lower 6.
Venia 7. Hettinger 8. Gustafson
9. Underwood 10. Hidy 11.
Astrauskas 12. Fuller 13.
Toncray 14. Davis 15.
Baumgartner 16. Halloway 17.
A-Main 1. Lay 2. Blonde 3.
England 4. Tyler 5. T.Fedewa
6.Katz 7. Jacoby 8. Bloom 9.
Hotchkiss 10. Newton 11. Craft
12. G.Fedewa 13. Miniea 14.
Rohrback 15. Shumaker 16. Feeney
17. Williams 18. Tarlton 19.
Lower 20. Underwood 21. Stepke