With the vision of a missed win at Brewerton Speedway still lingering, Luke Horning returned to the “D-Shaped Dirt Demon” Monday night for the DIRTcar Pro Stock Series season opener determined to exorcise that memory.
“Cousin Luke” was in a league of his own throughout the 30-lap SummerFAST event, leading from green to checkers – holding a five second lead at one point – to score his first Brewerton Speedway victory with the Series.
When the race commenced, Horning launched ahead of the field and gapped second-place by half a straightaway. Behind him, there was a three-wide battle for second, eventually won by Chad Jeseo. However, by the time Jeseo saw a clean track in front of him, Horning was continuing to click off qualifying laps.
By the halfway point of the race, Horning had pulled away by five seconds over Jeseo. Five laps later, Horning was already lapping into the top 10.
Then, with seven laps to go and a near eight second lead in hand, a caution erased Horning’s 23 laps of hard work. Pete Stefanski (sixth), who was on his way forward from ninth, collided with Josh Coonradt (fifth) in Turn 2, spinning Coonradt around. Jeseo now had a chance.
“I just went in and got brake chatter and got into him,” Stefanski said. “I thought he was going high, he ended up going low. I fess up. I got into him and spun him out. I did what I did. I didn’t try to do it. But I can man up and say what I did.”
Two more cautions hindered the following two restarts but when the race finally resumed, Jeseo threw his car high in Turns 1 and 2 to try and stay with Horning. However, no one could match Horning’s master class around the bottom.
The blue #2H drove away with the victory, while a war was waged for the other podium stops behind him. Stefanski maneuvered through a three-wide battle to take second and Coonradt worked his way up to third by the final lap.
For Horning, running the perfect line was key and flagger Dave Farney’s signals were a guiding hand.
“You can really perfect your line with him because he’s so good with the flags,” Horning said. “You know where the guys are behind you so when you see him open [the flags] up, you know you’ve got something figured out and just keep working that groove. This is a beautiful facility.”
Jeseo finished fourth and Shane Playford crossed the line fifth, but after the race was disqualified for illegal fuel and placed 16th. Jay Fitzgerald was awarded the fifth-place finishing position.
UP NEXT: The DIRTcar Pro Stock Series will make its next stop at Lebanon Valley Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 26.
DIRTcar Pro-Stock Feature (30 Laps): 1. 2H-Luke Horning; 2. 2-Pete Stefanski; 3. 00X-Josh Coonradt; 4. 25-Chad Jeseo; 5. 56-Jay Fitzgerald; 6. 25Y-Kenneth Griffin; 7. 9B-Slater Baker; 8. 09J-Shawn Perez Jr; 9. 110-Devon Camenga; 10. 17-Nick Hilt; 11. (DNF) 72G-Denis Gauvreau; 12. (DNF) 04-Jaxson Ryan; 13. (DNF) 14J-Johnny Rivers Jr; 14. (DNF) 28D-Phillip Defiglio; 15. (DNF) AK47-Joel Herne; 16. (DQ) 6-Shane Playford