New Egypt, New Jersey
By Erika Palmai Wagner
Joe Lord, of Allentown NJ, claimed not only his first victory of the 2015 season, but also the very first TSRS/NERS co-sanctioned feature event of the year. Lord led all twenty laps of the electrifying 305 sprint car showdown, with hotshot competitors Eddie Wagner and Mike Haggenbottom lurking closely behind, looking to capture their first win of the season as well. It was Lord though, who ultimately mastered the heavy lap traffic ahead, with Wagner, Haggenbottom, Tim Tanner Jr. and Dave Brown Jr. rounding out the top five.
There were twenty-nine competitors signed in for the night’s events, with three heat race wins going to Bob DeVault, Brad Franks, and Mark Bitner. The b-main event was won by rookie Randy Wilbert.DSC_0135
This was the first time the Tri-State Racesaver Series had returned to New Egypt Speedway in over a year, and what a way to come back!
Joe Lord and Eddie Wagner set the pace, front running the field to the green flag. Lord took charge of the lead immediately over Wagner. Mike Haggenbottom, who started in sixth place, sling-shotted his way to the top groove of turn one, finding his way to the second position coming out of turn two. By the time the lead cars were coming out of turn four to complete the first lap, the first and only caution of the race came out for Harris Kohen who spun out in turn two. With no laps completed, this meant the field was to return back to their initial starting positions.
On the restart, Joe Lord rushed to the lead with Eddie Wagner following in second. By lap two there was already some excitement beginning to erupt with the battle for third position between Tim Tanner Jr., Mike Haggenbottom and Chris Allen. The leaders reached lap traffic by lap five, but they were having no problem diving in and out of the slower cars. Samantha Lieberman made contact with the turn two outside wall, but saved her car enough not to bring out a second caution.
By lap 12, Lord had skimmed through some of the slower traffic and had clear sights ahead until reaching yet another pack of lapped cars. With the ten car length lead he had gained while running in clean air, Wagner was beginning to close the gap up, with Haggenbottom trailing not far behind.
“I didn’t really think about who was behind me and how close they were during that time,” stated Lord. “I figured my lead had shortened but it wasn’t the main thing on my mind. With the deterioration of track conditions and the traffic, my main focus was to stay calm and patient, and to not force the situation.”
In traffic, Wagner, who had reached Lord by lap sixteen, attempted multiple times to make the winning pass, but he could not complete the act. Both drivers showed their patience and skills throughout the feature, while still remaining determined to end as a victor. Mike Haggenbottom reached both cars by lap seventeen, throwing in his attempts to claim the top spot, but like Wagner, he too could not complete the pass.
Lord explained that he did not feel much pressure from Eddie and Mike the last few laps, even though they were closing in. “I knew where my line was and I knew where the lapped cars would be, and knowing that gave me the confidence to keep my cool and pull it off. For the last few laps, patience was the main thing on my mind. I knew I didn’t have much tread left in my tires and with the unpredictable lapped traffic, I had to keep a cool head.”
On the last tour around the Central Jersey D-Shaped oval, Wagner seemed to gain momentum going down the back stretch, coming up quickly on Lord going into turn three. Wagner dove in high and tried to come out low, peddling the car slowly enough not to break loose the back tires, but Joe Lord came out of turn four a car length quicker, grabbing the win.
Joe, who struggled the first few weeks of the season was very pleased with the outcome of the feature. “I’d like to thank Mark & Fred Bitner for all their help in getting this car dialed in over the past few weeks. I’d also like to thank Mark Smith at Mach 1 chassis, and my sponsors Hamilton Automotive, Lord Legal Nurse Consultants LLC, Bitner Automotive, and the entire Lord Racing Team, especially my cousin Mike Lord and my brother Rob Lord. Finally, I’d like to thank the man who made this all possible, my father, Joe Lord Sr.”
Next Saturday, May 2nd, The Hilborn Fuel Injection Tri-State Racesaver Series returns to the “fastest dirt track on the East”, Bridgeport Speedway. The main gates are open at 4:40pm, hot-laps are set to begin at 5:20pm and heat races will be on the track by 6pm. Visit www.tsrs1.com or our Facebook page for more details on upcoming events.
HEAT #1: DeVault, Davis, Carberry, Tanner, Lord, Anderson, Kohen, Wilbert, Cox
HEAT #2: Franks, Haggenbottom, Brown, Steif, Fryer, Kostic, Kata, Uselis
HEAT #3: Bitner, Allen, Wagner, Frack, Geiges, Poff, Kay, Lieberman, Byrd, Bonner, Rochelle
CONSI: Wilbert, Kostic, Franks, Uselis, Lieberman, Cox, Bonner, Byrd, Fox

FEATURE FINISH: Joe Lord, Eddie Wagner, Mike Haggenbottom, Tim Tanner Jr., Dave Brown Jr., Chris Allen Jr., Mark Bitner, Bob DeVault, Adam Carberry, Rick Steif, Jeff Geiges, Brad Franks, Scott Frack, Joe Kata, Brenden Poff, Randy Wilbert, Keith Anderson, Jamie Kostic, Joe Kay, Karl Fryer, Harris Kohen, Ryan Cox, Samantha Lieberman, Pat Uselis
DNS: Bryant Davis
DNQ: David Bonner, Zach Byrd, Gabe Fox, Jason Rochelle
FEATURE FAST TIME: Joe Lord – 15.819

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