HOUSEHOLDER: On area dirt-track circuit, silly season features plenty of driver changes
- The Brian Montieth-Jerry Parrish team have parted ways after 18 seasons.
- York’s Chase Dietz is now driving John Trone’s No. 39.
- Tyler Ross returned to the seat of the Rick Lefevre-owned No. 75 that Dietz had been driving.
- Bill Balog has been driving the Mark Coldren-owned No. 07 for several weeks.
The silly season is certainly upon us already.
Numerous driver changes have popped up in recent weeks, so you might need a scorecard if you attend the area's final 410 sprint race at BAPS Motor Speedway in northern York County on Saturday, Nov. 14.
The longest-running team on the local circuit is no more. After 18 seasons together, driver Brian Montieth and owner Jerry Parrish have parted ways. Fawn Grove’s Matt Campbell has been in the Parrish No. 21 the last two races, but had a nasty flip Saturday at BAPS.
Last week, I mentioned that York’s Chase Dietz is now driving John Trone’s No. 39. Dietz had a good run at Lincoln Speedway in his first start in the car, but a flat tire almost at the start of Saturday’s BAPS feature dropped him from an up-front starting spot. Dietz became the fourth Trone driver this season, following Cale Thomas, Jason Sowald and Justin Peck in the car. All of those drivers are from outside of the area, while Dietz is the nephew of Trone’s 2019 driver, Cory Haas.
Tyler Ross returned to the seat of the Rick Lefevre-owned No. 75 that Dietz had been driving. Ross had driven the car in the past for several seasons. He had a sixth-place run at BAPS Saturday.
Bill Balog has been driving the Mark Coldren-owned No. 07 for several weeks now. Balog, known as the “North Pole Nightmare” because he is a native of Alaska, lives in Wisconsin, and has a top-notch ride around his home area. With the season ended out there, he’s been in the area for several weeks. Two weeks ago at Lincoln in Adams County, he came from the 20th starting spot for a ninth-place finish. Saturday at BAPS, he battled for the lead for most of the race, but ended a disappointing second.
Unheralded Indiana native Zach Hampton came east early in the season with his own No. 35 racers, then again for the National Open at Williams Grove Speedway in Cumberland County. In recent weeks, he’s been driving the Bougher Motorsports No. 15. That car saw action at Lincoln this season, with Kurt Conklin and Jeff Rohrbaugh at the wheel.
Last Saturday at BAPS, Hampton won the first heat race in impressive fashion, and then gave the team its first top-10 run, with seventh in the feature.
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Western Pennsylvania racer Michael Bauer came east to BAPS wheeling the Pryde No. 29 that Dan Shetler had driven in the area a few times in the past. With a strong 38-car field on hand, Bauer put the car in the feature and had a top-15 run.
It's a Fannasy: Announcer Dave Hare likes to call him Jay “Rock and Roll” Fannasy.
Now he has to call him a winner, too.
Jay Fannasy won last Saturday’s super-sportsman feature at BAPS in convincing fashion after a run from 14th. Amazingly, for the now veteran racer, it was his first BAPS win and only his second in a super-sportsman car.
Jay comes from a family of racers. His father, Bob, was a big winner in both the super sportsmen and limited-late models. Bob won a handful of limited-late-model races before moving on to the super sportsmen, where he won 38 times during his career. His brother, Bill, did some sprint racing as well, although never getting to victory lane.
Bob’s sons, Steve and Jay, both have raced as well. Steve is an eight-time winner in the super sportsmen. As mentioned, Jay had won before in the sportsmen, but Saturday’s win was his first at BAPS. For the record, Bob has four sportsmen and one limited-late-model win at BAPS. Steve has three sportsmen wins there and now Jay has one.
Local sprint owner dies unexpectedly: Local sprint owner Joe (J.R.) Michalski died unexpectedly last Wednesday.
Michalski fielded cars for his son, Brett, who won a sprint feature at Lincoln in 2019.
While the Michalskis have not been a part of the local circuit for long, they have become well known in the area. Joe was a strong supporter of auto racing and often offered support to many charitable racing causes. He also was a supporter of the winter indoor series of races.
His contributions to the sport, and his always-supportive presence at the race tracks, will be sorely missed. Joe was just 59.
Last Saturday at BAPS, the track added $73 to the winner’s share of the sprint feature in Joe’s honor, since his cars have always carried the No. 73. Unfortunately, Brett Michalski suffered mechanical troubles early in the sprint feature after winning the first of two consolation races.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.