The Ron Hills Memorial Race

Nathan Aldrich SWAN LAKE, NY…..The Open Racing Challenge Series headed to Bethel Motor Speedway in beautiful Swan Lake, New York for round 4 of series competition Saturday. In our second visit to the speedway, top points contenders Steven Deinhardt and Mike Morse faced off with local standouts including Skip Lapolt, winner of the series’ last visit to Bethel. After drawing for starting positions, local Nascar Street Stock Joel Murns took the green flag to begin the heat race. Outside pole sitter Justin Maher got off to a rough start as Morse, Deinhardt and Lapolt worked past on the opening lap. Lapolt made his way to the inside of Morse on lap 3, taking away the second spot before setting his eyes on Murns for the lead. Murns would defend the low side as Lapolt measured him up, making his move into three and four on the high side. As the pair drag raced down the front stretch it was Lapolt moving ahead with two to go. Deinhardt would slip inside of Morse in the waning laps to take third with Charlie Houghtaling rounding out the top5 to complete qualifying action.

Lapolt and Murns charged under the green flag for the forty lap feature event with Deinhardt trying Murns’ inside through the first turns. He would take the spot away on lap 2 as Houghtaling and Morse battled just behind for the fourth place spot. As the pair ran door to door the first five laps were quickly completed, Morse would keep the spot as the field began to single file out. By lap 10 Lapolt had built a straight away lead while lapping Maher and Dick Shaddock. With 15 in the books Morse began closing on Murns for the third spot. Murns blocked the low line smoothly circling the inside tires and tempting the dirt regular to work the outside. Morse’s fortunes would change on lap 18 as Murns drifted up the track, allowing Morse to slip inside and take the third spot out of turn 2. As the pair had battled Lapaolt and Deinhardt widened the gap, building a half lap lead over Morse and Murns. After about 5 laps of trailing smoke, Maher headed pitside, completing 24 circuits before his night ended. A Houghtaling spin on lap 32 kept things interesting for the crowd as an excellent recovery kept the field under green flag conditions. Deinhardt wouldn’t get close enough to throw the gauntlet at Lapolt however as the defending race winner lapped Murns on lap 37 and cruised to the checkers. Deinhardt, Morse, Murns, Houghtaling and Shaddock would round out the field.

After collecting his second win in as many ORCS entries, Skip Lapolt has proven his Modified is the car to beat when the series touches the asphalt. With starting on the pole Skip said lapped traffic gave him about the same amount of difficulty as the previous race though he mentioned the dirt guys improved a lot since the last one. Deinhardt kept it close, staying on Skip’s mind throughout the event and adding a little pressure to keep hitting his marks and not slip up from the bottom. When asked about running the wing on a modified he joked that it’s mostly for looks with the series instead of a competitive advantage. After getting a feel for the car, he and his team made some suspension changes but nothing too major for the feature. While the 40 lap race is a bit longer than the dirt street stocks were used to, Mr. Lapolt runs the same length weekly, though the DOT tires add an extra challenge he mentioned. Skip would like to thank his wife Shona, sponsors and great friends that came all the way from Nebraska to visit Beryle Herman and Amanda Bing Reitan of Beryle Herman Inc and Unique Perspective Photography, car owners Paul and Dawn DeGracia, Glenn Pallom, kids Courtney LaPolt and Cassie LaPolt . D.A.D Leasing, CheckerWon Manufacturing LLC , Pedersen’s CheckerWon Motorsports, Metjoe’s Race Shop, Nails by Kathleen Collins Maas, Speedesign Custom Graphics, Immaculate Detailing, the candy cone, Five Star Racewear LLC, United racing radiators, Swagger Factory Apparel. Paul French for your set up help and All my friends and family that make this possible. The series will be back in action on the dirt at Skyline Raceway Motorsports Park on July 30th for the Not Fair race paying $1000 to win.

The Ron Hills Memorial Race


2.) 73-Steven Deinhardt 3.) 613-Mike Morse 4.) 21JR-Joel Murns 5.) Oh3-Charlie Houghtaling 6.) 2-Dick Shaddock 7.) 11-Justin Maher