(June 5, 2021): Rick Laubach of Hellertown, PA took top honors Saturday night in the 30 lap Vahlco Wheels Modified main event on Rat Rod/Hot Rod Night at NES. The two time champ took full advantage of his front row starting spot to lead all 30 laps of the feature, the final 25 being run non-stop. It was the 17th win of his career at NES, his first in almost 5 years.
“A lot of people have asked me why I came back to run here (NES) because the competition is so tough, there are 6 STSS winners that compete here regularly!” stated Laubach in the winner’s circle, “My answer is because I enjoy running here, It’s a great track to pass on and you can be proud when you are standing here at the end of the night.”
Laubach, after a forgettable last three weeks, started on the pole for the 30 lap event and brought the field to the start. After a couple yellows in the opening five laps, including one on the initial start, the race would get going and would not be stopped again. Laubach jumped out in front and quickly stretched his lead to a full straightaway by the halfway mark. Back in the pack, Billy Pauch Jr who won the last event here on May 15, and Mike Gular, also a winner in April, were storming to the front. Gular made a great move to get by Pauch and Mike Butler to move into second only to see Pauch Jr. return the favor with ten to go. The final 8 laps saw Laubach move into and thru heavy lapped traffic bring Pauch Jr. closer, but Laubach masterfully handled the back markers and cruised to his first win since 2016 at New Egypt. Pauch Jr. settled for the runner-up spot, and Gular came home third and by virtue of this take’s over the division point lead. Mike Butler held on for his second 4th place finish this year, and Bryan Kuhl grabbed fifth from Jim Housworth on the final lap to complete the top five.
Tom Princiotta, of Columbus, NJ, broke thru for his first ever victory in the Sportsman 20 lap main event. Since he started running these cars in 2015, Princiotta has been very close on numerous occasions, but had never cracked the win column. That all changed on Saturday night as he used his Brandon Solarski Racing #32 Crate to dominate the second half of the race. After a good battle with Paul Mancini during the first half, he pulled away to a big lead in the second half only to have a late race yellow bring the field back to him. However, on this evening he would not be denied, as he once again pulled away from all competitors to post the very popular victory. Two time winner Anthony Tramontana came home a distant second, followed by Ryan Heim third, Ryan Simmons fourth and Justin Grosso fifth.