Murphy’s Law struck Rick Singleton and his late model team throughout last racing season.

The Hesston, Huntingdon County, driver just might have changed his luck on Saturday night at Thunder Valley Raceway.

Singleton captured the 25-lap late model feature, his first victory at any track since the TVR finale in 2004.

“I didn’t win a race last year,” Singleton said. “It was the first time in like 18 years that I didn’t win a race.”

This time, Singleton won a spirited battle over runner-up John Britsky and third-place finisher Jason Covert, last week’s feature winner. Scott Rhodes and Steve Everhart, the Week 1 feature winner, rounded out the top five in a 12-car field.

“When those guys are back there, there is no time to relax,” said Singleton, a former football defensive end on Virginia Tech’s 1987 Peach Bowl team and the NFL Seattle Seahawks. “They’re good, clean racers. They’ll race you clean, but they’ll race you hard.”

Singleton raced through hard times last season, when he came tantalizingly close to Victory Lane on several occasions until mechanical problems surfaced.

“Last year everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” Singleton said. “We were leading races at different times and broke. We just had a terrible year last year. We didn’t have good equipment.

“We’ve got a new car coming and a new motor. We’ve got a good used car and a good motor. We’re looking forward to having a decent season. It’s all about equipment.”

Shawn McGarvey of Coalport became the third different limited late model feature winner in as many weeks, taking the lead on Lap 8 and holding the top spot until the end of the 20-lap race.

“The track’s been beautiful all three nights and they’re doing a heck of a job,” McGarvey said. “The track tonight, everything worked out for us.”

Matt Gaston placed second with Dwayne Taneyhill, Randy Smithley and Doug Hardy in the top 5.

McGarvey joined Yvette Hahn and Ted Gallaher as feature winners in the late model division this season.

Meyersdale’s Patrick McDonough built nearly a straightaway advantage through the first 11 laps of the street stock feature, and didn’t let up after the only caution of the 15-lap event.

“It’s a heck of a motor,” McDonough said. “These guys have got this car turning so well it feels like I’m off the gas for a half a second in the corner. It’s unreal.”

McDonough, who won the opening-night feature, got out to another quick lead on the restart and won by

a comfortable margin despite some intense three-wide competition for the second through fifth spots.

Greg Cornell placed second, followed by Dave Korlewitz, Week 2 winner Jason Breegle, and Matt Hayman.

Tom Warren won his third consecutive pure stock feature, passing Jay Custer on Lap 12 in the 15-lap main event.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” Warren said. “The track is great.”

Custer finished second, with Don Lybarger, Charlie Field and Jamie Kohan third through fifth, respectively.

Acosta’s Karl Bailey won the 12-lap 4-cylinder feature.

Notes: Heat winners included Jeff Miller and Singleton in late models; Taneyhill, Ted Gallaher and Gaston in limited late models and Korlewitz and McDonough in street stocks. ... At 68, the car count increased by six over last week (62) and was three better than the season opener (65). ... The limited late model division had 21 cars, up six from a week ago, but the late model field of 12 was a drop of three cars. ... The cruiser division debut was pushed back to next week.



Mike Mastovich can be reached at 532-5083 or mmastovich@tribdem.com.

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