AFTON – South Plymouth’s Jim ‘Rocky’ Rothwell owned night number one of the American Racer Cup Short Track SuperNationals lastweekend at Afton Motorsports Park.
Rothwell claimed the $1,500 payday by winning the 30-lap Crate versus Open Sportsman feature event. In addition to the $1,500, Rothwell posted the “Gambler’s Fee” pre-race for an additional $500.
Rothwell’s night was capped off by winning the American Racer Cup Sportsman Match Races. The highest-finishing driver in American Racer Cup points at each American Racer Cup home track was given the opportunity to represent their home track in the match races.
In all, five different tracks were represented and Rothwell, representing Afton, claimed the $1,000 top prize for winning the American Racer Cup Sportsman match races.
‘Rocky’ Rothwell’s night totaled him $3,050 for his efforts, including a $50 bonus from the New York State Stock Car Association (NYSSCA).
Rothwell’s quest for the 30-lap Crate vs. Open Sportsman feature began from the fifth starting position at the drop of the green flag.
Rothwell’s charge to the front wasn’t immediate, as South New Berlin’s Payton Talbot and Montour Falls’ Dale Welty were the hard chargers at the drop of the green.
Bethel’s Charlie Hendrickson Jr. started on the outside of the front row and led much of the early going, before the likes of Welty and Talbot got to the front to challenge Hendrickson Jr. for the top spot.
By lap nine, Welty was challenging Hendrickson for the lead and Talbot was working underneath Gene Beadle to try and pry the third spot away.
Welty’s bid became successful after a lap-11 yellow, as Hendrickson chose the outside groove, leaving Welty the bottom, which he used on his charge from his ninth starting position to the lead.
Talbot had gotten to third and Rothwell was beginning to come to life, as he was alongside Talbot in the second row.
On the ensuing restart, Welty drove by Hendrickson and Talbot followed him into the runner-up spot.
The top-two remained unchanged while Rothwell’s car picked up speed, as he worked into the third spot before a yellow flew on lap 23, resetting the field.
The top three put on a classic battle in the seven remaining laps, as Talbot stayed glued to Welty’s back bumper, while ‘Rocky’ Rothwell was throwing caution to the wind, trying to use the outside groove to sweep around both.
On lap 27, Rothwell’s outside line was becoming effective, as he drove around Talbot and set his sights on leader Welty.
Rothwell’s winning move came as he and Welty came to the white flag side-by-side as Rothwell used his outside momentum to carry him to the win.
— Submitted story