For the first time in ten seasons of racing during Sundance Vacations Speedway’s “King of the Mountain” annual showdown a repeat winner was born. Palmerton’s Earl Paules pitted for fresh rubber on lap 100 and took the race lead with 32 laps remaining to cash in with the $5000 payday to win the prestigious event.
Eric Beers set the quickest time of the afternoon during time trials and the fastest fifteen Modified time trailers were locked in for the 150-lap main event. Matt Hirschman drew the pole position when the top ten fastest drivers redrew for starting positions.
Hirschman led the opening lap at the drop of the green over Zane Zeiner, John Fortin, Justin Gumley and Larry Fisher.
Drivers began to settle into position and make a run before the competition yellow on lap 75 for fuel. Prior to the mandatory yellow, Gumley overtook Hirschman for the race lead on lap 57. Hirschman regained the lead when Gumley pitted for tires during a lap 61 yellow flag.
Earl Paules had worked his way into the second spot, just ahead of Zeiner and Anthony Sesely. It didn’t take long for Paules to jump to the outside and overtake Hirschman on lap 67.
Following pit stops by several drivers at the halfway mark, Paules led over Pete Brittain, Brian DeFebo, Jimmy Zacharias and Justin Bonsignore, who started back in twenty-first.
With the green flag back out and without pitting for fresh tires as of yet, Paules held the point, but Fortin became the new race leader on lap 89.
The first of three yellow flags flew when Paules lost grip and spun in turn four. Paules headed pit side for service and was forced to restart from the tail of the field. The second lap 100 yellow waved when Bobby Jones, Hirschman, Beers and DeFebo spun in turn one. Beers suffered the worst damage from contact with the fence, which forced him to retire from the event.
Fortin remained out front with Andy Walko glued to his bumper, followed by Zeiner, Rusty Smith and Nick Pecko. Paules wasted no time and made a strong run back toward the front and was scored in the fourth spot on lap 111.
Paules worked over Walko to take the second spot and then challenged Fortin for the lead on lap 118. With Paules in command, Fortin ran second, followed by Bonsignore, Zeiner and Hirschman. Bonsignore overtook the second spot with ten laps remaining and ran out of time if he had anything for Paules.
Paules drove off to the $5000 payday over Bonsignore, Fortin, Zeiner and Hirschman. The win also earned Paules a guaranteed starting spot in the years Turkey Derby at Wall Stadium and also a guaranteed starting spot in the seasons North/South Shootout in Concord, NC.
Kyle Ebersole finished seventh in the event, which was good enough to take the track points championship over Bobby Jones. The margin of victory for Ebersole was a mere five points.