Paulie Hartwig III grabs first win of ’24 with 602 Crate Mod victory at Evergreen Raceway

Paulie Hartwig III from Galloway, NJ had an absolute perfect day Sunday at Evergreen Raceway as he raced to victory with a flawless run in picking up his first win of 2024 with the 602 Crate Modifieds.

The versatile Hartwig, who races each week on both dirt and asphalt surfaces, had the luxury of starting from the pole but nonetheless he used that to his advantage by making haste from the onset and cruising to his first victory this season.

            “I have to say a huge thanks to my mom and dad and whole crew for all the work they do and always giving me a great race car, especially Bobby Geiger who does so much of the setup,” said Hartwig. 

            When the race began Hartwig was joined on the front row with Jayden Harman and it seemed that it would be another thrilling duel between the pair. The previous race saw then battling hard for the win with Harman leading and Hartwig glued to his rear bumper. Then just as they were about to receive the white flag, contact ensued and both went spinning from contention.

            Try as he may, Harman could not pull in Hartwig and the 13-year old kept a safe enough distance en route to winning.

            “Jayden (Harman) is always good competition and he’s tough but today we had a great car that was spot on all race long. The car took off right from the start and here we are in Victory Lane,” said Hartwig.              

Although he seemed untouchable throughout the race, there was one close moment when late in the going Jason Makarewicz spun while coming through turn four. Hartwig was the next car in line and came oh-so-close to avoiding the spinning car.

“It was close that’s for sure,” said Hartwig. “I was thankfully just far enough off to not make any contact and miss him.”

On the restart it would also be a last effort for Harman to make a run at the leader but it was to no avail as Hartwig once again dashed just enough ahead and motored to the win.

Steve Shultz used that last restart to get by Micah Adams for third with opening day winner Brian Rygielski Jr., rounding out the top five.

            The ATQMRA made their only visit to the 1/3-mile oval and in rousing fight to the finish, Mark Yoder of Ephrata, held off Matt Janisch for his first time winning at Evergreen and second career TQ verdict.

            Yoder started from the pole and was quick to grab the early lead. It didn’t take long, however, for Buddy Sload to move in behind him. That would be the start of a very close clash as Sload repeatedly tried to get by.

            By the halfway mark Janisch then joined the fight. He and Sload would engage in a torrid side-by-side battle while staying within close reach of Yoder.

            With seven laps to go Janisch finally got past Sload and then zeroed in on Yoder. But try as he may and that included a restart with two laps to go, Yoder was able to protect the bottom which was his preferred line and held on for a very narrow victory.

            “I wasn’t going to let him (Janisch) get underneath me especially on that final restart,” said Yoder, who is the fourth different winner in as many races this year.

            “It’s always better to start up front the way we did but behind me you had guys who are always fast here and we had to stay up on the wheel the entire time and it’s always special to win with this club.”

            Calling it one of the toughest wins of his career, Bobby Kibler Jr., of Lehighton had an exhausting and very gratifying drive en route to winning the 30-lap Street Stock feature.

            All race long Kibler, who started pole, was under constant pressure with the likes of Mike Pollack, Tommy Flanagan, Gordon Buchman Jr., Eric Kocher and then Geary Rinehimer Jr.

            With feature being run as a cone race, Kibler would have all those aforementioned at one point line up next to him on restarts. Each time, though, he never wavered, and stuck solid to the low groove which proved to be his best route in keeping his combatants at bay.

            Rinehimer was tough in staying with him in the closing laps but Kibler stood his ground and went on the score his second career win at Evergreen.

            In the Four Cylinder Stocks it was TJ Kapish of Mountain Top who bested the field for his first win this year with the class and third of ’24, adding a pair of Enduro wins earlier this season. Kapish eclipsed early leader Maggie Yeakel on lap nine and once in front was never headed.

With one lap to go and Kapish well ahead, the red was displayed when Johnny Bennett backed into the turn two tire barrier after evading a spinning Rebecca Barbush. Both cars where in the top five at the time of the incident.

It was then decided by officials to checker the race at that point, giving Kapish his 33rd career Evergreen win. And, for Yeakel, her runner-up was a career best here as well.

The Legends cars joined the card of racing and taking the lead on a lap 16 restart was Long Island, NY’s Kevin Nowak who then went on to win for the 14th time at the speedway.

Brad Lowmaster, whom Nowak unseated for the lead, was runner-up.

602 Modified feature finish (35 laps): 1. Paulie Hartwig III. 2. Jayden Harman, 3. Steve Shultz, 4. Micah Adams, 5. Brian Rygielski Jr., 6. Makenzie Adams 7. Deegen Underwood, 8. Rick Smith, 9. Kevin Makarewicz, 10. Nick Schaeffer

ATQMRA feature finish (25 laps): 1. Mark Yoder, 2. Matt Janisch, 3. Buddy Sload, 4. Ryan Tidman, 5. Steve Craig, 6. Kyle Taraska, 7. Tyler Wagner, 8. Josh Patterson, 9. Billy Cole, 10. Kyle Herve

Street Stock feature finish (30 laps): 1. Bobby Kibler Jr., 2. Geary Rinehimer Jr., 3. Gordon Buchman Jr., 4. Mike Pollack, 5. Josh LaBatch, 6. Blaine Barry, 7. Mike Odwazny, 8. Amber Knecht, 9. Eric Kocher, 10. Mark Spencer, 11. Tommy Flanagan, 12. BJ Wambold DNS: Anthony Tombasco

Four Cylinder feature finish (24 laps): 1. TJ Kapish, 2. Maggie Yeakel. 3. BJ Wambold, 4. Jimmy Ayre, 5. Robert McNulty, 6. Ralph Boger Jr., 7. Nicholas Kerstetter, 8. Johnny Bennett, 9. Rebecca Barbush, 10. Larry Spencer III, 12. Tucker Katz, 12 Mike Frable, 13. Lauren Skupski. 14. Al Gildner, 15. Daniel Kaminsky, 16. Jacob Knittle, 17. Tony Hilliard

Legends feature finish (25 laps): 1. Kevin Nowak, 2. Brad Lowmaster, 3. Jeffery Farrugia, 4. Charlie Hodge, 5. Philip Alamio V, 6. Michael Simagra, 7. Nick Hodge, 8. Michael Metcalf, 9. Cliff Shaw, 10. Philip Alaimo

Evergreen Raceway PR