Minnick Beats the
Weather and UFO "Laurel Highlander 38" Field at Roaring Knob
MARKLEYSBURG, Pa. - June 12. A late afternoon rain shower delayed the start of the Laurel Highlander at Roaring
Knob Motorsports Complex, but promoter Rick Jones and staff made the decision to patiently wait out the
Nobody was happier for that Mel Minnick. The veteran driver from Uniontown, Pa. started fourth, took the lead
from Tommy Beck on lap 18, and held off a strong challenge on a late restart to collect the popular victory.
The redraw for the top 12 starting positions for the "Laurel Highlander 38" produced front row starting
positions for Jim Kutas and Beck, who used the outside groove to take the early lead. After two laps in, the
first of three cautions in the 38-lap main event flew for D.J. Myers, as his car rolled to a stop in turn two.
After one more lap, caution returned for a Danny Mitchell spin.
With an extended period of green flag racing, Beck chose the outside and again pulled into the lead over Kutas,
Bob Gordon, and Minnick. Chuck Harper entered the top five on lap nine.
The leaders hit traffic on lap 13, with Beck still showing the way. Kutas was still leading the battle for
second, but had issues on lap 15 which reshuffledthe running order as he fell back in the running order. Minnick
was the beneficiary as he advanced to second over Gordon, Harper, and 12th starting Doug Horton, then quickly
closed on Beck as the leader worked traffic. Working lap 17, Minnick caught Beck down the backstretch and swooped
inside entering turn three. The move worked, and Minnick would be the new leader on lap 18.
At halfway, Minnick led Beck, Harper, Horton, and Gordon with a strong advantage. On lap 23, Harper and Horton
both got by Beck, still a long way behind the leader, but at lap 31, the race took a major change in
complexion. With seven laps remaining, sixth running Gordon slowed on the front stretch to bring out the caution.
While Minnick would now get a break from race traffic, his comfortable lead was now gone.
With his choice of lanes for the double-file restart, Minnick selected the outside, putting Harper to the
inside. Minnick slid to the top of the banking, and got a good run through turns one and two, pulling ahead to
resume the lead down the backstretch. Gary Dalton nosed by Horton to take third.
With laps clicking by, Harper stayed close and closed in on the final lap, but Minnick remained flawless and
scored the popular victory. Harper settled for a close second. Dalton, who was quiet in the early part of the race,
got better as the event went along in his third place run. Horton was fourth. Chad McClellan advanced from 11th
starting spot to get fifth.
UFO Race Championship -
Roaring Knob - June 12th
1), Mel Minnick, 2) Chuck Harper, 3) Gary Dalton, 4) Doug Horton, 5) Chad
McClellan, 6) Tommy Beck, 7) Bob Hershman, 8) Keith Barbara, 9) Jim Kutas, 10) John
Mollick, 11) Bob Gordon, 12) Danny Pugh, 13) Jeff Ferguson, 14) Billy Holbert, 15)
Richard Frazier, 16) Danny Mitchell, 17) L.C. Powers, 18) D.J. Myers.
Heat Winners (18 entries): Gordon, Dalton,