A pril 28 was a date that Modified stock car driver Steven Reed and his girlfriend Katie Messina will never forget.
Returning to Wall Stadium after a season long layoff, the Freehold speedster powered his family owned No. 55 to victory at theWall Township race track. During his winner’s circle interview, Reed grabbed the microphone, dropped to one knee and asked his girlfriend for her hand in marriage, and she accepted.
“I dreamed of proposing this way and was going to wait until I got this win,” Reed said. “Nobody knew except me and my sister. She carried the ring and gave it to me when she got to the car.”
Reed’s drive in the season opening 40- lap feature was nearly as perfect as his proposal. Starting on the pole by the luck of the draw, he rocketed to the lead and held off the advances of brother-in-law Chas Okerson of Freehold.
Howell’s Ken Woolley Jr. then fought his way into second by the 15th lap and wrestled for the top spot until the duo touched on a lap 21 restart. Reed then raced on to the win with Okerson second, defending champion Anthony Sesely of Matawan, third, Woolley, fourth, and Lafayette’s Roger Coss, fifth.
The companion 30-lapper for the Sportsman cars offered battles for the lead from start to finish. Defending champion Kevin Eyres of Colts Neck was the top man most of the way, holding off assaults from Charlie Kremer III of Toms River, Andrew Krause of Holmdel and others.
Late in the race, Howell’s Eric Mauriello scratched his way into the second spot and eventually used a lap 26 restart to power into the lead in the outside lane. Mauriello then cruised to the win.
Eyres held on for second, while brothers Trevor and Zach Alspach, both of Willingboro, were third and fourth. Kremer crossed the line fifth.
Wall Stadium roars back into action on May 5 with Modified, Sportsman, Legend Cars, Street Stock and Factory Stock racing. The first qualifying event will take the green flag at 7 p.m.