By I-35 Speedway Announcer Mark Merrell
(Winston, MO) A brief, heavy rain storm may have delayed the start of the night, but it certainly did not deter a packed grandstand with fans to be thrilled by another night of action packed racing At I-35 Speedway. It was also a night filled with emotion, as the track honored the untimely passing last year of Mike Tanner, with Mike Tanner Night At The Races. Mike was a not only a guiding force for many drivers and race teams, as well as being a driver himself. Finish Strong was begun in his honor to help youngsters who’s families are challenged financially to find a path to help realize their dreams, in sports, and education, just to name a few examples.
The racing began with the USRA Out-Pace B-Mods, B-Feature, advancing the top four finishers to the A-Feature. Truman Asher, Jeremy Pittsenburger, Jeffrey Sears, and Nicolas Carpenter, all raced their way in to compete in the A-Feature.
The E-Mods took to the high-banks next. Thanks to Crystal Bears Tanner, five drivers, finishing in randomly selected order just prior to the start, would receive an extra $100 each. Another bonus was also added for $100 to the last place finisher as well. Driver Casey Burnett started on the pole for the full field of racing machines. Burnett raced to the front, holding off challenges from Justin Asher, and Shaunie Lanning to score his first win of the season At I-35 Speedway.
Also starting from the pole position was Rylee Fuller in the Pure Stocks. Ron Hill had amassed an amazing six wins this year, with four wins in a row. Hill started behind Fuller for the feature. Wayne Brooke began outside Fuller for the start. Fuller faced several challenges from both Brooke and Hill, but kept them both at bey earning her first career feature win.
John Willard And David Miller III started on row one for the Sport Compacts feature. Miller appeared as though his car was shot out of a cannon coming out of turn two just after taking the green flag, grabbing the lead, and never looking back, racing to his third trip to McCarthy Auto Group Winner’s Circle.
Tommy Cordray began his quest for another feature win on the pole next to Eddie Schwope, Jr. The pair raced in a tight battle, with pressure from Jon Willard III, Houston Johnson, and Mike Taylor, Jr. Gregg Truelove started outside row four, but was soon racing his way toward the front. Cordray held on to the lead, earning his 8th trip to McCarthy Auto Group Winner’s Circle this year.
Racing for the extra bonuses as with the E-Mod Class honoring Mike Tanner, the USRA Out-Pace B-Mods raced out for their feature. After an early side-by-side battle with Daniel Harris, Danan Knott grabbed to top spot. Harris was beset buy a flat tire, discovered during a caution, sending him to the back of the field for the restart. Again, Knott put his foot down on the gas pedal, motoring to the lead. Shadren Turner, Chase Galvin, Randy Smith, Jr, Kyle Henning, and Randy Ainsworth were among those challenging Knott, but on a final restart, Knott pulled away from the field, earning his 2nd win of the year.
The final two events would prove the old adage by the legendary driver, A. J. Foyt, “It doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you finish,” an accurate one, once again. Sam Scott And Gary Donaldson starred on the front row. At the drop of the green flag, the pair put on an amazing display of driving, with Donaldson taking the lead. Tim Shields was also hot in pursuit of Donaldson, along with Mike Ryun, and Greg Keun. Austin O’Neal and Jeff Dixon were mired in a high speed traffic jam, along with Jaylen Wettengel, and Ricky Thornton, who started outside row 7. As the race wound down, Donaldson looked to be the car to beat. Thornton had managed to slice and dice his way through the pack, and after a late caution flag, the pair squared off to determine the eventual winner. Thornton grabbed the front spot, earning a tuff fought emotional win.
The final race of the evening was certainly eventful. Dennis Elliott started inside row one, with Lee Hibner to his outside. Jesse Sobbing began inside row two, next to Chase Bried. As the green flag flew, an epic battle ensued between Elliott and Hibner. Elliott ran the low side, with Hibner running the cushion on the high side, with Sobbing just behind the pair in third. Sobbing spun during the early stages of the race, bringing out the caution flag, and sending him to the rear of the field for the restart. Elliott and Hibner continued their side-by-side struggle for the front position, lap after lap, as the fans stood on their feet in amazement. Hibner managed to race by Elliott for the lead. With 4 laps to go, Hibner, again running the cushion, hooked his right rear tire over the banking, flipping his car upside down over the banking in turn 4, as the red flag flew. Hibner, somehow, managed to restart his racing machine, but was unable to continue his quest for a victory. Sobbing, who had raced his way to through the field, found himself in a possible run for the win, with Elliott among those standing his his way. Sobbing raced his way to the lead, and the eventual emotional hard fought win, raising his fists to the night sky on top of his USRA A-Mod in McCarthy Auto Group Winner’s Circle following his victorious run.
Next Saturday, I-35 Speedway will host the annual, Gary Davis Super 66 Stock Car, USRA Iron Man Special, and the Summit Weekly Racing Series USRA A-Mods, Out-Pace B-Mods, along with the E-Mods, Pure Stocks, Sport Compacts, and Midwest Limited Late Models.