(Winston, Missouri) – The Midwest Outlaw Vintage Racing Series were combined with the Grand Nationals on the 3/8 mile high banked I-35 Speedway to start the feature events during Brown Construction Night At The Races. Houston Johnson started inside row two, as Andy Wiles began from the pole position. By the completion of the first lap, Johnson had raced by Bob Werkmister and Wiles to take the lead. Chad Fuller had to thread his way through traffic, eventually catching Johnson, but he was unable to make a pass for the lead. Meanwhile, Wiles was trying to keep Werkmeister, Mike Lefholtz, Steve Tanner, and Dave Petty Sr. in his rear view mirror. Johnson was able to keep Fuller behind him as the pair weaved their way through the field, with Johnson capturing his sixth victory of the 2018 season, with Fuller second, Billie Hoover third, John Hanson fourth, and John Winslow fifth. Wiles kept the other Midwest Outlaw Vintage Racers behind him, earning Wiles his first run to McCarthy Auto Group Winner’s Circle this year at I-35 Speedway. Bob Werkmeister, Lefholtz, Tanner, and Dave Petty, Sr. rounded out the top five.
The Pure Stocks were next up on the bill. Kristchon Hisel, who’s first visit resulted in a feature win, was looking for two in a row. Ron Hill had been to Winner’s Circle three times in 2018, and was hungry for his fourth victory after winning his heat race for the night. Hill started from inside row one, and quickly took the lead. Hisel’s run was a bit more eventful, and Shawn Huston and Cody Lee Herpel were all fast at the drop of the green flag. As the race wore on, Rylee Fuller had come up to the second position, with a strong run after being challenged with side-by-side racing. Fuller kept battling back, eventually finishing third behind Hisel, as Hill took the win. After post race inspection, however, Hill’s car was disqualified, handing the win to Hisel, with Fuller second, Daniel Pettit third, Shawn Huston fourth, and Cody Lee Herpel fifth.
The Sports Compacts ran on to the track next, with Dakota Girard inside row one, and Dave Petty Jr next to him on the outside. As the pair rounded out of the second turn on lap one, the right side of Petty’s car climbed the retaining wall, his wheels driving up, turning the racecar at a nearly a 45 degree angel, and then violently down off of the wall as he a Girard collided in their side-by-side battle for the lead. The cars came to a rest on the backstretch, bringing out the red flag. Petty exited his racecar, but was checked and released by the medical crew. The incident effectively moved the second row forward, putting Alvin Cooney inside row one, with John Willard on the outside for the restart. Cooney held on for the win, his third of the year, with Willard second, Steve Bunton third, David Miller III fourth, and Isaiah Penton fifth.
The E-Modifieds rolled onto the 3/8 mile high banks for their turn. Gary Don Ainsworth won his heat race, as did Ben Stockton. The pair started their feature on the front row, with Stockton on the inside, and Ainsworth on the outside. Ainsworth, looking for his first feature win, drove past Stockton after a hard fought battle. Bobby Lopez went over the turn three banking, but remarkably kept his foot on the gas, and came back on the track, ramping up and over the turn four banking, rejoing the field at the back of the pack, and did not bring out the caution, thanks to his driving skill. Chris Mercer, last year’s rookie of the year at I-35 Speedway, had already won four features in 2018, and was ready to grab his fifth. An incident in turn four, involved several racecars, including Mercer, Josh Adkins, and Leroy Morrison, Stockton, and Caleb Pugh. Ainsworth grabbed the victory, with Lopez racing from the back, finishing second, as Adkins was third, Mercer fourth, and Charlie Browne fifth. The win was an emotional one for Ainsworth, as he lost his father not long ago. Gary held back tears, as he spoke of his late father always being with him, and what a thrill it was to capture his very first feature win at I-35 Speedway.
The Midwest Lighting Sprint Cars started their heat race, but shortly after the drop of the green flag, Greg Murray’s sprint car flipped end-over-end in a violent crash. Murray was able to climb of his sprint car on his own, waving to the crowd as he stepped into the ambulance for a mandatory medical check-up, and was released. In the feature, Kyle Lewis, who had been leading early, was passed by Mark Billings. Bobby Layne raced low inside Lewis several times, as the pair fought side-by-side around the track. After a hard fought run, Billings earned his third win of the 2018 racing season at I-35 Speedway, with Kyle Lewis second, Bobby Layne Third, Ken Billings fourth, and Tyler Johnson fifth.
The USRA B-Modifieds were just incredible. Daniel Harris, who won his heat race, started outside row one, with Mitch Booher on the pole. Harris roared into the lead, with side-by-side runs throughout the field, and at times three wide. Ed Noll, starting outside row seven, was caught in a whirlwind of two and three wide racing. Lucas Isaacs, from his starting spot inside row five, was quickly moving through the field, and was soon putting pressure on Harris for the lead. Harris took the high side, with Isaacs down near the apron on the corners. When the dust settled, Harris managed to hold off Isaacs to get his second win of the year, with Isaacs second, heat race winner Randy Ainsworth third, Blake Pierce fourth, and Ed Noll fifth.
The USRA Stock Cars were next in line, waiting to thrill the crowd. Kevin Anderson started outside row one, with Nick Whalen on the pole. Anderson grabbed the lead, as Dean Wray was racing his way through the pack after starting outside row four. Jeff Dixon was racing his way up toward the front, but an incident in turn three unfortunately cut his evening short. Anderson held on to the front spot, gathering his second victory of the year. Dean Wray finished second, with Aaron Sauter third, Trent Jeanes fourth, and David Holcomb fifth.
The final feature of the night was the USRA Modifieds, who always put the fans on their feet each week at I-35 Speedway. Austin Johnson won the first of two heat races, with Shane Bailey winning the second. Bailey started the feature inside row one, with Johnson to his outside. As the green flag flew, the pair raced into the first corner side-by-side. Johnson grabbed the lead, and the pair continued to run neck and neck around the 3/8 mile high banked track. Mark Dotson raced by Bailey on a restart, and began to put a ton of pressure on Johnson for the lead. Johnson ran up on the cushion, while Dotson raced near the apron of the corners. Just behind the pair, Dennis Elliott, Darren Shaw, Shayne Bailey, Billie Hoover, and Derrick Hicks were slicing and dicing, trying to gain a position, or take another as the laps ticked away. Johnson kept a hard charging Dotson behind him, getting his first USRA Modified win on the season at I-35 Speedway. Dotson finished second, with Elliott third, Shaw fourth, and Bailey fifth.
Next Saturday, June 16, I-35 Speedway will host the Gary Davis Super 66 Stock Car Special, with $3000 going to the winner of the second annual event.