By Mark Merrell
(WINSTON, MO) The threat of rain, and cooler temperatures set the scene At I-35 Speedway for Rick Beebe Heating And Air-conditioning night at the races.
Prior to the feature events, I-35 Speedway hosted the, ‘Kids Dash For Cash,’ with over $650 dollars, as well as prizes for the young fans up for grabs.
The E-Mods began the night’s feature events. Casey Burnett started outside row one, and quickly raced to the lead. Four times, the driver in second place brought out the caution flag during the race. Current points leader Shaunie Lanning was involved in an incident in turn two, when Ricky Bobby spun while running near the front. Lanning tried to avoid Bobby on the low side, but got clipped hard as she ran by, ending her night. Burnett held on for the eventual feature win, his 2nd of the year. John Ross finished 2nd. Jessie ‘James’ Mulich fished 3rd, with Bobby Lopez 4th, after racing from the back of the field. Jason Thurman finished in 5th, with Lanning 14th.
In the Pure Stocks, the points chase continued between Rylee Fuller, and Ron ‘Monkey Man’ Hill. Fuller started inside row three, with Hill just in front of her in row two. Hill quickly raced to the lead, fighting for the front position with Chester Kaufman. Fuller, along with Brandon Dixon, and Blaine Yonts were just behind the pair up front. Hill stayed on the low side, finding grip, and the way around the high banks at I-35 Speedway. Hill stayed out front, thus earning his 11th feature win of the year, breaking his personal record of 10 wins last season. The victory was emotional for Hill, as he lost his mother the same week, just a year ago. Kaufman finished 2nd, Fuller 3rd, Dixon 4th, and Blaine Yonts 5th.
The Sports Compacts are always a feisty group. John Willard, piloting his 1/2 Crazy Batmoblie, has been the driver to beat this year. After stepping out of his very successful, ‘Underdog’ car earlier this year, Willard had raced to nine nine feature victories to date. His biggest nemesis has been his David Miller III. Miller has six feature wins thus far. The pair started on the front row for the night’s feature, and were soon in a two car breakaway for the lead, with Willard showing the way. Willard held off several challenges from Miller, earning Willard his 10th feature win of the year. Miller finished 2nd, Jason Teel 3rd, Joesph Mick 4th, and Jeremy Larabee 5th.
The POWRi Midwest Lightning Sprints never fail to thrill the fans at I-35 Speedway. The night would prove to be no exception. The points chase in the series has come down to Bobby Layne, and Kyle Larson. Heading into I-35 Speedway, Layne was 260 points in front of Lewis. In his heat race, Layne was racing in 2nd, just behind the leader, Emma Martin, with Kyle Lewis 3rd. As the race was nearing it’s conclusion, Layne suddenly slowed heading out of turn four, seemingly to the surprise of Lewis, who corrected quickly to avoid Layne. With Martin and Lewis steaming away from Layne, Bobby drifted high in turn one. As he began the apex of turn two, Layne’s sprint car headed straight for the outside retaining wall at sharp angle. Layne’s car made a dramatic impact with the wall, sending it nearly sideways up the wall, and back down on the track. A fan stated they heard the impact as they were arriving to I-35 Speedway in the parking lot. To the relief of everyone, Layne stepped out of his car. Martin won the heat race, with Lewis 2nd. Layne’s sprint car was severely damaged in the crash, and he was unable to make the feature event. Lewis and his team faced some adversity heading to I-35 Speedway, when the truck hauling Lewis’s sprint car, suddenly lost the driveshaft traveling down the highway. The team coasted to a turn off. Thanks to a passer by, who picked up a part left on the road, the team scrambled to make repairs, and arrived at the track just before the drivers meeting. As the feature unfolded, Tyler Johnson raced to the lead, with Alex Davis, Jeff Bard, not far behind. Lewis was challenging for 2nd, when he slowed slightly, hanging on to 3rd. With four laps remaining, Lewis dramatically slowed heading into turn three. Lewis pulled to the low side, and coasted to a stop just inside the infield out of turn four, ending the night for Lewis, and bringing out the caution flag. Johnson never looked back, grabbing his 1st victory of the year At I-35 Speedway. Alex Davis finished 2nd, Jeff Bard 3rd, Tim Davis 4th, and Emma Martin 5th. Lewis was credited with an 8th place finish.
The Midwest Limited Late Models stepped up next for their feature. Mike Taylor Jr has been the early leader the past couple of weeks, but unfortunately he has gone without a feature win, thus far. Taylor started on the pole, and once again, raced to the front along with Gregg ‘Bandit’ Truelove. Truelove worked to inside line, and was in front of the field by the first lap, with Taylor a close 2nd, and Bobby Penney 3rd. For several laps, Taylor and Penney raced side-by-side for 2nd, with Truelove showing the way up front. On lap six, Penney raced into 2nd behind Truelove. Suddenly, Tommy Cordray was right in the mix, with a four car breakaway for the front, with Truelove, Penney, and Taylor. Two- by-two the pairs raced, Penney and Truelove for the lead, with Cordray and Taylor just behind them. Penney shot to the lead with four laps remaining racing out of turn two. Truelove answered back quickly, moving inside Penney as the pair raced side-by-side heading into turn three. At the exit of four, Truelove spun. Penney bobbled slightly as well. Truelove was unable to keep his racing machine heading forward, bringing out the caution flag, and sending Truelove to the back of the field for the restart. Penney held off Tommy Cordray for the lead on the restart. As the white flag flew, Michael Leal slowed quickly heading into turn one, spinning, and stopping sideways at the high side entrance of turn one. John Hanson, moved to avoid Leal, but unfortunately, the pair made contact, sending Hanson’s race car sideways, flipping several times before ending upside down on his roof. The safety crew rushed to the scene, as gasoline began leaking from Hanson’s car. Thankfully, Hanson was able to exit the car under his own power. Residual fuel was burned off the track after Hanson and Leal’s racing machines were towed off the track by Bridgeman’s Wrecker Service. On the subsequent restart, Penney was able to hold off Cordray, earning Penney his second feature victory in a row, and his 4th Of The year. Cordray finished 2nd, Houston Johnson with a great run 3rd, Mike Taylor 4th, and Paul Glendenning 5th. Truelove finished in 9th.
To say that the Out Pace Products USRA B-Mods are a competitive field would be a huge miscarriage of justice. In the previous week’s feature, fifteen laps elapsed in just under 7 minutes, in a green-to-checkered finish, with battles all around the high banks of I-35 Speedway. This night would thrill the fans again as well. Chase Galvan, and Shadren Turner began on the front row. Galvan led by a mere inches at the line at the end of the first lap. The battle of low-side, vs. high side was underway in earnest. Galvan kept his car on the apron, with Turner on the high-side cushion. By lap two, Turner shot to the lead, with Galvan 2nd, and Blake Pierce a Close 3rd. On lap six, Pierce tried a slide job heading into turn two, from to low to high slide just in front of Galvan. Quickly answering back, Galvan went low inside Pierce at the exit of turn two, and back into second, as their dog fight raged on. Suddenly, appearing on the low side, Tyler Cadwallader was finding speed, racing side-by-side with Galvan and Pierce in a three wide run for 2nd. Just past the halfway point, Blake Hayes spun exiting turn four, as Jamie Aleshire was spinning in turn two, bringing out the caution flag. As the green flag flew for the restart, Turner held the lead. Just behind him, the B-Mods went five-wide, racing through turns one and two, with Chad Fuller on the apron, next Daniel Harris, Chase Galvan, Lonnie Hibner, and Blake Pierce. Lonnie Hibner found the speed he was looking for, running on the apron inside Pierce for 2nd, with his sights set on Turner for the lead. Turner, running the high side cushion, adjusted his racing line to the bottom, desperately trying to keep Hibner behind him. The pair continued to race side-by-side, with Turner again up on the high side, and Hibner down low. Pierce was not to be denied, and after the second of two yellow flag restarts, Turner led, as Pierce and Hibner raced side-by-side as the final laps ticked quickly off the scoreboard. On the final lap, Turner kept the top spot, earning his 6th feature win of the year At I-35 Speedway. Just behind Turner, Pierce and Hibner were side-by-side for the finish, with Hibner edging out Pierce for 2nd by mere inches. Chase Galvan finished 4th, and Daniel Harris 5th.
When you think American Racer Tires USRA Stock Cars at I-35 Speedway, invariably, last year’s Champion at I-35 Speedway Jeff Dixon comes to mind. Dixon is, once again, leading in the points as the year heads into the final two months. Dixon commanded the lead early, driving away from the rest of the field, and seemingly into another zip code. Gene Stigall settled into 2nd. Behind Stigall, a dogfight was taking place between Willam Dahl, David Davis, And Aaron Sauter. With just five laps remaining, Dixon raced out of turn two, and down the backstretch, when suddenly, Dixon hit the brakes, driving over the turn three banking, coming to a sudden stop, ending his quest for the victory. Stigall inherited the lead for the restart, with Dahl 2nd, and Davis third. Stigall and Dahl broke away from the pack, as a pair battled for the lead, side-by-side. Dahl and Stigall traded the lead for three laps, back and forth. On the final lap, racing down the backstretch, Dahl went inside of Stigall. Heading into turn three, with Dahl on the inside, and Stigall on the outside, just inches apart, the two made contact. Stigall slowed slightly, as Dahl raced by for his first feature win of the year. Unfortunately, officials deemed the final, and race difference contact on Dahl, awarding Stigall with the feature win, his fist of the year. Dahl was credited with 2nd, with Davis 3rd, Carter 4th, and Sauter 5th.
The USRA A-Mods were the final event of the evening, and, arguably, the most exciting as well. Two drivers that keep finding themselves toe-to-toe each week are last year’s I-35 Track Champion, Dennis Elliott, and Lee Hibner. The pair lined up for the feature on the front row, with Hibner on the pole. Elliott, sensing time was of the essence, roared down the front stretch with Hibner. Running the low side, Hibner ran to the lead out of turn two. Without any margin between Elliott and Hibner, the pair raced side-by-side. Two laps latter, Elliott hit the afterburners, finding the groove on the top side cushion, as he raced into the lead by four car lengths. Houston Johnson exited the track over the banking in turn two, as the third lap went up on the scoreboard. Darren Shaw, who was very fast at the start, was soon challenging for 2nd, taking the spot. Tyler Hibner found what he was looking for as well, and was racing the inside line against his dad, Lee. Moving past his son, Lee Hibner was soon inches off the back bumper of Shaw. On lap seven, Lee Hibner passed Shaw, moving into 2nd. Richard Layne spun in turn two, bunching up the field behind Elliott for the restart. As the field raced out of turn four, Lee Hibner spun in front of the pack, as cars dashed high and low to avoid the blocked exit coming out of the corner. Derrick Hicks was among the four cars collected in the incident, with everyone eventually driving away from the crash. Lee Hibner lined up at the rear of the field for restart. Elliott kept everyone behind him, earning his 7th win of the year. Shaw finished 2nd, and Tyler Hibner 3rd. Amazingly, Lee Hibner had raced his way to the front, finishing 4th, with Paden Phillips 5th.
Next Week, Saturday, September 7, Everyone Gets In Free For Grandstand General Admission, As I-35 Speedway Will Host, Pro-Ag, Mike Knight Celebration Night At The Races, With $500 Going To The Winner Of The E-Mod Feature. Also, On The Bill, Are The Summit USRA Weekly Racing Series Out Pace Products B-Mods, American Racer Tires USRA Stock Cars, A-Mods, As Well As The Pure Stocks, Sport Compacts, MIdwest Limited Late Models, With A Special Visit By The MIdwest Outlaw Vintage Racers, And The Little Buddies Power Wheels Contest For The Kids.
I-35 Speedway Is Your Home For Dirt Track Racing At It’s Best!