By Duane Turner
HARTFORD, Mich. – Mike Linder from Fremont OH took his first career SOD checkers by lapping all but second place during the Sprints On Dirt Season Championship at Hartford Speedway Park. “We have come close a couple times,” stated Linder, “but the breaks finally went our way tonight.”
Linder would jump out to a lap one lead from the pole position, as Dain Naida settled into second, and Tom Fedorczyk in third. On lap two, Corey Bevard would over take Fedorczyk for the third spot and would close in on Naida. Caution came out for the only time of the 25 lap main event on lap three for the spun car of Ralph Brackenberry. Just then, Bill Krupp had no where to go and clipped the stopped sprinter of Brackenberry, ending both drivers evening.
On the restart, Linder would take off to a commanding lead, leaving the crowd to watch the battle for the points championship. Dain Naida was running second in the race, and second in points. Naida needed to finish five positions ahead of point leader Steve Irwin. Irwin, who started 16th after failing to transfer out of his heat, was not making any progress in the early stages of the race. Soon, the breaks would go Irwin’s way as he started to move forward.
By lap 15, Linder had lapped up to ninth place, and gave Irwin the break he needed. Irwin then followed Linder on the highside of the racetrack, and began picking off cars one at a time. After a couple breaks with cars falling out, and the new line the Linder had given him, Irwin had soon moved up to the fifth position which would secure his points championship.
At the white flag, Linder put the third place car of Corey Bevard a lap down, and was quickly closing in on Naida in the second position. At the checkered flag, Linder had closed in on Naida, leaving him the only other car on the lead lap. Bevard would finish third, with Fred Bliss (from ninth) and Irwin rounding out the top five. John Naida, Ronnie Beale, Kevin Bloomstran, Mark Broughman, and Tom Fedorczyk rounded out the top ten.
Heat race action had Tom Fedorczyk, Ben Rutan and Corey Bevard taking the wins. Darren Long from Elida, OH took a nasty flip during his heat race while trying to take the lead from Corey Bevard. Long walked away uninjured, but his sprinter suffered heavy damages ending his evening. Mike Linder took the Michigan Engine Pro Dash to earn the pole position of the A-main. On the first lap of the dash, Rutan made contact with another sprinter sending him head first into a concrete barrier on the inside of the track in a nasty looking crash. Rutan would remain unconscious for several minutes, but would recover and climb out on his own power with a smile and a wave for the huge crowd that was on hand. Rutan would later be transported to a local hospital with a possible concussion.
Steve Irwin from Lapeer, MI would grab his first career Sprints On Dirt points Championship by a mere 8 points over Dain Naida. Mark Broughman would finish third, with Ben Rutan fourth, and Jim Wohlfiel in fifth. The Sprints On Dirt Banquet will be held January 19th at the Brookshire Inn Golf and Country Club located in Williamston, MI. Prior to the banquet, SOD will hold the Third Annual TJ Slideways Go Kart Classic at Shepards Indoor Speedway in Owosso, MI. Previous Champions include SOD official Steve Turner, and 2001 SOD Champion, Steve Irwin. Look for more information at http://www.sprintsondirt.com
All Pro Cylinder Heads Heat Race: 1) Tom Fedorczyk 2) Dain Naida 3) John Naida 4) Ronnie Beale 5) Fred Bliss 6) Dewain Medlin 7) Barry Roscoe 8) Ralph Brackenberry 9) Frank Taylor
Vision Graphix Heat Race: 1) Ben Rutan 2) Mike Linder 3) Wayne Morrison 4) Joe Bares 5) Sean Robinson 6) Steve Irwin 7) Kyle Poortenga 8) Gregg Dalman
Ross Racing Pistons Heat Race: 1) Corey Bevard 2) Jerry Whitney 3) Mark Broughman 4) Bill Johnson 5) Leo Smith 6) Bill Krupp 7) Darren Long 8) Kevin Bloomstran
Michigan Engine Pro Dash: 1) Linder 2) Fedorczyk 3) D. Naida 4) Whitney 5) Bevard 6) Rutan
Sprints On Dirt Season Championship, 25 laps: 1) Linder 2) D. Naida 3) Bevard 4) Bliss 5) Irwin 6) J. Naida 7) Beale 8) Bloomstran 9) Broughman 10) Fedorczyk 11) Bares 12) Poortenga 13) Roscoe 14) Morrison 15) Smith 16) Medlin 17) Taylor 18) Robinson 19) Johnson 20) Krupp 21) Brackenberry 22) Whitney