From T.J. Buffenbarger
Charlotte, MI — (06/01/2002) — After driving through clouds dark enough to make myself think, “This has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever done”, the trip was made worthwhile as the rain held off so I could see another instant classic at the Gas City I-69 Speedway. The stellar field of cars put on one whale of a show from the heat races all the way to the feature event.
I overheard some people from California visiting the Midwest explained “That’s just Gas City for you”. Great racing all night, and Friday was no exception!
Improvements continue at Gas City as new fencing with plastic coating was put on the top row of the grandstand. The Gas City crew is also working on leveling out the parking area off turns one and two. The new grandstands towards the turn one end of the main stretch also are a great new improvement.
The tremendous field of cars saw several heavy hitters not making the transfer through the heat race. B-Main runners included Dave Darland, Levi Jones, Tracy Hines, and Scott Orr!
Darland had to start 11th in the B-Main after a dismal qualification effort. Darland raced his way up to third position to earn the 20th starting position in the feature. Darland worked his way up from 20th into the 6th position in the feature.
Brandon Petty has parted ways with Roudebush racing and is now back with his own team. Petty’s debut back with Petty Motorsports ended up being a wild one in the heat race as Brandon’s car jumped out of gear several times, forcing Brandon to drive with one hand and hold the car in gear with the other. Petty was able to hold onto a transfer spot for the feature event.
When asked about showing up at Gas City in preparation for the Pennzoil Indiana Sprintweek event at Gas City, Rob Hoffman from Hoffman racing responded, “The only thing we’re trying right now is to be fast!” The tricky race track caught the team off guard during time trials, and a great last lap move by second year star Michael Burthay put the Kroger/Pringles/Sunny Delight team in the B-Main. Hines was able to run second and move his way up to score a fourth place finish in the Feature event.
Hoffman also indicated the team would not be at Terre Haute with the Weld Racing Silver Crown series on Saturday night after “finishing off” their dirt car at the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds last Friday night “It wasn’t that bad after we hit the fence, but then (Terry) Pletch came through and it got real bad”, Rob Hoffman explained. The Frame is now against the barn at the Hoffman racing shop, retired after the Hoosier 100.
The heat races were packed with lots of two and three wide racing action on the awesome racing surface at Gas City. Great moments included Burthay sliding under Hines to take the transfer position, local Bart Grider holding off Levi Jones and Dave Darland for the final transfer spot in the third heat, and sprint car rookie Matt Hardin’s great run in the fourth heat to hold off John Wolfe for the third position.
Burthay has also picked up sponsorship from long time sprint car support Bud’s Auto Sales on the hood of his sprinter.
Bart Grider said if he is fortunate enough to win the Indiana Sprintweek event for his first career Gas City victory not only will we see doughnuts, but he will jump the berm in the middle of the race track.