From Brian Walker
FARMINGTON, MO (July 7, 2018) – After watching the race lead slip from his grasp and into the hands of Wyatt Burks on lap 23, Quinton Benson struck with joyous redemption on the final restart to take second Border WAR victory in thrilling fashion at St. Francois County Raceway. Hosting a winner-take-all, side-by-side affair in the closing laps, Benson of Sweet Springs, Missouri outlasted Burks of Overland Park, Kansas in what was one of the most exciting WAR Sprint Car main events of the 2018 season. An excited and enthused winner in victory lane, tonight marked Benson’s second-career triumph with the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprint Car League.
Transitioning from Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Illinois on Friday night to St. Francois County Raceway in Farmington, Missouri on Saturday, the second night of the Border WAR commenced with a packed house and 24 WAR Sprint Cars in the pits. A trio of heat races won by Riley Kreisel in Hinchman Racewear heat one, Korey Weyant in Bell Racing USA heat two, and Mitch Wissmiller in Schure Built Suspension heat three, would set the stage for the 25-lap main event. Earning LRB, Inc. #HighPointMan honors with an eighth-to-third charge, Quinton Benson drew a feature inversion of four, which slotted Slater Helt and Mitch Wissmiller on the front row.
Leading the field to green, Harrisonville, Missouri’s Slater Helt guided the Helt’s Turf Farms No. 22S into the early lead. Hungry for his first-career victory, Helt paced the opening half with a steady command over Wissmiller, as he was swarmed in the midst of a heated battle for second with Kreisel and Benson. As Kreisel and Benson disposed of Wissmiller, they closed on Helt for the top spot and were prepared to take a three-car battle for the lead into lap traffic until a red flag for Chris Parkinson (who was okay) brought everything to a screeching halt on lap 15.
Coming to the restart, Benson immediately made his presence known as he cleared a turn one slider and stole the lead away from Helt. As Benson momentarily snuck away with command, little did he know that Wyatt Burks had found the sweet spot aboard his Clem’s Signs No. 11W and came storming past Helt and then by Kreisel for the runner-up position. Catching Benson with five laps left, fans knew the battle was on as both drivers ran opposite lines switching from the top and back to the bottom corner-after-corner.
Throwing a slider at Benson on lap 23, Burks took over the top spot, but Benson never faltered and hung right with him as they engaged in a side-by-side sprint to the finish. However, a caution for Vinny Ward would set up a green-white-checkered finish with Burks pacing Benson. Committed to the middle, Burks left the bottom open for Benson and they quickly returned to side-by-side racing following the restart.
Glued wheel-to-wheel down the front stretch as they received the white flag, it had all come down to Benson on the bottom and Burks a lane above him. Finding just enough moisture and working just a tad better down low, Quinton Benson was able to outlast Wyatt Burks to score a thrilling victory at the St. Francois County Raceway. The Border WAR triumph for Benson marked his second-career WAR Sprint Car League victory and first of the 2018 season, which could prove crucial as he closes on Riley Kreisel’s point lead.
Trailing Benson to the line with a bittersweet runner-up finish in second-place, Wyatt Burks put a close to his night with a strong, yet tough result. Riley Kreisel closed out the podium aboard his Weather Tech Renovations No. 90 and scored yet another consistent finish with the League. Coming home in fourth with a supreme hard-charging bid, Kent Buckley, a local racer from right here in Farmington, Missouri, put on a show for the hometown fans as he hauled his No. 87 all the way from 23rd-to-4th. Rounding out the top five after leading the opening 15 laps, Slater Helt came home with a fifth-place finish. Closing out the top ten was Ty Hulsey in sixth, Warren Johnson in seventh, Korey Weyant in eighth, Wade Seiler in ninth, and Nic Harris in tenth.
On tap next is a WAR WILDCARD appearance at the Champaign County Fairgrounds in Champaign, Illinois on Friday, July 20th. For the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprint Car League, they next return to action on August 17th and 18th at Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, Missouri, which is the first leg of the $20,000 Bell Racing Triple Crown Challenge.
Hinchman Racewear Heat One (8 Laps):
1. 90-Riley Kreisel, Warsaw, MO (3); 2. 24H-Ty Hulsey, Owasso, OK (1); 3. 15B-Quinton Benson, Sweet Springs, MO (8); 4. 7S-Wade Seiler, Alton, IL (4); 5. N2-Nic Harris, Atlanta, IL (7); 6. 2H-Luke Howard, Overland Park, KS (6); 7. 82-Vinny Ward, Warrenton, MO (5); 8. 87-Kent Buckley, Farmington, MO (2).
Bell Racing USA Heat Two (8 Laps):
1. 99-Korey Weyant, Springfield, IL (1); 2. 22S-Slater Helt, Harrisonville, MO (4); 3. 24C-Craig Carroll, Collinsville, OK (2); 4. 7JR-Warren Johnson, Overland Park, KS (6); 5. 56-Jeff Asher, Park Hills, MO (3); 6. 57-TJ Artz, Lincoln, NE (7); 7. 70-Pete Palazzolo, Ballwin, MO (5); 8. 55-Chuck Walker, Herrin, IL (DNS).
Schure Built Suspension Heat Three (8 Laps):
1. 1-Mitch Wissmiller, Saybrook, IL (2); 2. 88-Terry Babb, Decatur, IL (1); 3. 65-Chris Parkinson, Gladstone, MO (3); 4. 11W-Wyatt Burks, Topeka, KS (7); 5. 77K-Katlynn Leer, Moulton, IA (5); 6. 7R-JD Black, Grain Valley, MO (8); 7. 30-Ryan Kent, Lone Jack, MO (6); 8. 16-Anthony Nicholson, Bartlett, TN (4).
POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprint Car League Main Event (25 Laps):
1. 15B-Quinton Benson (4); 2. 11W-Wyatt Burks (6); 3. 90-Riley Kreisel (3); 4. 87-Kent Buckley (23); 5. 22S-Slater Helt (1); 6. 24H-Ty Hulsey (7); 7. 7JR-Warren Johnson (9); 8. 99-Korey Weyant (5); 9. 7S-Wade Seiler (13); 10. N2-Nic Harris (12); 11. 56-Jeff Asher (17); 12. 88-Terry Babb (8); 13. 70-Pete Palazzolo (21); 14. 30-Ryan Kent (19); 15. 77K-Katlynn Leer (15); 16. 24C-Craig Carroll (11); 17. 57-TJ Artz (16); 18. 16-Anthony Nicholson (22); 19. 2H-Luke Howard (18); 20. 82-Vinny Ward (20); 21. 1-Mitch Wissmiller (2); 22. 65-Chris Parkinson (10); 23. 7R-JD Black (14); 24. 55-Chuck Walker (24).
Lap Leader(s): Helt 1-15, Benson 16-22, Burks 23-24, Benson 25.
Hard Charger(s): Buckley +19 (23rd-to-4th).