By Linda Mansfield
GAS CITY, Ind., Sept. 1 — After starting 14th and then rising to fourth, it was almost like Gio Scelzi turned on the afterburners for a four-lap shootout at the end of the 25-lap Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Car Series (BOSS) 410 winged sprint car feature Friday night at Gas City I-69 Speedway. The 16-year-old phenom from Fresno, Calif. passed two drivers on that restart and then powered by Caleb Armstrong in Turn 4 on the last lap to win a thriller that was only the second winged sprint car feature ever for the series and the first winged 410 sprint car event at Gas City in 14 years.
Armstrong, of New Castle, Ind., established a new track record of 10.653 seconds for the quarter-mile dirt oval in qualifications, and he was the oldest of the podium finishers at 26, as 19-year-old Justin Peck of Monrovia, Ind. placed third.
Scelzi was simply not to be denied. Driving Bernie Stuebgen’s Indy Race Parts No. 71, the son of four-time NHRA champion Gary Scelzi showed the large crowd on hand how he earned the Rookie of the Year honors at both the Knoxville Nationals and the Chili Bowl this year, and was the 2017 American 410 Sprint Car Rookie of the Year.
He was seventh by lap 10. Biding his time, he was still seventh five laps later when the driver who led from the start, Brandon Wimmer of nearby Fairmount, Ind., flipped entering Turn 2 after contact with a car he was lapping. Wimmer, who drives the John Shewbrooks Racing No. A79, was upset but unhurt.
Wimmer’s exit put Scelzi into sixth place for that restart. He passed Clinton Boyles, the track’s non-wing sprint point leader, and National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Danny Smith shortly thereafter to move into fourth.
Cale Thomas and Paul May tangled between Turns 1 and 2 with 21 laps down to bring out another yellow and set up the dramatic finish. Scelzi passed both Kody Kinser and Justin Peck on the restart, and then got the best of Armstrong in Turn 4 coming down to take the checkered flag for the $3,000 victory as the highlight of the “King of the Wings” program that attracted 26 sprinters.
Blane Culp got the jump on polesitter Austin Nigh on the frontstretch at the start of the winged outlaw micro sprint feature and led all 20 laps with his Maximum Dirt No. 34. Kole Kirkman finished second. Corbin Gurley started in the last row but didn’t quite make it to the podium, as Nigh held him off for third. Todd Kirkman rounded out the top five despite being involved in an accident in Turn 4 with four laps down.
Jerry Bowersock became the seventh different UMP modified feature winner at Gas City this season by defeating Dillon Nusbaum in that 20-lap race. He started tenth and took the lead from Nusbaum working lap 16 enroute to his victory in the No. 95 sponsored by Bulk Material and Best Performance. Daniel Russell, Dylan Woodling and Todd Sherman rounded out the top five.
Randy Lines got airborne for an instant after passing D.J. Holt for the lead in the 15-lap thunder car feature, but he had a half-straightaway lead over Holt at the checkered in his R & R Transmission and Modern Machine and Tool No. 35. Ron Flaugh, Ervin Turner and Eric Hunter were next across the line.
A helmet toss was the intermission entertainment. Despite a card that featured 83 race cars, the well-run show concluded before midnight.
Gas City I-69 Speedway will close its 2018 season with its two biggest races of the year. The first one is this coming Friday night, Sept. 7, when the USAC AMSOIL national sprint cars and the USSA Kenyon midgets visit Gas City in a card that also includes UMP modifieds and front-wheel drive compacts. That show is also Hoosier Auto Racing Fans (HARF) night.
The season concludes on Friday, Sept. 28 with the James Dean Classic, which offers $3,000 to the winner of the last non-wing sprint feature of the season. UMP modifieds, super streets and thunder cars are also on the card for the season finale.
For details on each program, please see the track’s schedule on its Web site at GasCityI69Speedway.com. Fans can also follow it on Facebook (@GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas), Twitter (@GasCitySpeedway) and Instagram (@GasCitySpeedway).
BOSS Winged Sprint Time Trials: 1. Caleb Armstrong, 10.653 (new track record); 2. Clinton Boyles, 10.768; 3. Brandon Wimmer, 10.780; 4. Kody Kinser, 10.816; 5. Danny Smith, 10.844; 6. Justin Peck, 10.920; 7. Thomas Meseraull, 10.975; 8. Cody Gardner, 11.046; 9. Cale Thomas, 11.047; 10. Paul May, 11.091; 11. Evan Mosley, 11.273; 12. Critter Malone, 11.330; 13. Ayrton Olsen, 11.343; 14. Brayden Fox, 11.353; 15. Gio Scelzi, 11.397; 16. Tylar Rankin, 11.535; 17. Josh Davis, 11.627; 18. Ty Tilton, 11.751; 19. Jamie Frederickson, 11.874; 20. Parker Fredrickson, 11.893; 21. Nate Reeser, 12.072; 22. Jack James, 12.190; 23. Adam Byrkett, 12.362; 24. Brayden Clark, 12.528; 25. Lukas Smith, 12.532; 26. Bryar Schroeter, 12.986.
BOSS Winged Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Cody Gardner, 2. Clinton Boyles, 3. Braydan Fox, 4. Caleb Armstrong, 5. Danny Smith, 6. Adam Byrkett, 7. Jack James, 8. Lukas Smith.
BOSS Winged Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Aryton Olsen, 2. Brandon Wimmer, 3. Critter Malone, 4. Thomas Meseraull, 5. Justin Peck, 6. Kody Kinser, 7. Brayden Clark, 8. Parker Frederickson, 9. Tylar Rankin.
BOSS Winged Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Gio Scelzi, 2. Cale Thomas, 3. Paul May, 4. Ty Tilton, 5. Nate Reeser, 6. Bryar Schroeter, 7. Josh Davis.
BOSS Winged Sprint B Main (10 laps): 1. Kody Kinser, 2. Josh Davis, 3. Adam Byrkett, 4. Parker Fredrickson, 5. Tylar Rankin, 6. Brayden Clark, 7. Jack James, 8. Lukas Smith, 9. Bryar Schroeter.
BOSS Winged Sprint Feature (25 laps): 1. Gio Scelzi, 2. Caleb Armstrong, 3. Justin Peck, 4. Kody Kinser, 5. Danny Smith, 6. Clinton Boyles, 7. Thomas Meseraull, 8. Paul May, 9. Josh Davis, 10. Critter Malone, 11. Nate Reeser, 12. Tylar Rankin, 13. Brayden Fox, 14. Adam Byrkett, 15. Parker Fredrickson, 16. Ty Tilton, 17. Cale Thomas, 18. Brandon Wimmer, 19. Cody Gardner, 20. Ayrton Olsen.
Winged Outlaw Micro Sprint Heat 1 (6 laps): 1. Austin Nigh, 2. Mike Landis, 3. Todd Kirkman, 4. Andrew Cockman, 5. Chad Orr, 6. Caleb Cevela, 7. Corbin Gurley.
Winged Outlaw Micro Sprint Heat 2 (6 laps): 1. Blane Culp, 2. Kole Kirkman, 3. Mackenzie Yeo-Brown, 4. Ryan Ball, 5. Dawson Phillips, 6. Joshua Cevela, 7. Chad Wilson.
Winged Outlaw Micro Sprint Feature (20 laps): 1. Blane Culp, 2. Kole Kirkman, 3. Austin Nigh, 4. Corbin Gurley, 5. Todd Kirkman, 6. Mackenzie Yeo-Brown, 7. Dawson Phillips, 8. Ryan Ball, 9. Caleb Cevela, 10. Chad Orr, 11. Andrew Cockman, 12. Chad Wilson, 13. Joshua Cevela, 14. Mike Landis.
UMP Modified Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Roger Mills, 2. Daniel Russell, 3. Randy Lines, 4. Glenn Bradley, 5. Andy Bishop, 6. Casey Davis, 7. Ernie Gingerich, 8. Tim Craig.
UMP Modified Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Dylan Woodling, 2. Bradley Jameson, 3. Jerry Bowersock, 4. Brad Eitnier, 5. Lee Hobbs, 6. Garrett Jameson, 7. Jon Raney, 8. J.J. Nordman.
UMP Modified Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Daryl Banks, 2. Bill Lewis, 3. Michael Tarlton, 4. Todd Gnat, 5. Lance Krider, 6. Ryan Ramseyer, 7. Brennan Sherman, 8. Josh Betts.
UMP Modified Heat 4 (8 laps): 1. Dillon Nusbaum, 2. Jim Mallery, 3. Bub Roberts, 4. Will Bennett, 5. Todd Sherman, 6. Jerry Bland Jr., 7. Craig Walker, 8. Michael Thayer (DNS).
UMP Modified B Main 1 (8 laps): 1. Andy Bishop, 2. Ryan Ramseyer, 3. Casey Davis, 4. Lance Krider, 5. Brennan Sherman, 6. Josh Betts, 7. Tim Craig, 8. Ernie Gingerich.
UMP Modified B Main 2 (8 laps): 1. Todd Sherman, 2. Garrett Jameson, 3. J.J. Nordman, 4. Jerry Bland Jr., 5. Lee Hobbs, 6. Jon Raney, 7. Craig Walker (DNS), 8. Michael Thayer (DNS).
UMP Modified Feature (20 laps): 1. Jerry Bowersock, 2. Dillon Nusbaum, 3. Daniel Russell, 4. Dylan Woodling, 5. Todd Sherman, 6. Randy Lines, 7. Daryl Banks, 8. Michael Tarlton, 9. Jim Mallery, 10. Bradley Jameson, 11. Andy Bishop, 12. Garrett Jameson, 13. Roger Mills, 14. Bub Roberts, 15. Will Bennett, 16. Brad Eitnier, 17. Bill Lewis, 18. Todd Gnat, 19. Glenn Bradley, 20. Ryan Ramseyer.
Thunder Car Heat 1 (6 laps): 1. D.J. Holt, 2. Dalton Smith, 3. Greg Marlow, 4. Bryce Krider, 5. Stevie Clark, 6. Randy Lines (DNS).
Thunder Car Heat 2 (6 laps): 1. Ron Flaugh, 2. Eric Hunter, 3. Wryan Collis, 4. Greg Long, 5. Ervin Turner, 6. Justin Wheeler.
Thunder Car Feature (15 Laps): 1. Randy Lines, 2. D.J. Holt, 3. Ron Flaugh, 4. Ervin Turner, 5. Eric Hunter, 6. Greg Marlow, 7. Greg Long, 8. Bryce Krider, 9. Justin Wheeler, 10. Stevie Clark, 11. Dalton Smith, 12. Wryan Collis (DNS).