By Linda Masfield
GAS CITY, Ind., Aug. 5 — The friendly rivalry between the non-wing sprint car drivers of Indiana versus the non-wing sprint car drivers of Ohio is expected to produce an exceptionally large field of cars this Friday night as Gas City I-69 Speedway hosts the Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series (BOSS) sprint cars as part of a huge, five-division show. To make things even more interesting, a not-so-dark horse from Michigan or Illinois could very well steal both groups’ thunder and win the 25-lap feature event.
Tabbed as the “Beach Night Bash,” fans are encouraged to wear their favorite summer garb to the track on Friday to watch the BOSS sprint cars, the United Midget Racing Association (UMRA) three-quarter (TQ) midgets, United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) modifieds, street stocks and hornets battle it out on the rich Miami soil of the quarter-mile track located between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne just west of Interstate 69’s exit 259.
The top five drivers in the current BOSS point standings are from Ohio and the top five drivers in the track’s current non-wing sprint car point standings are from Indiana.
Matt Westfall of Pleasant Hill, Ohio, who drives the yellow No. 33M for Ray Marshall Motorsports based in Forest, Ohio, leads the BOSS point standings after eight events followed by Cody Gardner of Milford, Ohio; Dustin Ingle of Lima, Ohio; Kory Crabtree of West Jefferson, Ohio and Dustin Webber of Bethel, Ohio.
Thomas Meseraull of Waveland, Ind. has been on a tear at Gas City so far this year, as he earned his sixth non-wing sprint car feature victory of the year there last Friday night. The defending track champion, Clinton Boyles of Brownsburg, Ind., is second in the track’s current point standings followed by Tyler Hewitt of Marion, Ind.; Scotty Weir, also of Marion, and Cole Ketcham of Muncie, Ind.
Westfall, who makes his living as a fabricator, drives a Maxim chassis powered by a Hampshire-prepped engine. Phil Westfall is the team’s chief mechanic. The team is sponsored by Buckeye Machine and DPI. Westfall often races at Gas City, and he’s currently 11th in the track’s point standings.
Meseraull drives the No. 47 owned by Tom Eades of Sharpsville, Ind., which is a DRC chassis with a Stensland-prepped engine. The team is sponsored by Physical Medicine Consultants of Fort Wayne, Ind. Allen Brown of Kokomo, Ind. is the team’s chief mechanic.
Friday marks the only appearance of the BOSS sprints at Gas City this season. Geo Scelzi of Fresno, Calif. beat Caleb Armstrong of New Castle, Ind. out of Turn 4 on the last lap to win a BOSS winged sprint car feature at Gas City last August. A new winner is expected this year, however, as Scelzi is entered in the Knoxville Nationals in Knoxville, Iowa for winged sprint cars this weekend.
Friday night marks the second and final visit by the UMRA TQ midgets to Gas City this year. Joey Paxson of Connersville, Ind. led all 15 laps of the UMRA TQ midget feature at Gas City on May 17. He drives the turquoise GOFF No. 19.
Matthew Hedrick of Rushville, Ind., who is a field officer with the Rush County Sheriff’s Department, is the series’ defending champion. He drives the No. 33, which is owned by his mother, Emily Hedrick, and sponsored by INTAT Precision, Rush Memorial Hospital, 4 C’s Seamless Gutters & Roofing, L&S Sanitation, Stanley Brothers Paving and Sealcoating, Unlimited Electric, and POC Industries.
Tate Martz of Rushville, Ind., was the runner-up in last year’s championship while Paxson finished third. Matt Lux of Shelbyville, Ind. and Ron Combs of Greensburg, Ind. tied for fourth.
Three other solid Gas City divisions will also be in action. Scott Orr of Columbia City, Ind. leads the track’s current UMP modified point standings over Bill Griffith of Van Buren, Ohio; Andy Bishop of Gas City; Jessica Sroufe of Huntington, Ind. and Derek Losh of Rensselaer, Ind.
Bishop is also leading the current street stock point standings over Mike Fincher of Rochester, Ind.; Larry Persinger of Jonesboro, Ind.; Ervin Turner of Marion, Ind. and Ron Flaugh of Converse, Ind.
James Headley Jr. of Wabash, Ind. is leading the hornet point standings. There’s a bonus being offered to anyone who can beat either he or his father, James Headley of Marion, Ind., who is currently fifth in points. Jacob Beard of Columbia City, Ind. is second in the street stock standings currently while Stevie Clark of Kokomo, Ind. is third and Randy Brommer of Columbia City, Ind. is fourth.
The pit gates will open at 3 p.m. on Friday while the grandstands open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are slated for 6:30 p.m. and racing starts at 7:30 p.m. An adult general admission tickets costs $20 and kids 12 and under are free. A pit pass costs $30.
Gas City I-69 Speedway will also be in operation the following day, Saturday, Aug. 10, with its “Night of Destruction, Thrills and Chills.” That program features monster trucks, school bus races, a hornet enduro, a mini-van derby and a roll-over contest.
Fans can see the track’s complete 2019 schedule and get additional information on its website at GasCityI69Speedway.com. Fans can also follow it on Facebook (@GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas), Twitter (@GasCitySpeedway) and Instagram (@GasCitySpeedway).