By Linda Mansfield
GAS CITY, Ind., Oct. 6 — Tyler Hewitt collected $2,000 for winning the 25-lap non-wing 410 sprint car feature to highlight a 145-car, six-division show on Saturday at Gas City I-69 Speedway during the first night of the two-day “Fall Festival of Speed.”
Ethan Barrow won the 25-lap IMCA Xcaliber Graphics Indiana RaceSaver winged 305 sprint car feature while Russ Gamester took the top honors among the open midget field in another 25-lapper. Ryan Moran won the 20-lap MMSA/AMSA 1,000cc mini-sprint feature. Chris Hicks won the 20-lap main event for the tough trucks and Donnie Gentry closed the show by winning the main event for the AVSCA vintage sprint cars.
The action continues today (Sunday, Oct. 6) with the second night of the Fall Festival of Speed, which will feature stock cars and will close the quarter-mile dirt track’s 2019 season. The late model feature winner will receive $1,500, while the UMP modified feature winner will pocket $1,000. Street stocks/thunder cars, super streets/sportsman and hornets/compacts will complete that card.
Hewitt drives for One More Time Motorsports, which is fitting in more ways than one because the Marion, Ind.-based driver nabbed one more victory in the last non-wing sprint feature at Gas City in 2019, having also won here on Aug. 9. John and Sherril Long of Albany, Ind. own the Maxim No. 97x powered by an Evan Jackson-tuned Chevy engine. Alfred Hewitt, also of Marion, is the winning chief mechanic.
Hewitt started on the pole in the 20-car field and led all 25 laps to beat the “Flying Fireman,” Shane Cockrum of Benton, Ill., to the line by 0.724 of a second. Cockrum started fifth but took second on lap three by passing Harley Burns of Brazil, Ind.
Cockrum threw everything he had at Hewitt. He did a wheelie in Turn 4 on lap five, and had another moment on lap 18 when Cole Ketcham of Muncie, Ind. snuck under him to get second, but Cockrum got the spot back on the next lap with a move to the outside entering Turn 3. Cockrum was able to pull right up to the rear of Hewitt’s yellow car in Turn 4 with three laps to go, but Hewitt fought him off for the victory.
Ketcham finished third. The 2019 track champion, Thomas Meseraull of Waveland, Ind., placed fourth after getting by Anthony D’Alessio of Gas City with a move to the outside in Turn 2 on the last lap. Meseraull did a wheelie on the frontstretch at the checkered, causing a scramble behind him.
Barrow, of Bloomington, Ind., started fifth in the IMCA RaceSaver 305 winged sprint car feature in his Tom White & Company Real Estate No. 14, but he was second only to polesitter Jeff Wimmenauer of Indianapolis by lap two, got the lead on lap three, and led the rest of the way. After that his biggest challenge was navigating through lapped traffic, which he did successfully.
Bradley Sterrett, who is also from Bloomington, passed Wimmenauer for second with a move to the outside as they were going through Turn 2 and onto the backstretch on lap 22. Barrow was long gone by that time though, and had a 6.769-second margin of victory over Sterrett. Anton Hernandez of Arlington, Texas started seventh but finished third followed by Meseraull, who was doing double duty, and Wimmenauer.
Gamester, of Peru, Ind., earned the pole for the midget feature and led all 25 laps of it, stepping out smartly on each restart to win by a straightaway over Chett Gehrke of Louisville, Ky. Emerson Axsom of Franklin, Ind., who just turned 15, ran in third and had a good battle with Gehrke and later Kendall Ruble of Vincennes, Ind., but when he slowed down for a red flag with 13 laps down the right-front of his car dug into the dirt and its right-front tie rod broke, ending his night.
Ruble went on to take third followed by Alex Watson of Columbus, Ohio, who was the USAC SpeeD2 winner. Newlywed Cody Beard of Dubois, Ind. rounded out the top five.
After a brief rain delay, the mini-sprint drivers took to the track for their feature. Polesitter Max Brannam led the first five laps until Moran, of Ottawa, Ohio, passed him to the inside in Turn 1 and went on to lead the rest of the way in the Riley Creek Sportswear No. 01.
Cody Trammel of Smithville, Ind. passed Brannam for second on lap eight and finished in the runner-up spot. Chris Miller of Lafayette, Ind. placed third, Anthony Haas of Sabina, Ohio was fourth and Keith Langley of Bloomington, Ind. finished fifth.
Polesitter Hicks of Lima, Ohio was worn out but happy after leading all 20 laps of the tough trucks feature. Andy King finished second followed by Devon Helmig of Lima, Ohio; Bryan Martin of Churubusco, Ind., and Chris Bitters of Harrod, Ohio.
Gentry, of Henderson, Ky., used an inside move in Turn 4 to pass Tate Young on lap nine and went on to win what turned out to be a timed event for the vintage sprint cars. Young, of Kennesaw, Ga., finished second followed by Patrick Stewart of Jamestown, Ind.; Danny Pittman of Henderson, Ky., and Jamie York of Osceola, Ind.
That race was halted with 13 laps complete after a two-car crash between Turns 3 and 4. Reportedly one of the drivers involved sustained a rib injury but refused transportation by ambulance.
Five drivers flipped during the program but all escaped injury. Jerry Inbody of Ashland, Ky. flipped in Turn 3 at the start of the third mini-sprint heat. Jadon Rogers of Worthington, Ind. flipped in Turn 2 with 17 laps down in the non-wing sprint feature. Kyle Dager of Fort Wayne, Ind. flipped between Turns 3 and 4 with 13 laps down in the midget feature. Matt Cogley flipped between Turns 3 and 4 with two laps down in the mini-sprint feature, but he was able to restart. Ron Brannam also flipped between Turns 3 and 4 with six laps down in the same feature.
Promoter Jerry Gappens presented Colleen Rich of Kokomo, Ind. with a plaque upon her retirement from working in the concession stands at Gas City. She worked at the concession stands both at Gas City and Kokomo Speedways, and Gappens said she served about one million race fans over her 45 years of service. She and her late husband also helped with the scoring in the past, and the concession stand work has been a family effort.
Fans can get more information about Gas City I-69 Speedway on its website at GasCityI69Speedway.com. They can also follow the track on Facebook (@GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas), Twitter (@GasCitySpeedway) and Instagram (@GasCitySpeedway).
Sprint Group 1 Qualifying: 1. Cole Ketcham, 13.002; 2. Brayden Fox, 13.120; 3. Tyler Hewitt, 13.233; 4. Billy Cribbs, 13.306; 5. Cody White, 13.326; 6. Travis Berryhill, 13.356; 7. Collin Parker, 13.627; 8. David Hair, 13.992; 9. Gage Etgen, no time, 10. Daniel Grumaunz, no time.
Sprint Group 2 Qualifying: 1. Tim Creech, 12.707; 2. Shane Cockrum, 12.880; 3. Tye Mihacko, 13.039, 4. Brayden Clark, 13.098; 5. Adam Byrkett, 13.120; 6. Kevin Blue, 13.408; 7. Cooper Welch, 13.743; 8. Ralph Johnson, 14.924, 9. Tommy Rockwell, no time; 10. R.J. Payne, no time.
Sprint Group 3 Qualifying: 1. Harley Burns, 12.410; 2. Thomas Meseraull, 12.429; 3. Anthony D’Alessio, 12.508; 4. A.J. Hopkins, 12.580; 5. Jadon Rogers, 12.660; 6. Tony Main, 12.738; 7. Toby Alfrey, 12.901; 8. Travis Hery, 12.947; 9. Ryan Barr, 13.516; 10. Billy Winsemann, no time.
First Non-Wing 410 Sprint Heat (8 laps, 5 transferred): 1. Tyler Hewitt, 2. Cole Ketcham, 3. Travis Berryhill, 4. Billy Cribbs, 5. Brayden Fox, 6. Cody White, 7. David Hair, 8. Gage Etgen, 9. Collin Parker, 10. Daniel Grumaunz. 4:35.
Second Non-Wing 410 Sprint Heat (8 laps, 5 transferred): 1. Shane Cockrum, 2. Brayden Clark, 3. Tim Creech, 4.Tye Mihacko, 5. Adam Byrkett, 6. Cooper Welch, 7. Tommy Rockwell, 8. Kevin Blue, 9. Ralph Johnson, 10. R.J. Payne. 4:40.
Third Non-Wing 410 Sprint Heat (8 laps, 5 transferred): 1. Anthony D’Alessio, 2. Harley Burns, 3. Jadon Rogers, 4. Thomas Meseraull, 5. Travis Hery, 6. Toby Alfrey, 7. Tony Main, 8. Ryan Barr, 9. A.J. Hopkins (DNS), 10. Billy Winsemann (DNS). 7:14.
Non-Wing 410 Sprint B Main (10 laps, 5 transferred): 1. Tony Main, 2. Cody White, 3. Cooper Welch, 4. A.J. Hopkins, 5. Ryan Barr, 6. Collin Parker, 7. Tommy Rockwell, 8. David Hair, 9. Kevin Blue, 10. Daniel Grumaunz, 11. Ralph Johnson, 12. Gage Etgen, 13. R.J. Payne, 14. Toby Alfrey, 15. Billy Winsemann (DNS). 6:55.
Non-Wing 410 Sprint Feature (25 laps): 1. Tyler Hewitt, 2. Shane Cockrum, 3. Cole Ketcham, 4. Thomas Meseraull, 5. Anthony D’Alessio, 6. Billy Cribbs, 7. Travis Hery, 8. A.J. Hopkins, 9. Tony Main, 10. Tye Mihocko, 11. Cody White, 12. Travis Berryhill, 13. Ryan Barr, 14. Adam Byrkett, 15. Brayden Clark, 16. Tim Creech, 17. Cooper Welch, 18. Brayden Fox, 19. Harley Burns, 20. Jadon Rogers. 23.48.
IMCA RaceSaver 305 Winged Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps, 5 transferred): 1. Jeff Wimmerauer, 2. Ethan Barrow, 3. A.J. Carlson, 4. Alfred Galedrige Jr., 5. Justin Clark, 6. Patrick Kren, 7. Rod Henning, 8. Gary Gipson. 4:21.
IMCA RaceSaver 305 Winged Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps), 5 transferred): 1. Anton Hernandez, 2. Michael Helterbran, 3. Andy Bradley, 4. Jordan Welch, 5. Scotty Bradley, 6. Kyle Gunkel, 7. Alex Nalon, 8. Danny Clark. 6:13.
IMCA RaceSaver 305 Winged Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps, 5 transferred): 1. Thomas Meseraull, 2. Bradley Sterrett, 3. John Paynter Jr., 4. Kevin Champoux, 5. Justin Mathews, 6. Coleman Chasteen, 7. Jackson Slone, 8. Eli Lakin, 9. Brent Stapp (DNS).
IMCA RaceSaver 305 Winged Sprint B Main (10 laps, 5 transferred): 1. Danny Clark, 2. Rod Henning, 3. Alex Nalon, 4. Kyle Gunkel, 5. Eli Lakin, 6. Gary Gipson, 7. Justin Mathews, 8. Coleman Chasteen, 9. Jackson Slone (DNS), 10. Brent Stapp (DNS).
IMCA RaceSaver 305 Winged Sprint Feature (25 laps): 1. Ethan Barrow, 2. Bradley Sterrett, 3. Anton Hernandez, 4. Thomas Meseraull, 5. Jeff Wimmenauer, 6. Andy Bradley, 7. A.J. Carlson, 8. Rod Henning, 9. Alfred Galedrige Jr., 10. John Paynter Jr., 11. Justin Clark, 12. Jordan Welch, 13. Scott Bradley, 14. Patrick Kren, 15. Danny Clark, 16. Alex Nalon, 17. Kyle Gunkle, 18. Eli Lakin, 19. Kevin Champoux, 20. Michael Helterbran. 12:15.
Open Midget Heat 1 (8 laps, 4 transferred): Chett Gehrke, 2. Cole Ketcham, 3. Cody Beard, 4. Jeff Beasley, 5. Zane Briggs, 6. Mark Neft Jr., 7. Thomas Bigelow, 8. Don Bigelow, 9. Jon Steed, 10. Nick Spiedel (DNS). 6:41.
Open Midget Heat 2 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Alex Watson, 2. Kendall Ruble, 3. Kyle Dager, 4. Jon Watson, 5. Chris Bounds, 6. Brent Watson, 7. Nathan Foster, 8. Kevin Blue, 9. Kyle Kriegbaum, 10. Tim Key. 5:24.
Open Midget Heat 3 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Russ Gamester, 2. Justin Dickerson, 3. Cory Guingrich, 4. Stratton Briggs, 5. Chris Baue, 6. Jeff Wimmenauer, 7. Jacob Denny, 8. Ryan Thomas, 9. Oliver Akard, 10. Ian Creger. 3:56.
Open Midget Heat 4 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Emerson Axsom, 2. Tyler Nelson, 3. Aaron Leffel, 4. Andrew Rader, 5. Gunnar Lucius, 6. Ryan Irwin, 7. Bryce Dues, 8. Zach Guingrich, 9. Denny Smith. 6:24.
Open Midget B Main 1 (10 laps, 2 transferred): 1. Chris Baue, 2. Jacob Denny, 3. Zane Briggs, 4. Jeff Wimmenauer, 5. Oliver Akard, 6. Mark Neft Jr., 7. Ryan Thomas, 8. Thomas Bigelow, 9. Don Bigelow, 10. Ian Creager, 11. Jon Steed (DNS), 12. Nick Spiedel (DNS). 5:07.
Open Midget B Main 2 (10 laps, 2 transferred): 1. Nathan Foster, 2. Gunner Lucius, 3. Kevin Blue, 4. Brent Watson, 5. Chris Bounds, 6. Kyle Kriegbaum, 7. Zach Guingrich, 8. Bryce Dues, 9. Ryan Irwin, 10. Denny Smith, 11. Tim Key. 5:52.
Open Midget Feature (25 laps): 1. Russ Gamester, 2. Chett Gehrke, 3. Kendall Ruble, 4. Alex Watson, 5. Cody Beard, 6. Aaron Leffel, 7. Tyler Nelson, 8. Chis Baue, 9. Andrew Rader, 10. Cole Ketcham, 11. Justin Dickerson, 12. Stratton Briggs, 13. Nathan Foster, 14. Cory Guingrich, 15. Jon Watson, 16. Gunner Lucius, 17. Jacob Denny, 18. Jeff Beasley, 19. Emerson Axsom, 20. Kyle Dager. 20.21.
MMSA/AMSA Mini-Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Brandon Deputy, 2. Anthony Haas, 3. Brandon Coffee, 4. Cody Trammel, 5. Ron Brannam, 6. Cody Beard, 7. Cindy Chambers, 8. Justin Davis, 9. Mike Farr. 2:55.
MMSA/AMSA Mini-Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Austin Powell, 2. Max Brannam, 3. Kevin Fredrickson, 4. Chris Miller, 5. Chris Bounds, 6. Howard McCormick, 7. Matt Cogley, 8. Alex Cogley, 9. Todd Moore. 2:54.
MMSA/AMSA Mini-Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Jac Nickles, 2. Ryan Moran, 3. Keith Langley, 4. Adam Schmenk, 5. Brendon Cascadden, 6. Keith Inbody, 7. Ethan Rutherford, 8. Jerry Inbody. 8:56.
MMSA/AMSA Mini-Sprint B Main (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Howard McCormick, 2. Matt Cogley, 3. Alex Cogley, 4. Cindy Chambers, 5. Cody Beard, 6. Justin Davis, 7. Todd Moore, 8. Ethan Rutherford, 9. Mike Farr. 3:58.
MMSA/AMSA Mini-Sprint Feature (20 laps): 1. Ryan Moran, 2. Cody Trammel, 3. Chris Miller, 4. Anthony Haas, 5. Keith Langley, 6. Chris Bounds, 7. Brandon Deputy, 8. Howard McCormick, 9. Brandon Coffee, 10. Adam Schmenk, 11. Austin Powell, 12. Cody Beard, 13. Matt Cogley, 14. Cindy Chambers, 15. Max Brannam, 16. Keith Inbody, 17. Kevin Fredrickson, 18. Ron Brannam, 19. Brendon Cascadden, 20. Alex Cogley, 21. Jac Nickles. 22:06.