A 13th season of racing at the UNOH’s Limaland Motorsports Park began one week later than originally scheduled and with threatening skies throughout the late afternoon and evening, many believed the opener might be delayed once again. The rains did arrive, although not until there were two laps remaining in the K & N Modified 20-lap feature, the first of three trophy battles on the evening docket.
When the night ended, three of Limaland’s veterans were left with important wins to begin the season championship journey. Todd Sherman, Tim Allison and Tim Bowen are all multiple feature winners during their careers and proved resourceful despite the difficult conditions.
The late race delay was simply another obstacle for drivers and officials in a rough and tumble K & N Modified feature. Tony Anderson, seeking an elusive first victory in modifieds, jumped to the front at the start before a major pileup in turn 3 on the opening circuit forced the first of two red flags. Anderson matched machines with Casey Luedeke until Luedeke passed for the lead on the bottom of the gripping ¼-mile oval surface.
The second red flag on lap 5 slowed a quickly developing battle between Anderson and Todd Sherman for the 2nd position behind Luedeke. Sherman, the 2009 points runner-up, passed Luedeke from the outside and led briefly until a lap 9 caution. Sherman jumped early on the restart and was penalized two positions with 12 of twenty laps complete.
Casey Luedeke continued to work the bottom of the moist track and paced the field until his night suddenly ended with a mechanical break and only two laps left to settle things. Sherman took over the lead and nearly on cue a significant rain storm ensued, halting the race. After a relatively brief delay, Todd Sherman held off fellow Indiana veteran Terry Hull to record his 18th Limaland win.
The Elwer Fence Sprints began their season with 17-year old Sheldon Haudenchild, son of longtime sprint car ace Jac Haudenchild, leading the 20-car field to green. Outside front row starter Sean Robinson bolted to the front around Haudenchild. Two laps later Luke Hall passed Robinson on the bottom coming off of turn two. At that point it appeared only Tim Allison was able to effectively chase Hall.
On the 10th circuit, Hall was clipped by the lapped car of Jarrod Delong coming out of turn three. The damage to Hall’s car was enough to end his evening and allowed Tim Allison to inherit the lead. For the veteran Allison, the tracks all-time leading winner in the sprint division, it was just the ticket. Only Haudenchild was close to Allison and for the final 14 laps the number 11 car was not to be overtaken. The win marked Tim Allison’s 26th feature win at Limaland and for the second year in a row captured the season opener. It was a career best finish for Sheldon Haudenchild as runner-up with Mike Dussel, Butch Schroeder and Darren Long rounded out the top five. Schroeder and Long both started outside the top ten.
Front row starter Tim Bowen jumped to the lead and through a handful of restarts never surrendered the coveted position while posting his 5th career win in the Bud Thunderstock feature. Tony Anderson, doing double duty again in 2010, by competing in two divisions, chased Bowen while also battling Jim Post for second place. As the checkers waved, Anderson and Post were still going side-by-side with Anderson edging Post, well behind the dominant Bowen.
This Friday, Limaland Motorsports Park will host the 11th annual Run for the Rabbit, featuring the $2,000-win Engine Pro NRA Sprint Invaders, K & N Modifieds and Bud Thunderstocks. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. with hot laps beginning at 6:30 p.m. Racing begins promptly at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for the 22nd Annual Brad Doty Classic, July 14, featuring the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, are on sale now. Call the ticket hotline at 419-998-3199. Seating information, plus all the latest news and information about America’s premier quarter-mile dirt track, can be found at www.limaland.com