By Greg Parent
The number thirteen was anything but unlucky for Andy Jones on Saturday night June 4 at the Ogilvie Raceway, as the young Princeton phenom raced to his second win of the season in just his thirteenth start ever in a sprint car. With a fantastic summer evening for racing, a large crowd filled the speedway for the second appearance of the Upper Midwest SprintCar Series (UMSS) at the track. The fans were entertained with a very exciting race for the top spot between Brad Barickman of Richfield and modified racer turned sprint car driver Andy Jones. Jones drove his Mastell Brothers Trailer Service sprinter to his second ever win in his brief but blossoming sprint car racing career that spans part of last season and the beginning of this year.
Jones and leader Brad Barickman encountered lapped traffic during a nineteen lap green flag run to the checkers. The lead duo stayed close together for much of the race, and on lap 18 Jones made the winning pass in traffic. Talking about the exciting feature race afterwards, Jones commented “I knew the lapped cars would be a factor, and when Brad changed his line to get around one, I figured that was my chance. I had poked my nose under him a time or two before to let him know I was there, but the traffic sometimes helps or hurts. Tonight it helped. This is an awesome type of racing! I’m heading to Husets for a 410 ride on Sunday night. Can you believe it?” Jones likely made believers out of many onlookers on Saturday night, as he became the first driver to win two UMSS features during the 2011 season.
As the high point driver after the typical two rounds of qualifying races, Jones was fortunate to draw the zero pill during the UMSS driver introductions and autograph session at intermission for a straight-up feature start. This put him on the pole position with Barickman outside and a very strong second row comprised of UMSS point leader Chris Graf and 2010 champion Cody Hahn with Friday night winner Jerry Richert, Jr. behind them. The race was one lap old when Jared Goerges turned sideways in turn four to bring out the yellow. On the restart, Tony Norem jumped the heavy cushion exiting turn two, rode against the concrete wall, and eventually flipped wildly down the backstretch to bring out the red flag. Norem was okay, but his car was badly damaged and out of action. The race then ran nonstop to the finish.
Barickman blasted to the lead again on the restart with Jones in tow. The leaders encountered lapped traffic five laps later and battled in and out of traffic for the remainder of the race on the 3/8 mile speedway. Jones took a peek at the lead a couple of times but to no avail, as Barickman was strong. Late in the race, the leaders came up on a car that was running fast on the cushion, and Jones took advantage of the opportunity to get by. Barickman tried to regain the lead, but a quick two laps to the checkers left little time to do so with lapped traffic involved.
Following Jones and Barickman across the finish line was Chris Graf, Jerry Richert, Jr. and Cody Hahn. Rounding out the top ten finishers were Scott Broty, Sye Anderson, Joseph Kouba, Jared Goerges, and rookie Anna Kouba. Another stroke of good luck was discovered following the race when winner Andy Jones’ crew and UMSS head tech official Terry Galle found that his #73 sprinter was nearly out of fuel. Another lap or so and Jones may not have won. Andy Jones should like the “lucky” #13 after the Ogilvie race, as not only did he win his first-ever sprint car feature on Friday May 13 at the Chateau Raceway but he followed it up with his second win in his 13th career start in a sprint car to complete a clean-sweep for the night.
In the battle for the 2011 GRP Motorsports/BP Trading Company Rookie of the Year Award, Anna Kouba extended her slim lead over Chad Patterson by three points. Anna finished one position ahead of Chad. Kevin Bradwell, who is likely not intending to run enough races to qualify, finished behind Patterson in his third start of the season. Charly Cropp has missed the last three shows, but there are still plenty of races remaining to meet the twelve race minimum to qualify. Brodie McKeown from Heron Lake made his sprint car racing debut at Ogilvie, as he has moved up from the B-mods to sprint cars in 2011. It was close to a four hour drive to get to Ogilvie for McKeown, but he started his night off in fine fashion when his number was drawn for a free Hoosier racing tire certificate. Sye Anderson also lucked out in a random drawing for a $100 GRP Five for Five bonus for those drivers who raced in all five events so far but had not won any bonus money yet.
Jerry Richert, Jr. passed Scott Broty to win the Alpha Apparel & Promotions Ultimate Sprint Race #1. Cody Hahn led all the way in the Meeks Video second Ultimate Sprint Race while Andy Jones did likewise in the North Country Builders Ultimate Sprint Race #3. Jones came from fourth to first to top the Driverwebsites.com first Challenge Race. Tony Norem drove away from the field in the Mastell Brothers Trailer Service Challenge Race #2 for the win. Cody Hahn earned another $100 GRP Motorsports Past Champions Bonus for his top five finish while Andy Jones received some bonus money in the feature from GRP Motorsports making it a $1,000 victory.
The UMSS will make their first of four appearances next Saturday June 11 at the reconfigured and improved North Central Speedway in Brainerd. The four race series at Brainerd will feature a special point fund provided by North Central Speedway with some extra bonus money from GRP Motorsports to boost the top spot to $1,000 followed by $500 and $250 for drivers in second and third in points after the four races. The feature race next Saturday pays $1,000 to win thanks to some bonus money from GRP. Race fans will want to be on hand to see if Andy Jones can continue his winning ways or if another one of the strong contenders in the UMSS field will earn a victory.
UMSS sprint car racing has been very entertaining during the 2011 season, so fans are encouraged to catch the thrills and spills of exciting sprint car racing action at a track nearby. Fans can follow the UMSS on their website at www.umsprints.com, become a friend of the UMSS on their Facebook page, keep tabs on series action with the free UMSS Report newsletter available at each event, or check out the UMSS on various other media outlets.
UMSS Race Results – Ogilvie Raceway June 4, 2011 (Race #5):
Alpha Apparel & Promotions Ultimate Sprint Race #1 (6 laps): Jerry Richert Jr, Scott Broty, Anna Kouba, Chad Patterson, John Franzen DNF.
Meeks Video Ultimate Sprint Race #2 (6 laps): Cody Hahn, Brad Barickman, Tony Norem, Sye Anderson, Brodie McKeown.
North Country Builders Ultimate Sprint Race #3 (6 laps): Andy Jones, Chris Graf, Joseph Kouba, Jared Goerges, Kevin Bradwell.
Driverwebsites.com Challenge Race #1 (8 laps): Jones, Barickman, J Kouba, Richert, Anderson, A Kouba, Franzen DNF, Bradwell DNS.
Mastell Brothers Trailer Service Challenge Race #2 (8 laps): Norem, Graf, Hahn, Broty, Goerges, McKeown, Patterson.
GRP Motorsports A Main (20 laps): Jones, Barickman, Graf, Richert, Hahn, Broty, Anderson, J Kouba, Goerges, A Kouba, Patterson, Bradwell, McKeown, Franzen DNF, Norem DNF.
Lap Leader: Barickman 1-17, Jones 18-20