From Bob Fricke, Mike Campbell photo
A large throng of fans convened at the Limaland Motorsports Park to celebrate motorsports with NASCAR icon Kenny Wallace and NHRA Top Fuel Dragster Terry McMillen on St. Rita’s Medical Center and the “Are You Tough Enough to Wear Pink” campaign night of racing. Both Wallace and McMillen were piloting wrapped in pink-colored modified race cars to draw attention to the battle against breast cancer. Both cars were prepared and crewed by members of the University of Northwestern Ohio motorsports athletic teams.
Following an enthusiastic reception for Wallace, McMillen and all of the Limaland Motorsports Park racers during a Meet the Drivers Night autograph session, a brief but powerful rainstorm forced track officials to undertake a near ninety minute dry-out effort on the high-banked ¼-mile oval.
The night’s opening feature was the ultra-competitive K & N UMP Modifieds with a 20- car field set to battle for 20 laps. Kenny Wallace started near the tail after a thrilling effort by the SPEED TV commentator that saw him finish third in the B-Main and transfer to the finale. McMillen was unable to advance and did not compete after hot laps and the rain delay. Although having driven his 7,000 horsepower Amalie Oil UNOH Top Fuel Dragster at nearly 318 mph, he had never driven on a dirt oval previously and it proved to be quite the challenge.
Pole starter and student Kody Weisner, in a UNOH Racers entry, led the opening circuit before a spinout allowed Indiana’s Tommy Beezley to gain the lead position as he started from the outside of the front row. Beezley, in only his third Limaland Motorsports Park appearance, was passed by Clint Reagle for the feature’s third lap, but he then re-established front-runner status by the fifth lap and never surrendered.
The opening weekend winner Terry Hull was a constant thorn for Beezley as he worked different lines in trying to get around the lead #69 car. 2010 track champion Todd Sherman and Jerry Bowersock kept it virtually a four car nose-to-tail affair for the final 15 laps. For Tommy Beezley it marked his first feature win at Limaland Motorsports Park. “I saw him (Hull) there with about four or five to go so I thought I need to ramp up the pace,” said a humble Beezley in the winner’s circle. “I was just lucky enough to get away from him. I know how good Terry Hull is here. I’m real fortunate to be in this position. Paul Reed does my engines and I need to thank him.”
The first appearance at Limaland Motorsports Park of the season for the touring Engine Pro NRA Sprint Invaders proved to be a thriller from start to finish. It was three-wide at the line after the opening lap. Randy Hannagan took the lead for the second lap after starting on the inside of row three. The red-colored #22H was very fast throughout the 25-lap main with the previous week’s winner Kyle Sauder and all-time Limaland feature winner’s leader Tim Allison pressuring Hannagan.
Kyle Sauder apparently was too high in the cushion and stuck his 7K AAA machine in the turn one wall ending his evening on lap four. The re-start then setup a thrilling battle as Hannagan and Allison dueled ferociously. Allison tried to go high and low on the track to find a way around Hannagan as both drivers masterfully drove through lapped traffic. With three laps remaining Allison took the lead, held it for just two trips around and then Hannagan took it back from the outside on the white flag circuit to post the thrilling win.
“The track was gripping the front wheels out of my hand,” said Hannagan. “I knew Tim Allison and the 7K (Sauder) were gonna be tough cars. I thank Dennis Yoakam for giving me the opportunity to run one of his race cars. Racing hasn’t been that fun for me the past few years, then I teamed up with Dennis last year and he has brought the fun back. This one’s for him and his brother-in-law (Jim) who passed away a month or so ago.”
The final event of the night was another closely contested thriller as the Budweiser Thunderstocks 15-lap feature produced the three different leaders and a pass for the win on lap 13 directly under the flagstand.
Veteran Kevin Gossard recorded his 9th career Limaland Motorsports Park triumph with the move around primary race leader Shawn Valenti. Gossard started on the sixth row but he impressively moved through the field and got into position for the defining moment. “From where I sat it was a pretty good race,” declared Gossard, in sort of a matter-of-fact style.
On Friday, June 17, Limaland Motorsports Park will host the 12th annual Bobby Keysor Memorial with a $1,000 to win payout to the Budweiser Thunderstocks winner. The ¼-mile track will also feature the Elwer Fence Sprints and the K & N UMP Modifieds. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. with hot laps beginning at 6:30 p.m. Racing starts promptly at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for the 23rd Annual Brad Doty Classic, on July 13, 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
Engine Pro/ NRA Sprints
Heat 1 – (8 Laps – Top 4 Transfer)
1. 35-Ron Blair; 2. 82-Mike Miller; 3. 22-Ben Rutan; 4. 4J-Bob Gehr; 5. 5M-Max Stambaugh; 6. 32M-Derek Hastings; 7. 27-Beau Stewart; 8. 4U-Rick Boughan; 9. 28H-Hud Horton
Heat 2 – (8 Laps – Top 4 Transfer)
1. 6-Mike Dussel; 2. 22DH-Randy Hannagan; 3. 2M-Jeff Williams; 4. 22D-Dennis Yoakam; 5. 40-Caleb Helms; 6. 3T-Tony Beaber; 7. 18-Todd Heuerman; 8. 56R-Ryan Myers; 9. 8D-Dylan Cisney
Heat 3 – (8 Laps – Top 4 Transfer)
1. 7K-Kyle Sauder; 2. 34-Luke Hall; 3. 2H-Dallas Hewitt; 4. 49T-Gregg Dalman;
5. 7C-Tim Hunter; 6. 57-Mike Dunlap; 7. 29S-Marques Huffer; 8. 41J-Jeremy Powley; 9. 20B-Butch Schroeder
Heat 4 – (8 Laps – Top 4 Transfer)
1. 11-Tim Allison; 2. 21-Justin Grant; 3. 10J-Jarrod Delong; 4. 2-Brent Gehr; 5. 49-Shawn Dancer; 6. 1-Kent Wolters; 7. 17-Jared Horstman; 8. 6S-Jr Stewart
B-Main #1 – (10 Laps – Top 2 Transfer)
1. 40-Caleb Helms; 2. 18-Todd Heuerman; 3. 3T-Tony Beaber; 4. 5M-Max Stambaugh; 5. 32M-Derek Hastings; 6. 56R-Ryan Myers; 7. 27-Beau Stewart; 8. 4U-Rick Boughan; 9. 8D-Dylan Cisney; 10. 28H-Hud Horton
B-Main #2 – (10 Laps – Top 2 Transfer)
1. 57-Mike Dunlap; 2. 1-Kent Wolters; 3. 17-Jared Horstman; 4. 7C-Tim Hunter; 5. 29S-Marques Huffer; 6. 41J-Jeremy Powley; 7. 49-Shawn Dancer; 8. 6S-Jr Stewart; 9. 20B-Butch Schroeder
A-Main – (25 Laps) [#]-Starting Position
1. 22DH-Randy Hannagan; 2. 11-Tim Allison; 3. 34-Luke Hall; 4. 21-Justin Grant; 5. 6-Mike Dussel; 6. 40-Caleb Helms; 7. 18-Todd Heuerman; 8. 22-Ben Rutan; 9. 57-Mike Dunlap; 10. 49T-Gregg Dalman; 11. 35-Ron Blair; 12. 1-Kent Wolters; 13. 4J-Bob Gehr; 14. 10J-Jarrod Delong; 15. 2M-Jeff Williams; 16. 2-Brent Gehr; 17. 2H-Dallas Hewitt; 18. 22D-Dennis Yoakam; 19. 82-Mike Miller; 20. 7K-Kyle Sauder