By Bob Stascak, Richard Lesiecki photo
09.24.11-Sandusky, OH…The ACME Racing team with driver, Trent Stephens, wrapped up a season of highs and lows that came to a conclusion with a jubilant celebration this weekend at Sandusky Speedway. Stephens and his experienced team swept the night by setting fast time, winning the heat and taking the checkers in the 30 lap feature race.
Stephens, who led the points chase nearly the entire season, was then able to seal his first Midwest Supermodified Association Championship just by starting the feature race, and took the ACME Racing Team to their fifth MSA title in the 11 year history of the sanction.
While the night may have seemed easy for the Ravenna, OH racer that won his first supermodified championship, that was not the case for some of the other 17 drivers that were in attendance. On the warm up lap before the white flag was displayed for the feature, the field was brought to a halt when Dave McKnight encountered engine trouble then veered into the back straight wall. Others that were involved in the melee were Denny Fisher, Jon Henes and Matt Palmer. The supermodifieds were then pushed back into the pit area to allow the drivers that were involved to make repairs while the Street Stock feature was called up.
The MSA Supermodifieds were once again pushed out from the pit area to start their thirty lap feature. This time the race was started without a hitch, but it didn’t take long for trouble to start. When the green flag dropped it was veteran driver Bobby Dawson with the lead from the outside pole followed by Dave Shullick Jr., Mike Lichty, Moe Lilje and Brandon Fisher. The caution flag was out on lap one when Jim Paller had a stuck throttle and shot off of turn four, Paller was not injured and would not rejoin the race.
On the restart there was another caution when Cord Ehrhard made contact with the front straight wall, Ehrhard was not injured and was out of the race. When racing resumed B. Fisher, who was running in the top five, went into the pit area as Dawson continued to lead followed by Shullick Jr., Lichty, Trent Stephens, and Lilje.
The last caution of the race came on lap eight when Shullick Jr. made contact with the backstraight wall. Shullick Jr. was not injured and was able to rejoin the race. Dawson opened up a two car length lead as Stephens was in hot pursuit of the leader. At the halfway mark the running order was Dawson, Stephens, Lichty, Lilje and Jack Smith. Stephens took the lead on the inside groove on lap eighteen. Lichty would also get past Dawson to move into second and give chase to Stephens.
Stephens would not be denied as he opened up a four car length advantage over Lichty with five laps to go. Stephens who was the evenings fast qualifier, took the checkered flag as he celebrated not only his birthday but won the 2011 Midwest Supermodified Association championship.
Midwest Supermodified Association (MSA) Season Championship Night at Sandusky Speedway September 24, 2011: Fast Qualifier – Trent Stephens 14.848
Heat # 1 – Moe Lilje (Vickery, OH); Mike Lichty (Innerkip,Ont.); Brandon Fisher (Amherst, OH); Dave Shullick Jr. (N.Ridgeville, OH); Jeff Banyas (Akron, OH); A.J.Lesiecki (Lorain, OH); Jim Paller (Amherst, OH); Cord Ehrhard (Antwerp, IN.)
Heat # 2 – Trent Stephens (Ravenna, OH); Dave McKnight (Brampton,Ont.); Bobby Dawson (S.Amherst, OH);Kyle Edwards (Memphis,Tn.); Denny Fisher (Amherst); Jack Smith (Sandusky, OH) ;Matt Palmer (N.Olmsted, OH); Jon Henes (Lagrange, OH)
Feature (30 laps) – Stephens; Lichty; Dawson; Lilje; Edwards; Smith; Banyas; Henes; Shullick Jr.; Lesiecki; Palmer; Mark Miller (Davisville,WV); B.Fisher; Paller; Ehrhard; McKnight; D.Fisher; Joe Armbruster (DNS)