From Anita Soltis
Plymouth, IN — (June 25, 2014) For a mid-week race, the stands were packed and the track was full of Dickies Restaurant 600 Sprints and 410 Sprints for Open Wheel Wednesday at the Playground of Power, sponsored by Athens Archery and OmniSource.
The Dickies Restaurant 600 Sprints opened the A features of the evening with Rodney Stealy quickly out front in the opening laps. It wasn’t until lap 15 when Shane Cottle would put the move on Stealy after a caution tightened up the distance on the cars. Stealy and Cottle were door-to-door and had contact coming out of turn three. The momentum slowed both drivers but Cottle had enough to fight to the lead. Cottle had been working on Stealy for that position for most of the race. Stealy would give Cottle a run for his money on the restart after a late race caution but couldn’t pull off the pass.
Meanwhile Tony Stewart Racing’s Bryan Clauson clawed his way to the top three after attempting to get by tough competitors for the spot. He battled to get track position after several cautions but finally made it to the third spot from starting sixth. Cottle would get the win in the feature with Rodney Stealy second and Bryan Clauson third.
“It was tough there for a while, but we came through with the win,” said Cottle.
Cottle was running double duty on the night. Shortly after he did his post-race interviews he got into his 410 Sprint and made it out in time for the feature as he was the pole-sitter.
It was a scary start to the race as Brett Manns and Mike Moore tangled coming out of turn four on the opening lap. They both flipped on the front stretch tearing and bending parts on the cars. The race was red flagged and the safety crew was called. Luckily, Moore was able to get out of the car on his own power and he walked to the ambulance for more attention.
The race was able to resume for 19 green flag laps with the best battles in the top five.
Robert Ballou was quick to get to the front on the first lap with Cottle in second, Chad Boespflug in third, Jerry Coons, Jr. in fourth and Cooper Clouse in fifth. Boespflug was waiting to make his move to get to the front and he was able to get by Cottle by lap 15. Clouse brought out the second caution of the race on lap 19 when he hit the outside wall when running in the top ten. He had started on the outside pole.
Boespflug was quick on the throttle when the race went back to green but would have to wait for the leader, Ballou, to make a mistake. That mistake happened on lap 24 of the 30-lap feature when Ballou lost the handling of his car out of turn two and Boespflug capitalized, passing him on the inside. Boespflug overtook the lead by the time he came out of the third turn. Bryan Clauson, who also ran double duty on the night, had made his way to the third position after starting seventh in a tight field.
Suddenly, a caution came out on lap 28 for Joe Bares who got too high in turns three and four and crashed into the wall. This set up a green-white-checkered finish and the top three drivers were eyeing the checkered flag. It was Boespflug to the point with Ballou right behind him and Clauson hot on both of their bumpers. Boespflug was just too quick and was able to hold off everyone else for the feature win with Ballou crossing the line in second and Clauson rounding out the top three.
“The car came to us and it got better as the race went on,” said Boespflug. “I beat these guys at a track I’d never raced on. It’s great that I got the win here.”
This exciting night of racing will be followed up with a seven-in-one feature night with fireworks on Saturday, June 28 with the Dickies Restaurant 600 Sprints, Super Streets, Thunder Stocks, I-Mods and Swan Lake Resort UMP Modifieds. Gates will open at 4 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m. ET. For more information, visit www.plymouthspeedway.net.