Great Falls, MT — (August 30, 2014) — Dennis MacEachern finally hit paydirt in Montana. Saturday night at the second night of the Montana Round-Up at Electric City Speedway, the Edson, Alberta driver picked up his first win in Big Sky Country, leading all 25 laps to take the checkered flag in the ASCS Frontier Region sprint car main event.
MacEachern, who has usually been very competitive when crossing the border to race in Montana, started on the front row after drawing the pole position in the re-draw, where the top eight drivers in heat race passing points were able to draw for their starting positions. It was MacEachern who drew the 1 pill, and he took full advantage aboard the Somac Racing No. 3d Shark-powered Schnee.
“Good to finally win one here,” a happy MacEachern said in the pit area afterwards. “We’ve always been competitive down here and we’ve always had something happen to us. I’ve got to thank everyone who’s helped us; our sponsors, the folks who own the engine – Barry and Liz Shepherd – they’re here. Keith and Tammy Summerhall.”
MacEachern took the lead on the initial start and pulled away on an open track. Things were more difficult when dealing with traffic, and MacEachern had numerous close calls, including twice avoiding accidents happening directly in front of him. He also survived contact with fellow Alberta driver Kelly Miller, who crashed after the contact as they raced for the lead while surrounded by slower cars.
“(Traffic) was OK until we passed the first five or six cars. Then I got to some cars that were running up top (the preferred line) and it got a bit more tough. The yellow flags played into our favor tonight.”
For MacEachern it was his first career victory in an ASCS-sanctioned race and his first for the Canadian standout since last September at Castrol Raceway in his native Alberta. Saturday night was only his fourth time out in 2014 as he is running a limited schedule. MacEachern said rust was not an issue, saying that it “goes away after hotlaps. It’s just like riding a bicycle.”
Defending series champion Phil Dietz of Laurel, Mont. inherited second place after Miller’s mishap. The four-time Montana champion twice attempted slide jobs on MacEachern in Turns 1 and 2 on restarts but MacEachern cleared him both times. Dietz later held off Billings driver Joe Perry to take his third runner-up finish in the last four races aboard the Prevost Racing No. 72 RFast-powered Gf1.
Track conditions Friday night on the 3/10-mile clay oval left many drivers, including Dietz, flustered with the limited options as virtually everyone hugged the very bottom of the race track. Track officials worked throughout the day Saturday to make the track better. A much more competitive track that saw the top being used more often had the drivers much more satisfied.
“I was probably the biggest whiner last night, but I’ll be the first to tell (track owner) Dan Mann ‘great job’ tonight. It was one hundred percent better,” Dietz said. “We were better in traffic than Dennis, I thought, as I saw him make a couple of mistakes, but he was better in clean air. That’s not a knock on him. He did a hell of a job.”
Perry, a former Big Sky Sprint Tour champion, took a season best third place finish aboard his father Chuck’s No. 28 Santos & Sons-powered Maxim.
“The car really came in towards the end. Early on I felt the 3d and the 72 were walking away from us. (Later) I wasn’t willing to throw a slider on Phil, not being sure if I was going to hang myself doing it,” said Perry, who also finished sixth in Friday’s race despite losing his brakes in the last few laps. “We’re being consistent. Hopefully we can come back (Sunday) and do well again.”
Meanwhile, points leader Joe Ramaker of Boise, Idaho had a very eventful race that tied in with Miller’s issues in a series of incredible events regarding the ASCS Frontier Region championship chase.
Ramaker broke the shifter in his No. 98 machine and had to bring the car to a stop after it popped out of gear with four laps down to bring out the yellow flag. In the work area under the caution Ramaker’s crew forced the car back into gear with a temporary fix and got him back on the track. That opened the door for Miller, who trailed Ramaker by six points in the standings, to possibly take the lead. Miller’s mishap with 13 laps down, however, gave Ramaker the big break of the year as Miller’s car was damaged beyong immediate repair and had be parked for the night.
After getting back on the race track Ramaker climbed all the way up to fifth before suffering a flat left front tire and holding on to finish sixth, increasing his lead over Miller in the point standings.
Billings driver Jerry Brey made the late passes around Ramaker and Trever Kirkland to finish fourth in the Harvery Ostermiller No. 12 Wesmar-powered Gf1. Kirkland finished fifth aboard the Kirkland Racing No. 37 Shark-powered Triple X.
Behind Ramaker, Washington visitor J.J. Hickle finished seventh, followed by Friday winner Bill Boyce of Lethbridge, Alberta. North Dakota’s Dave Glennon, racing at Electric City Speedway for the first time this weekend, finished ninth. Knoxville, Iowa’s Joe Beaver, the 2014 track champion at Knoxvile Raceway and also racing at Electric City Speedway for the first time this weekend, rounded out the Top 10.
The win by MacEachern was the third straight by a driver from Alberta in ASCS Frontier Region competition. Before Boyce’s victory Friday, Miller won the previous race on August 16th at Billings Motorsports Park.
David Hoiness won the 12-lap B-Feature event to transfer to the A-Feature along with Bob Shiplet, Damon McCune and Tristan Spiers. Heat races earlier in the evening went to Perry, Casey Adams, Boyce and Glennon.
The series concludes the 20th Annual Motana Round-Up Sunday evening at Electric City Speedway. The series then heads for Gallatin Speedway in Belgrade, Mont. for the annual Gibson Guitar Big Sky Super Nationals on Saturday, September 6th before closing the 2014 season with the annual Dan Laber Memorial at Billings Motorsports Park on Friday and Saturday, September 12th and 13th.
The Frontier Region of the American Sprint Car Series, presented in part by Speedmart Inc. is a winged 360 sprint car tour racing around the state of Montana and beyond. More information on the ASCS Frontier Region can be found online at frontier.ascsracing.com or you can also follow the series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ascsfrontier. The national website of the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour presented by MAVTV American Real is www.ascsracing.com.
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ASCS Frontier Region
20th Annual Montana Round-Up
Electric City Speedway
Great Falls, MT
August 30, 2014
Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. 28 Joe Perry, 2. 37 Trever Kirkland, 3. 23n J.J. Hickle, 4. 12p Randy Pierce, 5. 00 Roger Cummings, 6. 51t Tristan Spiers, 7. 38b Bryan Brown, 8. 4 Junior Nelson.
Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. 12a Casey Adams, 2. 96 Greg Hamilton, 3. 3d Dennis MacEachern, 4. 12 Jerry Brey, 5. 27dd David Hoiness, 6. 44 Damon McCune, 7. 3a Shane Ainscough, 8. 4n Johnny Nelson.
Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. 1 Bill Boyce, 2. 44k Kelly Miller, 3. 72 Phil Dietz, 4. 77 Bob Shiplet, 5. 35m Cody Masse, 6. 81 Darren Smith, 7. 11 Cliff Nelson, 8. 24 Leroy Brush.
Heat 4 (8 laps): 1. 5 Dave Glennon, 2. 0J Jeremy McCune, 3. 98 Joe Ramaker, 4. 53 Joe Beaver, 5. 1x Vernon Hill, 6. X Steve Nelson, 7. 3j Jordan Milne, 8. 22 Chris Roberts.
B-Feature (12 laps): 1. 27dd David Hoiness, 2. 77 Bob Shiplet, 3. 44 Damon McCune, 4. 51t Tristan Spiers, 5. X Steve Nelson, 6. 38b Bryan Brown, 7. 3j Jordan Milne, 8. 00 Roger Cummings, 9. 3a Shane Ainscough, 10. 22 Chris Roberts, 11. 35m Cody Masse, 12. 11 Cliff Nelson, 13. 4n Johnny Nelson, 14. 24 Leroy Brush, 15. 81 Darren Smith, DNS – 4 Junior Nelson.
A-Feature (25 laps): 1. 3d Dennis MacEachern, 2. 72 Phil Dietz, 3. 28 Joe Perry, 4. 12 Jerry Brey, 5. 37 Trever Kirkland, 6. 98 Joe Ramaker, 7. 23n J.J. Hickle, 8. 1 Bill Boyce, 9. 5 Dave Glennon, 10. 53 Joe Beaver, 11. 0J Jeremy McCune, 12. 1x Vernon Hill, 13. 12a Casey Adams, 14. 27dd David Hoiness, 15. 77 Bob Shiplet, 16. 12p Randy Pierce, 17. 51t Tristan Spiers, 18. 44 Damon McCune, 19. 96 Gregory Hamilton, 20. 44k Kelly Miller.
Lap leaders: Dennis MacEachern 1-25