Shepard, MT — (September 13, 2014) — Three drivers were celebrating on Saturday night at Billings Motorsports Park. D.J. Brink was celebrating after scoring his first main event victory with the ASCS Frontier Region in dominating fashion. J.J. Hickle was celebrating being the overall winner of the Dan Laber Memorial. And then there was Joe Ramaker, celebrating an ASCS Frontier Region sprint car championship.
It was a busy night during and after the races at Billings. The 30-lap A-Feature event was never in doubt as D.J. Brink of Sturgis, South Dakota dominated, taking the lead from Joe Perry on Lap 6 and motoring away from there, leading by as much as two-thirds of a lap ahead of his closest pursuers at one point aboard the Hopkins & Wurl No. 90 Liebig-powered Schnee.
It was also a perfect ending for Myron Hopkins and Jim Wurl, who are calling it quits as car owners. Brink was hired for the weekend to race in the Dan Laber Memorial, which Hopkins and Wurl won as car owners in 2013. After a rough Friday night, Brink sent Hopkins and Wurl out on top on Saturday night.
“It was a rocketship from the time we unloaded today. We hit all the nails on the head,” a happy Brink said after the races. “I didn’t know that I was so far ahead until they told me in the pit area. I wasn’t going to lift in traffic since I was sure there was someone not too far behind me. Myron and Jim put together the car just this week, and it was a great car. I’m happy to send them out like this.”
Ramaker, out of Boise, Idaho actually finished second after a very spirited multi-car battle with Perry, Hickle, David Hoiness and Phil Dietz that kept the crowd entertained while Brink ran away with the victory. Ramaker, however, was disqualified in post-race inspection when it was discovered that his muffler had fallen off during the race. Ramaker’s misfortune cost him the overall Dan Laber Memorial title but Ramaker had already clinched the 2014 season championship just by starting aboard the Ramaker Racing No. 98 Ostrich-powered J&J.
Hoiness, out of Billings, started back in the 10th position and came across the line third after the big battle with the others and got credited with second place aboard the Hoiness Racing No. 27dd Wesmar-powered J&J. Perry, also out of Billings, finished third aboard the Chuck Perry No. 28 Santos & Sons-powered Maxim after leading the first five laps.
Friday night winner J.J. Hickle of Quilcene, Wash. was credited with fourth place, and after Ramaker’s misfortune it was Hickle who ended up with the most points over the two nights, winning the Dan Laber Memorial in the Peterson Racing No. 23n Ostrich-powered Rocket. Though driving a Great Falls, Montana-based car, Hickle is the third driver from Washington to win the event, joining Steve Beitler and Marc Huson.
“This is awesome. It’s great to be included with (Beitler and Huson) on that list, representing my home state,” Hickle said, “but I’ve got to hand it to Richie and Nubby (Peterson) from here in Montana. They’ve got first rate equipment and we’re really fast. It’s been a joy driving that car. It’ll be awesome to have my name on the trophy in Knoxville.”
Hickle’s name will join all the previous winners of the event on the permanent Dan Laber Memorial trophy that is on display at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum in Knoxville, Iowa.
Trever Kirkland of Helena, Mont. finished fifth aboard the Kirkland Racing No. 37 Gillette-powered Triple X. 2013 series champion Phil Dietz out of Laurel, Mont. finished sixth, one position ahead of Lethbridge, Alberta’s Kelly Miller. Miller edged out Dietz by just one point to finish second in the point standings. Miller’s effort came after he had to start 16th, due to his motor expiring on the final lap of his heat race and forcing a quick engine change.
Jerry Brey finished eighth, followed by three-time Dan Laber Memorial winner Bill Boyce and Clint Anderson. The caution for a car hitting the front stretch wall with eight laps completed was the only one in the 30-lap event.
Despite a lost muffler costing him the Dan Laber title, Joe Ramaker was all smiles still in the pit area, receiving congratulations from fellow competitors on his 2014 ASCS Frontier Region title. Ramaker won six races during the season. It is Ramaker’s third championship in Montana as he also won titles with the old Big Sky Sprint Tour in 2008 and 2009.
“I feel great. I’m honored to win the championship out here,” said Ramaker, who lives in Idaho but hails from Choteau, Mont. “When I started racing we had ten or twelve cars every night out here. Now, look at this. We got guys travelling here to compete. We had guys coming out from Knoxville and North and South Dakota for races. We’re having some really competitive racing here, so I’m really honored to be the champion.”
Damon McCune won the 12-lap B-Feature and transferred to the A-Feature with Steve Nelson, Nate Maxwell and James Sires.
Heat races earlier in the evening were won by Ramaker, Jeremy McCune, Paxton Lambrect and Brink. Ramaker was tops in passing points and in the re-draw he immediately drew the pole position for the A-Feature. Brink, Brey, McCune, Dietz, Lambrect, Kirkland and Perry all made the re-draw as well.
The Frontier Region of the American Sprint Car Series, presented in part by Speedmart Inc. is a winged 360 dirt 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
Dan Laber Memorial – Night 2
Billings Motorsports Park
September 13, 2014
Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. 98 Joe Ramaker, 2. 23n J.J. Hickle, 3. 12 Jerry Brey, 4. 27dd David Hoiness, 5. 44 Damon McCune, 6. X Steve Nelson, 7. 15 James Sires.
Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. 0J Jeremy McCune, 2. 37 Trever Kirkland, 3. 9a Clint Anderson, 4. 4s Adam Speckman, 5. 77 Mark Sweet, 6. 24 Leroy Brush, 7. 4 Junior Nelson.
Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. 7x Paxton Lambrect, 2. 28 Joe Perry, 3. 35 Chip Roe, 4. 99 Lany Reber, 5. 4n Johnny Nelson, 6. 11 Cliff Nelson, 7. 00 Roger Cummings.
Heat 4 (8 laps): 1. 90 D.J. Brink, 2. 44k Kelly Miller, 3. 72 Phil Dietz, 4. 1 Bill Boyce, 5. 77x Nate Maxwell, 6. 2 Shad Petersen.
B-Feature (12 laps): 1. 44 Damon McCune, 2. X Steve Nelson, 3. 77x Nate Maxwell, 4. 15 James Sires, 5. 00 Roger Cummings, 6. 2 Shad Petersen, 7. 24 Leroy Brush, 8. 77 Mark Sweet, 9. 4 Junior Nelson, 10. 4n Johnny Nelson, 11. Cliff Nelson. First four finishers transfer to A-Feature.
A-Feature (30 laps): 1. 90 D.J. Brink, 2. 27dd David Hoiness, 3. 28 Joe Perry, 4. 23n J.J. Hickle, 5. 37 Trever Kirkland, 6. 72 Phil Dietz, 7. 44k Kelly Miller, 8. 12 Jerry Brey, 9. 9a Clint Anderson, 10. 1 Bill Boyce, 11. 7x Paxton Lambrect, 12. 0J Jeremy McCune, 13. 15 James Sires, 14. 44 Damon McCune, 15. 77x Nate Maxwell, 16. 35 Chip Roe, 17. 4s Adam Speckman, 18. 99 Lany Reber, 19. X Steve Nelson, 20. 98 Joe Ramaker (DQ’d for losing muffler).
Lap leaders: Joe Perry 1-5, D.J. Brink 6-20
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Dan Laber Memorial points
1. J.J. Hickle, 280 ($600)
2. David Hoiness, 272 ($400)
3. Phil Dietz, 257 ($300)
4. Trever Kirkland, 241 ($100)
5. Kelly Miller, 238 ($100)
6. Bill Boyce, 235 ($100)
7. Joe Ramaker, 232 ($100)
8. Joe Perry, 229 ($100)
9. Jeremy McCune, 228 ($100)
10. Clint Anderson, 226 ($100)
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Dan Laber Memorial winners
1988 – Steve Beitler
1989 – Steve Celar
1990 – Steve Celar
1991 – Bill Boyce
1992 – Wade Fleming
1993 – Marc Huson
1994 – Bill Boyce
2000 – Bill Boyce
2012 – Phil Dietz
2013 – Randi Miller
2014 – J.J. Hickle
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ASCS Frontier Region
2014 Final points
1. Joe Ramaker, 2190
2. Kelly Miller, 2107
3. Phil Dietz, 2106
4. Trever Kirkland, 1975
5. Jeremy McCune, 1894
6. Jerry Brey, 1883
7. David Hoiness, 1701
8. Joe Perry, 1676
9. Damon McCune, 1641
10. Paxton Lambrect, 1531