Blonde Overcomes Adversity to Win at Hartford

By T.J. Buffenbarger

HARTFORD, Mi. (August 30, 2019) — Chad Blonde bounced back from mechanical issues in qualifying to win Friday’s Lane Automotive Sprints on Dirt event at Hartford Motor Speedway. Chad Blonde had issues with the fuel pump on his car and was unable to take a qualifying lap. Starting at the tail of his heat race Blonde raced up to make the final redraw position, ended up with the pole position as the final driver to draw, and held off repeated challenges from Ryan Ruhl for the victory.

“I didn’t really like the cautions because putting the cars away, lapping them pretty good and carrying a lot of speed,” said Chad Blonde in victory lane. “I was getting a little frustrated, getting mad about it. We worked it all out.”

Chad Blonde had to endure multiple caution flags throughout the 25-lap affair that allowed Ryan Ruhl to challenge for the lead late in the race. After a pair of restarts late in the event Blonde was able to pull away from Ruhl for the victory.

Blonde was joined by Dustin Shriver on the front row with Chad Blonde opening a sizeable advantage over Brett Mann, who surged fourth to second position on the opening lap. Just as Chad Blonde started overtaking slower cars with seven laps complete the first caution period of the feature took place when Zane Devault slowed with a flat left front tire. Devault’s crew made repairs to rejoin the field for the restart.

While Chad Blonde pulled away during the restart both Quentin Blonde and Ryan Ruhl were able to move up multiple positions into third and fourth respectively. After a caution for Jay Steinebach and Michael Schumacher stopped in turn three Quentin Blonde drove by Brett Mann for second and set out after Chad Blonde for the lead. Quentin’s surge was short lived as he brought out the caution flag on 14 with a flat right rear tire.

With 10 laps to go Ryan Ruhl moved into the second position and began to challenge Chad Blonde for the lead. After running three laps side by side for position the caution appeared Shriver spinning between turns three and four. During the restart Blonde was able to drive away from Ruhl to a sizeable advantage.

Just as it appeared Blonde had the race under control the final caution flag of the event appeared with two laps to go when Frank Neill slowed after running out of fuel. The ensuing restart saw Ruhl stay closer to Blonde. Ruhl ended up getting one look under Blonde through turns one and two on the final lap but could not make the pass at Chad Blonde scored his sixth win of the season.

In the end it was Blonde changing things up on the restart that gave him an advantage.

“The restarts I started a little different on the track,” said Blonde. “Exiting turn four I found a little bit of moisture at the bottom and it helped me enter the top of one and two with a little momentum. That’s what helped out a lot.”

Ruhl, Devault, Mann, and Quentin Blonde rounded out the top five.

Lane Automotive Sprints on Dirt
Hartford Speedway
Hartford, MI
Friday August 30, 2019

1. 7-Zane Devault, 14.695
2. 27X-Boston Mead, 14.853
3. 24+-Michael Schumacher, 14.933
4. 4-Josh Turner, 14.986
5. 71H-Ryan Ruhl, 15.014
6. 3-Dusty Shriver, 15.059
7. 1A-A.J. Aldrich, 15.073
8. 19-Brett Mann, 15.083
9. 70-Eli Lakin, 15.188
10. 5QB-Quentin Blonde, 15.308
11. 19J-Linden Jones, 15.348
12. 88N-Frank Neill, 15.620
13. 10J-Chris Jones, 15.650
14. 10S-Jay Steinebach, 16.368
15. 52-Zac Broughman, 99.000
16. 5B-Chad Blonde, 99.000

Heat Race #1 (8 Laps): 1 7 – Zane Devault, 2. 3 – Dusty Shriver, 3. 27K – Boston Mead, 4. 71H – Ryan Ruhl, 5. 4 – Josh Turner, 6. 24+ – Michael Schumacher, 7. 1A – A.J. Aldrich, 8. 52 – Zac Broughman.

Heat Race #2 (8 Laps): 1. 5QB – Quentin Blonde, 2. 19 – Brett Mann, 3. 5B – Chad Blonde, 4. 19J – Linden Jones, 5. 10S – Jay Steinebach, 6. 70 – Eli Lakin,7. 88N – Frank Neill, 8. 10J – Chris Jones.

Feature (25 Laps): 1. 5B – Chad Blonde, 2. 71H – Ryan Ruhl, 3. 7 – Zane Devault, 4. 19 – Brett Mann, 5. 5QB – Quentin Blonde, 6. 3 – Dustin Shriver, 7. 10S – Jay Steinebach, 8. 24+ – Michael Schumacher, 9. 10J – Chris Jones, 10. 70 – Eli Lankin, 11. 1A – A.J. Aldrich, 12. 88N – Frank Neill, 13. 4 – Josh Turner, 14. 19J – Linden Jones, 15. 27X – Boston Mead, 16. 52 – Zac Broughman