GAS CITY, Ind., Sept. 5 – With extra money on the line the modified division took center stage at the Labor Day Weekend Classic at Gas City I-69 Speedway Friday night. The star of the show was no stranger to victory lane, as Derek Losh of Rensselaer, Ind., led all 20 laps and earned $1,000 for his seventh feature victory of the season at the Grant County quarter-mile dirt oval.
Several non-wing sprint car drivers who haven’t won at Gas City were the main players in the 25-lap sprint car feature. Only one could end the night with his first win, and that turned out to be Max Adams of Loomis, Calif., who nipped Kyle Simon of Covington, Ohio by 0.091 seconds at the checkered in the 25-lap main event.
The 15-lap winged outlaw 600cc micro-sprint feature went non-stop, with Craig Ronk of Warsaw, Ind. getting the victory.
Defending track champions Andy Bishop of Gas City and James Headley Jr. of Wabash, Ind. were triumphant in the 15-lap street stock and hornet features, respectively.
Losh started third in the modified feature, had the lead by Turn 2 on the first lap, withstood three restarts and some lapped traffic, and beat Dylan Woodling of Warsaw, Ind. to the checkered by 1.383 seconds.
The best battle was for second. Woodling got the position by passing Tony Anderson of Lima, Ohio on the outside working lap 11 to eventually earn the runner-up honors. Anderson pressured him throughout but had to settle for third. Dillon Nusbaum of Warsaw finished fourth and Zeke McKenzie of Claypool, Ind. was fifth.
Superior Sales and Service, Aggressive, R & R Transmission, Rensselaer Iron and Metal and Talbert Manufacturing sponsor Losh’s No. 21.
Simon started on the pole in the 20-car sprint car feature and led the first 23 laps followed by Adams; Dustin Ingle of Lima, Ohio, and a high-riding J.J. Hughes of Indianapolis, the current point leader.
Simon’s 2.859-second lead over Adams was wiped out with 13 laps down when Brian VanMeveren of Woodbury, Minn. spun in Turn 4 to bring out the first caution. On the restart Hughes passed Ingle and Adams to leap from fourth to second.
Simon had built his advantage back up to 1.130 seconds over Hughes by lap 15 when the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-place drivers — Evan Mosley of Lapel, Ind.; Matt McDonald of Pittsboro, Ind. and Korbyn Hayslett of Troy, Ohio — crashed between Turns 1 and 2. Shortly thereafter Shane Cockrum of Benton, Ill. spun in Turn 2 while eighth.
Adams passed Hughes to regain second at the start-finish line on lap 20. On the next lap there was contact between the pair which resulted in Hughes flipping violently between Turns 1 and 2, with his car landing upside down on its roll cage. Luckily a very disappointed Hughes climbed out under his own power.
Adams drew alongside Simon on the backstretch on laps 22 and 23 and made the pass stick on lap 24. Simon was just 0.091 seconds behind at the checkered. Veteran Matt Westfall of Pleasant Hill, Ohio came from eleventh to finish third. Ingle was fourth and Anthony D’Alessio of Gas City rounded out the top five.
Adams was in the famous Paul Hazen No. 57 usually driven by 2018 track champion Clinton Boyles of Cedar Lake, Ind., who was competing in a USAC midget race in his home state of Missouri Friday night. The winning DRC chassis is powered by a Kercher-prepped engine and it’s sponsored by Physical Medicine Consultants and KECO Coatings.
Simon’s DRC/Claxton is sponsored by USI Cable Corp., Mark Knupp Muffler & Tire and Fortney Performance. Ray Marshall Motorsports, Buckeye Machine and DPI Ink can be seen on Westfall’s Maxim/Hampshire, which won here July 17.
Brayden Clark, 17, of Tipton, Ind. was the race’s hard charger, as he started 18th and finished sixth to earn an extra $100 from A.J. and Matt Brookmyer. His family’s DRC is sponsored by G&G Oil, Quality Pallet and State Farm Insurance.
The Brookmyers also gave a new right-rear Hoosier tire to the first alternate, who was Parker Frederickson of Kokomo, Ind. His Maxim advertises L.M. Construction, Bell Maintenance and New Horizons Home Health Care.
Two other drivers also flipped during the program in addition to Hughes, but no one was transported for medical treatment afterwards. Dallas Hewitt of Fletcher, Ohio was the fastest among his group when he flipped in Turn 2 in the second sprint qualifying session with two laps down. Billy Cribbs of Muncie, Ind. flipped in Turn 2 and onto the backstretch at the start of the third sprint heat.
Ronk, 20, started second in the micro-sprint feature, dipped under polesitter Kole Kirkman of Kokomo, Ind. in Turn 3 on the second lap, and led the rest of the way in the non-stop 15-lapper. Kole Kirkman finished second, 3.045 seconds behind, with Todd Kirkman, also of Kokomo, third. Darin Naida of Adrian, Mich. placed fourth and Connor Wolf rounded out the top five.
Joe Mooney of Etna Green, Ind. owns the winning CS9, which is powered by a Brady Morgan Suzuki. The Car Company of Warsaw, Ind. is the team’s primary sponsor.
Bishop started second and led all the way in the 15-lap street stock feature. He had more than a 1-second lead by lap five with the Thompson Trucking/R & R Transmission No. 14. He had stretched that to 2.669 seconds when a yellow flew with 14 laps down after Justin Long of Lima, Ohio and Jeremy Johns crashed in Turn 4. But Bishop’s restart was spot-on, and he had a 0.274-second lead over Bill Bradley of Marion, Ind. at the checkered.
The real battle was for second between Bradley, Dave Fritz of Winamac, Ind., and modified winner Derek Losh, who finished in that order. Bradley started way back in 16th. Jeffery Jessup of Union City, Ind. rounded out the top five.
Headley Jr. led the first two laps of the hornet feature before his father, James Headley of Marion, Ind., dipped under him on the frontstretch to lead laps three through five. Headley Jr. regained the lead by using the low line in Turn 2 on lap six, and was never again headed.
Gage Allen of Warren, Ind. surprised Headley by getting second in Turn 2 on lap 11, but Headley had the spot back by the backstretch. Headley Jr.’s advantage over his father at the line was 0.507 seconds, but the two cars were so evenly matched their fastest race laps were only 0.005 apart.
Allen finished third over Kolton Sollars of LaFontaine, Ind. and Mark Casto of Marion, Ind.
The Headleys are sponsored by Dudding’s Heating and Cooling, Garriott Electric, Edwards Automotive, TJR Trucking and Headley’s Tree Service.
Alan Ram led all eight laps of the AMCA (Antique Motorcycle Club of America) motorcycle race in a 1942 Harley Davidson. He and his fellow riders are participating in a meet at Gas City Park this weekend.
The large crowd on hand also enjoyed a fireworks show to celebrate Labor Day.
Next Friday night, Sept. 11, is the track’s “Salute to First Responders/Battle of the Badges” in honor of those who were lost and those who responded to the terrorist attacks against America on Sept. 11, 2001, and those who serve the public as first responders today. Hot laps are slated to start at 6:30 p.m. with racing at 7:30 p.m. Sprint cars, USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 midgets, modifieds, street stocks and hornets are on the card.
A special four-lap “Battle of the Badges” race will feature four hornet drivers representing local first responders.
James Headley will drive for the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, while James Headley Jr. will represent the Gas City Police Department. Gabe “Scrappy” Wilkins of Gas City will drive for the Gas City EMT/Rescue Squad, while Brandon Lines of Marion, Ind. will represent the Gas City Fire Department.
Each driver will decorate their race cars in honor of the first responders they represent. A special trophy will be given to the winning driver and department.
A collection will be taken for the Tim Eckstein Scholarship Fund. Eckstein, the former Gas City Police Chief, died unexpectedly on July 8 at the age of 54.
First responders and their families will be admitted for half price with proper identification.
The track will be dark on Friday, Sept. 18, but on Saturday, Sept. 19 it will be the site of the Gas City Power Pull, an Indiana Pulling League-sanctioned truck and tractor pull.
The third annual James Dean Classic is moving from Thursday, Sept. 24 to Friday, Sept. 25. An exciting announcement about that event is expected to be made soon.
The track’s 2020 season will conclude Oct. 2-3 with the second annual Fall Festival of Speed. Open-wheel cars will be featured on Friday and stock cars will be the main attraction on Saturday.
More information is on the track’s website at GasCityI69Speedway.com. Fans and competitors can also follow it on Twitter: @GasCitySpeedway; Instagram: @GasCitySpeedway and Facebook: GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas.
Gas City I-69 Speedway is located on State Road 22, approximately a half-mile west of I-69, exit 259.
Non-Wing Sprints Hot Laps Qualifying Session 1: 1. Shane Cockrum, 12.483; 2. Cody White, 12.535; 3. Matt McDonald, 12.619; 4. J.J. Hughes, 12.625; 5. Tyler Kendall, 12.652; 6. Max Adams, 12.686; 7. Brayden Clark, 12.840; 8. Aaron Davis, 12.843; 9. Ricky Lewis, NT.
Non-Wing Sprints Hot Laps Qualifying Session 2: 1. Dallas Hewitt, 12.093; 2. Matt Westfall, 12.116; 3. Adam Byrkett, 12.161; 4. Dustin Ingle, 12.165; 5. Cole Ketcham, 12.312; 6. Kyle Simon, 12.321; 7. Korbyn Hayslett, 12.388; 8. Garrett Abrams, 12.450; 9. Parker Frederickson, 12.986.
Non-Wing Sprints Hot Laps Qualifying Session 3: 1. Billy Cribbs, 12.158; 2. Evan Mosley, 12.280; 3. Anthony D’Alessio, 12.285; 4. Brian VanMeveren, 12.457; 5. Paul Dues, 12.504; 6. Zack Pretorius, 12.504; 7. Jack James, 12.830; 8. Tony Main, 12.885.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps, 5 transferred): 1. J.J. Hughes, 2. Max Adams, 3. Matt McDonald, 4. Shane Cockrum, 5. Cody White, 6. Brayden Clark, 7. Ricky Lewis, 8. Tyler Kendall, 9. Aaron Davis.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps, 5 transferred): 1. Kyle Simon, 2. Dustin Ingle, 3. Adam Byrkett, 4. Matt Westfall, 5. Cole Ketcham, 6. Parker Frederickson, 7. Korbyn Hayslett, 8. Garrett Abrams, 9. Dallas Hewitt (DNS).
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps, 5 transferred): 1. Anthony D’Alessio, 2. Zack Pretorius, 3. Evan Mosley, 4. Brian VanMeveren, 5. Paul Dues, 6. Tony Main, 7. Jack James, 8. Billy Cribbs.
Non-Wing Sprint B-Main (10 laps, 5 transferred): 1. Ricky Lewis, 2. Korbyn Hayslett, 3. Brayden Clark, 4. Tyler Kendall, 5. Aaron Davis, 6. Parker Frederickson, 7. Tony Main, 8. Jack James, 9. Garrett Abrams (DNS), 10. Billy Cribbs (DNS), 11. Dallas Hewitt (DNS).
Non-Wing Sprint Feature 1 (20 laps, with starting position in parentheses): 1. Max Adams (3); 2. Kyle Simon (1); 3. Matt Westfall (11); 4. Dustin Ingle (2); 5. Anthony D’Alessio (6); 6. Brayden Clark (18); 7. Cody White (13); 8. Paul Dues (15); 9. Korbyn Hayslett (17); 10. Cole Ketcham (14); 11. Adam Byrkett (8); 12. Shane Cockrum (10); 13. Tyler Kendall (19); 14. Aaron Davis (20); 15. Ricky Lewis (16); 16. Zack Pretorius (5); 17. J.J. Hughes (4); 18. Matt McDonald (7); 19. Evan Mosley (9); 20. Brian VanMeveren (12).
Margin of Victory: 0.091 seconds
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-23, Simon; laps 24-25, Adams.