GAS CITY, Ind., Sept. 12 – Clinton Boyles of Cedar Lake, Ind. won the 25-lap non-wing sprint car feature to highlight Gas City I-69 Speedway’s “Salute to First Responders/Battle of the Badges” Friday night. The five-division, 123-car program honored 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.
Point leader Jacob Denney of Galloway, Ohio won the 20-lap USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 midget feature. Reigning UMP modified champion Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C. invaded Gas City for the first time ever in search of UMP points and was victorious in the 20-lap modified feature. Andy Bishop of Gas City and James Headley Jr. of Wabash, Ind. led every lap of the 15-lap street stock and hornet features, respectively.
A special four-lap “Battle of the Badges” race featuring four hornet drivers representing local first responders went to Dalton Bishop of Gas City, who drove the COVID-19 car of Gabe “Scrappy” Wilkins, also of Gas City. Bishop received a special trophy as did the group he represented, the Gas City EMT/Rescue Squad. The other drivers who participated were James Headley of Marion, Ind., representing the Grant County Sheriff’s Department; James Headley Jr. representing the Gas City Police Department, and Brandon Lines of Marion, Ind. representing the Gas City Fire Department.
A collection was taken for the Tim Eckstein Scholarship Fund. Eckstein, the former Gas City Police Chief, died unexpectedly on July 8 at the age of 54.
Boyles started second in the 22-car sprint car feature, took the lead from polesitter Matt Westfall of Pleasant Hill, Ohio with a move to the outside in Turn 2 on the first lap, and never looked back. The 2018 Gas City track champion was the eighth different driver to win a regular sprint feature so far this year at the Grant County quarter-mile dirt oval. He drove the famous Paul Hazen No. 57, which is a DRC chassis powered by a Kercher-prepped engine that is garaged in Columbia City, Ind. It is sponsored by Physical Medicine Consultants, Kercher Engines and KECO Coatings.
Boyles’ biggest challenge was threading his way through lapped traffic in a 25-lap race that was only halted once. The red flew with 17 laps down when last week’s winner, Max Adams of Loomis, Calif., flipped in Turn 4 while running seventh. Luckily he quickly climbed out of his car unscathed.
Scotty Weir of Marion, Ind. started sixth, passed Westfall for second on lap 20, and went on to place second, 0.946 seconds behind. Westfall finished third. Nick Bilbee of Indianapolis made his first start here since 2015 a good one when he placed fourth. Shane Cockrum of Benton, Ill. came from 13th to finish fifth and earn an extra $100 from A.J. and Matt Brookmyer for being the race’s hard charger. The Brookmyers also gave a new right-rear Hoosier tire to the first alternate, who was Adam Byrkett of Burnettsville, Ind.
Denney, 15, who also won one of the three previous USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 midget features at Gas City earlier this year, led the second half of the D2 midget feature Friday night to post a 1.462-second victory over Chett Gehrke of Bardtown, Ky. Chuck Taylor of Troy, Ohio owns the winning Triple X chassis powered by a Chevy Ecotech engine and sponsored by Erwin.
Ian Creager of Covington, Ohio came from 11th to finish third and earn a $50 bonus from the Brookmyers for being that race’s hard charger. Keith Ousley bettered his position the same number of spots, eight, but Creager got the bonus because he finished higher up than Ousley’s eighth. Stratton Briggs of Anna, Ohio placed fourth and Bryce Massingill of Troy, Ohio rounded out the top five.
Abby Hohlbein of Cloverdale, Ohio flipped on the backstretch with one lap down while running seventh when a driver ahead of her got crossed up and room ran out. Luckily she wasn’t hurt. Gehrke took the lead from the initial leader, Aaron Leffel of Springfield, Ohio, on lap two when he dipped under both Leffel and the polesitter, Adam Taylor of DeMotte, Ind., in Turn 4.
Both Taylor and Denney passed Gehrke on lap five, and Taylor led until lap 10. Denney used lapped traffic to slip by Taylor at the halfway point and led the rest of the way. The drama wasn’t over, however, as the second- and third-place drivers, Taylor and Gunnar Lucius of Delphos, Ohio, crashed with 18 laps down to scramble the top five before the checkered waved two laps later.
The D2 midgets will combine with regular midgets for the USAC Midget Cup Series race here on Friday, Oct. 2 during the second annual “Fall Festival of Speed.
Derek Losh of Rensselaer, Ind., who has won seven modified features so far this year at Gas City, had to settle for second in the 20-lap modified feature to Hoffman on Friday night.
Polesitter Clayton Bryant of Yoder, Ind. led the first two laps before Losh passed him on the frontstretch to take command.
Hoffman passed Bryant for second on lap five. Losh had built up a 1.308-second lead over Hoffman, but that was wiped out on lap six when Braxton Strait of Hartford City, Ind. and Nick Richards crashed in Turn 4. Hoffman took the lead from Losh with an outside move at the end of the backstretch after the restart to lead the rest of the way.
Hoffman, who is originally from Illinois near St. Louis, owns Elite Chassis so that of course is his chassis of choice. His car’s engine is prepared by the NASCAR Technical Institute. The Allgaier Racing No. 7’s primary sponsors are Federated Auto Parts, Allgaier Racing Shocks, Allgaier Performance Parts and Hoosier Tire Midwest.
Hoffman’s margin of victory was 2.502 seconds over Losh. Dylan Woodling of Warsaw, Ind. finished third; Zeke McKenzie of Claypool, Ind. placed fourth and Todd Sherman of Churubusco, Ind. finished fifth. Bryant held on for sixth. Bub Roberts started 12th and finished seventh to earn a $143 bonus from Connected Strategy Advisors of Detroit, Mich., and Kings Garage. Those two entities also gave a $200 bonus to the 11th-place finisher, who was Dillon Nusbaum of Warsaw, Ind.
Bishop started second with the Thompson Trucking No. 14 in the street stock feature and led the whole way to earn the top prize plus an extra $100 from Ervin Turner of Marion, Ind. Sam Thompson of Gas City added $100 to the pay envelope of the second-place finisher, who was polesitter Andrew Short of Winamac, Ind. Two other drivers from Winamac, Dave Fritz and David Short, were third and fourth and Bill Bradley of Marion, Ind. came from 15th to finish fifth.
Headley Jr. led all the way in the 15-lap hornet feature in the No. 00 sponsored by Dudding’s Heating and Cooling, Garriott Electric, Edwards Automotive, TJR Trucking and Headley’s Tree Service.
Mark Casto of Marion, Ind. ran second until there was an eventful restart with 13 laps down. Casto had an altercation with Glenn Bradley, also of Marion, as Bradley was passing him in Turn 3 on lap 14. The result was Casto being disqualified for rough driving and Bradley finishing not second but ninth.
Dalton Bishop crossed the line in second but he was penalized two positions for jumping the restart, which put him fourth. Brady Hines of Denver, Ind. ended up the surprised runner-up, with Charles Teegarden of Upland, Ind. third. Eddie Tucker Jr. of Troy, Ohio rounded out the top five.
There were two other flips besides Max Adams’ and Abby Hohlbein’s. Tyler Kendall of Greenfield, Ind. flipped in Turn 2 at the start of the second sprint heat. Jim Jones of Indianapolis also flipped in Turn 2 with two laps down in the third midget heat. Both Kendall and Jones were transported to a local hospital for evaluation, where they were treated and released.
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 has moved from Thursday, Sept. 24 to Friday, Sept. 25 and will now feature both the USAC AMSOIL national sprints and the USAC NOS Energy Drink national midgets. It’s night one of the Indiana Donor Network Driven2SaveLives Double Double, as those two series will also appear at Kokomo Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 26. Tickets are on sale now at usactickets.com. Chris Windom of Canton, Ill. is the defending winner of the James Dean Classic.
Gas City’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 Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Max Adams, 2. Nick Bilbee, 3. Brandon Long, 4. Shane Cockrum, 5. Colten Cottle, 6. Adam Byrkett, 7. Alan Brown, 8. Ben Knight.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Clinton Boyles, 2. Travis Berryhill, 3. Slater Helt, 4. Jack James, 5. Parker Fredrickson, 6. Brayden Clark, 7. Evan Mosley, 8. Tyler Kendall.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Matt Westfall, 2. Korbyn Hayslett, 3. Zack Pretorius, 4. Anthony D’Alessio, 5. Matt Goodnight, 6. Kyle Simon, 7. Aaron Davis.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 4 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Dustin Ingle, 2. Scotty Weir, 3. Cole Bodine, 4. J.J. Hughes, 5. Cody White, 6. Damon Cooley, 7. Gage Rucker, 8. Carl Rhuebottom.
Non-Wing Sprint B-Main (10 laps, 6 transferred): 1. Colten Cottle, 2. Cody White, 3. Matt Goodnight, 4. Damon Cooley, 5. Parker Fredrickson, 6. Brayden Clark, 7. Adam Byrkett, 8. Gage Rucker, 9. Aaron Davis, 10. Ben Knight, 11. Carl Rhuebottom, 12. Kyle Simon, 13. Evan Mosley, 14. Alan Brown, 15. Tyler Kendall (DNS).
Non-Wing Sprint Feature 1 (25 laps, with starting position in parentheses): 1. Clinton Boyles (2), 2. Scotty Weir (6), 3. Matt Westfall (1), 4. Nick Bilbee (5), 5. Shane Cockrum (13), 6. Korbyn Hayslett (8), 7. Dustin Ingle (4), 8. Travis Berryhill (7), 9. J.J. Hughes (16), 10. Cole Bodine (12), 11. Zack Pretorius (11), 12. Colten Cottle (17), 13. Slater Helt (10), 14. Cody White (18), 15. Anthony D’Alessio (15), 16. Brandon Long (9), 17. Matt Goodnight (19), 18. Jack James (14), 19. Brayden Clark (22), 20. Max Adams (3), 21. Damon Cooley (20), 22. Parker Fredrickson (21).
Margin of Victory: 0.946 seconds
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-25, Boyles
USAC SpeeD2 Midgets Hot Laps 1: 1. Jacob Denney, 13.320; 2. Chet Gehrke, 13.724; 3. Abby Hohlbein, 13.933; 4. Kyle Dager, 13.948; 5. Zack Guingrich, 14.137; 6. Keith Ousley, 14.600; 7. Adam Schmenk, 14.730; 8. Thomas Bigelow, no time.
USAC SpeeD2 Midgets Hot Laps 2: 1. Aaron Leffel, 13.463; 2. Ian Creager, 13.879; 3. Mike Hessel, 13.073; 4. Bill Dunham, 14.575; 5. Kameron Gladish, 14.697; 6. Kyle Kreigbaum, 14.779; 7. Shelby Yeaples, 14.901.
USAC SpeeD2 Midgets Hot Laps 3: 1. Stratton Briggs, 13.160; 2. Jon Watson, 13.965; 3. Zane Briggs, 14.239; 4. Adam Taylor, 14.338; 5. Jim Jones, 14.439; 6. Cory Guingrich, no time.
USAC SpeeD2 Midgets Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Jacob Denney, 2. Chet Gehrke, 3. Abby Hohlbein, 4. Kyle Dager, 5. Zack Guingrich, 6. Keith Ousley, 7. Adam Schmenk, DNS, 8. Thomas Bigelow, DNS.
USAC SpeeD2 Midgets Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Gunnar Lucius, 2. Aaron Leffel, 3. Mike Hessel, 4. Ian Creager, 5. Kameron Gladish, 6. Shelby Yeaples, 7. Kyle Kreigbaum, 8. Bill Dunham (DNS).
USAC SpeeD2 Midgets Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Stratton Briggs, 2. Adam Taylor, 3. Bryce Massingill, 4. Jon Watson, 5. Zane Briggs, 6. Jim Jones, 7. Cory Guingrich, DNS.
USAC SpeeD2 Midgets Feature (20 laps, with starting position in parentheses): 1. Jacob Denney (4), 2. Chet Gehrke (3), 3. Ian Creager (11), 4. Stratton Briggs (5), 5. Bryce Massingill (9), 6. Zack Gingerich (13), 7. Jon Watson (12), 8. Keith Ousley (16), 9. Kameron Gladish (14), 10. Kyle Dager (10), 11. Mike Hessel (8), 12. Shelby Yeaples (17), 13. Adam Taylor (1), 14. Gunnar Lucius (6), 15. Zane Briggs (15), 16. Kyle Kreigbaum (20), 17. Aaron Leffel (2), 18. Abby Hohlbein (7), 19. Jim Jones (DNS), 20. Adam Schmenk (DNS), 21. Corey Guingrich (DNS), 22. Thomas Bigelow (DNS), 23. Bill Dunham (DNS).
Margin of Victory: 1.462 seconds
Lap Leaders: Laps 1, Leffel; laps 2-4, Gehrke; laps 5-10, Taylor; laps 11-20, Denney.