By Linda Mansfield
GAS CITY, Ind., June 5 – Scotty Weir had to fight off all comers for five restarts in the 25-lap non-wing sprint car feature Friday night at Gas City I-69 Speedway. Each restart erased his lead, but the Marion, Ind.-based driver was up to the challenge and led every lap to beat Shane Cockrum of Benton, Ill. to the checkered by 1.541 seconds and score a popular victory.
Bryce Massingill of Troy, Ohio took the lead from polesitter Ian Creager of Covington, Ohio on lap four and was 0.437 of a second ahead of Creager at the checkered on lap 25 of the USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 midget feature. That series was an added attraction to the “Monkey Wrench Mania” program that featured five different divisions but was still completed by 11:30 p.m.
Fans who wondered when defending modified track champion Derek Losh would win his first modified feature at Gas City in 2021 got their answer, as the Rensselaer, Ind.-based driver won that 20-lapper by a whopping 8.846 seconds over Dillon Nusbaum of Warsaw, Ind.
The street stock and hornet divisions each had 15-lap features. Lee Hobbs of Mitchell, Ind., became the third different street stock feature winner in as many races for that division so far this year at Gas City. It’s a different story in the hornet division, as James Headley Jr. of Wabash, Ind., has won all three hornet features so far this year, including the one on Friday night in which he led every lap.
It was Weir’s first feature victory at the quarter-mile dirt track since May 20, 2016 when he beat Brady Bacon of Winchester, Ind., to win a USAC AMSOIL national sprint car feature.
Weir’s DRC chassis with a Pedersen Chevy engine arrives at the race track each week on the back of an open trailer instead of a transporter, and it has fewer sponsor decals than other cars. Weir, 36, a shock builder by trade, has been very close to a victory many times at Gas City in recent years but somehow hasn’t landed in victory lane with the No. 4P, which is wrenched by Ryan Pedersen of Fortville, Ind., and sponsored by Red’s Racing Engines, Indy Race Parts and AFCO Shocks.
Weir started second and beat all comers into the first turn lap after lap. At first he held off polesitter Tyler Kendall of Greenfield, Ind. But on lap five Kendall went over the cushion in Turn 2, spun, and had to go to the rear of the field, giving Cockrum second place.
Cockrum ran the middle line just like Weir used. He would get close in Turn 2, but Weir would pad his lead on the backstretch and Turn 3. Near the end Cockrum tried the low groove but he never could make a pass and Weir went on to post the victory over the Flying Fireman’s High Asspirations Farm DRC Foxco.
Matt McDonald of Brownsburg, Ind. finished third. Defending track champion Max Adams of Marion, Ind., stepped into the famous Paul Hazen No. 57 and brought it home fourth followed by Aaron Leffel of Springfield, Ohio and Kendall.
Travis Hery of Hilliard, Ohio won the $100 HARF “Hard Charger” award, improving from 14th to eighth in the sprint feature.
In pre-race festivities the track honored sprint car driver Zack Pretorius of Yorktown, Ind., who missed his graduation ceremony from Madison-Grant High School in Fairmount, Ind., on Friday night in order to race at Gas City. Pretorius drives the family-owned No. 9Z Maxim Claxton Chevy sponsored by Oak Motors of Indianapolis, The Tin Plate of Elwood, Ind., and Benic Enterprises of Marion, Ind. He earned the track’s sprint car Rookie of the Year honors last year after nine karting championships.
Unfortunately the 18-year-old driver had a rough night after that, as he flipped twice. The first time he flipped in Turn 4 with three laps down in the third sprint heat. The team made repairs and Pretorius was able to start the feature, but then he was involved in a four-car accident in Turn 4 with 17 laps down which also saw Landon Simon of Tipp City, Ohio get upside down. Chase Jones of Greenwood, Ind., and Aaron Davis of Windfall, Ind., were the other two drivers who were involved. All escaped injury.
Like Weir, Massingill had to work for his D2 midget victory in the Creative Labels No. 12M. There was only one yellow in the first half of the feature but there were three in the second half of the race. Still, Massingill was able to hold off Creager, who ran directly behind him most of the race, and hold on for his first feature win ever at the Grant County track.
Cory Guingrich of Celina, Ohio dipped under Adam Taylor of DeMotte, Ind., working lap 23 to finish third. Taylor, who started 11th and used the top groove to break into the top five around the halfway mark, placed fourth. Jacob Denney of Galloway, Ohio both started and finished fifth.
No one had anything for Losh in the modified feature, as his Superior Sales and Service, R and R Transmission and Aggressive Graphics Longhorn No. 21L with a Mullins engine was the class of the field Friday night.
Nusbaum passed Clayton Bryant of Yoder, Ind., for second on lap five and finished in the runner-up position. Zeke McKenzie of Claypool, Ind., passed Bryant a lap later and went on to finish third. Bub Roberts of Warren, Ind. both started and finished fourth. Aaron Orr of Columbia City, Ind., rounded out the top five and Bryant held on for sixth.
Hobbs started fourth in the street stock feature and took the lead on the frontstretch from polesitter Andy Bishop of Gas City on lap seven following a restart. The only other leader was Chris Hunter of Kokomo, Ind., who started second and led the first two laps.
Ervin Turner of Marion, Ind. spun on the frontstretch with one lap down but regrouped to finish second after he passed Bishop for that position on lap 14. Bishop held on for third. James Headley of Marion, Ind., was fourth and young Dalton Bishop of Gas City rounded out the top five. The winning car was a Hobbs chassis sponsored by Bilstein Shocks.
Headley Jr. completely dominated the hornet feature in the No. 00, which is sponsored by Dudding’s Heating and Cooling and Shrouts Towing. There was a knock-out, three-car battle for second between Eric Solms of Marion, Ind.; Aaron Tatman of Lafayette, Ind., and Eddie Tucker Jr. of Troy, Ohio. Solms had the position until his Silver Bullet lost its right-rear wheel in Turn 2 with seven laps complete, and had to be towed back to the pits on a wrecker.
That gave the runner-up spot to Tatman, who finished in that position followed by Tucker; Alison Butler of Anna, Ohio, and Tracey Runion of Wilkinson, Ind.
Earlier in the evening promoter Jerry Gappens introduced the track’s new mascot to the kids on hand. Lilac in color, his name is Monkey Wrench, for whom the night was named, and he was an immediate hit with the youngsters.
This coming Friday, June 11, Gas City I-69 Speedway will be the next-to-last stop during the 17th annual NOS Energy Drink Indiana Midget Week, as the USAC NOS Energy Drink national midgets join the track’s regular non-wing sprint cars for an exciting doubleheader.
Fans can save $5 off the price of a general admission ticket by ordering it online at TracPass.com. Advance tickets are $25 online and $30 at the gate. Pit passes are $35. Kids 12 and under are free. The pit gate opens at 3 p.m. and the grandstands at 5 p.m. Hot laps are at 6:30 p.m. and the racing starts at 7:30 p.m.
Kyle Larson came from 14th to win the Indiana Midget Week race at Gas City last year enroute to the title. Buddy Kofoid, Tyler Courtney, Tanner Thorson and Gio Scelzi rounded out the top five in Gas City’s race last year.
The complete 2021 schedule and more information are 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. The quarter-mile dirt oval is about halfway between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, and attracts drivers and fans from all over the Midwest.
Sprint Group 1 Qualifying: 1. Max Adams, 12.447; 2. Ryan Thomas, 12.514; 3. Tyler Kendall, 12.564; 4. Aaron Davis, 12.914; 5. Scotty Weir, 13.034; 6. Paul Dues, 13.885.
Sprint Group 2 Qualifying: 1. Brayden Clark, 12.408; 2. Anthony D’Alessio, 12.487; 3. Matt McDonald, 12.507; 4. Aaron Leffel, 12.796; 5. Chase Jones, 12.866.
Sprint Group 3 Qualifying: 1. Shane Cockrum, 12.063; 2. Zack Pretorius, 12.137; 3. Adam Byrkett, 12.139; 4. Evan Mosley, 12.334; 5. Landon Simon, 12.393; 6. Jack James, 13.345.
Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Tyler Kendall, 2. Scotty Weir, Max Adams, 4. Ryan Thomas, 5. Aaron Davis, 6. Paul Dues. Margin of victory: 0.081.
Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Matt McDonald, 2. Aaron Leffel, 2. Anthony D’Alessio, 4. Brayden Clark, 5. Travis Hery, 6. Chase Jones. Margin of victory: 1.260.
Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Shane Cockrum, 2. Adam Byrkett, 3. Landon Simon, 4. Evan Mosley, 5. Jack James, 6. Zack Pretorius.
Sprint Feature (25 laps, with starting position in parenthesis): 1. Scotty Weir (2); 2. Shane Cockrum (3); 3. Matt McDonald (4); 4. Max Adams (7); 5. Aaron Leffel (6); 6. Tyler Kendall (1); 7. Anthony D’Alessio (8); 8. Travis Hery (13); 9. Adam Byrkett (5); 10. Brayden Clark (11); 11. Ryan Thomas (10); 12. Jack James (14); 13. Paul Dues (15); 14. Aaron Davis (12); 15. Chase Jones (16); 16. Landon Simon (9); 17. Zack Pretorius (17); 18. Evan Mosley (18).
Lap leaders: 1-25, Weir.
Margin of victory: 1.541.
Fastest race lap: Weir, lap 5, 13.005.
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midget Group 1 Qualifying: 1. Cory Guingrich, 13.045; 2. Ryan Thomas, 13.118; 3. Josh Yenser, 13.380; 4. Zack Gingerich, 13.583; 5. Jakeb Boxell, 13.599; 6. Andy Martin, 14.663.
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midget Group 2 Qualifying: 1. Bryce Massingill, 13.333; 2. Adam Schmenk, 13.514; 3. Ian Creager, 13.595; 4. Zane Briggs, 13.783; 5. Tommy Kouns, 13.973; 6. Taylor Nibert, 14.185.
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midget Group 3 Qualifying: 1. Adam Taylor, 13.255; 2. Jacob Denney, 13.415; 3. Abby Hohlbein, 13.584; 4. Kyle Kreigbaum, 14.200; 4. Jeremy Howe, 15.002; 5. Kyle Dager, no time.
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midget Group 4 Qualifying: 1. Chris Dickey, 13.332; 2. Stratton Briggs, 13.441; 3. Gunnar Lucius, 13.741; 4. Bryce Dues, 13.777; 5. Cody Dye, 14.145; 6. Mark Nieft Jr., 14.203.
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midgets Heat 1 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Cory Guingrich, 2. Ryan Moran, 3. Zack Gingerich, 4. Ryan Thomas, 5. Josh Yenser, 6. Andy Martin, 7. Jakeb Boxell. Margin of victory: 0.864.
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midgets Heat 2 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Ian Creager, 2. Bryce Massingill, 3. Zane Briggs, 4. Tommy Kouns, 5. Adam Schmenk, 6. Taylor Nibert. Margin of victory: 0.132.
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midgets Heat 3 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Jacob Denney, 2. Abby Hohlbein, 3. Adam Taylor, 4. Kyle Kreigbaum, 5. Jeremy Howe, 6. Kyle Dager. Margin of victory: 0.453.
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midgets Heat 4 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Stratton Briggs, 2. Gunnar Lucius, 3. Bryce Dues, 4. Chris Dickey, 5. Cody Dye, 6. Mark Nieft Jr. Margin of victory: 3.313.
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midgets B-Main (12 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Adam Schmenk, 2. Josh Yenser, 3. Jakeb Boxell, 4. Taylor Nibert, 5. Jeremy Howe, 6. Cody Dye, 7. Mark Nieft Jr., 8. Andy Martin, 9. Kyle Dager (DNS). Margin of victory: 1.570.
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midgets Feature (25 laps, with starting position in parenthesis): 1. Bryce Massingill (3); 2. Ian Creager (1); 3. Corey Guingrich (4); 4. Adam Taylor (11); 5. Jacob Denney (5); 6. Stratton Briggs (8); 7. Ryan Thomas (13); 8. Zack Gingerich (9); 9. Abby Hohlbein (2); 10. Jakeb Boxell (19); 11. Bryce Dues (12); 12. Zane Briggs (10); 13. Kyle Kriegbaum (15); 14. Taylor Nibert (20); 15. Tommy Kouns (14); 16. Adam Schmenk (17); 17. Ryan Moran (7); 18. Josh Yenser (18); 19. Chris Dickey (16); 20. Gunnar Lucius (6).
Lap leaders: Laps 1-3, Creager; laps 4-25, Massingill.
Margin of victory: 0.437
Fastest race lap: Creager, lap 1, 14.292.