By Linda Mansfield
GAS CITY, Ind., July 10 – Scotty Weir of Marion, Ind., became the first two-time non-wing sprint car feature winner this year at Gas City I-69 Speedway during the “Beach Night Bash” show Friday night. The pits were brimming with 33 sprint cars and a total of 119 race cars in all for the five-division program that was enjoyed by the track’s largest crowd so far this year.
Chance Crum of Snohomish, Wash. posted his first career USAC Midwest Regional Midget feature victory, while defending champion Derek Losh of Rensselaer, Ind., became the first two-time modified feature winner of the season. Lee Hobbs of Mitchell, Ind. earned his second street stock feature victory of the season at the Grant County quarter-mile dirt track, and Aaron Tatman of Lafayette, Ind., captured his first career Gas City hornet feature victory.
Weir had a perfect night in the non-wing sprint car division with his white No. 4P, which is a DRC chassis powered by a Pedersen Chevy engine that is sponsored by Red’s Racing Engines, Indy Race Parts and AFCO Shocks. The current sprint car point leader was smoother than anyone else and he topped his qualifying group, won his heat, started fourth in the feature but led all 25 laps, and he also set the fastest race lap of the main event.
Runner-up Robert Ballou of Tipton, Ind., had a harder trip with his Ballou Motorsports No. 12, which is a Triple X chassis sponsored by Murray’s Body Shop, Berks Western Telecomm and Suburban Subaru, and powered by a Don Ott-prepped engine. He started 14th, but he was tenth by lap two and fifth by lap six. He ran in fourth place from laps seven through 14 before he passed Matt Westfall of Pleasant Hill, Ohio for third on lap 15 and Cole Bodine of Rossville, Ind., for second on lap 18. Ballou did his best to pass Weir during the last seven laps too, but Weir fought him off. Ballou was just 0.141 of a second behind Weir at the checkered.
Bodine posted his best finish at Gas City ever by placing third after starting eighth in his family sprint car, the Driven2SaveLives/Elliotts Trailers No. 57. The 22-year-old driver was always in contention, as he ran in the top five from lap three to the finish.
Shane Cockrum of Benton, Ill., overcame contact on lap two on the backstretch in which the front wheels of Jamie and Michelle Paul’s High Asspirations Farm DRC/Foxco were up high in the sky and it appeared the car’s next stop might be Mars. Somehow the car didn’t flip and came down on all four wheels, so Cockrum kept going. The incident didn’t even bring out a yellow.
Cockrum was fourth when he launched. The shunt caused him to lose five positions, but he battled back and still finished fourth. Westfall rounded out the top five in the 25-lapper.
USAC Midget Cup
Three drivers paced the field in the 25-lap USAC Midget Cup feature, which was open to full midgets, SpeeD2 midgets, and 1,000cc mini-sprints. Front row starters Tyler Nelson of Indianapolis and Bryan Stanfill of Brownsburg, Ind., led the first four and the next 10 laps, respectively.
Crum was second when he and the leader, Stanfill, got together in Turn 4 with 14 laps down to bring out the race’s first caution. Stanfill ended up stopped in the inside of the turn but Crum kept going and was the leader for the restart with Nelson second.
More contact with 22 laps down knocked Nelson out of second and Ronnie Gardner of Brownsburg, Ind., went on to finish as the runner-up, 0.891 of a second behind Crum’s Rudeen Racing No. 26 Toyota. It was the first Indiana midget feature victory for Crum, who is a native of Washington state.
Blake Brannon, a 17-year-old driver from San Jose, Calif., finished third followed by veteran Russ Gamester of Peru, Ind. and USAC Midwest Regional Midget point leader Chett Gehrke of Bardtown, Ky. Stanfill and Nelson followed in sixth and seventh.
Travis Welpott of Pendleton, Ind., flipped between Turns 1 and 2 with five laps down in the second sprint heat while running sixth.
Defending sprint car track champion Max Adams of Marion, Ind., stopped in Turn 1 with six laps down in the third sprint heat while running fifth after his car caught on fire. He went to Marion General Hospital by private car later for treatment of lower leg burns.
Max Guilford of Auckland, New Zealand flipped in Turn 4 on the initial start of the sprint feature.
Travis Hery of Piqua, Ohio was running 11th and Tyler Hewitt of Marion, Ind. was 12th when they both flipped very hard in Turns 1 and 2 with four laps down in the sprint feature.
Ben Varner of Harbor Springs, Mich., a race engineer and student at Butler University, flipped on the backstretch on the last lap of the midget feature, spoiling what would have been his seventh-place finish and damaging his Esslinger/Spike to boot.
Reportedly no one other than Adams required medical treatment.
Coming up next Friday night, July 16 is the Mid-Season Championship, which awards double points to all non-wing sprint car, modified, street stock and hornet drivers. The Midwest Oldtimers Vintage Race Club will also be on hand to showcase racing of the past.
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.
An adult general admission is only $15 and kids 12 and under are free. A pit pass costs $30.
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.
Non-Wing Sprint Group 1 Qualifying: 1. Brayden Fox, 11.579; 2. Nick Bilbee, 11.757; 3. Tyler Hewitt, 11.826; 4. Shane Cockrum, 11.858; 5. Korbyn Hayslett, 12.029; 6. Kyle Simon, 12.050; 7. Garrett Abrams, 12.389; 8. Jack James, 12.624, 9. Max Guilford, 12.765.
Non-Wing Sprint Group 2 Qualifying: 1. Tye Mihocko, 11.657; 2. Robert Ballou, 11.915; 3. Adam Byrkett, 11.956; 4. Sterling Cling, 12.016; 5. Cole Bodine, 12.137; 6. Matt McDonald, 12.148; 7. Ryan Barr, 12.195.
Non-Wing Sprint Group 3 Qualifying: 1. Scotty Weir, 11.867; 2. Max Adams, 11.870; 3. Zack Pretorius, 11.887; 4. Aaron Davis, 12.094; 5. Matt Westfall, 12.158; 6. Paul Dues, 12.258, 7. Garrett Aitken, 12.762.
Non-Wing Sprint Group 4 Qualifying: 1. Jadon Rogers, 11.936; 2. Travis Hery, 11.939; 3. Brayden Clark, 11.968; 4. Gabriel Gilbert, 11.988; 5. Tyler Kendall, 12.070; 6. Dustin Ingle, 12.213; 7. Austin Nigh, 12.261.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps, 4 transfer): 1. Shane Cockrum, 2. Nick Bilbee, 3. Tyler Hewitt, 4. Korbyn Hayslett, 5. Kyle Simon, 6. Brayden Fox, 7. Garrett Abrams, 8. Max Guilford, 9. Jack James.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps, 4 transfer): 1. Sterling Cling, 2. Cole Bodine, 3. Tye Mihocko, 4. Robert Ballou, 5. Adam Byrkett, 6. Matt McDonald, 7. Ryan Barr, 8. Travis Welpott.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps, 4 transfer): 1. Scotty Weir, 2. Matt Westfall, 3. Paul Dues, 4. Zack Pretorius, 5. Aaron Davis, 6. Garret Aitken, 7. David Gross, 8. Max Adams.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 4 (8 laps, 4 transfer): 1. Jadon Rogers, 2. Travis Hery, 3. Brayden Clark, 4. Tyler Kendall, 5. Austin Nigh, 6. Dustin Ingle, 7. Gabriel Gilbert, 8. Ryan Edwards (DNS).
Non-Wing Sprint B-Main 1 (10 laps, 2 transfer): 1. Max Guilford, 2. Garrett Aitken, 3. Brayden Fox, 4. Aaron Davis, 5. Garrett Abrams, 6. Jack James, 7. Davis Gross, 8. Kyle Simon, 9. Max Adams (DNS).
Non-Wing Sprint B-Main 2 (10 laps, 2 transfer): 1. Adam Byrkett, 2. Dustin Ingle, 3. Ryan Barr, 4. Austin Nigh, 5. Gabriel Gilbert, 6. Matt McDonald, 7. Travis Welpott (DNS), 8. Ryan Edwards (DNS).
Non-Wing Sprint Feature (25 laps, with starting position in parenthesis): 1. Scotty Weir (4); 2. Robert Ballou (14); 3. Cole Bodine (8); 4. Shane Cockrum (3); 5. Matt Westfall (6); 6. Tyler Kendall (16); 7. Sterling Cling (1); 8. Dustin Ingle (20); 9. Korbyn Hayslett (13); 10. Garrett Aitken (19); 11. Zack Pretorius (15); 12. Brayden Clark (12); 13. Adam Byrkett (18); 14. Nick Bilbee (7); 15. Tye Mihocko (10); 16. Paul Dues (11); 17. Jadon Rogers (2); 18. Tyler Hewitt (9); 19. Travis Hery (5); 20. Max Guilford (17).
Lap leaders: Laps 1-25, Weir.
Margin of victory: 0.141 seconds
Fastest race lap: Weir, lap 7, 12.724 seconds.
USAC Midget Cup Qualifying Session 1: 1. Bryan Stanfill, 12.185; 2. Tyler Nelson, 12.362; 3. Chance Crum, 12.612; 4. Justin Dickerson, 13.137; 5. Billy Lawless, 13.138; 6. Glenn Waterland, 13.162; 7. Ben Varner, 13.164.
USAC Midget Cup Qualifying Session 2: 1. Blake Brannon, 12.232; 2. Russ Gamester, 12.463; 3. Chett Gehrke, 12.481; 4. Kyle Simon, 12.885; 5. Ronnie Gardner, no time.
USAC Midget Cup Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Chance Crum, 2. Bryan Stanfill, 3. Tyler Nelson, 4. Billy Lawless, 5. Glenn Waterland, 6. Ben Varner, 7. Justin Dickerson (DNS).
USAC Midget Cup Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Kyle Simon, 2. Russ Gamester, 3. Chett Gehrke, 4. Ronnie Gardner, 5. Blake Brannon, 6. Kevin Blue.
USAC Midget Cup Feature (25 laps, with starting position in parenthesis): 1. Chance Crum (6); 2. Ronnie Gardner (8); 3. Blake Brannon (10); 4. Russ Gamester (4); 5. Chett Gehrke (3); 6. Bryan Stanfill (1); 7. Tyler Nelson (2); 8. Billy Lawless (7); 9. Glenn Waterland (9); 10. Ben Varner (11); 11. Kyle Simon (5); 12. Kevin Blue (DNS); 13. Justin Dickerson (DNS).
Lap leaders: Laps 1-4, Nelson; laps 5-14, Stanfill; laps 15-25, Crum.
Margin of victory: 0.891 seconds
Fastest race lap: Stanfill, lap 4, 13.352 seconds.