By Bill W
East Moline, IL, September 26, 2021 – Paul Nienhiser capped the 2021 Sprint Invaders season with an exciting win Sunday night at the East Moline Speedway in East Moline, Illinois. The Chapin, Illinois driver earned $2,500 for his win aboard the Scott Bonar #50 on the quarter-mile high banks.
Dustin Daggett led early in the 25-lapper over Garet Williamson and JJ Hickle. Hickle would gain second from Williamson before a caution for debris slowed things two laps in. Kurt Mueller retired at that point. On the restart, Kaley Gharst shot from sixth to fourth, joining the lead trio. Nienhiser also joined the battle and as Daggett was out front, you could have thrown a blanket over second through fifth as they diced high and low.
Hickle reeled in Daggett and took the point on lap five. While he pulled away a bit, the battle continued behind him, with Nienhiser and Williamson exchanging third in a great battle. Williamson would climb to second by lap eight, as the three cars vying for position went back and forth. A spin by Josh Higday slowed the battle eight laps in.
Daggett fought back into third momentarily but Nienhiser would shoot back around him on lap 11. Gharst would re-enter the top four at the halfway point. Hickle was into lapped traffic on lap 14 when a collision occurred between Ryan Jamison and Don Droud Jr., with the latter being pushed to the infield.
At that point, Hickle’s tire was losing air. The Washington native held his lead while Williamson slid in front of him in turn two. Hickle shot back by on the backstretch, and Nienhiser used his momentum to get by a slowed Williamson.
Nienhiser smelled the blood in the water and took the lead on lap 17, Williamson got by Hickle with six to go for second, and Gharst followed. Hickle would pull to the infield before the checkers.
Nienhiser’s win was his third this season with the Sprint Invaders and sixth overall. Williamson trailed him to the checkers, followed by Gharst, Daggett and Dugan Thye. Chris Martin, Jamison, Colton Fisher, Dylan Postier and Daniel Bergquist rounded out the top ten. Daggett and Thye won heats, while Hickle claimed the Dash.
The Howard Law Dash was run for Sprint Invaders Members who had not won in 2021. Josh Schneiderman claimed $400 with his eight-lap victory.
“This was a great win for us to top the year,” said Nienhiser in Victory Lane. “Scott always gives us such a great car. It was really fun out there. I think JJ had a tire going down there on that last restart. He’s been a great competitor all year across the country. It’s been great to race with him when we’ve been able to.”
“I definitely think we had the car to beat tonight,” said Williamson. “It just worked out that Nienhiser got me when I tried to slide Hickle. I had to slide him right there. I saw his right rear was cut under yellow. I didn’t want him to get tight and get caught up in that. Nienhiser capitalized and from there, it was hard to make ground and we ran out of laps. To get two top twos this weekend was good for us.”
“I kind of let a spot go there in the heat race and we missed the dash,” said Gharst. “That put us back in the fourth row, but Nick (Breuer) got the car pretty good and we were able to get up to fourth there, and Hickle had a tire going down. It was a pretty good race. There were times when we were all in the same corner banging off the fence at the same time. We got by Garet once, and he snuck back around us, but we were able to hang onto third, and we’ll take that.”
The Sprint Invaders complete their season Sunday night, September 26 with a $2,500 to win non-point event at East Moline Speedway in East Moline, Illinois. For more information on the Sprint Invaders, visit www.SprintInvaders.org or look us up on Facebook.
Sprint Invaders A main (started), 30 laps: 1. 50, Paul Nienhiser, Chapin, IL (6) 2. 24, Garet Williamson, Kingdom City, MO (3) 3. 78, Kaley Gharst, Decatur, IL (7) 4. 99, Dustin Daggett, Portland, MI (2) 5. 11T, Dugan Thye, Burlington, IA (1) 6. 44, Chris Martin, Ankeny, IA (9) 7. 51J, Ryan Jamison, Mediapolis, IA (13) 8. 11, Colton Fisher, Mediapolis, IA (8) 9. 10P, Dylan Postier, Stillwater, OK (14) 10. 9, Daniel Bergquist, Burlington, IA (16) 11. 81, Tanner Gebhardt, Burlington, IA (15) 12. 88, Josh Schneiderman, West Burlington, IA (11) 13. 4, Chase Richards, Burlington, IA (18) 14. 26, Josh Higday, Des Moines, IA (12) 15. 10T, Tim Moore, Moline, IL (17) 16. 63, JJ Hickle, Quilcene, WA (5) 17. 99DD, Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, NE (10) 18. 83, Kurt Mueller, Reynolds, IL (4). Lap Leaders: Daggett 1-4, Hickle 5-Nienhiser 17-25. KSE/$75 Christine Wahl-Levitt Hard-charger: Jamison. $50 CenPeCo Mystery Spot: Moore. $50 Reid’s Landscape and Turf 50 Draw: Jamison.
Randall’s Performance Heat one (started), 8 laps: 1. Dustin Daggett (1) 2. Garet Williamson (3) 3. Chris Maritn (2) 4. Paul Nienhiser (6) 5. Josh Schneiderman (4) 6. Don Droud Jr. (8) 7. Dylan Postier (5) 8. Ryan Jamison (9) 9. Tim Moore (7)
Joshua Denning & Associates Heat two (started), 8 laps: 1. Dugan Thye (2) 2. Kurt Mueller (4) 3. JJ Hickle (7) 4. Kaley Gharst (6) 5. Colton Fisher (8) 6. Josh Higday (5) 7. Tanner Gebhardt (1) 8. Daniel Bergquist (3) 9. Chase Richards (9)
Shottenkirk Automotive Shake-up Dash (started), 6 laps: 1. JJ Hickle (1) 2. Paul Nienhiser (6) 3. Dugan Thye (2) 4. Dustin Daggett (4) 5. Garet Williamson (5) 6. Kurt Mueller (3)
Howard Law Dash (started), 8 laps: 1. Josh Schneiderman (2) 2. Kaley Gharst (4) 3. Daniel Bergquist (1) 4. Ryan Jamison (5) 5. Tanner Gebhardt (3) 6. Dugan Thye (6) DNS – Kurt Mueller
Ti22: Colton Fisher
DMI: Daniel Bergquist
MPD: Kurt Mueller
Saldana Racing Products: Josh Schneiderman