From Linda Mansfield
GAS CITY, Ind. (July 29, 2022) — Bryce Massingill of Troy, Ohio took the top honors in a very competitive 20-lap USAC Speed2 Midwest Thunder midget feature Friday night at Gas City I-69 Speedway which seemed to have a curse over whoever was running third.
Massingill, who turned 17 on July 12, was the star of this round of the USAC SpeeD2 Midwest Thunder midget series, which is sponsored by Performance Electronics of Cincinnati, despite starting in the middle of the field in tenth place.
Polesitter Zach Wigal of Belpre, Ohio led the first lap, but Jon Watson of St. Louis passed him to lead lap two. Wigal regained the lead on lap three, but then it was like a curse had suddenly been placed on the drivers who ran in third place, as two yellows waved for the drivers who were in that position.
First Chett Gehrke of Bardstown, Ky., stopped between Turns 3 and 4 with three laps down while running third. That gave third to Luke Lemons of Moraine, Ohio, but he spun low in Turn 2 with four laps down.
That moved Massingill into third, but he advanced out of that position quickly by passing Watson for second on lap six to elude any bad luck.
Wigal led through lap nine, but Massingill charged by him with a move to the outside as they went through Turn 4 on lap 10 to take the lead, which he never again relinquished.
Stratton Briggs of Anna, Ohio passed Wigal for second two laps later, but by that point Massingill already had a 1.707-second lead.
Massingill had a 1.432-second lead over Briggs when another caution waved with 15 laps down after Tyler Watkins of Marion, Ind., spun on the backstretch. He was running 15th, however, not third.
Briggs saw his chance on the restart, but Massingill successfully defended his lead. Two laps later the third-place curse struck again when Wigal stopped on the backstretch while in the show position. He ended up 14th.
That put Alex Watson of Columbus, Ohio, who won the D2 midget feature here on June 24, in third place, but once again trouble struck the driver in that position and he dropped out with two laps to go to be scored 13th at the end.
Watson’s misfortunes gave third place to Ian Creager of Covington, Ohio, who somehow eluded any problems for the final two laps to finish third behind Massingill and Briggs.
Michael Magic of Indianapolis came from 11th to finish fourth, while the driver who had been third at the start, Jakeb Boxell of Zanesville, Ohio, finished fifth.
Massingill had a 1.096-second lead over Briggs at the checkered. The winning midget, a Boss chassis with a Mike Wallace-prepped Ecotec engine, is sponsored by CarBrite, Creative Labels, Double Jay Construction and Sroufe’s Painting Services.
USAC Speed2 Midwest Thunder Midget Car Series
Gas City I-69 Speedway
Gas City, Indiana
Friday, July 29, 2022
Qualifying Session 1: 1. Taylor Nibert, 13.513; 2. Bryce Dues, 13.747; 3. Luke Lemons, 13.762; 4. Anthony Perrine, 14.455; 5. Tyler Watkins, 15.130; 6. Don Bigelow, 15.289.
Qualifying Session 2: 1. Abby Hohlbein, 13.231; 2. Bryce Massingill, 13.369; 3. Alex Watson, 13.434; 4. Jon Watson, 13.472; 5. Cody Dye, 13.939; 6. Jim Jones, 14.149; 7. Gunnar Lucius, no time.
Qualifying Session 3: 1. Stratton Briggs, 12.912; 2. Zach Wigal, 13.134; 3. Michael Magic, 13.191; 4. Kayla Roell, 13.305; 5. Cory Guingrich, 13.374; 6. Carl Peterson, 13.462; 7. Josh Yenser, 15.192; 8. Tommy Kouns, no time.
Qualifying Session 4: 1. Jakeb Boxell, 13.071; 2. Chett Gehrke, 13.325; 3. Chris Dickey, 13.500; 4. Cody Beard, 13.521; 5. Tommy Kouns, 13.625; 6. Ian Creager, 13.641; 7. Travis Sickles, 14.262; 8. Thomas Bigelow, 14.384.
Performance Electronics Heat Race #1 (8 lap, 4 to qualify): 1. Luke Lemons, 2. Anthony Perrine, 3. Travis Sickles, 4. Tyler Watkins, 5. Don Bigelow, 6. Taylor Nibert, 7. Bryce Dues.
Brewhouse Drive-Thru Heat Race #2 (8 laps, 4 to qualify): 1. Alex Watson, 2. Jon Watson, 3. Bryce Massingill, 4. Abby Hohlbein, 5. Jim Jones, 6. Cody Dye, 7. Gunnar Lucius (DNS).
K & M Tool & Die Heat Race #3 (8 laps, 4 to qualify): 1. Stratton Briggs, 2. Zach Wigal, 3. Michael Magic, 4. Kayla Roell, 5. Carl Peterson, 6. Cory Guingrich, 7. Josh Yenser.
USAC Heat Race #4 (8 laps, 4 to qualify): 1. Chett Gehrke, 2. Jakeb Boxell, 3. Ian Creager, 4. Cody Beard, 5. Chris Dickey, 6. Tommy Kouns, 7. Thomas Bigelow.
B-Main (12 laps, 4 to qualify): 1. Tommy Kouns, 2. Cody Dye, 3. Josh Yenser, 4. Carl Peterson, 5. Jim Jones, 6. Thomas Bigelow, 7. Taylor Nibert, 8. Bryce Dues, 9. Don Bigelow, 10. Chris Dickey (DNS), 11. Corey Guingrich (DNS), 12. Gunnar Lucius (DNS).
Feature (20 laps, with starting position in parenthesis): 1. Bryce Massingill (10); 2. Stratton Briggs (8); 3. Ian Creager (12); 4. Michael Magic (11); 5. Jakeb Boxell (3); 6. Josh Yenser (19); 7. Carl Peterson (20); 8. Abby Hohlbein (14); 9. Tommy Kouns (17); 10. Cody Beard (16); 11. Cody Dye (18); 12. Luke Lemons (6); 13. Alex Watson (5); 14. Zach Wigal (1); 15. Tyler Watkins (13); 16. Travis Stickles (9); 17. Jon Watson (2); 18. Anthony Perrine (4); 19. Chett Gehrke (7); 20. Kayla Roell (15).
Lap Leaders: Lap 1, Wigal; lap 2, J. Watson; laps 3-9, Wigal; laps 10-20, Massingill.
Margin of Victory: 1.096 seconds.
Fastest Race Lap: Massingill, 13.548 seconds, lap 7.
PPC Performance Powder Coating Hard Charger: (tie) Yenser and Peterson, +13.