By Linda Mansfield
GAS CITY, Ind., Aug. 13 — On Friday night Matt Westfall was victorious in the most competitive 25-lap sprint car feature so far this year at Gas City I-69 Speedway. After a race-long war with three other front runners, the veteran from Pleasant Hill, Ohio became the seventh different sprint car feature winner this season at the Grant County quarter-mile dirt track.
Michael Magic of Winder, Ga., didn’t use any hocus pocus to win the 20-lap main event for the USAC SpeeD2 Midwest Thunder midget series, which is sponsored by Performance Electronics.
Zach Wigal flipped in Turn 4 while running third with two laps down in the midget feature, but the high school student from Belpre, Ohio returned to win the 15-lap micro-sprint feature.
Andy King of Convoy, Ohio took the lead with three laps to go in the 15-lap Dirt Track Truck Series feature and led the early leader, Dan Ramey of Payne, Ohio, to the checkered flag.
Jeremy Jones of Gas City tried his hardest but he couldn’t stop Landon Arcaro of Bookville, Ind., from winning his sixth 15-lap hornet feature of the season at Gas City.
Non-Wing Sprint Cars
The stars of the non-wing sprint car feature were Westfall; defending track champion Scotty Weir of Marion, Ind.; Tye Mihocko of Peoria, Ariz., and Anton Hernandez of West Lafayette, Ind. They finished in that order, but not without a good old fashioned slugfest.
Polesitter Evan Mosley of Lapel, Ind., led the first lap and finished fifth.
Westfall started second and passed Mosley with a move to the outside in Turn 2 before Levi Wignet of Wabash, Ind., spun in Turn 2 to cause a compete restart. Mosley led the first lap before Westfall got him again, this time on the backstretch, to lead laps two and three, although there was a pause between those laps when Colin Grissom of Anderson, Ind., spun off Turn 2. Lap three was also when Mihocko charged under Mosley for second in Turn 2 and set his sights on Westfall.
It only took Mihocko a quarter of a mile, as he passed Westfall low in Turn 4 to lead laps four through seven, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap five in the process. Weir, meanwhile, had made it to third by lap five after starting eighth, while Hernandez was fourth after starting third.
Westfall tried the outside repeatedly to pass Mihocko. He made a pass stick at the start-finish line on lap eight, but four laps later Mihocko was still just 0.381 seconds behind Westfall’s Ray Marshall Motorsports DRC/Gressman Chevy, which is sponsored by Buckeye Machine, Ray Marshall Motorsports, Hempy Water and Allstar Performance.
Weir was close too, and on lap 13 Weir passed Mihocko for second. On the next lap the top four of Westfall, Weir, Mihocko and Hernandez were running under the proverbial blanket, and they kept it up until Matt Goodnight of Muncie, Ind., had a problem in Turn 4 with 16 laps down to bring out another yellow.
The pressure ramped up even higher when they got another lap in the books and then Grissom brought out another yellow when he stopped on the frontstretch with 17 laps down.
Hernandez, who had just gotten a call from Scott Benic to drive the No. 2B, flew under Mihocko in Turn 4 for third on lap 18, but Mihocko got him back on the very next lap. Mihocko also passed Weir for second on lap 23, but Weir regained the spot on the white-flag lap. Driving the Scott and Donna Pedersen’s familiar DRC/Pedersen No. 4P sponsored by Red’s Racing Engines, Indy Race Parts and AFCO, Weir was 0.624 of a second behind Westfall’s No. 33M at the checkered.
Mihocko drove Jamie and Michelle Paul’s DRC Foxco sponsored by High Asspirations Farms, Rumpke and Olde Schoolhouse Winery, while Hernandez’s Maxim is sponsored by Benic Enterprises, Honest Abe Roofing of Terre Haute, Velocita-USA and Zamp Racing. Mosley’s No. 27, which is a DRC/Gressman just like Westfall’s, is sponsored by CB Fabricating, H4 Capital and Quack Daddy Donuts.
USAC SpeeD2 Midget Thunder Midgets
Magic got busy immediately in the USAC SpeeD2 Midwest Thunder midget feature after starting 11th in the 16-car field. Polesitter Gunnar Lucius of Delphos, Ohio, led the first lap before giving way to Jakeb Boxell of Zanesville, Ohio, who led laps two through 13. That included the red for Wigal, who flipped after contact with Lucius with two laps down while he was running third.
But Magic was already on the move behind the front runners. He was eighth on lap one, sixth on lap two, fourth on lap three, and second on lap five after passing Lucius on the outside.
Boxell had a 1.5-second lead at that time, and he had stretched his advantage to nearly 2 seconds by lap eight. But Magic got the opportunity he was hoping for with 10 laps down when Tyler Watkins of Marion, Ind., spun off course in Turn 4 to bring out a yellow and close up the field.
Boxell led three laps after the restart until Magic passed him at the start-finish line on lap 14. Magic led the rest of the race and he had a 0.474 second margin of victory over Boxell.
The other big mover in the race was Bryce Massingill of Troy, Ohio, who won here on July 29. He started 13th, cracked the top 10 on lap five, and moved into the top five on lap 12. He passed Alex Watson of Columbus, Ohio for fourth on lap 13 and Lucius for third with five laps remaining to nail down the show position.
Lucius placed fourth and Chris Dickey of Westfield, Ind., rounded out the top five.
Magic’s winning car is a Stealth chassis with a Honda powerplant and Kahne shocks. He’s sponsored by Full Circle Fabrication, Atlantic Powder Coating and PBH Indy Honda.
The track will be dark on Friday, Aug. 19 to prepare for the “Night of Destruction” on Saturday, Aug. 20. It features monster trucks, a minivan demo derby, trailer races, a rollover contest and more.
The next Friday night show is the Labor Day Classic on Sept. 2, with a big five-division card.
The James Dean Classic featuring the USAC AMSOIL national sprint cars and the USAC NOS Energy Drink national midgets is Thursday, Sept. 22, and then the 2022 season closes Oct. 21-22 with the fourth annual Gas City Fall Festival of Speed.
For more information see the track’s social media outlets, as the track’s website is undergoing some changes. It is on Facebook (GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas) and Twitter (@GasCitySpeedway).
Gas City I-69 Speedway is located on State Road 22, approximately a half-mile west of exit 259 of Interstate 69, about halfway between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Ind.
Non-Wing Sprint Group 1 Qualifying: 1. Jack Hoyer, 12.197; 2. Anton Hernandez, 12.308; 3. Travis Hery, 12.343; 4. Brayden Clark, 12.473; 5. Ryan Barr, 12.575; 6. Brady Click, 13.314; 7. Andrew Cockman, 13.453; 8. Levi Wignet, 13.836.
Non-Wing Sprint Group 2 Qualifying: 1. Matt Westfall, 11.895; 2. Scotty Weir, 12.079; 3. Colten Cottle, 12.229; 4. Tye Mihocko, 12.263; 5. Colin Grissom, 12.371; 6. Korbyn Hayslett, 12.679; 7. Jack James, 12.812.
Non-Wing Sprint Group 3 Qualifying: 1. Matt Goodnight, 12.219; 2. Ricky Lewis, 12.441; 3. Evan Mosley, 12.459; 4. Corey Smith, 12.573; 5. Kevin Newton, 12.900; 6. Cooper Welch, 13.315; 7. Tom Eller, 13.469.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Jack Hoyer, 2. Anton Hernandez, 3. Travis Hery, 4. Brayden Clark, 5. Ryan Barr, 6. Brady Click, 7. Levi Wignet, 8. Andrew Cockman.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Tye Mihocko, 2. Matt Westfall, 3. Scotty Weir, 4. Colten Cottle, 5. Colin Grissom, 6. Korbyn Hayslett, 7. Jack James.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Evan Mosley, 2. Corey Smith, 3. Kevin Newton, 4. Tom Eller, 5. Cooper Welch, 6. Matt Goodnight, 7. Ricky Lewis.
Non-Wing Sprint Feature (25 laps, with starting position in parenthesis): 1. Matt Westfall (2); 2. Scotty Weir (8); 3. Tye Mihocko (4); 4. Anton Hernandez (3); 5. Evan Mosley (1); 6. Jack Hoyer (5); 7. Colten Cottle (11); 8. Brayden Clark (10); 9. Ryan Barr (13); 10. Corey Smith (6); 11. Travis Hery (7); 12. Kevin Newton (9); 13. Jack James (20); 14. Korbyn Hayslett (17); 15. Ricky Lewis (21); 16. Matt Goodnight (18); 17. Cooper Welch (15); 18. Brady Click (16); 19. Colin Grissom (14); 20. Levi Wignet (19); 21. Tom Eller (12); 22. Andrew Cockman (22).
Lap Leaders: Lap 1, Mosley; laps 2-3, Westfall; laps 4-7, Mihocko; laps 8-25, Westfall.
Margin of Victory: 0.624 seconds.
Fastest Race Lap: Mihocko, 13.067, lap 5.
USAC SpeeD2 Midget Qualifying Session 1: 1. Zach Wigal, 13.218; 2. Chris Dickey, 13.347; 3. Tommy Kouns, 13.532; 4. Connor Wolf, 13.648; 5. Tyler Watkins, 13.985.
USAC SpeeD2 Midget Qualifying Session 2: 1.Gunnar Lucius, 13.080; 2. Ryan Moran, 13.283; 3. Cody Beard, 13.294; 4. Tom Fedorcyzk, 13.739; 5.Wes Pinkerton, 13.818; 6. Jim Jones, 14.178; 7. Aaron Sanders, 14.953.
USAC SpeeD2 Midget Qualifying Session 3: 1. Jakeb Boxell, 12.865; 2. Michael Magic, 13.066; 3. Alex Watson, 13.134; 4. Ian Creager, 13.170; 5. Bryce Massingill, 13.235; 6. Cory Guingrich, 13.481.
Performance Electronics USAC SpeeD2 Midget Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Zach Wigal, 2. Connor Wolf, 3. Chris Dickey, 4. Tommy Kouns, 5. Ryan Moran, 6. Tyler Watkins.
Brewhouse Drive-Thru USAC SpeeD2 Midget Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Gunnar Lucius, 2. Wes Pinkerton, 3. Tom Fedorczyk, 4. Jim Jones, 5. Aaron Sanders, 6. Cody Beard.
K & M Tool & Die USAC SpeeD2 Midget Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Jakeb Boxell, 2. Alex Watson, 3. Ian Creager, 4. Michael Magic, 5. Bryce Massingill, 6. Cory Guingrich.
USAC SpeeD2 Midwest Thunder Midget Feature (20 laps, with starting position in parenthesis): 1. Michael Magic (11); 2. Jakeb Boxell (6); 3. Bryce Massingill (13); 4. Gunnar Lucius (1); 5. Chris Dickey (7); 6. Alex Watson (3); 7. Tommy Kouns (9); 8. Ian Creager (8); 9. Cory Guingrich (16); 10. Ryan Moran (12); 11. Jim Jones (10); 12. Tyler Watkins (14); 13. Wes Pinkerton (5); 14. Cory Beard (15); 15. Connor Wolf (4); 16. Zach Wigal (2); 17. Tom Fedorczyk (DNS); 18. Aaron Sanders (DNS).
Lap Leaders: Lap 1, Lucius; laps 2-13, Boxell; laps 14-20, Magic.
Margin of Victory: 0.474 seconds.
Fastest Race Lap: Magic, 12.920 seconds, lap 12.
PPC Performance Powder Coating Hard Charger: Magic and Massingill (+ 10).