[Special from Linda Mansfield]
Four former Gas City I-69 Speedway champions took advantage of the double points on the line during the “Mid-Season Championship” at Gas City I-69 Speedway last Friday night. All four won their respective features to give their 2020 efforts a shot in the arm.
Defending non-wing sprint car champion Thomas Meseraull won his 25-lap feature, while former champ Derek Losh took the top honors in the 20-lap Modified main event. Likewise, defending Street Stock champion Andy Bishop was victorious in the Street Stock 15-lap feature, while multi-time track champion James Headley was the star of the 15-lap Hornet feature.
The USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midgets were on hand as an added attraction, and Adam Taylor, the 2017 34 Raceway midget champ, won that 25-lap main event on a night that featured 108 race cars.
It was Meseraull’s race to lose when he started on the pole of the sprint feature in Tom Eades’ Physical Medicine Consultants #47 – a DRC chassis with a Stensland-prepped engine. Kyle Cummins challenged early as he passed Meseraull low in Turn 4 on lap six to take the lead. Cummins, who was in the Hank Byram/Rock Steady Racing Mach 1/Foxco sponsored by Lucas Oil Centers, Mid-America Safety Solutions, and POSI Project Oversight Services, paced the field through lap 10 when a yellow waved for Tyler Kendall, who had spun between turns one and two.
But Meseraull found what he needed on the restart and charged under Cummins down the frontstretch to regain the lead. De didn’t relinquish the top spot again despite two more yellows for spins by Max Gifford of Auckland, New Zealand on lap 15, and Chase Jones on lap 20. Meseraull was able to pull away and even pad his lead as he was about six lengths ahead of Cummins at the checkered flag.
Scotty Weir waged a huge battle with J.J. Hughes before Weir nailed down third place in Matt and Gene Goodnight’s Maxim/Claxton sponsored by Quality Pallet, the Pallet Builders, and Benic Enterprises.
Shane Cockrum, who won here June 26, placed fourth after running most of the race with a broken right-front shock. A high-riding Max Adams of Loomis, Calif. placed fifth in the famous Hazen #57.
A.J. and Matt Brookmyer contributed an extra $100 for the hard charger Matt Goodnight in the sprint car feature. Goodnight started 18th and finished ninth. The Brookmyers also awarded a Hoosier right-rear tire to the first sprint car non-qualifier, which was Travis Hery of Columbus, Ohio.
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midgets
The 25-lap USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 midget feature got off to a rough start when Corey Guingrich flipped hard on the backstretch on the initial start while several other drivers spun elsewhere simultaneously. Luckily Guingrich climbed out of his car under his own power, but the chaotic start set the stage for a race that saw three more caution flags and one more red flag stoppage. The latter flew after Tom Hessel flipped in Turn 2 with nine laps down. Fortunately, Hessel escaped unscathed too.
Gary Loney started on the pole and led the first nine laps. Chet Gehrke slipped under Jacob Denney in Turn 3 for second place on lap four only to suffer a blown engine complete with an oil fire five laps later.
That moved Stratton Briggs to second on the restart. Briggs passed Loney in a drag race for the lead with a move to the inside as they were going down the backstretch on the restart. Then Adam Taylor slid under Loney for second on the backstretch on lap 11. The pair made contact more than once on lap 12 as they raced side-by-side.
Taylor got the lead on lap 13. Briggs remained in second until he went off course in Turn 2 during lap 17, moving Loney back to second place. Taylor, who had started fourth, took the checkered with a full straightaway advantage over Loney. Denney finished on the podium in third; Briggs hung on for fourth, and Alex Watson came from 11th to fifth.
Polesitter Dylan Woodling led the first lap of the modified feature before former champ DerekLosh – who started beside Woodling – used the outside groove to fly past him going into Turn 3 on lap two. Losh, who also won at Gas City on June 19, led the rest of the way with the #21L he co-owns with Russ Losh. The team is sponsored by Superior Sales and Service, Aggressive, R & R Transmission, Rensselaer Iron and Metal, and Talbert Manufacturing.
Tony Anderson, who started fourth, passed Woodling for second on lap 10 and finished in the runner-up position. The best battle of the race was for third between Aaron Orr, and Bub Roberts. Roberts eventually won the position, while Orr finished fourth. Shane O’Connor placed fifth followed by Todd Sherman and Woodling.
Andy Bishop got the jump on polesitter Justin Long and led all 15 laps of the street stock feature in the #14. Bishop is sponsored by Thompson Trucking and R & R Transmission. Bill Bradley, who won here June 19, dipped under David Short in Turn 4 working on lap 12 to nail down the runner-up honors. Short finished third followed by Mike Fincher. Short’s son Andrew, who was celebrating his 19th birthday, spun early, went to the tail of the field, then rebounded to finish fifth.
In another father/son battle, James Headley got the jump on his son at the start of the hornet feature and led the whole way. James Headley Jr. threatened to pass his dad a couple of times before the elder Headley pulled away. Later, Headley Jr., had his hands full battling with Bill Lewis. Lewis briefly passed Headley Jr. in Turn 2 for second on lap 19, but Headley Jr. got the spot back on the backstretch and never lost it again. The battle between them intensified again on lap 11 before Headley Jr. took control of second place. Lewis finished third followed by Jason Spencer and Brandon Lines.
The “Scrappy Do Crew” added purse money for the winner of the hornet feature, so Headley took home $350. His car is sponsored by Dudding’s Heating and Cooling, Garriott Electric, Edwards Automotive, and TJR Trucking.
During opening ceremonies, the track officials remembered Gas City Police Chief Tim Eckstein, who died unexpectedly last Wednesday at age 54, reportedly of natural causes. The flag was also at half-staff in his honor, and donations were accepted for his family.
Next Friday, July 17, will be the popular “Beach Night Bash” featuring non-wing sprint cars, modifieds, Tony Stewart’s All Star Circuit of Champions TQ midgets, hornets, and the Dirt Track Truck Series. Hot laps are at 6:30 p.m. and the racing starts at 7:30 p.m.
Gas City will host the opening round of “USAC Sprint Week” on Friday, July 24 with the USAC AMSOIL national sprint cars to round out the month. Non-wing 600cc micro-sprints will support that program. Tickets are going fast at usactickets.com. There is no guarantee of ticket sales at the gate for this show due to COVID-19 limitations.
The complete schedule is on the track’s website at GasCityI69Speedway.com. Fans and competitors can also follow it on Twitter: @GasCitySpeedway; Instagram: @GasCitySpeedway and Facebook: GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Kyle Cummins, 2. Chase Jones, 3. Sterling Cling, 4. Aaron Leffel, 5. Scott Hampton, 6. Zack Pretorius, 7. Travis Hery, 8. Isaac Chapple.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Thomas Meseraull, 2. Shane Cockrum, 3. Billy Cribbs, 4. Tyler Kendall, 5. Matt Goodnight, 6. Jack James, 7. Cooper Welch, 8. Robert Brown.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. J.J. Hughes, 2. Max Adams, 3. Max Guilford, 4. Adam Byrkett, 5. Braydon Clark, 6. Cody White, 7. Cole Ketcham.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 4 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Dallas Hewitt, 2. Scotty Weir, 3. Korbyn Hayslett, 4. Braden Fox, 5. Aaron Mosley, 6. Austin Nigh, 7. Aaron Davis.
Non-Wing Sprint B Main (10 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Scott Hampton, 2. Matt Goodnight, 3. Zack Pretorius, 4. Aaron Mosley, 5. Travis Hery, 6. Isaac Chapple, 7. Brayden Clark, 8. Cole Ketcham, 9. Cody White, 10. Austin Nigh, 11. Jack James, 12. Cooper Welch, 13. Robert Brown, 14. Aaron Davis (DNS).
Non-Wing Sprint Feature (25 laps, with starting position in parenthesis): 1. Thomas Meseraull (1), 2. Kyle Cummins (4), 3. Scotty Weir (5), 4. Shane Cockrum (7), 5. Max Adams (8), 6. Dallas Hewitt (2), 7. J.J.Hughes (3), 8. Billy Cribbs (10), 9. Matt Goodnight (18), 10. Braydon Fox (16), 11. Scott Hampton (17), 12. Korbyn Hayslett (12), 13. Tyler Kendall (14), 14. Adam Byrkett (15), 15. Aaron Leffel (13), 16. Max Guilford (11), 17. Chase Jones (6), 18. Zack Pretorius (19), 19. Evan Mosley (20), 20. Sterling Cling (9).
Lap Leaders: Lap 1-5, Meseraull; laps 6-10, Cummins; laps 11-25, Meseraull.
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midgets
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midgets Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Adam Taylor, 2. Gunnar Lucius, 3. Chet Gehrke, 4. Corey Guingrich, 5. Zack Guingrich, 6. Alex Watson, 7. Zane Briggs, 8. Ian Creager, 9. Kyle Kriegbaum, 10. Tyler Rankin.
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midgets Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Gary Loney, 2. Jacob Denney, 3. Stratton Briggs, 4. Kyle Dager, 5. Abbey Hohlbein, 6. Tom Hessel, 7. Bryce Dues, 8. Adam Schmenk, 9. Tommy Koons.
USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midgets Feature (25 laps): 1. Adam Taylor (4), 2. Gary Loney (1), 3. Jacob Denney (3), 4. Stratton Briggs (6), 5. Alex Watson (11), 6. Gunnar Lucius (5), 7. Kyle Dager (8), 8. Zane Briggs (13), 9. Adam Schmenk (16), 10. Zack Gingrich (9), 11. Ian Creager (15), 12. Tyler Rankin (18), 13. Abbey Hohlbein (10), 14. Tom Hessel (12), 15. Chet Gehrke (2), 16. Kyle Kriegbaum (17), 17. Bryce Dues (14), 18. Corey Guingrich (7), 19. Tommy Koons (DNS).
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-9, Gary Loney; laps 10- 12, S. Briggs; laps 13-25, Taylor.
Modified Heat 1 (8 laps, 5 transferred): 1. Dylan Woodling, 2. Bill Griffith, 3. Chris Hicks, 4. John Halsey, 5. Joshua Hotsinpiller, 6. Daniel Sanchez, 7. Joshua Cox, 8. Ryan Sutter (DNS), 9. Percy Gendreau (DNS).
Modified Heat 2 (8 laps, 5 transferred): 1. Aaron Orr, 2. Tony Anderson, 3. Bub Roberts, 4. Weasel Phlipot, 5. Andy Bishop, 6. Garrett Rons, 7. Josh Betts, 8. Travis Nichols, 9. Braxton Strait.
Modified Heat 3 (8 laps, 5 transferred): 1. Derek Losh, 2. Todd Sherman, 3. Shane O’Connor, 4. Scott Orr, 5. Nick Richards, 6. J.J. Butler, 7. Terry Grilliott, 8. Clayton Bryant.
Modified B-Main 1 (10 laps, 5 transferred): 1. Garrett Rons, 2. Daniel Sanchez, 3. Terry Grilliot, 4. Braxton Strait, 5. J.J. Butler, 6. Travis Nichols, 7. Joshua Cox, 8. Josh Betts, 9. Clayton Bryant (DNS), 10. Ryan Sutter (DNS), 11. Percy Gendreau (DNS).
Modified Feature (20 laps, with starting position in parentheses): 1. Derek Losh (2), 2. Tony Anderson (4), 3. Bub Roberts (8), 4. Aaron Orr (3), 5. Shane O’Connor (9), 6. Todd Sherman (6), 7. Dylan Woodling (1), 8. John Halsey (10), 9. Andy Bishop (14), 10. Scott Orr (12), 11. Bill Griffith (5), 12. Chris Hicks (7), 13. Nick Richards (15), 14. Garrett Rons (16), 15. Daniel Sanchez (17), 16. Terry Grilliot (18), 17. Braxton Strait (19), 18. J.J. Butler (20), 19. Josh Hotsinpiller (13), 20. Weasel Phlipot (11).
Lap Leaders: Laps 1, Woodling; laps 2-20, Losh.
Street Stock Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Justin Long, 2. Mark Wooten, 3. Andrew Short, 4. Mike Fincher, 5. Travis Nichols, 6. Gerald Owens, 7. Wryan Collis, 8. Dan Snyder.
Street Stock Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Andy Bishop, 2. Bill Bradley, 3. David Short, 4. Dustin Marcum, 5. Jeffery Jessup, 6. Dalton Bishop, 7. Reece Harkinson.
Street Stock Feature (15 laps, with starting position in parentheses): 1. Andy Bishop (2), 2. Bill Bradley (4), 3. David Short (6), 4. Mike Fincher (7), 5. Andrew Short (5), 6. Travis Nichols (9), 7. Justin Long (1), 8. Jeffery Jessup (10), 9. Dustin Marcum (8), 10. Mark Wooten (3), 11. Gerald Owens (11), 12. Wryan Collis (13), 13. Reece Harkinson (14), 14. Dalton Bishop (12), 15. Dan Snyder (DNS).
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-15, A. Bishop.
Hornet Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. James Headley Jr., 2. Jason Spencer, 3. Eddie Tucker Jr., 4. Greg Marlowe, 5. Brad Evans, 6. Mark Casto, 7. Allison Butler, 8. Brad Lewis, 9. Sean Plasterer.
Hornet Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. James Headley, 2. Bill Lewis, 3. Brandon Lines, 4. Kolten Sollars, 5. Jesse Arenas, 6. Seth Trissel, 7. Joey Eastes, 8. Alexis Spaulding, 9. Joey Eastes, 10. Robbie White.
Hornet Feature (15 laps, with starting position in parentheses): 1. James Headley (2), 2. James Headley Jr. (1), 3. Bill Lewis (4), 4. Jason Spencer (3), 5. Brandon Lines (6), 6. Mark Casto (11), 7. Seth Trissel (12), 8. Joey Eastes (14), 9. Allison Butler (13), 10. Brad Lewis (15), 11. Alexis Spaulding (16), 12. Jesse Arenas (10), 13. Scott Harrington (17), 14. Brad Evans (9), 15. Kolten Sollars (8), 16. Robbie White (18), 17. Greg Marlowe (7), 18. Eddie Tucker Jr. (5), 19. Sean Plasterer (DNS).
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-15, Headley.