The Putnamville oval saw 113 cars unload for the biggest crowd of the season and the talented drivers at LPS did not disappoint their fans.
Casey Shuman and Jeff Bland Jr. put on perhaps the evening's best show in the sprint feature.
The pair raced through traffic through the latter stages of the feature with Bland leading nearly wire-to-wire. However it was the final lap that counts.
Racing through lapped traffic on the final lap, Shuman was right on Bland's tail heading into the final two turns.
With traffic on the outside of both drivers, Shuman slipped under Bland and beat him to the checkered flag for the victory in the DRC Chassis, Rocket Graphics, Butler Built machine.
Bland finished second to Billy Puterbaugh in his heat race, but started on the pole for the sprint car feature. Puterbaugh has had an outstanding June with multiple feature wins between Lincoln Park and Gas City and appeared to have his sights set on adding another victory after putting together a dominating heat win.
But on this night it was not to be for the Lincoln Park points leader.
Contact on the feature's second lap sent Puterbaugh airborne in turn four. Puterbaugh came back to earth, making hard contact with Martens nerf bar, ending both of their nights. However, the real concern was for Puterbaugh who was later taken to the hospital for X-rays after exiting the car under his own power.
On the restart, Bland again held the lead and stretched his lead before out a bit before Shuman was able to reel him in amidst lapped traffic. Just behind the pair, Dickie Gaines kept the two in sight with Danny Holtsclaw and Thomas Meseraull close behind.
Bland skillfully worked his way through traffic, hugging the bottom line and keeping Shuman behind him throughout the main event's middle stages. But as the laps dwindled, Shuman bided his time, waiting for his opening and finally got the space he was looking for on the final lap. Behind them, Gaines crossed the finish line in third followed by Holtsclaw and Meseraull in the top-five. Danny Williams Jr. started the second five with a strong run ahead of A.J. Martin and Robbie Rice, who moved to second in the season points. Jason Robbins and Shawn Krockenberger rounded out the top-10 with Krockenberger holding third in points.
Few people have stayed as hot as Paul Bumgardner has been over the 2007 season, but Matt Bex is perhaps reaching that level over the past month.
Coming off a win three weeks ago, Bex was able to continue his success streak on Saturday by holding off the defending track champion and current points leader, Bumgardner.
Two weeks ago, Bumgardner was the man in victory lane, but this weekend, Bex ran a near flawless feature to take the victory despite a very determined Bumgardner who tried every bit of the LPS oval trying for the pass, but to no avail.
Rick Fulford started on the pole after taking second to Gary Hall in the third heat of the night. Bumgardner was also second in his heat behind Clint DeMoss and Bex was the runnerup in the second heat behind Phil VanSant.
Bex quickly set himself up front in the Bailey's Flower & Gifts, Bedord Stonecrafters, Short Trucking and Living Room Center sponsored ride, at the green flag and VanSant was close behind in third before a broken front end brought his night to a close in 16th. Back up front it was Bumgardner chasing Bex from the outset, trying the outside for the pass, but not able to make it stick.
DeMoss was close behind but had his hands full late with Hall in tow. Perhaps the most impressive run was by Bradley Sterrett who had the hammer down from the green after qualifying through the B-Main. Starting in the back of the field he selected the high line and mowed down the competition all the way up to a fifth place finish. Dan Lewellen changed some bad luck on a hard crash last week by taking sixth in the feature followed by Kenny Carmichael Sr., who stepped into the 8V machine of Jeremy Vanesky and qualified through the B-main. Fulford took eighth overall followed by Jared Hix and John Gurley in the top-10.
Bumgardner still maintains his points lead over Carmichael Sr. at 45 (545 to 500) with Hall sitting back in third with 401 points.
In the super stock feature, Joe Whisler and Doug McCullough appeared set to provide a whale of a feature during the early stages with both free wheeling against the cushion. But a spin by McCullough after contact between the two sent the points leader to the back.
That set up Kenny Carmichael Jr. with the task of catching Whisler who won his heat earlier in the night.
Whisler looked like he was more than up to the challenge for several laps as Ritchie Hawkins, Cullen Goodman and Kris Starks stayed in the battle as well. But following a restart, Whisler jumped the cushion in turn four and damage to his Franklin built machine sent him to the pits. That left Carmichael with the lead and he was able to click off the final circuits up front. Hawkins was able to put on a good show over the final handful of laps, showing Carmichael his nose underneath several times, but not quite able to get the move to stick. Starks stayed in third place.
McCullough wasn't about to let his points lead dwindle too much as he clawed his way back to take fourth ahead of Bobby Price, Curt Leonard, Michael Williams Jr., Mark Dickerson, Tony Erdly and Joe Starks.
Carmichael, in the L&R Roofing and Guttering, Carmichael's Exhaust ride closed to within 19 points (511 to 492) in season standings with Leonard and Hawkins in third and fourth.
After a feature victory in the bomber main two weeks ago, points leader Lloyd Walls had to start from the back according to LPS rules. Travis Heramb would start from the pole this week and held his spot there for the early circuits before Clayton's Ben Williams dove to the bottom to grab the advantage in his Stockwell Homes, Williams & Sons Body Shop #3W.
With two wins already under his belt on the Putnamville clay, Williams knew exactly how to tackle the rest of the feature.
He maintained the top spot throughout despite a determined effort from Marlin 'Crazy 8' Burns and Walls who flew to the front, working his way surgically through traffic. Walls was able to get by Heramb after a great battle and then worked past Chad Nolte to place third.
Nolte took fourth overall ahead of Heramb, Ron Smith, Dustin Colvin, David Bumgardner, Gary Long and Ron Wallen Jr. of Brazil.
Walls maintains his points lead of 14 (504 to 490) ahead of Williams' Franklin, Specialty Grafix car. Wallen Jr. is third with 442 ahead of Darrell Richardson by a point.
Next week will be a regular schedule of sprints, UMP Modifieds, super stocks and bombers with the modified drivers hosting an autograph session before the evening's racing.
Sprint Car Feature
1. Casey Shuman, 2. Jeff Bland Jr., 3. Dickie Gaines, 4. Danny Holtsclaw, 5. Thomas Meseraull, 6. Danny Williams Jr., 7. A.J. Martin, 8. Robbie Rice, 9. Jason Robbins, 10. Shawn Krockenberger, 11. Andrew Prather, 12. Daren Krockenberger, 13. Josh Clemons, 14. Danny Pollock, 15. Derek Williams, 16. Dale Christian, 17. Eric Smith, 18. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 19. Billy Puterbaugh, 20. Jake Martens, 21. Kenny Carmichael Sr.
UMP Modified Feature
1. Matt Bex, 2. Paul Bumgardner, 3. Clint DeMoss, 4. Gary Hall, 5. Bradley Sterrett, 6. Dan Lewellen, 7. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 8. Rick Fulford, 9. Jared Hix, 10. John Gurley, 11. Chris Brewer, 12. Robert Albright, 13. Jeremy Edmondson, 14. Brian Kempf, 15. Rodney Harris Jr., 16. Phil VanSant, 17. Kenny Brewer, 18. Bobb McIntosh, 19. Tom Black, 20. Chris Kerl
Super Stock Feature
1. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 2. Ritchie Hawkins, 3. Kris Starks, 4. Doug McCullough, 5. Bobby Price, 6. Curt Leonard, 7. Michael Williams Jr., 8. Mark Dickerson, 9. Tony Erdly, 10. Joe Starks, 11. Robert Henderson, 12. Jacob Wright, 13. Cullen Goodman, 14. Joe Whisler, 15. David Bumgardner, 16. Carlos Bumgardner Sr., 17. Robert Haberle, 18. Jeff Starks, 19. Randy Newport, 20. Bob Farris
1. Ben Williams, 2. Marlin Burns, 3. Lloyd Walls, 4. Chad Nolte, 5. Travis Heramb, 6. Ron Smith, 7. Dustin Colvin, 8. David Bumgardner, 9. Gary Long, 10. Ron Wallen Jr., 11. Sean Yakel, 12. Ron Wallen Sr., 13. Michael Thompson, 14. Darrell Richardson, 15. Scott Dillion, 16. David Daniels, 17. Chris Wood, 18. Kevin Kemp, 19. Robert Hogan, 20. Justin Cary