PUTNAMVILLE -- Through the first two dates of the Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week," USAC National Sprint Car points leader J.J. Yeley had continued his torrid season much to the dismay of his competitors.
With two wire-to-wire victories at North Vernon and Gas City, no USAC driver was hotter heading into Saturday's racing slate at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville.
But fellow USAC driver Jay Drake wasn't far off.
While Yeley won the first two dates in Sprint Week, that black and white shadow over his shoulder was Drake breathing down his neck for a pair of second place finishes.
On Saturday, it was Drake's turn to finally see Yeley in his rearviewmirror for a change.
"We got lucky tonight," Drake said. "Somebody had to put a stop to him, and we just barely did that. Hopefully this will give us some momentum, and we'll just keeping beating on him for the rest of the week."
Drake started fifth in the feature and was able to maneuver his way to the front, sliding low past Tracy Hines on lap 23 and holding on in dramatic fashion as Yeley made a late claim for the checkered flag.
Boston Reid started the 30-lap feature on the pole but was quickly replaced up front by Janiestown, Indiana resident Jon Stanbrough.
Stanbrough would lead the first three laps before the 83 sprint of John Scott flipped in turn one to bring out the red flag. Scott was uninjured.
On the restart, Stanbrough got a little too high on the cushion in turn two allowing Hines to take the lead.
Robinson native Matt Neely would give Stanbrough all he could handle in the laps leading up to a lap 22 tumble by Scott Orr that brought out the red flag again.
When the race resumed, Drake stuck tight with Hines before making the eventual winning pass on lap 23.
However, Drake wasn't going to take an easy victory as a multiple car pileup brought out the yellow on lap 27. Before the cars could restart, the frontstretch track lights would go out causing a short delay.
Yeley would finally track down Drake on lap 29. On the final lap, Yeley would get a strong run low through turns three and four but Drake slammed the door high off the final corner as the two made solid contact heading down the frontstretch to the checkered.
"That certainly was exciting," Drake said of the final lap. "I almost gave it up (the lead) in turns one and two and led him slip underneath me and we were even on the back straightaway. I knew I had to get through turn three better than he did and he was thinking the same thing, so he got in a little deep in three and we made a little contact, but we pulled through."
Though his streak of three-straight USAC National Sprint victories came to an end, Yeley was still gracious in defeat.
"The last red flag really helped us because we had a tire going down," Yeley said. "Unfortunately, we just weren't good enough to win this one, but hats off to those guys. They worked really good. We just missed by a little bit."
Scott, A.J. Anderson, Mitch Wissmiller and Brian Hayden were the heat winners. With his second place finish, Yeley holds a three point lead in the "Indiana Sprint Week" standings (200-197) heading to Haubstadt on Sunday evening.
Ray Humphrey won his second UMP Modified feature of the season at Lincoln Park Speedway, edging out Craig Conyer and Tom Russell.
The victory was Humphrey's second in a week after winning on the 1/2 mile dirt oval at Terre Haute's Action Track the previous Sunday.
Chris Hillman started the feature on the pole but yielded to pressure from Conyer, Phil VanSant and Humphrey who passed Hillman after a lap of side-by-side racing.
While Humphrey added to his lead, Conyer and Russell traded spots with Hillman challenging.
Russell would eventually get past Hillman on the white flag lap as Hillman jumped the cushion in turn one.
Paul Bumgardner rounded out the top-five in the UMP Modified feature.
In Pro Stocks action Brazil's Ron Wallen Jr. and Ron Wallen Sr. were two of several challengers to Jeff Bell's streak of four consecutive feature victories at LPS.
However, in the end, Steve Smiley and Curt Leonard would do battle for the top spot as Bell left the front of the feature field early with what appeared to be mechanical problems.
Smiley and Leonard would trade the top two spots late before a frontstretch pass by Greencastle's Smiley would seal the deal as Mark Dickerson took third just ahead of Wallen Sr. and Ben Williams.
On July 26 with the Sprint Cars running at Terre Haute in the final night of "Indiana Sprint Week," Lincoln Park will host the USAC Ford Focus Midgets, along with UMRA TQ's, Modifieds and Pro Stocks.
Lincoln Park Speedway
USAC National Sprint Car Series
Results from Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week"
PUTNAMVILLE, Ind. (July 19, 2003)
Saturday's USAC National Sprint Car Series results from the 16th annual "Valvoline Indiana Sprint Week" at Lincoln Park Speedway:
Top-10 Qualifiers: 1. J.J. Yeley, 20, Stewart-12.916; 2. Jay Drake, 67, Kunz-12.997; 3. Casey Shuman, 3H, Hawkins-13.176; 4. Jerry Coons, Jr., 10, R & B-13.182; 5. Tim Spindler, 31, Spindler-13.208; 6. Tracy Hines, 69, Dynamics-13.211; 7. Jon Stanbrough, 57, Hazen-13.214; 8. Boston Reid, 2B, Davis-13.277; 9. Damion Gardner, 71, Indy Race Parts-13.289; 10. Matt Neely, 17, Reinoehl-13.363
Qualifying Race: (8 laps) 1. Tyler, 2. Westfall, 3. Shanks, 4. Lacey, 5. Dick, 6. Deckard, 7. Petty, 8. Martin, 9. Fox, 10. Franklin, 11. Peperak, 12. Holshouser. 1:51.99
First Heat: (10 laps) 1. Scott, 2. Davis, 3. Gardner, 4. Orr, 5. Yeley, 6. Kaeding, 7. Davidson, 8. Tyler, 9. Spindler. NT
Second Heat: (10 laps) 1. B.Hayden, 2. Darland, 3. Laser, 4. Hines, 5. Drake, 6. Neely, 7. Westfall, 8. Christian, 9. Robbins. NT
Third Heat: (10 laps) 1. Anderson, 2. Jones, 3. Elliott, 4. Pletch, 5. Stanbrough, 6. Shuman, 7. Shanks, 8. Jessup, 9. Mosley. 2:19.59
Fourth Heat: (10 laps) 1. Wissmiller, 2. Marvel, 3. Spencer, 4. Coons, 5. Reid, 6. Kruseman, 7. Lacey, 8. R.Hayden, 9. Burthay. 2:18.79
Semifeature: (12 laps) 1. Yeley, 2. Drake, 3. Reid, 4. Neely, 5. Stanbrough, 6. Kruseman, 7. Shuman, 8. Kaeding, 9. Tyler, 10. R.Hayden, 11. Davidson, 12. Christian, 13. Lacey, 14. Jessup, 15. Robbins, 16. Burthay, 17. Shanks, 18. Westfall, 19. Mosley, 20. Spindler. 2:48.87
Feature: (30 laps) 1. Jay Drake, 2. J.J. Yeley, 3. Matt Neely, 4. Tracy Hines, 5. Jon Stanbrough, 6. Tony Elliott, 7. Jerry Coons, Jr., 8. Damion Gardner, 9. Levi Jones, 10. A.J. Anderson, 11. Boston Reid, 12. Dave Darland, 13. Terry Pletch, 14. Jimmy Laser, 15. Mitch Wissmiller, 16. Charles Davis, Jr., 17. Brian Hayden, 18. Bud Kaeding, 19. Mike Spencer, 20. Justin Marvel, 21. Scott Orr, 22. Cory Kruseman, 23. John Scott. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-3 Stanbrough, Laps 4-22 Hines, Laps 23-30 Drake.
National Sprint Car Standings (through 7-20-03): 1-Yeley-1,245; 2-Drake-1,052; 3-Hines-1,051; 4-Kaeding-921; 5-Reid-916; 6-Jones-677; 7-Kruseman-668; 8-Darland-606; 9-Tyler-501; 10-Westfall-447.
Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week Standings (through 7-20-03): 1-Yeley-200; 2-Drake-197; 3-Hines-160; 4-Reid-155; 5-Stanbrough-134.
UMP Modified Feature
1. Ray Humphrey (75s), 2. Craig Conyer (31c), 3. Tom Russell (1F), 4. Chris Hillman (06), 5. Paul Bumgardner (54), 6. Zach Fair (95x), 7. Ryan Thomas (T9), 8. Phil VanSant (31v), 9. Shelby Miles (76), 10. Cullen Goodman (14s)
Pro Stock Feature
1. Steve Smiley (42), 2. Curt Leonard (47), 3. Mark Dickerson (5M), 4. Ron Wallen Sr. (58), 5. Ben Williams (3w), 6. Craig Bennett (0), 7. Don Wood (57), 8. Mark Curry (16), 9. Ron Wallen Jr. (80), 10. Chad Nolte (00).