PUTNAMVILLE -- Expectations and hopes were high for drivers and fans alike at Lincoln Park Speedway Friday night as the time drew near for hot laps for the first night of the inaugural Patriot 100 for Modifieds.
Drivers were wondering about the competition along with what sort of condition the track would be in with a lot of laps to be run in two nights of action. Fans were curious what big names would show up for an adjusted purse of more than $7,000 in prize money.
All would go home happy on Saturday night after Brent Mullins won the battle over 40 other drivers who fought their way through Friday's qualifying races and then held off Brady Short and Greencastle's Paul Bumgardner to take the victory in the 100 lap main event.
"We were a little concerned on Friday night about the track being a little bit rough," said Mullins after his win. "But (Saturday) the track really came in nice and there was really two, maybe three grooves to be run."
Ray Humphrey would start from the pole for the main event after being the fast qualifier on Friday night with a time of 14.360 on the 5/16th mile clay oval and winning his heat race over Bumgardner. With Matt Boknecht sharing the front row, Humphrey had his hands full right from the green flag.
Humphrey and Boknecht were the frontrunners over the first few laps with Denny Schwartz giving hot pursuit with Shelby Miles.
Boknecht would take over the point after a pair of early yellow flags and would hold that spot for several quick laps before Humprhey rocketed past coming past the flagstand.
Humphrey looked like he might check out on the field, quickly pulling out to a five car-length advantage over Boknecht. However luck would not be on his side as he broke an axle shortly thereafter turning the lead back over to Boknecht.
Schwartz would take over second place with Miles glued to his bumper as the first 50 laps counted down.
Heading down the front stretch into turn one, sparks erupted from underneath Schwartz's car causing him to check up quickly, Miles in turn had nowhere to go, sliding into a tire barrier in the infield. The resulting contact ended the Bloomington driver's night with a broken front end. Schwartz' night was also over leaving him in 16th. Miles placed 15th.
Meanwhile, Boknecht kept up his pace with Mullins and Bumgardner giving chase along with Jack Taylor leading into the halfway mark break.
The field was allowed to head into the pits for a 10-minute refueling and work break which gave crews time to adjust their cars for the final 50 lap dash to the end.
Bumgardner for one took care of a broken front left that was effecting his steering late in the first half of the feature.
After the break, the green flag flew for Boknecht who took a several car length lead over Mullins.
As the laps wound down, the pair caught a large pack of lapped traffic with Boknecht forced into the low groove with Mullins riding on the high side. Boknecht was able to maintain his advantage while passing several of the lapped cars but he would get boxed in low while Mullins was able to skirt past to take the lead.
"(Matt) is a heck of race car driver and a clean driver. When we got into traffic there he brake checked for me and I checked for him too, but I was just able to get a break and get past on the outside," commented Mullins of his late race pass.
With fewer than 10 laps left in the feature the yellow flag came out which cleared the lapped traffic for Mullins and Boknecht would end up bringing out the yellow himself when he spun over the cushion in turn three ending his night with a 10th place finish.
Mullins would cruise home to the victory over Brady Short and Bumgardner. Leonard Pierce placed fourth and Tom Russell finished fifth.
Leading up to the Patriot 100, Jimmy Hayden won the $400 Wolfpack Special 20 lap feature.
On Friday night, Mary Cooper was able to hold off Jeff Wellum and Doug McCullough in the Super Stock feature.
Modified Feature (100 laps)
1. Brent Mullins, 2. Brady Short, 3. Paul Bumgardner, 4. Leonard Pierce, 5. Tom Russell, 6. Don Kiger, 7. Jack Taylor, 8. Gary Ricketts, 9. Chris Brewer, 10. Matt Boknecht, 11. Tim Dierlam, 12. Nathan Voorhies, 13. Matt Bex, 14. Joey Cox, 15. Shelby Miles, 16. Denny Schwartz, 17. Ray Humphrey, 18. Garry Barrow, 19. Dan Hamstra, 20. Rob Brickert
Modified (20-lap qualifying feature)
1. Jimmy Hayden, 2. James Tumey, 3. Craig Conyer, 4. Schuyler Nahre, 5. Michael Sterrett, 6. Gary Hayden, 7. Phil VanSant, 8. Josh Boller, 9. Carlos Bumgardner, 10. Chris Kerl, 11. Deron Freeman, 12. Lonnie Cassity
Friday Night Qualifying
(Top Two transfer)
1. Rob Brickert, 2. Tom Russell, 3. Gary Ricketts, 4. Tom Bixler Jr., 5. Jack Taylor, 6. Chad Kindner, 7. Michael Sterrett, 8. Phil VanSant, 9. Chris Kerl
1. Ray Humphrey, 2. Paul Bumgardner, 3. Brady Short, 4. Josh Boller, 5. Nathan Voorhies, 6. Donnie Roberts, 7. Ed Roley, 8. Arby Burton
1. Matt Boknecht, 2. Brent Mullins, 3. Leonard Pierce, 4. James Tumey, 5. Craig Conyer, 6. Rob Fuqua, 7. Kenny Carmichael, 8. Deron Freeman
1. Denny Schwartz, 2. Dan Hamstra, 3. Tim Dierlam, 4. Lonnie Cassity, 5. Jimmy Hayden, 6. Travis Shoulders, 7. Joey Cox, 8. Carlos Bumgardner
1. Shelby Miles, 2. Garry Barrow, 3. Matt Bex, 4. Don Kiger, 5. Michael Holt, 6. Gary Hayden, 7. Schuyler Nahre, 8. Chris Brewer (DNS)
1. Ray Humphrey, 14.360, 2. Brent Mullins, 14.453, 3. Matt Boknecht, 14.614, 4. Gary Barrow, 14.649, 5. Paul Bumgardner, 14.743