Jimmy Laser has had plenty to celebrate in recent months. Married on March 19, Laser has scaled back his sprint car schedule a bit. On Saturday night the Lincoln Park regular made his season debut at the track one for the scrapbooks as he ran away from the field through much of the feature event and held off a closing Kyle Wissmiller to take the $1,000 payday.
"It's good to be back at Putnamville," said the pilot of the Kyler Bros. Heating & Air/Tatem & Associates Insurance ride. "I wish I could have been here last week, but it's good to be back. (Track owner Dave Allison) has done an awesome job here. The track was fast on top and bottom tonight, (LPS) is an awesome place to race."
Laser nearly never got a chance to win at the 3/8th mile clay oval as rain fell heavily several hours before the race, but let up and eventually stopped in time for the track crew to work the track back into racing shape as Boswell and Brownstown Speedway's were both rained out.
Lincoln Park fans were the lucky recipients of the other rain outs as 39 sprints came to compete and nearly 130 total cars packed the pit area.
In the sprint feature, Wissmiller started from the pole with Laser on the outside of the front row. But it was Laser who checked out in the early going. Wissmiller was left to battle with Bloomington's Jared Fox for second place. Kenny Carmichael meanwhile was challenging AJ Anderson for the fourth position before a spin by Brad Sweet brought out the first yellow flag of the event.
The caution flag brought Laser back to the field for the restart and gave Wissmiller a chance at catching the Plainfield driver on the restart. Laser would have none of it though as he moved out comfortably on the field as the green flag resumed the action.
Wissmiller created some space between himself and the group of Carmichael, Fox, Anderson and the hardcharging Kent Christian who flew from his 13th starting spot to join the fray. As the laps dwindled, Fox suffered some bad luck when he got up in the loose stuff on top of turn four and lost several spots. Christian took advantage to finish third in the race followed by Anderson, Carmichael and Fox.
Not to be outdone on the evening, modified driver Gary Barrow stormed out to a lead over Greencastle's Paul Bumgardner in the early stages of their feature. Both drivers basically unloaded from their trailers lightning quick, dominating their heat race competition.
Behind the pair, Matt McDonald was doing everything he could to hold off Ray Humphrey who had his sights set on the leaders. Humphrey held a high line on McDonald who was able to get off the bottom enough to hold Humphrey at bay as the yellow came out for a spin by Tom Black.
On the restart, Humphrey blasted off the line and got side-by-side with McDonald but the yellow would quickly come back out for a pileup in turn four with 13 laps remaining.
When the green flag restarted action, several entertaining battles developed between drivers fighting for a top-10 spot. Ralph Groomer, James Tumey and Al Flick all fought for the sixth spot as just ahead, Humphrey took the low line on McDonald as Ritchie Lex joined the action and moved into the fourth slot. Humphrey was finally able to jump into third behind Bumgardner and ,with the white flag flying, raced side-by-side coming off turn four for the checkered flag. Bumgardner, in the J & D Performance/Cardinal Millwright and Rigging Contractors machine, was able to hold on to the runnerup spot behind Barrow.
Afterwards, Barrow commented on his performance in the Sweepster Inc. Sweeping and Cleaning/Elkins Apartments ride. "We've got a new car this year and it's just been awesome. We won our heat in Bloomington and were second in the feature last night so I felt like we were ready for tonight."
For Super Stock driver Doug McCullough, the last couple of weeks had been dampened with an illness he had been battling since the second week of the season. But on Saturday he had to be happy with his performance on his way to victory lane over Terre Haute's Kenny Carmichael.
Last year's track champion had all he could handle with Carmichael's ***** ride, but was able to hold him off in the end. Behind them, Curt Leonard and Kris Starks put together perhaps the race's most entertaining duel along with David Bumgardner, racing 3-wide at times. Aaron Zellers joined the action in the race's latter stages and eventually would move into fourth ahead of Starks at the end with Greencastle's Leonard in third behind Carmichael and the Speedway Auto Parts ride of McCullough.
In the evening's final race, Harry Shepard repeated his win of last week, coming from the tail of the field to put his Motorsports Unlimited/Kessco Water and Bud's Auto Salvage ride into victory lane ahead of Greencastle's Derrall Smallwood.
Shepard started the race in the back of the pack and steadily charged his way through the field with Lloyd Walls and Brazil's Ron Wallen Jr. with Orville Engler Jr. in tow. Walls would eventually drop from the field but Shepard moved into the top spot late in the feature and pulled away from the competition for the win.
With warmer temperatures gracing the area, the stands continued to fill at the LPS facility and next Saturday will feature a regular card before May 21 brings the King of Indiana Sprint Series to the Putnamville track.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint Car Feature
1. Jimmy Laser, 2. Kyle Wissmiller, 3. Kent Christian, 4. AJ Anderson, 5. Kenny Carmichael, 6. Jared Fox, 7. Hud Cone, 8. Shawn Krockenberger, 9. Billy Puterbaugh, 10. Daren Clayton, 11. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 12. Mitch Cunningham, 13. Brad Sweet, 14. Doug Heck, 15. Jason Holt, 16. Brady Short, 17. Steve Rone, 18. Aaron Mosley, 19. Mitch Wissmiller, 20. Rex Norris III
1. Gary Barrow, 2. Paul Bumgardner, 3. Ray Humphrey, 4. Ritchie Lex, 5. Ralph Groomer, 6. Matt McDonald, 7. Al Flick, 8. James Tumey, 9. Gary Hall, 10. Jimmy Hayden, 11. Carlos Bumgardner, 12. Chris Brewer, 13. Nick Adams, 14. Josh Boller, 15.Tom Black, 16. Chad Combs, 17. Brad Brown, 18. Chris Kerl, 19. Phil VanSant, 20. Tom Russell
Super Stock Feature
1. Doug McCullough, 2. Kenny Carmichael, 3. Curt Leonard, 4. Aaron Zellers, 5. Kris Starks, 6. Chris Bennett, 7. David Bumardner, 8. Derek Groomer, 9. -, 10. Jeff Starks, 11. Donnie Smiley, 12. Will Fagg, 13. Jeff King, 14. Frank Haas, 15. Josh Burton, 16. Bill Brewer, 17. Mike Wright Jr. 18. Lloyd Bumgardner, 19. Paul Wright, 20. Mark Curry
1. Harry Shepard, 2. Derrall Smallwood, 3. Ron Wallen Jr., 4. Josh Fagg, 5. Kevin Kemp, 6. David Wallen, 7. David Birdwell, 8. Orville Engler Jr., 9. Gary Long, 10. David Daniels, 11. Lonnie O'Neal, 12. James Cass, 13. Arvis Shepard, 14. Mark Stevens, 15. Lloyd Walls, 16. Sean Yakel, 17. Justin Cary, 18. Marlin Burns, 19. Kenny Carmichael Jr.