Richie Lex (left) battles for the lead with Wes McClara (center) and Paul Bumgardner (right) during Saturday's UMP Modified feature. Bumgardner would go on to win the race.
PUTNAMVILLE -- Saturday night's action at Lincoln Park Speedway provided a double payday for Greencastle's Kenny Carmichael Sr. and for Ritchie Hawkins, a little redemption.
Carmichael got past Mitch Cunningham midway through the sprint feature and survived a late restart following a red flag to earn his first victory of the night.
Jason Holt had the pole to start the feature and held off several early attempts from Carmichael Sr., Cunningham and Mark Clark before a caution flag came out five laps in.
On the restart, Cunningham drove his sprinter deep into turn one to slide in ahead of Carmichael to take second. The pair would team up to take over the top spots when they split Holt, but a yellow would cancel the move to reset Holt at the top of the field.
His lead was fleeting after the restart though as Holt got loose off turn four to open the door for Cunningham and Carmichael to move up. Carmichael would work his way past Cunningham at the halfway point and pull out to a comfortable lead. The real race would be for the third spot as Kenny Carmichael Jr, who had charged from the 15th starting spot to fourth, headed a tight group including Shawn Krockenberger and Clark.
Kyle Hill would bring out a redflag when he rolled his #84 sprinter in turn four. The flag would signal the end of the night for Carmichael Jr's impressive run as his motor went south.
On the restart, Carmichael Sr. would maintain the lead and pilot the J&W Transport/Wing-In Pizza sprinter to victory lane ahead of Cunningham, Holt, Krockenberger and Bill Baker.
"I was a little afraid on the restart that someone was going to take the line up top, but I was kind of biding my time in (turns) three and four," said Carmichael Sr. We tightened the car up a little too much, but it ended up working out tonight."
Victory number two was a little more difficult as he worked his way up from the fifth starting spot to do battle with Dan McCullough who led all but the final lap. McCullough was leading a tight pack including his brother Doug McCullough, Curt Leonard and Doug Arnold. Leonard held down the second spot for much of the race with Doug McCullough challenging low. Meanwhile, Arnold and Carmichael were fighting for the fourth position.
McCullough would eventually overtake Leonard late in the race with Carmichael getting past Arnold and setting his sights on the point. Both Carmichael and Doug McCullough closed the gap on Dan McCullough with four to go, setting up a three-way chase for the lead. Carmichael began the most serious challenger with two laps remaining as McCullough was able to block his advances. However, on the final lap, Carmichael got a strong run heading into turns three and four along the high line when a car spun in the final corner and nearly collected Dan McCullough. Carmichael slipped past and sprinted to the checkered flag and a second payday in his Bud's Auto Salvage/Wellum Chiropractic and L&R Roofing machine.
In the bomber feature, Hawkins would get a measure of retribution from last week when he was passed by Carmichael Jr. on the final lap and settled for second.
On Saturday, the roles were reversed as Hawkins held onto the lead late in the race as Carmichael charged from the back of the field and threaten Hawkins on the last couple of laps. Hawkins would hold off the threat to take his fifth win of the year to tie points leader Harry Shepard.
"The top of turn four was pretty slick," acknowledged Hawkins of holding off Carmichael who was running the low groove. "I just knew on that last lap that I wasn't giving another feature away. I give (Carmichael) credit, he did a great job of coming from the back, he's got a real fast race car."
In the UMP Modified feature, Richie Lex took the lead at the drop of the green with Wes McClara and Paul Bumgardner close behind.
Bumgardner, running the high line, would take over the runnerup spot from McClara with Phil VanSant and Craig Conyer rounding out the top five before a caution for a spin by Anthony Dayhuff and Rob Brickert.
On the restart, Bumgardner was hot on Lex's rear bumper.
Lex, however, would break something in the left front that would set his left tire askew for the remainder of the race, dragging on the track as he struggled to hold onto the top spot. McClara and Bumgardner would take advantage, racing side-by-side into the top positions and setup a thrilling race to the wire over the final laps.
Coming off the final corners, Bumgardner would beat McClara off turn four to take the checkered flag by a half car length in the Spiker Excavating/Bumgardner's Auto and Truck ride.