By CAREY FOX
Never was it more important to have a top spot on the 'A' main grid than at Lincoln Park Speedway on Saturday evening.
With a track that held little moisture by the evening, passing became a struggle and more importance lie in good braking through the corners and a quick trip down the straights.
A.J. Anderson had just the right combination in sprint car action, parlaying a heat race victory and an outside row 1 feature start to a comfortable victory in the season opener for sprints at LPS.
Billy Puterbaugh started on the pole for the feature, but it was Anderson, out of State Line, IN that took the point early and led the entire way. Puterbaugh meanwhile slipped back to fourth early in the feature and tried to make the high line work for him. A series of early cautions kept the field bunched over the first several laps, but it was apparent from the time the green waved that Anderson was going to be tough to reel in.
Derek Scheffel and Kent Christian battled for the second spot with Alex Shanks and Bobby Stines giving chase in the top-five. Anderson pulled out to a comfortable lead and left the rest of the field to sort themselves out. Christian and Scheffel were working behind Anderson when the caution flew for Shaw Krockenberger's slowing mount on the frontstretch.
The restart would see the continued fight between Christian and Shanks who was giving chase, but heading into turn two, the pair got tangled up with Shanks doing a slow rollover, bringing out the red flag.
Though he wasn't injured, Shanks' night was over and Christian would drop out soon afterwards leaving Puterbaugh to chase Richard Bruce Jr. and Chris Windom holding down the five spot. Kenny Carmichael Sr. would end up in the sixth spot followed by Aaron Mosely, Danny Pollock, Jim Mills and Brent Beauchamp rounding out the top-10.
Perhaps the most thrilling race of the evening involved the super stock class as Cullen Goodman waited patiently for his turn before taking advantage of a last lap, turn four bobble by Doug McCullough to outrace him to the line for the checkered.
McCullough held the point for the entire race despite several spirited early challenges from Aaron Zellers and Goodman who was running nose-to-tail with Zellers.
The #56 of Anthony Walker was involved in the chase as well, working over Goodman's back bumper during the feature. The trio of Zellers, Goodman and Walker all worked on the second spot for the latter stages of the event before Zellers got turned around in turn two with two laps remaining. He would manage to get restarted but not before dropping back to 13th leaving Goodman to work his last lap magic, shoveling inside McCullough off turn four and mashing the pedal to the line for the victory.
"I was just waiting for him to mess up," said a smiling Goodman afterwards. "I had to just wait for the chance to come to me tonight, there wasn't much passing but the track came to me a the end. I was want to thank Mark Blalock for the opportunity to race the car and Don Smith, Terre Haute First Savings Bank and the good Lord above."
While Goodman had to wait until the final lap for his victory, modified challengers didn't have the same luck with Paul Bumgardner as he held off all challengers for his first win of the season.
The defending LPS champion, took over the top spot early on when Lonnie Cassity's ride went sour while he was leading. The lead went to Bumgardner who had to hold off a talented list of challengers that included Ray Humphrey, John DeMoss, Ralph Groomer and Brandon Short in the top-5. Al Flick was the sixth place finisher followed by Clint DeMoss, Nathan Voorhies and Jimmy Hayden rounded out the top-10.
Thirty-eight UMP Modifieds were in the pits to add some extremely tight competition for the evening.
In the bomber class, Kenny Carmichael Jr. held the point from the opening green and was able to hold off his fellow Terre Haute friends, Ron Smith, Travis Heramb, Ritchie Hawkins and week one winner Lloyd Walls who came from the back to take the fifth spot. David Wallen was sixth followed by Marlin Burns, Dale Lewis, Brazil's Ron Wallen Sr. and Michael Thompson.
Brazil's Sean Yakel won his first ever main event, winning the 'B' man ahead of Wallen Sr. to make the 'A' main where Yakel was 18th.
Sprint Cars Feature
1. A.J. Anderson, 2. Derek Scheffel, 3. Richard Bruce JR, 4. Billy Putterbaugh, 5. Chris Windom, 6. Kenny Carmichael SR, 7. Aaron Mosley, 8. Danny Pollock, 9. Jim Mills, 10. Brent Beauchamp, 11. Jason Holt, 12. Steve Rone, 13. Justin Walden, 14. Bobby Stines, 15. Kenny Carmichael JR, 16. Kent Christ ian, 17. Alex Shanks, 18. Daren Krockenberger, 19. Shawn Krockenberger, 20. Mike Hagememier, 21. Jeremiah Vanosky
Heat winners: A.J. Anderson and Derek Scheffel
1. Kenny Carmichael JR, 2. Ron Smith, 3. Travis Heramb, 4. Ritchie Hawkins, 5. Lloyd Walls, 6. David Wallen, 7. Marlin Burns, 8. Dale Lewis, 9. Ron Wallen SR, 10. Michael Thompson, 11. Stan Sandusky, 12. Doug Dunagan, 13. Gary Long, 14. Junior Shepherd, 15. Robert Shelley, 16. Bill Brewer, 17. Mike Bruce, 18. Sean Yakel, 19. Larry Shelley JR, 20. A.J. Brewer
B-Main winner: Sean Yakel
Heat winners: Ritchie Hawkins, Ron Smith, Kenny Carmichael Jr.
Super Stock Feature
1. Cullen Goodman, 2. Doug McCullough, 3. Anthony Walker, 4. Tony Erdly, 5. Paul Wright, 6. David Bumgardner, 7. Kenny Carmichael SR, 8. Chuck Walden, 9. Curt Leonard, 10. Harold Grayless, 11. Josh Fagg, 12. Doug Bryant, 13. Aaron Zellers
14. Mike Wright JR., 15. Kris Starks, 16. Lloyd Bumgardner, 17. Chad Nolt, 18. Donald Smiley
Heat winners: Aaron Zellers and Kris Starks
UMP Modified Feature
1. Paul Bumgardner, 2. Ray Humphrey, 3. John DeMoss, 4. Ralph Groomer, 5. Brandon Short, 6. Al Flick, 7. Shelby Miles, 8. Clint DeMoss, 9. Nathan Voorhies, 10. Jimmy Hayden, 11. Phil VanSant, 12. Kenny Brewer, 13. Mitchell Lankford, 14. Richie Lex
15. Gary Hall, 16. Lonnie Cassity, 17. Jeff Wellum, 18. Chris Brewer, 19. Rob Brickert, 20. Dan Lewellen
B-Main winner: Jeff Wellum
Heat winners: Shelby Miles, Ray Humphrey, Brandon Short and Paul Bumgardner