Missouri native Daron Clayton won his first career sprint feature at Bloomington Speedway on Friday night, winning the Sheldon Kinser Memorial.
The Sheldon Kinser Memorial is one of the biggest races of the season at Bloomington Speedway. Sheldon was always a fan favorite at Bloomington Speedway; and this memorial race is intended to keep his memory alive in the fans that pack Bloomington Speedway every Friday night.
Last night members of Sheldon's family were on hand to help us remember Sheldon. They even brought photos and one of Sheldon's old uniforms for the fans to enjoy. Our pace car driver, Bob Royer, made his annual tribute to Sheldon and his accomplishments.
The legendary Butch Wilkerson, a former driver who knew well how tough a competitor Sheldon was on hand to help us remember him.
All week the weatherman had threatened us with rain and took away the threat. You really didn't know what to expect. Early Friday the skies were overcast; but the rains stayed away. The evening was nearly ideal for sprint car racing.
A total of 44 fire-breathing sprint cars rolled off of their trailers to vie for the title of Sheldon Kinser Memorial champion. Dick Gaines II was on hand; and he very much wanted to defend his championship. His sprint car was in the top of Danny Robert's hauler; but he would not be able to race it. His doctors weren't ready to turn him loose yet. His sprinter would stay stowed away in the hauler Kevin "Pup" Huntley would drive the second Roberts sprinter.
Shane Cottle had made one trip to Bloomington Speedway this season, but he was back and feeling racy. He pulled onto the race track and on his second circuit, he uncorked the fastest lap of the evening stopping the clock at 10.955 seconds. This broke the track record of 11.052 seconds set by Kevin Briscoe in 2004. When a driver breaks a record set by Briscoe at Bloomington Speedway, he has indeed accomplished something in which he can take pride. Shane Hollingsworth, Kent Christian, Ted Hines, Daron Clayton, and Tim Spindler made up the rest of the six fastest qualifiers. So long as they earned a ticket to the big race in either their heat or the "B" feature, they will be inverted for the start of the feature.
Shane Cottle came from the sixth place starting position to win the first heat. Four time Bloomington Speedway sprint car champions Derek Scheffel's evening ended before he was able to run a lap in competition when a rocker arm in the Hurst Brothers motor broke. Hunter Schuerenberg, Kent Christian, Cole Whitt, and Danny Holtsclaw took the other heat races.
Josh Cunningham led the "C" feature flag to flag. Steve Rone, Chris Babcock, Dakoda Armstrong, and Arin McIntosh joined Cunningham in transferring to the "B" feature.
Daron Clayton and Tim Spindler were the fifth and sixth fastest qualifiers, but they both failed to transfer to the feature from their heats. However, they did start side by side on the front row of the "B" feature. They finished first and second in the "B" feature. Josh Cunningham, Brent Beauchamp, and Jared Fox also earned a ticket to the feature event in the "B".
When the green flag waved Tim Spindler took the point in the Rock Steady Racing sprinter; but, on the second circuit, Daron Clayton took the lead. Shane Hollingsworth started fifth and moved up fast. On the fourth circuit Hollingsworth took second place followed by followed by Spindler, Kent Christian, and Shane Cottle.
Fan favorite Kevin Briscoe started tenth; but on the sixth lap, he passed Cottle to take fifth. The following lap he got by Spindler to take fourth. On the 12th lap he took third place from Christian. For the rest of the race Cottle, Spindler, and Christian battled for fourth place. On the 37th lap Spindler spun and dropped from the hunt. When the checkered flag waved, Clayton had hung on to win the first race of his career on the red clay of Bloomington Speedway. Clayton had some real high profile coaching help in his pit last night in the form of Bubby Jones, a dirt track legend. With the level of the competition at Bloomington Speedway, a driver's first win there is always a big deal; but for that first win to come in the Sheldon Kinser Memorial is a major triumph.
While Clayton led all but the first lap, neither he nor any of the front runners were comfortable in their position. A small bobble could have cost them two or three spots. The fans were treated to a great Sheldon Kinser Memorial.
TIRE & WHEEL SUPER STOCKS -
In the super stock feature, Kevin Arthur and Joe Lucas started on the front row. They battled for the entire 25 laps of the race. Lucas held the point for the first seven laps; but, on the following circuit, Kevin Arthur took the lead that he would hold for the balance of the race. Tire & Wheel Center points leader Jeremy Hines started tenth due to a track rule that states that a driver who wins two features in a row may start no better than tenth the following race. Hines is having an awesome season; but winning from mid pack in Tire and Wheel Center super stock competition is a very tall order. On the third lap he took fifth place. Hines was clearly coming. On the seventh circuit Hines passed Tom Ault to take fourth place.
On the 12th lap, Hines passed Troy Clark to take third place. Although he put on a tremendous charge, he would not be able to get past Lucas. Troy Clark and Tom Ault would round out the top five.
In preliminary action Kevin Arthur, Jeremy Hines, and Troy Clark won the heat races; and Chris Deweese won the "B" Feature.
O'NEAL WOOD PRODUCTS MODIFIEDS -
Going into last night's competition, Jesse Cramer, Ryan Thomas, and Kent Robinson were at the top of the O'Neal Wood Products point standings. However, Matt Boknecht was fourth in the standings; and he knows a good deal about winning on the Bloomington Speedway red clay.
When the green flag waved to start the modified feature, modified veteran Ray Humphrey grabbed the lead from the pole position. Matt Bex tucked in behind him. On the eighth lap Bex passed Humphrey to take the lead; and, four laps later, something broke on the front end of Humphrey's modified and he limped from the track. With Humphrey out of competition, Matt Boknecht inherited second place. Three laps later he passed Bex to take the lead; and he would hold it all the way to the checkered flags. On the 21st lap, John DeMoss passed Bex to take second. Ryan Thomas and defending O'Neal Wood Products modified champion Jesse Cramer rounded out the top five.
In preliminary modified action, Matt Bex, Jeff Bland, Jr., and Ray Humphrey took the heat races; and Clint DeMoss prevailed in the "B" feature.