Jon Stanbrough accepts his Indiana Sprint Week trophy along with his Putnamville Clash hardware from track owner Dave Allison on Saturday. (Counterclockwise left) Critter Malone went for a rough ride in his heat race.
PUTNAMVILLE -- Mother Nature might have claimed the final two dates of Indiana Sprint Week, dispiriting plenty of fans across the state, but she was helpless to stop the action at Lincoln Park Speedway on Saturday night.
Forty-eight sprint cars unloaded in hopes of taking home the prestige that goes with a Putnamville Clash title along with a sizable $2,500 payday.
With rain washing out Friday's final night of sprint week at the Terre Haute Action Track, Jamestown, Ind. native Jon Stanbrough took the points title after winning three of the five races during the nine day event. So on Saturday, 47 other drivers were hoping to end his hot streak.
Forty-seven drivers would go home disappointed as Stanbrough put on one of the best shows of the year in claiming his third feature win of the season at the Putnamville oval.
There would be no qualifying on Saturday evening, putting even more emphasis on the heat race positioning for the drivers. That said, there was no shortage of jockeying for position during the early races that saw Critter Malone, Mat Neely and Bryan Stanfill all get upside down with no injuries.
Stanbrough would take the second heat race of the evening which placed him on the inside of the second row for the main event. Derek O'Dell and A.J. Anderson would hold the front row positions.
On the green flag, O'Dell assumed the point ahead of Anderson and Shane Hollingsworth, but it was apparent very early that there was no stopping the freight train named Stanbrough.
He would move up into the top three early on but would nearly loop his ride in turn four. Stanbrough was completely sideways as Hud Cone jumped his right rear tire. Stanbrough would maintain his momentum with an eye popping save and renewed his charge to the front.
After an early yellow flew after Casey Shuman lost the nose cover from his car, Stanbrough moved up to third on the restart behind O'Dell and Anderson dueling side-by-side. With the pair battling each other, the Jamestown Juggernaut slipped by the two off turn four trailed by Scott Weir holding the top line.
The pair would engage in a hotly contested battle over the middle portion of the feature, swapping the lead several times with 'hold your breath' slide jobs into turn one. Stanbrough and Weir each took their best shots at each other before a yellow came out for Chris Urish, who made contact with an infield tire.
On the restart, Stanbrough held a tentative lead ahead of Weir, O'Dell and Anderson. Dickie Gaines was in the hunt for a top-five finish followed by Hollingsworth and Josh Ford.
As the green flag flew, the battle for the lead continued, but it would be Weir who blinked first.
Weir, running right rear tire in the cushion, hooked a rut and made an impressive save from what could have been some big air time. But he slipped back to sixth as O'Dell took over second spot holding off a hard charging Gaines.
Still fast, Weir simply didn't have enough laps to mount another battle with Stanbrough, who pulled out to a several car length advantage ahead of Gaines and O'Dell. Weir would make it back to finish fourth followed by Anderson, Hollingsworth, Kent Christian, Ryan Pace, Kenny Carmichael Sr. and Jonathan Vennard rounding out the top-10.
Racing fans could also thank the inclement weather south of the midstate for bringing a solid UMP Modified contingent as well. Rain canceled the Wolfpack Challenge date in Paducah, KY on Friday night and the threat of a tornado and high winds put a halt to Mount Vernon, Ill. racing as well. That brought several Wolfpack competitors to Lincoln Park on Saturday for a field of 32 cars.
Ray Humphrey, three LPS wins this season, Paul Bumgardner, season points leader and three time winner as well, both won their heats along with the always fast Matt Boknecht.
Humphrey would race out to a big early lead over the first handful of laps ahead of Bumgardner and John DeMoss. However, on a restart, Humphrey would break something in the rearend of his 1H mount. DeMoss would get a brief time at the top of the field before he, too, would fall out with mechanical problems.
In fact, the feature would quickly become a survival of the fittest, as car after car dropped out due to mechanical difficulties. Bumgardner would take over the top spot ahead of Matt Bex and Boknecht. The Greencastle native would remain the top dog once again, holding off a furious challenge by Boknecht over the final laps. Bex would spin in turn three with three laps to go causing one final restart with just eight cars remaining on the track. Bumgardner was up to the task, holding off Boknecht, Phil VanSant, Brad Sterrett and Mark Auler in the top-five. Carlos Bumgardner Sr., Jimmy Hayden, Gary Hall, Bex and Mitchell Lankford rounded out the top-10.
The win pushes Bumgardner's points advantage to more than 100 (769 to 648) over VanSant as Hayden moves up to third place with 594.
In super stock action, Kenny Carmichael Sr. and Doug McCullough have been neck and neck all season in the points chase and, on Saturday, the pair dueled it out on the track for much of the feature.
McCullough was up front in the early going, but Carmichael advanced into a side-by-side duel. The pair would swap shots at the point for much of the A-main as Slick Griffin kept a firm lock on the pair's rear bumper. Griffin, too, had his hands full with Cullen Goodman and Kris Starks hungry for the third spot.
With the laps winding down and the group heading into traffic, Griffin and Starks were able to slip into the second and third spots as Carmichael made it cleanly through slower traffic to hold the lead. McCullough was hung out to dry in lapped traffic, slipping back to fourth ahead of Goodman at the checkered flag. Harold Grayless was sixth ahead of Ben Williams, David Bumgardner, Chuck Walden and Tony Erdly in the top-10.
With back-to-back wins, Carmichael closes the season points gap behind McCullough to just 17 (732 to 715) ahead of Goodman's 609.
The points race in the bomber class is also heating up like the summer sun as Ritchie Hawkins holds a narrow 771 to 733 advantage over Kenny Carmichael Jr. However, Lloyd Walls, after early season mechanical problems, is coming on like gangbusters.
This week, Walls was the top man again, winning his second race in three weeks, alternating wins with Hawkins over the last month of racing.
Walls and Carmichael Jr. put on a good show for the fans over the entire race. The pair of Terre Haute hotfoots ran nose-to-tail over much of the feature as Hawkins diced his way through the field, hunting for victory number five on the season. He would be denied, though barely, of the win, settling for the runnerup spot behind Walls and just ahead of Carmichael Jr. who slipped high in turn four in the late going. Hawkins was able to slip past for second.
David Wallen moved up to fourth ahead of Marlin Burns, Ron Wallen Jr., Ron Smith, Ron Wallen Sr., Chris Wood and Gary Long rounding out the top-10.
With his victory, Walls inches a bit closer in the points race with 714, 19 points behind Carmichael Jr.
Next week there will be a regular card of sprints, modifieds, super stocks and bombers along with the 2nd Annual Bomber Bus Bash. Tickets are $10 for adults.