By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE -- There are some nights when it's just as good to have Lady Luck on your side as it is to have great equipment.
After Saturday night's Patriot 100 for modifieds at Lincoln Park Speedway, Matt Bex would likely agree.
Bex took over the lead with fewer than 20 laps remaining after watching Daryl Herbert, who led from the outset, fall out after breaking an A-arm in the suspension after making contact with a lapped car. Kenny Carmichael Sr. then assumed the lead very briefly and it looked like maybe luck had smiled on the Terre Haute-based competitor. But on the restart following Herbert's mechanical woes, Carmichael's fuel cell came tumbling out when the clips holding the tank broke. He was forced to the sidelines and suddenly there was Matt Bex taking over the lead in the Short Trucking, Bedford Stonecrafters, Bailey's Flower & Gifts machine.
He would certainly have his hands full as the laps clicked away as Ray Humphrey and Shelby Miles gave everything their cars had on a track that had seen a lot of Saturday night laps. The resulting slickness made passing over the final 50 laps a bit dicey.
Humphrey made a run on Bex on the restart, but he and Miles were left to settle for second and third place ahead of Mike Trimble and Harold Grayless in the top-five.
Bex, from Avoca, IN., had a lucrative weekend after winning the Hard Charger Award at Bloomington on Friday evening which paid $1,000. He then came home with the $2,000 paycheck for taking the checkers at the fourth annual Patriot 100 event.
Humphrey was the fast qualifier on the evening, but it was Herbert who looked the car to beat after winning his heat and setting the pace over the first half of the A-Main.
The Monrovia competitor came from the fourth starting spot early in the race and assumed control of the competition ahead of Bex, Gary Hall and Kenny Carmichael Sr.
Jake Waggoner and Kenny Carmichael Jr. dropped out early in the race and as the laps mounted, they were joined by a number of other drivers. Brad Sterret's night came to a quick end as did Josh Fagg's.
Hall would slip the cushion while running in the top-five and be forced to restart from the back but he would soon head back to the pits.
Herbert continued his run up front with Carmichael taking over second and choosing the top of the track, seeking any moisture there might be against the cushion. The remainder of the leaders mostly chose the same line with Brad Robinson, Bex, Wes McClara, Humphrey and Dan Lewellen.
Carmichael would narrow Herbert's lead and move up on his rear bumper with Bex and Robinson scrapping for a top-three spot at the halfway point.
With 50 laps down, the cars were brought into the pits where their crews could work on setting up the machines for the final 50 lap dash for the cash.
On the restart, it quickly became apparent that Herbert's team made all the right decisions as he began to check out on the field from the green flag.
Carmichael and Bex looked like they would end up dueling it out for the second spot with Humphrey making a move on third place. All four drivers were riding the rim and making quick work of some of the remaining cars.
Season points champion, Paul Bumgardner had headed to the sideline as well as Albion, In. driver, Todd Sherman and John Gurley, whose motor apparently had expired.
With laps clicking down and Herbert more than a straightaway ahead of second place, he headed into lapped traffic. As he made the move around a pair of cars who were racing for their own spots, a third car in Chris Streeval, had chosen the same line as Herbert.
Streeval didn't concede the line and Herbert gave him a hard nudge from behind that would spell the ultimate demise for Herbert's title hopes.
The contact broke the suspension in the front end of the No. 30 machine, leaving the left front tire dangling at an awkward angle. After pulling to the side for inspection, Herbert headed to the pits, spited by the cruel side of Lady Luck.
Carmichael seemed ready to put to rest a season in which he has had plenty of bad luck when he restarted up front with a handful of laps left, but it wasn't to be.
Coming out of turn four, the fuel cell came tumbling out in a whirling dervish of spilling fuel down the front stretch.
The red flag brought a brief halt to the event as Carmichael was pushed back to his pit stall and Bex sat up front.
He was able to maintain that spot in the Prince Excavating, Living Room Center sponsored No. 31 and cap a lucrative weekend in picking up his third feature win at LPS this season.
Michael Fox, McClara, Jared Hix, Carmichael Sr. and Herbert wrapped up the top-10.
In super stock action, Doug McCullough made up for some disappointment in losing the points championship last week by wiring the competition.
He pulled away from the field over the final laps in the newly sponsored Griffin Auto Salvage No. 16.
McCullough led the way across the finish line ahead of Fillmore's Curt Leonard and Greencastle's David Bumgardner. He was chased to the wire by Tony Erdly, Mike Wright Jr., Joe Starks, Kris Starks, Michael Conner, Rick Lewis and Jacob Wright in the top-10.
Clayton native, Ben Williams, has had quite a year at LPS in the first Franklin-built bomber.
Williams claimed his fourth feature of the season after finishing second in season points.
The task on Saturday night was not an easy one after starting in ninth place.
David Daniels looked to make it No. 2 in feature wins over the early going before being overtaken by the Joker himself in Brazil's Ron Wallen Jr.
Wallen made the pass under Daniels coming out of turn four and assumed the lead as Daniels dropped out due to mechanical problems. Ron Smith , Williams, Ron Wallen Sr. and Travis Heramb duked it out for position before Williams took over second.
A late yellow ultimately gave Williams the shot he needed as Wallen had built a comfortable lead before the caution.
But given the chance on the restart, Williams got away from Wallen who settled in for second ahead of Plainfield's Kevin Kemp and Wallen Sr. Track champion, Lloyd Walls was fifth ahead of Travis Heramb, Arvis Shepherd, Gary Long, Michael Thompson and Dallas King.
The final race of the season will be Sunday for motorcycles and quads at the Putnamville oval. Gates open at 10 a.m. with signups at 11 a.m and practice beginning at noon.
1. Matt Bex, 2. Ray Humphrey, 3. Shelby Miles, 4. Mike Trimble, 5. Harold Grayless, 6. Michael Fox, 7. Wes McClara, 8. Jared Hix, 9. Kenny Carmichael Sr. 10. Daryl Herbert, 11. Chris Streeval, 12. Brad Robinson, 13. Dan Lewellen, 14. John Gurley, 15. Todd Sherman, 16. Paul Bumgardner, 17. Gary Hall, 18. Josh Fagg, 19. Kenny Carmichael Jr. 20. Jake Waggoner, 21. Brad Sterrett
Dash For Cash winner: Matt Bex
B-Main winners: Shelby Miles, Paul Bumgardner
Heat winners: Daryl Herbert, Gary Hall, Matt Bex, Kenny Carmichael Sr.
Super Stock Feature
1. Doug McCullough, 2. Curt Leonard, 3. David Bumgardner, 4. Tony Erdly, 5. Mike Wright Jr., 6. Joe Starks, 7. Kris Starks, 8. Michael Conner, 9. Rick Lewis, 10. Jacob Wright, 11. Carlos Bumgardner, 12. Bryan Figg, 13. Slick Griffin, 14. Jeff Starks, 15. Larry Miller, 16. Dale McCullough Jr., 17. Paul Wright, 18. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 19. Mark Dickerson, 20. Larry Rowley Jr.
1. Ben Williams, 2. Ron Wallen Jr., 3. Kevin Kemp, 4. Ron Wallen Sr., 5. Lloyd Walls, 6. Travis Heramb, 7. Arvis Shepherd, 8. Gary Long, 9. Michael Thompson, 10. Dallas King, 11. Chad Nolte, 12. Ron Smith, 13. Sean Yakel, 14. David Daniels, 15. Dustin Shoulders, 16. David Wallen, 17. Jack Campbell, 18. Marc Yakel, 19. Chuck Walden, 20. Shane Miller