Times Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE -- Competition finally won out over the rains at Lincoln Park Speedway on Saturday night.
Spectators were treated to just short of 100 cars in the pits led by a tough and talented group of sprinters gunning for a feature win at the Putnamville oval.
Twenty-nine sprint cars unloaded ready for battle on Saturday, none tougher than defending track champion Billy Puterbaugh.
There's no doubt that the Brownsburg native knows his way around the track after dominating competition much of the second half of last year.
But Casey Shuman got the best of him on the opening weekend and had designs on adding to that total after claiming his heat race ahead of the new look light blue 1C mount of Kent Christian.
Puterbaugh also won his heat, besting Shane Hollingsworth and Shawn Krockenberger and Bloomington's Jon Siscoe claimed the final heat race followed by Rex Norris III and Andrew Prather.
Following an early caution for a spin by Andrew Prather, Puterbaugh jumped to the bottom and squeezed by Hollingsworth, leaving him to duel with Siscoe followed by a great show between Christian and Shuman for fifth.
Puterbaugh's tough to beat once he sets his teeth on a lead and when Hollingsworth bobbled on a restart that bunched several cars in turn four pushed him hack to sixth place ahead of the rapidly advancing Critter Malone, who had started 14th.
When the green waved following a Stephanie Tuttle spin, Shuman set himself up top and proceeded to 'wow' the crowd by riding the cushion to great success.
In fourth place and trying to gain the momentum off the top to edge past Christian in third place, Shuman got a rough ride coming off turn three, bounced nearly straight up before hooking his right rear tire and going over to bring out the red flag.
Though unhurt in the crash, Shuman's quest for a repeat win had come to an end for the evening with an 18th place.
On the late re-start, Puterbaugh was able to hold off the challenge by Siscoe followed by a strong run by Kenny Niflis, who had made the feature off a second place in the 'B' main. Christian placed fourth ahead of Malone, Hollingsworth, B-main winner Eric Smith, Brent Beauchamp, Prather and Rex Norris III.
Puterbaugh's win in the Creative Design & Embroidery, Zorr's Eagle Creek Nursery, Lucas Oil machine should service notice that he's back on track and gunning for a repeat sprint championship.
Mooresville's Chris Hillman also had his eyes on repeating as a feature winner at LPS and after winning his heat race, looked to be in good shape.
However, David Bumgardner rolled to a second place in the same heat race and had his own ideas about who should take home the winner's share. Joe Whisler took heat race number one and had a tough road, starting from seventh in the feature.
Roy Bruce Jr. started from the inside front row position, but it was Bumgardner who grabbed the early lead and set a pace to run away with the event.
Bruce was left to battle with Hillman for much of the feature with Doug McCullough, Josh Burton and Whisler in tow.
Bumgardner hit lapped traffic and skillfully maneuvered through traffic, putting several cars between himself and Hillman.
Bumgardner looked ready to seal the deal in the final lap and a half, but got a tad too high heading into turns three and four, slipping over the bank and losing momentum. That was the opening that Hillman needed and he jumped on it.
Hillman shot to the lead in the Mooresville Welding, Kay's Hardwood Floors, B.C. Chassis ride powered by a William's Precision Engine.
The repeat victory was Hillman's, Bumgardner recovered for third place behind Bruce followed by McCullough in fourth and Burton in fifth. Whisler placed sixth with Kenny Carmichael Jr., Bradley Sterrett, Tami Lawson and Joe Jeffries rounding out the top-10.
In the UMP Modified feature, Greg Amick made his first appearance at the track count by holding off a determined Daryl Herbert down the stretch.
Paul Bumgardner started on the poll alongside Doug Bryant Jr. and held the early lead.
Amick and Herbert had the side-by-side battle for second going early on ahead of Jimmy Hayden and Travis Shoulders trading the fourth spot back-and-forth for several laps.
Mark Auler and Kenny Carmichael Sr. were racing side-by-side for sixth.
On a re-start, Amick dove low off turn four and held the momentum to edge past Bumgardner for the point ahead of Hayden and Herbert.
Another re-start set up a wild 3-wide battle for second spot between Bumgardner, Hayden and Herbert.
Herbert held on to claim that spot as Amick grabbed the checkers in the Indiana Decal Company, Cross Paint and Body, Hoosier Tire and Retreading and Ellettsville True value sponsored machine.
He was followed by Herbert, Bumgardner, Auler, Phil VanSant, the B-main winner, Hayden, Carmichael, Harry Shepherd, Shoulders and Gary Hall.
In last week's bomber feature, Dustin Shoulders claimed his first career win over Terre Haute's Lloyd Walls. This time around, Walls bested a strong field that included several of Paragon Speedway's best competitors.
Walls held off an early challenge from C.J. Bryan and Bobby Gardner to pull away for the victory.
Bryan was the runner-up ahead of Gardner, David Wallen, Ron Wallen Sr., Ron Wallen Jr., Shoulders, Kevin Jones, Kevin Kemp and David Daniels rounded out the top-10.
Next week will feature a regular schedule of sprints, modifieds, super stocks and bombers along with a charity school bus race.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint car Feature
1. Billy Puterbaugh, 2. Jon Siscoe, 3. Kenny Niflis, 4. Kent Christian, 5. Critter Malone, 6. Shane Hollingsworth, 7. Eric Smith, 8. Brent Beauchamp, 9. Andrew Prather, 10. Rex Norris III, 11. Shawn Krockenberger, 12. Josh Cunningham, 13. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 14. Jonathan Hendrick, 15. Jake Scott, 16. Stephanie Tuttle, 17. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 18. Casey Shuman, 19. Shain Matthews, 20. Todd Kimmell
Heat winners: Billy Puterbaugh, Casey Shuman, Jon Siscoe
B-Main winner: Eric Smith
UMP Modified Feature
1. Greg Amick, 2. Daryl Herbert, 3. Paul Bumgardner, 4. Mark Auler, 5. Phil VanSant, 6. Jimmy Hayden, 7. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 8. Harry Shepherd, 9. Travis Shoulders, 10. Gary Hall, 11. Doug Bryant Sr., 12. Marlin Burns, 13. Jaymie Turner, 14. Harold Grayless, 15. Cullen Goodman, 16. Josh Edmondson, 17. Chad Combs, 18. Wes McClara, 19. David Lawson
Heat winners: Paul Bumgardner, Doug Bryant Jr., Daryl Herbert
B-Main winner: Phil VanSant
Super Stock Feature
1. Chris Hillman, 2. Roy Bruce Jr., 3. David Bumgardner, 4. Doug McCullough, 5. Josh Burton, 6. Joe Whisler, 7. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 8. Bradley Sterrett, 9. Tami Lawson, 10. Joe Jeffries, 11. Travis Heramb, 12. Rob Paris, 13. Joe Starks, 14. Scott Carrington, 15. Bob Sample, 16. David Brummet, 17. Curt Leonard, 18. Elijah Himinger, 19. Jason Clark, 20. A.J. Smith
Heat winners: Joe Whisler, Chris Hillman, Josh Burton
B-Main winner: Rob Paris
1. Lloyd Walls, 2. C.J. Bryan, 3. Bobby Gardner, 4. David Wallen, 5. Ron Wallen Sr., 6. Ron Wallen Jr., 7. Dustin Shoulders, 8. Kevin Jones, 9. Kevin Kemp, 10. David Daniels, 11. Ryan Freeland, 12. Michael Thompson, 13. Marc Yakel, 14. Sean Yakel, 15. Stacey Shepherd, 16. Gary Long, 17. Ron Smith, 18. Brad Neese, 19. Josh Ford
Heat winners: Lloyd Walls, Bobby Gardner