Times Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE -- A near capacity grandstand crowd at Lincoln Park Speedway was treated to a little of everything on Saturday night.
There were fireworks on and off the track as well as a lions' share of thrills and spills to go with a staggering 141 race cars in the pits.
The combination was electrifying, leaving young and old alike talking about their evening.
Sunshine of the non-liquid variety finally rained down upon the track and set up a great evening of competition in Putnamville as haulers continued to roll in up to and during the drivers' meeting.
Arizona-based hotshoe Casey Shuman was on a rail in heat race number one to capture the win ahead of Jesse Cramer and track points leader Shane Hollingsworth. Local favorite Kent Christian then left the crowd wide-eyed with his blazing trip to the heat two checkers trailed by another crowd pleaser, Dickie Gaines, who gave Christian all he wanted during the race.
Heat number three was claimed by Hud Cone followed by Eric Smith and defending track champion, Billy Puterbaugh of Brownsburg. In the fourth heat, Jonathan Hendrick grabbed the win ahead of Terre Haute's Kenny Carmichael Sr. and Aaron Mosley.
In B-Main number one, Stephanie Tuttle topped the 14-car field with Eric Zellner grabbing the final transfer position. The race was red flagged for a front stretch flip by Critter Malone, who was uninjured.
Kyle Cummins took home the second B-Main ahead of Kurt Gross with each making the main event.
Hendrick started on the A-Main pole alongside Cone followed by Christian and Shuman for the 25-lapper.
On the green, Hendrick held a brief lead before Cone blasted off of turn two to grab the point trailed hotly by Shuman and Christian.
The caution came out early for Tuttle, who jumped a tire and came to a stop off turn three.
On the re-start, Gaines charged into contention as Christian came to a stop in the infield to end what started as a promising evening.
As the green flew once more, Cone and Gaines continued an exciting battle up front ahead of Shuman and Hendrick. Hollingsworth had the fourth spot locked in, but many eyes were on the stunning run Kyle Cummins, who had roared from 18th starting spot to fifth after passing Hendrick low.
As the laps dwindled, Gaines continued to run higher and harder into the turns. The strategy finally paid off with a turn two pass of Cone past the midway point. Not to be outdone, Shuman stayed close and made a pass of Cone by rocketing off the lip of turn two with two laps remaining.
Cone stayed right on Shuman's tail tank however and it paid off when Shuman slipped a bit too high off turn two and gave the runner-up spot back at the checkered flag.
Gaines wouldn't be caught, earning his first win of the year in the Pottorff Logging, Arnold Farms sponsored machine. Cone was second ahead of Shuman, Hollingsworth and Cummings. Hendrick remained sixth ahead of Cramer, Puterbaugh, Todd Kimmell and Troy Link.
In the UMP Super Stock class, 30 cars unloaded meaning a chance at valuable national and regional points for several heavy hitters.
The presence of several of the top national drivers in points made for a dog fight in the feature.
Troy Clark made the trip to Lincoln Park for the Battle of the Super Stock (BOSS) event earlier in the spring and took home the big check for the win.
On Saturday, he again found the Putnamville clay to his liking, holding off the red hot Jeremy Hines of Seymour and Terre Haute's Kenny Carmichael Jr.
A.J. Smith and Joe Starks each won their respective heat races, but would succumb to mechanical woes in the feature.
Clark was able to hold off Hines on a final lap restart to capture his second win of the year at LPS.
Joe Whisler was able to take advantage of an early feature exit by Mooresville's Chris Hillman and took the season points lead at LPS by a scant one point over Carmichael Jr. (358 to 357), Hillman didn't lose much however, falling just three points back ahead of David Bumgardner.
Bumgardner put on a great show for his local fans, flashing to a win in the B-Main to earn a 16th starting spot in the feature. He weaved his way through traffic all the way to a fifth-place ahead of Tami Lawson, Doug McCullough, Kenny Weaver, Josh Fagg and Scott Carrington.
In the UMP Modified feature, Brad Barrow charged out of the gates to the lead in the early stages with defending track champion Paul Bumgardner and Ray Humphrey chomping at his bumper.
Travis Shoulders and Bradley Sterrett weren't going to be left out of the chase either, duking it out for the fourth spot.
Lap-after-lap ticked off with Bumgardner trying every line to make up ground on Barrow. Eventually, Bumgardner drew even for a side-by-side thriller for the fans.
Bumgardner chose the high line into turns one and two and was able to make a pass on the outside stick.
The caution flew for a spin by Sterrett, but on the restart, it was Barrow who had the misfortune to get too sidways and bring out another caution. Both Brad Robinson and Phil VanSant were caught in a pileup as well.
Shoulders held down third ahead of Carmichael Sr. who had flew through the field to fourth after starting 14th. Nathan Voorhies and Jimmy Hayden and Mark Auler were set to make a final run to the finish as well.
Bumgardner was able to make the lead stick over the final laps with Humphrey remaining in second ahead of Shoulders, points-leader Carmichael Sr., Voorhies, Hayden, Wes McClara, Auler, Bryant Jr. and Jared Hix.
McClara's finish capped a long night of work after he was collected in a collision during his heat race to finish last in the 11-car field. He then worked his way to a transfer spot in the B-Main before blasting from the tail of the field for seventh overall.
Thirty-three bombers took to the track at LPS with Ron Wallen Sr., C.J. Bryan and Dustin Shoulders taking heat races and Ryan Heath capturing the B-Main.
In the feature, Shoulders made a nice high-low dash on the opening lap to grab a lead he never relinquished despite the efforts of the "Batman" Wallen Sr., who took the runner-up spot. Ben Williams made his LPS debut in a new car with a third place ahead of points-leader C.J. Bryan and David Wallen. Chad Nolte took sixth ahead of Dave Byrdwell, Kevin Kemp, David Bumgardner II and Tony Tidwell Jr.
Next Saturday will be a regular show of sprints, UMP Modifieds, UMP Super Stocks and bombers.