Times Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE -- Dickie Gaines has taken on some of the best sprint car drivers in the nation during the last week as Indiana Sprint Week invaded.
Two weeks prior, Gaines tuned up for the annual event that welcomes USAC's toughest hotshoes to the state by besting a large field for a win at Lincoln Park Speedway.
On Saturday, he repeated the feat, battling to the wire with defending track champion Billy Puterbaugh to claim his second win of the year.
Gaines, in the Pottorff Logging, Arnold Farms 11p, scored a win in his heat race along with Todd Kimmell and Jonathan Hendrick, which set the drivers up on the front two rows to start the A-Main.
For current points leader, Shane Hollingsworth, the night was considerably more difficult after being forced from his heat with mechanical woes. Hollingsworth had qualify through the "B".
In the semi-feature, Hollingsworth had little challenge on the way to a win over Kenny Carmichael Sr.
As the green flag dropped on the main event, Gaines pulled out to a solid half straight-away lead over the competition trailed by Kimmell, Hendrick and Kent Christian. Meanwhile, at the back of the field, Hollingsworth started in the 16th spot and was rocketing to the front.
Casey Shuman, hot on Puterbaugh's tail tank, finally shot past the Brownsburg native into fourth place ahead of Christian, Hendrick, Puterbaugh and Stephanie Tuttle.
A red flag came out for Adam Byrkett's slow roll over. After coming to rest on all four wheels and discovering no real damage to his sprinter, Byrkett elected to continue and eventually placed ninth.
On the restart, Kimmell parlayed a strong restart into a lead over Gaines that developed into a side-by-side fight for position. Shortly behind them, coworkers, Puterbaugh and Shuman were duking it out as well.
Gaines pounded the cushion on the top of turn two and was able to maintain momentum to return to the lead over Kimmell, who had Puterbaugh to deal with for second.
Puterbaugh used the same high line to eventually edge past Kimmell as Hollingsworth blasted to the front of the field and up to third by the checkered flag.
Up front, Gaines and Puterbaugh were weaving through lapped traffic when a slowed car nearly cost Gaines the win coming off turn four.
A caution flag flew with three laps remaining to set up the final theatrics.
On the green, Gaines got a good start and Puterbaugh wasn't able to mount a successful charge on the lead. Hollingsworth remained in second ahead of Kimmell and Shuman. Christian finished sixth ahead of Brent Beauchamp, Kenny Carmichael Jr., Byrkett and Kenny Carmichael Sr., who made a strong run from a 17th starting spot.
In the UMP Modified feature, Ray Humphrey and Kenny Carmichael Sr. put on quite a show for the fans, battling door to door for much of the entire feature before Humphrey put his Franklin-built mod in victory lane at LPS for the third time this season.
Sponsored by Reeves Logging, Monroe Septic and Monroe Co. Equipment, Humphrey was able to work his way through lapped traffic late and regained the lead after a late restart put Carmichael up front.
Humphrey retook the lead with several laps remaining and held on for the win.
Paul Bumgardner, Travis Shoulders and Carlos Bumgardner all mixed it up in a fight for third before both Shoulders and Carlos Bumgardner succumbed to mechanical problems.
Greg Amick and Dan Lewellen moved up to finish in fourth and fifth-place ahead of Garry Ricketts, Gary Hall, Brian Kempf, Tom Black and Mark Auler.
Jimmy Hayden earned the hard luck award after a heat race victory put him on the pole where he battled for a top-three spot early before a tangle with an infield tire relegated him to 14th overall.
The UMP Super Stock feature was claimed by Joe Whisler, propelling him into the season points' lead by a slim five points over Kenny Carmichael Jr.
Chris Hillman had made his way to the front of the feature and was seemingly pulling away before mechanical problems erased his lead. David Bumgardner was also running up front before contact ended his evening as well.
Carmichael and Slick Griffin slugged it out at the front with Whisler and Doug McCullough in tow.
As Hillman slowed heading down the front stretch to bring out the yellow, Whisler had moved into the right spot.
The Franklin-built super stock would made the late restart up front sponsored by 40 Minute Cleaners, Gallagher's Pizza Express, Precision Property Services and Powder Pro Coating Service.
Whisler maintained that advantage over Griffin, a Brazil-native, McCullough, Scott Carrington, Joe Starks, Donald Smiley, Mark Blalock and Mark Dickerson.
In the fourth annual bomber bus bash, Lloyd Walls took a late lead after getting by Dustin Shoulders on the way to a win in the race that features cars racing with a school bus on the track.
Walls closes within eight points of C.J. Bryan, who placed 16th on Saturday.
Gary Long placed third ahead of Kevin Kemp, David Wallen, Ron Wallen Sr., Ryan Heath, Greg Riser, Michael Thompson and David Bumgardner II.
The track takes a one-week break for the Brickyard 400 before returning with one of the year's best shows in the 21st Annual Putnamville Clash.