Times Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE -- For three weeks, sprint car drivers had attempted to find a winning combination to end Dickie Gaines' domination at Lincoln Park Speedway.
Puterbaugh was able to overtake Gaines in traffic late in the race and was able to hold off the veteran over the final laps despite losing his brakes down the stretch.
The win extends his points' lead to 48 over Shane Hollingsworth, who was not at LPS on Saturday night.
One driver who did have the fans buzzing with his arrival was Cory 'the Kruser' Kruseman, who brought his team with him to the Putnamville oval. The Ventura, Calif. native and multiple Indiana Sprint Week champion was making his first 2008 trip to Lincoln Park Speedway.
It did not begin well.
Gaines and Tyler Reddick won the first two heat races setting up the final nine-car heat race, which included Kruseman.
Just one lap into the race Kruseman was collected in a crash with Derek Williams and flipped his No. 71k machine.
Luckily, Kruseman was able to get his car prepared for the B-Main, where he blasted through the field to take the runner-up spot behind Bret Tripplett.
Twenty-nine sprinters were whittled down to the final 20 for the A-Main with Blake Fitzpatrick holding the pole alongside Jesse Cramer.
As the green flag waved, Cramer pulled a huge wheel stand that nearly put him on his head down the front stretch, though he was able to save the car in traffic.
Gaines assumed his familiar spot at the front of the field with Puterbaugh in hot pursuit. The two grabbed a comfortable lead, leaving an exciting fight for the third spot between Fitzpatrick, Mark Perry, Kenny Carmichael Sr., Henry Clarke and Stephanie Tuttle.
The group put on a side-by-side show for the fans, hungry to gain that third spot and with it, a good look at the leaders.
Up front, Gaines and Puterbaugh were taking advantage of a nice cushion that had formed at the top. The pair entered traffic and Puterbaugh got the opening he needed, slipping past a slower car that held up Gaines.
Puterbaugh nabbed the point after several laps of side-by-side action. Behind them, Carmichael Sr. made the pass of Fitzpatrick to take the third spot where he would stay.
As the white flag flew, Puterbaugh had the Creative Design Embroidery sponsored sprinter on top, but with no brakes remaining and Gaines just behind him. Coming off turn four, Puterbaugh was a little too hot for the corner and jumped the cushion. However, he had just enough of a lead to hop back over the berm and blast to the finish line for the victory. Gaines was followed by Carmichael and Fitzpatrick with Beauchamp, Mark Perry III, Kenny Carmichael Jr., Kruseman, Henry Clarke and Tuttle in the top-10.
The points chase in the UMP Modified division is just as hot as the A-Main action was on Saturday night.
Only eight points separate leader Paul Bumgardner and Saturday's winner, Kenny Carmichael Jr.
Carmichael and Travis Shoulders were never more than a couple of car lengths apart for the entire feature and spent much of the final laps leaning heavily on each other in a dogfight to the checkered flag.
Carmichael led early and Shoulders led late before a caution with three laps remaining set the stage for the final charge.
On the restart, Carmichael got a good jump off turn four and pulled even with Shoulders, sponsored by Ottawa Trailer Parks, Cardinal Contracting, Durabuilt Racing, Eubank & Sons, Pizza Den and Still Here Liquors.
The last two circuits weren't kind to either cars' sheet metal with plenty of contact, but Carmichael was able to edge ahead with one lap left and held on for the win.
Bumgardner battled Brad Robinson during the early stages of the event before a spin sent Robinson to the tail and an eventual 13th-place. Bumgardner stayed close to the leaders and managed to beat Shoulders to the line by a hair for second-place. Mark Auler took fourth ahead of Chris Brewer, Dan Lewellen, Wayne Cooper, Phil VanSant, Carlos Bumgardner and Doug Bryant Jr.
Carmichael's win came in the Carmichael's Exhaust, Wellum Chiropractic and Bud & Sons Auto car.
Slick Griffin was able to top the field in the UMP Super Stock A-Main, besting Kris Starks and David Bumgardner to the line.
Terry Arthur had the early lead upon the start, but Griffin and Chris Hillman were in the thick of the battle along with Greg Amick and Starks.
Hillman challenged Griffin early in the race and stayed alongside him for several laps before a spin by Joe Whisler brought out a caution. Hillman's fight for another LPS victory was derailed on the restart by mechanical problems.
That left the Griffin Auto Salvage, Hoosier Towing, GT Collision and Joe's Tire machine to cruise to the win ahead of Starks, who couldn't quite reel the Brazil native in down the stretch.
David Bumgardner stayed in third-place ahead of Tami Lawson and Greencastle's Curt Leonard, sponsored by Theresa Cunningham, State Farm Insurance, Black Diamond Contracting and Don's Garage. Kenny Carmichael Jr. was followed in seventh by Doug McCullough, Tony Erdly, Mike Wright Jr. and Joe Whisler.
In the bomber main event, Terre Haute's C.J. Bryan claimed his third feature of the season, holding off Dustin Shoulders for the feature win that pushes his points' lead to 32 over Lloyd Walls, who ran third on Saturday night. Bob Farris came home fourth ahead of last week's winner, Ben Williams. Chad Nolte was sixth ahead of Kevin Kemp, Ron Smith, Arvis Shepherd and Michael Thompson.
Bryan is sponsored by Perfection Auto Glass, Pott's Tax Service, Joe's Hobby Barn, Red Hot Vending and Durabuilt Racing.
Next week will be a regular schedule with sprints, UMP Modifieds, UMP Super Stocks bombers as well as the Heartland Automotive school bus race.