Times Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE -- There's never been a doubt that Paul Bumgardner knew the quick way around Lincoln Park Speedway. Afterall, he's a multiple time track champion and already owned five feature wins this season, but the most recent one had been back on June 20, which was a considerable dry spell by his steep standards.
On Saturday night, he re-introduced himself to Victory Lane in style, repeating as the winner of the sixth annual Patriot 100, which was shortened to 50 laps this year.
The win earned Bumgardner a $2,000 payday and was made a little more special due to the fact that just a week earlier he had suffered motor problems. This week he brought home the Cardinal Contracting, Durabuilt Racing J&B Performance, Phipp's Auction and Appraisal No. 54 into the winner's circle with a little help from Robert Albright, whose motor was in the car for the victory.
Twenty-five tough drivers had designs on a big payday at LPS as the Patriot race gave the competitors the chance for group qualifying.
Bumgardner was at the top of the first group with Brad Barrow leading the second and Phil VanSant the fastest in the third bunch.
Bumgardner was able to parlay his qualifying effort into a strong heat run as he edged Travis Shoulders and Barrow held off Bradley Sterrett in the second heat of the night. In the final heat race, Texas hotshoe, Josh Landers set himself up for a good A-Main starting spot with a win over Wes McClara.
The feature lineup saw Bumgardner on the pole alongside Landers with Shoulders and Sterrett behind them.
As the green flag waved, Bumgardner set his car to the top of the track on the cushion and had the No. 54 hooked up as he built an early lead. Landers settled into second with Sterrett in tow. The real battle however, was the dogfight between Shoulders, Barrow, Brian Hayden, Kenny Carmichael Sr. and Wes McClara.
The five-car battle royale went on lap after eye-popping lap with the whole group running door-to-door, sometimes three and four wide through the corners.
Phil VanSant brought out a caution as he spun and the field re-set for a another start.
Bumgardner remained out front on the restart as Sterrett's night came to an end when he pulled off the track. Hayden, three-time winner at LPS this season was able to duck under Shoulders, who appeared to be having some minor steering issues. Up front, Landers remained in second as he tried to make up ground on Bumgardner as the 25-lap mark approached.
Barrow and Carmichael chose the high line in their battle for fourth with McClara holding fast to the bottom. Hayden meanwhile ate up ground to catch Landers and set up a side-by-side run to the caution, which signaled the work period for the cars.
A number of drivers changed tires and refueled and tweaked their setups for the second 25-lap segment. For Bumgardner, he stood coolly and drank a Pepsi while he surveyed some crew getting his car ready for the second half.
On the re-start, Bumgardner dropped the hammer and plowed ahead to keep the point while Hayden flashed under Landers for second-place and what looked like it might be another thriller between Bumgardner and Hayden.
Landers hopped the cushion a couple of laps later as Carmichael took third followed by Barrow and Shoulders. Behind them, Landers, McClara and DeMoss were going at it for the sixth spot.
Bumgardner dashed into lapped traffic as Hayden trailed him followed by Carmichael as each closed the gap.
Bumgardner however, worked his way through the field masterfully as the laps dwindled. Carmichael made a late pass of Hayden, but up front, it was all Bumgardner who stayed out front for the big victory.
Carmichael finished second with Hayden in third ahead of Matt Bex, who came forward from 11th and Barrow took fifth. DeMoss was sixth followed by Shoulders, McClara, Josh Boller and Dan Lewellen as 10th.
In the sprint car feature, Saturday became a very special evening for Colorado-native, Russ Harper.
The young hotshoe, who moved to Indianapolis three years ago with dreams of becoming a sprint car pilot, won his first feature in the class. Making the win even better was that his father was in attendance for the victory before leaving for Iraq in a week.
Harper's mother was just a joyous phone call away in Colorado as her son beat out a talented group of sprinters that included a second-place run by Shane Hollingsworth and Thomas Meseraull.
Mark Perry III led the opening laps as Meseraull touched wheels with Ricky Williams and was sent to the tail after the spin. Meseraull wasn't going to be denied a thrill ride to the front as he dashed ahead 17 spots in less than 20 laps to place third.
Perry and Carmichael Sr. were dueling during the early laps, wheel-to-wheel with Kent Christian slightly behind the leaders and holding off Harper and Kevin Thomas Jr.
Meseraull had quickly picked off competitors back to the front of the field and slid beneath Thomas Jr. into turn three for seventh behind Billy Puterbaugh. Thomas Jr. spun in turn four and collected Troy Link to bring out the caution.
On the restart, Dakota Jackson took a tumble off turn four to stop the field. He was uninjured in the crash, but his sprinter was done for the night.
When the green waved again, Perry jumped the turn three cushion and lost his grip on the lead as Hollingsworth got by with Harper hot on his heels ahead of Christian, Meseraull and Puterbaugh.
Harper had his teeth bared with the win so close in front of him and he flew high around Hollingsworth heading into the third and fourth corners. With Harper out front, Hollingsworth was charged with holding off Meseraull as Puterbaugh's night ended with some mechanical issues. Christian was chasing T-Mez with Williams behind him as Shawn Krockenberger in sixth ahead of Perry and Carmichael Sr.
Up front it was Harper who was flawless in counting off the final laps of his first victory. Hollingsworth was second ahead of Meseraull, Christian placed fourth followed by Williams, Krockenberger, Perry, Carmichael Sr., Justin Marvel and James Bradshaw.
In the final two features of the night, Kris Starks outlasted Kenny Carmichael Jr. and Doug McCullough to claim his fourth UMP Super Stock feature of the season. McCullough led most of the race, but developed motor problems midway and wasn't able to stay up front. Starks dogged Carmichael for a number of laps before he was able to dive under him for a pass that developed into a victory as McCullough slowed over the final laps.
Starks made the pass in turn two as Carmichael overtook second ahead of McCullough, Travis Heramb and Jake Byers.
Starks pulled away over the final circuits for a convincing victory as he sits just 15 points ahead of his father Joe Starks in third-place in the season points. McCullough maintained a comfortable points lead (1,028) ahead of Carmichael (946) with Kris Starks gaining a little ground with 917.
In the bomber class, the second half of the season has been very good to young Dustin Shoulders.
He claimed another feature win on Saturday, his sixth in the past eight races at the Putnamville oval.
Ryan Freeland held the lead over the early stages of the race as he was chased by David Wallen and C.J. Bryan in a three-wide battle for the lead. Freeland worked his way through lapped cars and created some space ahead of Wallen and Bryan as Josh Fagg joined the fray. Behind them, Shoulders was roaring up from his 10th starting spot.
Shoulders would edge into a top-three spot on the low side of Freeland and took over the lead. A lap later, Freeland got over the cushion off turn four and lost second to Wallen and was behind Bryan for fourth.
A caution flew with just two laps remaining and set the stage for the final circuits.
On the re-start, Shoulders held his mark and took the win ahead of Wallen, points leader, Bryan and Freeland. Chuck Walden placed fifth after coming forward from 16th after winning the B-Main. Chad Nolte was sixth ahead of Brazil's Sean Yakel, Ron Smith, Barry Hicks and Tony Cochenour wrapped up the top-10.
Next week will be the final points race of the season with sprint cars, UMP Modifieds and super stocks and bombers on the card.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint car feature
|1.||Russ Harper, 2. Shane Hollingsworth, 3. Thomas Meseraull, 4. Kent Christian, 5. Ricky Williams, 6. Shawn Krockenberger, 7. Mark Perry III, 8. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 9. Justin Marvel, 10. James Bradshaw, 11. Bobby Stines, 12. Kevin Thomas Jr., 13. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 14. Don O'Keefe Jr., 15. Alvin Brantley, 16. Ray Humphrey, 17. Billy Puterbaugh, 18. Dakota Jackson, 19. Troy Link, 20. Blake Nimee|
B-Main winner: Kenny Carmichael Jr.
Heat winners: Kevin Thomas Jr., Kent Christian, Troy Link, Thomas Meseraull
UMP Modified feature
|1.||Paul Bumgardner, 2. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 3. Brian hayden, 4. Matt Bex, 5. Brad Barrow, 6. John DeMoss, 7. Travis Shoulders, 8. Wes McClara, 9. Josh Boller, 10. Dan Lewellen, 11. Wayne Cooper, 12. Phil VanSant, 13. Paul Wright, 14. Josh Landers, 15. Doug Bryant Jr., 16. Albert Gardner, 17. Cary Schweitzer, 18. Bradley Sterrett, 19. Michael Purtlebaugh, 20. Steve Sheeks|
B-main winner: Wayne Cooper
Heat winners: Paul Bumgardner, Brad Barrow, Josh Landers
UMP Super Stock feature
|1.||Kris Starks, 2. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 3. Jake Byers, 4. Travis Heramb, 5. Doug Flynn Jr., 6. Chris Bennett, 7. Doug McCullough, 8. Mike Callahan, 9. Joe Starks, 10. Michael Conner, 11. Tony Sevier, 12. Dennis Morgan, 13. Gary Archer, 14. Tony Erdly, 15. Mark Dickerson, 16. Jacob Wright, 17. AJ Smith, 18. Travis Howe|
Heat winners: Joe Starks, Kris Starks
|1.||Dustin Shoulders, 2. David Wallen, 3. C.J. Bryan, 4. Ryan Freeland, 5. Chuck Walden, 6. Chad Nolte, 7. Sean Yakel, 8. Ron Smith, 9. Barry Hicks, 10. Tony Cochenour, 11. Richard Watkins, 12. Josh Presley, 13. Josh Fagg, 14. Tim Flowers, 15. Josh Settles, 16. Don Duncan, 17. Josh Ford, 18. Blake Cross, 19. Corey Gregory, 20. Ron Wallen Jr.|
B-Main winner: Chuck Walden
Heat winners: Freeland, Shoulders, Wallen