By CAREY FOXTimes Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE — A long, chilly winter gave way to beautiful sunny skies for the opening night of racing season at Lincoln Park Speedway on Saturday night.
On tap for a great crowd was some of the top names in all four classes as the IndianaOpenwheel.com, D.O. Racin’ Fest put a big payday on the line for hotshoes in sprint cars, modifieds, super stocks and bombers.
The action didn’t disappoint with both the sprint car and UMP Modified features coming down to the wire as Tony Stewart Racing’s Levi Jones making a last lap pass of Scotty Weir for the sprint feature win. Chad Kinder and Brian Hayden battled their way into a last lap dash as well before Kinder squeezed out a thrilling modified victory.
The chance at $2,000-to-win plus lap money and qualifying cash brought out a field of 37 sprint cars with a talented field that included a wealth of talented veterans and youngsters. Saturday night’s pits included Jones as well as Jon Stanbrough, Dickie Gaines, Scott Weir, Kent Christian and Jon Sciscoe to name a few.
Heat races were claimed by Kurt Cross, Thomas Meseraull, Jones and Caleb Armstrong with Shane Hollingsworth taking the first B-Main and Justin Marvel taking the second to reach the A-Main.
As the feature lined up, Kurt Gross was on the pole inside Meseraull followed by Jones and Armstrong in row two.
As the green flew, Meseraull and Weir set the pace and put on a spirited battle over the opening laps. With Meseraull holding the top line, the two swapped positions heading into lapped traffic. Weir was briefly held up by a lapped car as Meseraull nearly made the pass for the lead before a caution for a spin by Blake Fitzpatrick.
On the re-start, Weir was able to build a small cushion as Jones was closing quick and was able to slip by Meseraull for second as Caleb Armstrong snapped up third ahead of Stanbrough and Meseraull.
Weir held a tentative lead in the middle lane of the track as Jones tried to reel him in as the laps ticked up in the 30-lap main event. Armstrong held onto third followed by Stanbrough, Meseraull, Gross and Sciscoe as the caution flew for a 25-lap break to send the lapped cars to the tail.
The caution set up a thrilling finish to the race as Jones set himself right on the tail tank of Weir, who was hoping to build off a strong second-place run at Gas City on Friday night. Jones would have other ideas however as with two laps to go, the TSR leadfoot made his move coming off the top of turn two and pulled even with Weir. As the two rocketed off turn four it was Jones who had the momentum and made the pass for the lead.
With the white flag waving, Jones held on to the position as Weir settled into second ahead of Stanbrough, Meseraull and Armstrong, which would be the way they finished.
Marvel was able to blast his way through the field after winning his B-Main and take sixth-place ahead of Gross, Christian, Sciscoe and Hollingsworth.
In the UMP Modified main event, Carlos Bumgardner was the man to beat early in the race as he started outside of row one and battled Josh Boller early. Hayden was lurking behind the two however, but had his hands full with Chris Brewer during the early stages of the race.
With Bumgardner building a bit of a lead ahead of Boller, Kinder was sizing up the leaders from the fifth-place position ahead of Chad Combs.
Hayden and Boller closed the gap on Bumgardner over the second half of the race and the pair each challenged the leader heading into turn two. With Bumgardner in the middle of the pair, it was Hayden that was able to take over the point as Kinder shot up to third with five laps to go.
Kinder, in the Mopar machine, seemed to keep getting faster as the laps dwindled and he was able to grab second from Bumgardner and set his sights on a duel with Hayden.
Hayden was able to hold Kinder at bay for a couple of laps before a side-by-side battle gave way to Kinder in the lead with a lap remaining. From there, Kinder grabbed the checkers in the Weber Farms, Afco, All Star sponsored machine, powered by a McClane motor.
Hayden remained second ahead of Carlos Bumgardner, Paul Bumgardner reached fourth with Boller in fifth. Brewer, Everett Bradham, Justin Gregory, Doug Bryan Jr. and Combs rounded out the top-10.
The UMP Super Stock feature got off to a caution-filled beginning with several collisions and a wild moment as Scott Carrington’s fuel cell flew out of his No. 84 machine. When all of the dust cleared, a two-way battle between Tony Anderson and Kenny Carmichael Sr. developed.
Anderson held the lead into the second half of the race before Carmichael was able to overcome him for the lead. From there, Carmichael wasn’t going to be caught, pulling off the season opening victory ahead of Anderson.
Brazil native, Slick Griffin overcame a roll over in hotlaps to place third in the feature followed by Chris Hillman, Ryan Taylor, Joe Starks, Brett Smedley, Jamie Adams, Matt Jordan and Justin Porter.
There were 32 bombers in attendance this weekend, but it was a familiar face in victory lane as Dustin Shoulders celebrated with the victory by holding off Harry Shepherd and Lloyd Walls. David Bumgardner had a strong run into fourth-place ahead of Brian Cooley in fifth. Paragon Speedway hotshoe, Bobby Gardner was sixth followed by Charles Catt, Barry Hicks, Greg Leitzman and Cory Williamson.
Next weekend will be Greencastle/HARF Night with residents of Greencastle receiving $2 off their admission price.
Sprint Car feature
1. Levi Jones 20,
2. Scotty Weir 22,
3. Jon Stanbrough 53,
4. Thomas Meseraull 57,
5. Caleb Armstrong 7A,
6. Justin Marvel K35,
7. Kurt Gross 1X,
8. Kent Christian 1C,
9. Jon Sciscoe 7,
10. Shane Hollingsworth 34,
11. Jesse Cramer 12T,
12. Dakota Jackson 3J,
13. Blake Fitzpatrick 10,
14. Chris Babcock 35,
15. Cole Carter 7C,
16. Mark Perry III 3M,
17. Kyle Robbins 17R,
18. Josh Spencer 56,
19. Danny Holtsclaw 3,
20. Eric Smith 14
B-main winners: Hollingsworth, Justin Marvel
UMP Modified feature
1. Chad Kinder 22S, 2. Brian Hayden 2H, 3. Carlos Bumgardner SR 34, 4. Paul Bumgardner 54, 5. Josh Boller 05B, 6. Chris Brewer 51B, 7. Everett Bradham 1H, 8. Justin Gregory 42, 9. Doug Bryant JR 29, 10. Chad Combs 09, 11. Matt Bex 31B, 12. Wes McClara 45M, 13. Brent Gregory 43, 14. Bradley Sterrett 90, 15. Brad Robinson 77, 16. Garry Ricketts 33R, 17. Derek Patton 37WB, 18 Jimmy Hayden 15J, 19. Ed Shamhart 12S, 20. Larry Anderson 43A, 21. Craig Conyer 31
B-Main winner: Bryant Jr.
Super Stock feature
1. Kenny Carmichael SR X, 2. Tony Anderson 35, 3. Slick Griffin G2, 4. Chris Hillman 11, 5. Ryan Taylor 22T, 6. Joe Starks 17, 7 Brett Smedley 85, 8. Jamie Adams 2, 9. Matt Jordan 11J, 10. Justin Porter 9J, 11. Ked Hollars JR 33H, 12. Steve Hollars 18, 13. David Huff 17H, 14. Roy Bruce JR 63, 15. Donnie Shoemaker 1, 16. Brad Hancock 27, 17. Travis Heramb 7, 18. Doug McCullough 19M, 19. Kris Starks 26, 20. Steve Ware 59, 21. Scott Carrington 84
1. Dustin Shoulders 65S, 2. Harry Shepherd 35H, 3. Lloyd Walls 8W, 4. David Bumgardner 05, 5. Brian Cooley 9C, 6. Bobby Gardner 67, 7. Charles Catt 57, 8. Barry Hicks 40H, 9. Greg Leitzman 32, 10. Cory Williamson 21, 11. Frank Cotton 86 12. Kenny Treash 11, 13. Tony Cochenour 70C, 14. Jason Cox 77C, 15. Jake Hodge 1J, 16. Kenny Carmichael JR 3L, 17. Jared Litton 81, 18. Corey Gregory 6G, 19. Josh Settles 12, 20. John Grenier JR 7G B-Main winner: Lloyd Walls