By CAREY FOXTimes Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE — As the weather in central Indiana begins to heat up, apparently, so is sprint car veteran Dickie Gaines.
Gaines made a late race pass of Shane Hollingsworth in the feature at Lincoln Park Speedway on Saturday night to claim his second consecutive victory at the Putnamville oval, and with the win, took over the season points lead. Gaines win came one night after a strong run to eighth-place at Bloomington Speedway in the prestigious “Sheldon Kinser Memorial.”
With a large number of sprint car events on tap around the state and USAC’s regulars returning from its East Coast swing, just 11 sprint cars were on hand at LPS, but that didn’t mean that the feature wasn’t exciting.
Hollingsworth, returning from his own USAC tour with Silver Crown events the last two weekends, lined up on the pole position for the feature alongside Kenny Carmichael Jr. As the green flag waved, Hollingsworth began to build a lead over Gaines and Carmichael Jr. with Kenny Carmichael Sr. and Seth Parker in tow.
Carmichael Jr. was running just above the cushion and a small slip in turn two allowed Gaines to get past for second. With Hollingsworth in front, Gaines slowly began to reel him in as the laps ticked off.
Hollingsworth was slotted on top with Gaines eating into the lead each lap as the leader got into some lapped traffic. As Gaines began to put pressure on Hollingsworth late in the race, it was a small mistake that allowed Gaines the opening that he needed.
Hollingsworth, who has benefited from some final lap fortune himself, got a bit too high off turn two and Gaines slipped under him to take the lead. Behind the two, both Carmichael’s were doing battle for third as Chris Babcock chased the pair ahead of Shawn Krockenberger.
With one lap to go, the caution came out for a spin by Jimmy Romig and opened the door for a final lap chase for the checkers.
On the re-start, Gaines got a good jump and ran a flawless lap to pick up his second straight win as Hollingsworth crossed in second ahead of Carmichael Jr. and Carmichael Sr. Babcock finished fifth ahead of Krockenberger, Michael Bridges, Eric Krockenberger, Jimmy Romig, Parker and Wes McIntyre.
Gaines victory came in Daryl Tate’s MPHG Promotions, Dan Roberts-sponsored No. 21x sprint car.
In the UMP Modified feature, Paul Bumgardner added to his season points lead by holding off a two-way challenge at the line from Matt Bex and Brian Hayden.
Bumgardner edged past front row starter, Wes McClara, early in the feature before a caution came out as contact between Chad Combs and Mike Selby brought out the caution. Schuyler Nahre, who won his heat and started on the pole, rolled to a stop during the yellow and the misfortune would relegate him to a 15th-place.
Bumgardner began to put some distance between himself and McClara as Hayden roared into a beautiful slide job on the bottom of turn three for second. Behind him, McClara had his hands full with Bex, who quickly came forward after starting 10th. Both Hayden and Bex began a duel that would last the remainder of the feature as McClara held fourth in front of a two-way scrap between Carlos Bumgardner and Travis Shoulders.
Bumgardner continued to hold onto the point with five laps remaining as Hayden reeled him in, running the top with his right rear tire smoking from the effort. Bex joined the fray alongside Hayden as the two ran door-to-door over the final laps as Bumgardner reached a lapped car with two laps left. On the white flag, Bumgardner was able to duck underneath coming out of turn four and out run Bex and Hayden to the finish line. Carlos Bumgardner took hom an exciting fourth ahead of Shoulders and McClara. Josh Boller placed seventh after holding off Combs to the line. Harold Grayless and Dan Lewellen wrapped up the top-10.
Bumgardner’s victory came in the Durabuilt Racing, Cardinal Contracting, Bumgardner’s Auto and Truck Repair No. 54.
In the UMP Super Stock division, the combination of Kenny Carmichael Sr. behind the wheel of the Terry Eup-owned machine, has been potent this year and on Saturday, the pair earned another feature win and took over the points lead.
Brett Smedley led the first half of the feature and appeared poised to claim his first feature win at LPS, but a spin near the mid-point of the A-Main allowed Carmichael to take over the lead. Both Chris Hillman and Kris Starks were in the hunt as well before late mechanical problems sidelined the pair. Carmichael led the main event ahead of Doug McCullough and a heated battle between Kenny Carmichael Jr. and Josh Burton developed over the second half of the race. McCullough would slip over the turn over cushion as Carmichael claimed the second spot with Burton close behind working the bottom.
With five laps remaining, Carmichael was busy holding off a late run by his son in second as Burton was able to hold off Slick Griffin down the stretch. McCullough came home fifth ahead of Jim Moore, Joe Starks, Donnie Shoemaker, Harry Shepherd and Marty Cooper.
Carmichael’s win came in the No. X, sponsored by First Financial and Cornerstop Quickmart. Carmichael has a slim edge over Hillman in the season points, 412 to 407.
In the bomber feature, Dustin Shoulder found his way back to victory lane in the Nutra Lawn, Creative Trailer Products, Curtis Garage & Wrecker, D&D Auto Repair and JCE Carburetor-sponsored No. 65.
Shoulders had a big challenge from defending feature winner, David Bumgardner, but was able to pick up the win after holding off a final lap re-start.
Shoulders was able to work his way through some lapped traffic over the final laps to get the win as Ron Wallen Sr. taking third, Josh Settles came home fourth and points leader, Lloyd Walls, hopped into Marlin Burns’ machine to claim fifth. Dale Lewis came from 15th to place sixth ahead of Richard Watkins, Barry Hicks, Kevin Kemp and Josh Fagg.
Next week will be “Salute to Coatsville Night” with residents with a state-issued ID receiving a discounted admission price.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint car feature
1. Dickie Gaines, 2. Shane Hollingsworth, 3. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 4. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 5. Chris Babcock, 6. Shawn Krockenberger, 7. Michael Bridges, 8. Eric Krockenberger, 9. Seth Parker, 10. Wes McIntyre
UMP Modified feature
1. Paul Bumgardner, 2. Mat Bex, 3. Brian Hayden, 4. Carlos Bumgardner, 5. Travis Shoulders, 6. Wes McClara, 7. Josh Boller, 8. Chad Combs, 9. Harold Grayless, 10. Dan Lewellen, 11. Gary Hall, 12. Jeremy Edmondson, 13. Ralph Groomer, 14. Mike Selby, 15. Schuyler Nahre, 16. Brad Robinson, 17. Josh Edmondson
UMP Super Stock feature
1. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 2. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 3. Josh Burton, 4. Slick Griffin, 5. Doug McCullough, 6. Jim Moore, 7. Joe Starks, 8. Donnie Shoemaker, 9. Harry Shepherd, 10. Marty Cooper, 11. Brett Smedley, 12. Kris Starks, 13. Gary Archer, 14. Chris Hillman, 15. Doug Flynn Jr., 16. Jake Waggoner, 17. Brandon Engler, 18. Paul Bumgardner, 19. Don Duncan
1. Dustin Shoulder, 2. David Bumgardner, 3. Ron Wallen Sr., 4. Josh Settles, 5. Lloyd Walls, 6. Dale Lewis, 7. Richard Watkins, 8. Barry Hicks, 9. Kevin Kemp, 10. Josh Fagg, 11. Frank Cotton, 12. Corey Gregory, 13. Ronald Blake, 14. C.J. Bryan, 15. Josh Ford, 16. Josh Presley, 17. Billy Tarrh, 18. Jordan Almanza, 19. Sally Yakel, 20. David Wallen, 21. Gerald Bennett Jr