By CAREY FOXTimes Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE – If you weren’t hustling as a driver at Lincoln Park Speedway on Saturday night, you didn’t have much chance at sharing the lion’s share of the purse for the four feature races on tap.
Threatening clouds hung menacingly over the 5/16th mile oval, but there was no shortage of talent on hand despite a hectic slate of shows around the Hoosier State. Mother Nature sprinkled delicate rains over the track over the first half of the races, but it only served to keep the surface tacky and racy throughout the event.
For Arizona native, Casey Shuman, the LPS dirt was just what he was looking for on Saturday as he picked up a heat race victory over Mitch Wissmiller and Kent Christian in the Mark Batcheldor-owned No. 22 and started inside row two for the A-main. Wissmiller scored the opening heat race victory ahead of Kent Christian and Ryan Pace and Keaton Dobbs took the final heat race over Chris Babcock.
Christian held the pole alongside Dobbs, but it was a flip from LPS points leader, Brent Beauchamp that halted the feature on the second lap. Beauchamp was uninjured in the hard ride, but it was Shuman that used the re-start the claim the lead on a slider in turn three to take second as he chased Wissmiller in the lead. It wasn’t long before last year’s multiple feature winner, vaulted to first with a move under Wissmiller in turn two. Once he was out front, Shuman didn’t look back.
Shuman took the point seven laps into the main event and kept the competition behind him as Christian and Krockenbeger fought for the third position behind Wissmiller. AJ Hopkins started the feature in 12th position, but quickly worked his way amongst the leaders just past the halfway point.
As Babcock chased the dueling Krockenbeger and Christian for the third spot, it was Dobbs and Pace that put on a show for the fans in a side- by-side battle. Shuman began to extend his lead over Wissmiller and Christian before a caution re-set the field with seven laps remaining.
On the re-start, Shuman pulled out to a lead once more ahead of Wissmiller and managed to finish off the field for his first LPS win of the 2012 season in the Stida.com, Hinchman, Angle Building Products, Competition Suspension, RTE Truck Equipment, Fatheadz Eyewear machine.
Wissmiller captured the runner-up spot with Christian scoring the top-three spot in the sprint feature. Hopkins took fourth ahead of Krockenberger, Jon Sciscoe, Shuman’s teammate, Ronnie Gardner was seventh followed by Pace, Babcock and Chris Gurley.
With a short rain delay before the sprint car A-main and no shortage of colorful rainbows on hand preceding the UMP Modified feature, Paul Bumgardner used a pole position starting spot to hold a small advantage over fellow local hot shoe, Brian Hayden. The duo started on the front row and were rocketing around the LPS circuit, challenging each other for the top spot.
Bumgardner held down the front spot through an early caution for debris and after nine laps were in the books, Eric Varner began to challenge for the second spot ahead of a duel between Kenny Carmichael and Carlos Bumgardner. Kelby Simmons was on the bumper of the front runners and looking for an opening in the first half of the feature..
On a re-start midway through the feature, Bumgardner and Hayden were door-to-door before a small gap emerged between Bumgardner and the 2H of Hayden. With Bumgardner hammering the top-side to perfection, it appeared the feature might be his on Saturday night, but misfortune would strike as an apparent broken driveline with five laps remaining brought out the caution.
Hayden, no stranger to misfortune while running up front this season, took over the point and brought the York Chevrolet, Cyclone Custom Products, IndianaOpenwheel.com, NAPA Auto Parts, All-American Karate, BG Shop Supplies mod to the checkered flag.
Hayden was challenged over the final circuits by Varner as lapped cars began to play a factor. Varner moved even with the leader in successive laps, but on the final circuit, Varner didn’t have a line on Hayden through the final corners as the 2H of Hayden found victory lane. Kenny Carmichael Sr. was third ahead of Carlos Bumgardner Sr., Kelby Simmons, Scott Ricketts, two-time defending feature winner, Craig Conyer, placed seventh with Dan Lewellen, Duane Lee and Wes McClara rounding out the top-10.
After a near miss in a front-running modified effort, Carmichael climbed into his No. 92 Carmichael’s Exhaust, Scott’s Custom Colors, Kessco Water, UMP Super Stock for the feature as he lined up outside the front row of Brazil’s Slick Griffin. Roy Bruce Jr. and Will Fagg trailed the front row with designs on the top spot as the field went green.
Carmichael took the lead in the DK Designs, Tire and Wheel Improvement No. 92 and held down that early advantage with Griffin fighting for the lead. Bruce and Fagg were holding off a challenge from Mike Staggs and Dustin Shoulders, who were locked in a fight for the fourth spot.
Up front it was Carmichael, who wouldn’t make a mistake and kept his UMP Super Stock on a rail over the final five laps to score the win despite the advances of Bruce and Griffin, who were locked in a fight to the finish. Bruce would slip to second ahead of Griffin over the final few laps as Carmichael flew under the checkered flags for the victory. Dustin Shoulders took fourth, Mike Staggs was fifth with Kenny Carmichael Jr., Josh Fagg, Travis Heramb, JR Watkins and Dustin Bruce.
The final feature of the evening had a familiar face in victory lane as the “Crazy 8” racing No. 8 of CJ Bryan scored the victory after car owner and teammate, Marlin Burns, was the victim of some early mechanical problems in his No. 88.
The pair started on the front row after winning the two heat races and fronted the field before Burns’ problems brought out a caution and Dave Bumgardner was collected in turn four with no time to avoid tangling with Burns No. 88 machine.
As the field re-took the green, Bryan led Josh Settles to the line as David Wallen gave chase in the third position followed by Blake Cross, Michael Harris, Josh Settles and the No. 19m of Doug McCullough. With eight laps scored in the bomber feature, Bryan continued to hold the top spot and it was Wallen that was able to make the pass of Settles for the runner-up position.
As the final laps ticked off, Bryan took the white flag with one lap remaining and wouldn’t relinquish another victory that kept him solidly up front in the season points. Wallen finished a solid second with Settles in third, Harris took fourth and Cross held off McCullough for fifth. Presley took seventh followed by Jeff Beggs, Mike Fisher Jr. and Megan Cavaness.
Next up at the Putnamville oval is a second try at running the first Thursday night sprint car show as pit and main gates open at 4:30 p.m., with hot laps set for 6 p.m. and racing at 7 p.m. Saturday will be a regular show including sprint cars, modifieds, super stocks and bombers.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint car feature
1. Casey Shuman, 2. Mitch Wissmiller, 3. Kent Christian, 4. AJ Hopkins, 5. Shawn Krockenberger, 6. Jon Sciscoe, 7. Ronnie Gardner, 8. Ryan Pace, 9. Chris Babcock, 10. Chris Gurley, 11. Keaton Dobbs, 12. Matt Goodnight, 13. Chad Davenport, 14. Tyler Waltz, 15. Lance Hayden, 16. Garrett Abrams, 17. Kevin Studley, 18. Jared Fox, 19. Levi Shields, 20. James Bradshaw, 21. Brandon Mattox, 22. Brent Beauchamp
B-main winner: Studley
Heat race winners: Wissmiller, Shuman, Dobbs
UMP Modified feature
1. Brian Hayden, 2. Eric Varner, 3. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 4. Carlos Bumgardner Sr., 5. Kelby Simmons, 6. Scott Ricketts, 7. Craig Conyer, 8. Dan Lewellen, 9. Duane Lee, 10. Wes McClara, 11. Chris Kerl, 12. Randy Millburn, 13. Gary Ricketts, 14. Casey Davis, 15. Paul Bumgardner, 16. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 17. Brian Amos, 18. Chad Combs, 19. Josh Boller, 20. Jaymie Turner
Heat winners: Paul Bumgardner, Hayden, Carlos Bumgardner Sr.
UMP Super Stock feature
1. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 2. Roy Bruce Jr., 3. Slick Griffin, 4. Dustin Shoulders, 5. Mike Staggs, 6. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 7. Josh Fagg, 8. Travis Heramb, 9. JR Watkins, 10. Dustin Bruce, 11. Ron Smith, 12. Steve Ware, 13. Josh McDaniel, 14. Kris Starks, 15. Chad Nolte, 16. Christian York, 17. Doug McCullough, 18. Randy Millburn, 19. Jamie Adams
Heat winners: Fagg, Bruce Jr.
1. C.J. Bryan, 2. David Wallen, 3. Josh Settles, 4. Michael Harris, 5. Blake Cross, 6. Doug McCullough, 7. Josh Presley, 8. Jeff Beggs, 9. Mike Fisher Jr., 10. Megan Cavaness, 11. Chris Schepper, 12. Justin Minardo, 13. John VanPelt, 14. Danny Ray Wampler, 15. David Bumgardner, 16. Harry Shepherd, 17. Jerry Hutto,18. Kevin Kemp, 19. Marlin Burns, 20. Donny Carson
Heat winners: Burns and Bryan