By CAREY FOX Times Sports Editor PUTNAMVILLE – California’s Chad Boespflug gave car owner Paul Hazen a special Independence Day gift on Thursday night, capturing the AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car victory over a 42-car field at Lincoln Park Speedway. The victory was Boespflug’s first USAC National victory and added another trophy to Hazen’s prestigious resume as a car owner.
“This is something you want to put on your list when you race sprint cars, and to do it for Paul is even more special. To be among the guys who have won USAC races for him is an awesome feeling. I moved out here from California to race, and this is what I want to do. This is just a dream – better than I could imagine,” Boespflug said in victory lane with the Physical Medical Consultants No. 57 DRC/Kercher machine.

Boespflug started up front and wouldn’t look back as he worked the cushion of the Putnamville oval to perfection. The Hanford, Calif. native led every lap from the pole position as the real excitement was behind him as battles waged throughout the field. Jon Stanbrough and Tracy Hines were side-by-side for the first half of the race before USAC rookie Tyler Courtney was able to get past both of them and start chewing into Boespflug’s lead over the last segment of the A-main.

Courtney credited a strong qualifying run for a start to his best USAC finish after moving up from seventh to take second. “We were able to get a decent lap in tonight, and starting up a little closer to the front definitely was big for us. We got going on the bottom and just picked and picked our way through there. I kept thinking to myself to not overdrive it. We were gaining on him at the end and I hit a tire that kinda messed up my line through there from then on. But running second in a USAC show going into Sprintweek is huge for me,” Courtney said.

Stanbrough would eventually come home third overall in the Marion Underground Construction – Shane Wade Enterprises #66 DRC/Dynotech. The Avon, Ind. resident knows exactly what it’s like to pilot the famed Hazen 57 car.

“I’m happy for Paul – we won a ton of races down here doing the same thing Chad was doing tonight. I’m happy for him to win his first, also. I tried a little bit of everywhere, but the longer we ran, the more he seemed to slip away,” Stanbrough said. “We were close tonight, but just not close enough. We’re right there, so sooner or later we’ll get one.”

Missouri’s Hunter Schuerenberg came up from 12th to place fourth overall with Kevin Thomas Jr. taking fifth.

Bloomington’s Chad Combs got off to a strong start to the season with six top-10 finishes in the UMP Modified class through the month of April at Brownstown and Bloomington Speedways before falling into some mechanical woes. However, he made a grand return to Lincoln Park Speedway in the Johnson’s Taxidermy, Combs Custom Carving, Burton Masonry sponsored No. 09 on Thursday evening. Combs rocketed to first-place past Brian Hayden on a re-start with several laps remaining in the UMP Modified feature.

Combs started back in the 12th position and methodically worked his way forward as Dan Lewellen led the early circuits ahead of Randy Shuman and Hayden. A caution would fly five laps in as Shuman and Lewellen tangled and both were sent to the back of the field. When the field went back to green, Hayden held the point ahead of Kenny Carmichael Jr. as Combs had already made his way into the top-five ahead of Wes McClara and Jesse Cramer.

Hayden looked as if he might be able to pull away from the field as he added to his lead, but Combs dove to the bottom and took over second ahead of Carmichael with McClara leading Cramer and Paul Bumgardner as the caution came out one last time.

With the field re-set, Combs sensed his best chance would be on the start and he made it work as he made the pass with four laps remaining. Combs got past Hayden for the lead and didn’t look back in gaining his first win of the season powered by his Hostetler Racing Engine.

In the UMP Super Stock Division, Roy Bruce Jr. has been through the battles on the red clay of Bloomington Friday nights, but one night before his regular gig, Bruce took the lead from Troy Clark early on and held off challenges from Steve Peeden, Marty Cooper, Doug McCullough and Mike Staggs.

Bruce started on the outside of the front row in the Don Bush Family Moving, Intense Motorsports, Car Quest Motor Service machine as Clark held down the pole position at the start.

As the feature went green, Bruce and Clark were door-to-door over the early laps. However, Cooper was able to edge past Clark, who lost a spot and was charged with coming out on top of a four-way fight for third with Staggs, McCullough and Peeden. As the leaders found their way into lapped traffic, the caution flew after nine recorded laps.

Bruce took the green and was holding off Cooper, but the real battle was for third as a blanket would have covered Peeden, Staggs and McCullough. Five laps remained as Bruce began to build a small advantage as Peeden and Cooper were wheel-to-wheel ahead of Staggs and McCullough on the white flag lap. Bruce would cross the line ahead of the field.

In the first of two bomber features at LPS, Doug McCullough claimed a repeat victory in the class as he battled through lapped traffic to score the win in the Gardens of Growth, Hank’s Smoked Briskets No. 19m.

McCullough held off challenges from Tim Wright early on during the feature as he worked his way into the runner-up spot past David Wallen, Josh Settles and Jeff Beggs.

The final A-main of the night was captured by Carlos Bumgardner, who held off Tony Tidwell Jr. after a re-start with five laps remaining. Josh Presley came forward to place third ahead of Bob Farris and Damon Harrell.

Saturday will be the LPS Annual Fireworks Spectacular featuring sprints, modifieds, super stocks and bombers. Admission is $15 for adults wit kids 10 and under admitted free.

AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Cars Lincoln Park Speedway Thursday Fast qualifier: Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-12.521 FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Clayton, 2. Hines, 3. East, 4. R.Vander Weerd, 5. Andretti, 6. Barrow, 7. McGhee, 8. Drake, 9. C.Short, 10. Terry, 11. Ballou. 2:11.65

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Briscoe, 2. Schuerenberg, 3. Stanbrough, 4. Boespflug, 5. Cottle, 6. Gurley, 7. Gross, 8. Chambers, 9. Thomas, 10. Bell. 2:15.84

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Bacon, 3. Darland, 4. Stockon, 5. Windom, 6. Christian, 7. Westfall, 8. Parker, 9. Courtney, 10. Hayden. NT

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bland, 2. Shuman, 3. J.Vander Weerd, 4. Beauchamp, 5. Hopkins, 6. Jackson, 7. Jarrett, 8. Dobbs, 9. Gabbard, 10. Leary. NT

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Courtney, 2. Ballou, 3. Thomas, 4. Jackson, 5. Hopkins, 6. Windom, 7. Leary, 8. Bell, 9. Westfall, 10. Cottle, 11. Gurley, 12. Parker, 13. Drake, 14. Gabbard, 15. McGhee, 16. Chambers, 17. Terry, 18. Gross, 19. Andretti, 20. Christian, 21. Hayden, 22. Barrow, 23. Dobbs, 24. Jarrett, 25. C.Short. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Chad Boespflug, 2. Tyler Courtney, 3. Jon Stanbrough, 4. Hunter Schuerenberg, 5. Kevin Thomas, 6. Robert Ballou, 7. Dave Darland, 8. Tracy Hines, 9. Bryan Clauson, 10. Brent Beauchamp, 11. Chase Stockon, 12. Chris Windom, 13. Richard Vander Weerd, 14. Bobby East, 15. Jace Vander Weerd, 16. Casey Shuman. 17. Dakota Jackson, 18. Brady Bacon, 19. Chase Briscoe, 20. A.J. Hopkins, 21. Jeff Bland Jr., 22. Daron Clayton.

UMP Modified feature
1. Chad Combs, 2. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 3. Wes McClara, 4. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 5. Paul Bumgardner, 6. Rob Fuqua, 7. Brian Hayden, 8. Kasey Schrock, 9. Larry Lambert, 10. Scott Ricketts, 11. Mike Bechelli, 12. Wayne Newlin, 13. Blake Davis, 14. Michael Kettnich, 15. Jesse Cramer, 16. Jimmie Haager, 17. Gabe Menser, 18. Dan Lewellen, 19. Randy Shuman, 20. Jerry Davis

UMP Super Stock feature
1. Roy Bruce Jr., 2. Marty Cooper, 3. Steve Peeden, 4. Doug McCullough, 5. Mike Staggs, 6. AJ Clark, 7. Kenny Carmichel Sr., 8. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 9. C.J. Bryan, 10. Michael Fish, 11. Travis Heramb, 12. Tyler Loughmiller, 13. Scott Carrington, 14. Josh Fagg, 15. Josh McDaniel, 16. Dan McCullough, 17. Justin West, 18. Scott Wisman, 19. Jacob Wright, 20. Jason Massie, 21. Harry Shepherd, 22. Troy Clark, 23. Jake Leitzman, 24. Chad Nolte

Bomber feature 1 1. Doug McCullough, 2. Tim Wright, 3. David Wallen, 4. Josh Settles, 5. Jeff Beggs, 6. Joel Shores Jr., 7. Jordan Almanza, 8. Ron Smith, 9. Mike Fisher Jr., 10. Josh Foxworthy, 11. Rob Benham, 12. Lenny Krupa III, 13. Cody Wright, 14. James Walters, 15. Kevin Kemp, 16. Brad Neese

Bomber feature 2 1. Carlos Bumgardner Sr,, 2. Tony Tidwell Jr., 3. Josh Presley, 4. Bob Farris, 5. Damon Harrell, 6. Jusas Bowling, 7. Kyle Krupa, 8. Jack Hatton, 9. Jerry Hutto, 10. Justin Minardo, 11. Junior Shepherd, 12. Mark Dickerson, 13. Tom Tidwell, 14. Jack Campbell, 15. Megan Cavaness