By CAREY FOXTimes Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE Opening night at Lincoln Park Speedway proved to be an explosive destination for a nearly capacity crowd in Putnamville as the Midwest Spring Car Series was on hand to duke it out for a $4,000-to-win prize. Also on tap was another stellar fireworks show by Circle City Pyrotechnics.
A sterling crowd of 34 sprint car hot shoes were on hand to try and take the large pay day to start the season for the MSCS on a night that celebrated the “Bill Gardner Indiana Open Wheel.com” Racin’ Fest.
Hunter Schuerenburg admittedly had a season to forget in 2013 and yet, Saturday night should go a long way in washing away last year’s struggles.
The Sikeston, Mo. native started on the outside of the front row in his Mach 1 Chassis, Nolen Racing, Roof Bolt Xpress No. 20 and would hold off a furious challenge over the final laps from Jon Stanbrough and Casey Shuman to pick up the big check at LPS.
Schuerenberg was fast off the trailer and earned his spot up front alongside pole sitter Kyle Cummins, with his heat race finish, passing points and a solid draw to start the A-main. Once the field went green, he held the point early as Shuman gave chase ahead of Bradley Sterrett, Thomas Meseraull and Seth Parker.
Shuman and Scheurenberg traded the lead 10 laps into the A-main as the crowd watched anxiously. Meanwhile, Daron Clayton was rocketing from the back of the field in to a top-10 spot after starting 18th in the feature. The “Modern Day Cowboy” was 9th as a red flag flew when A.J. Hopkins and Cummins tangled in turn two. Once the field went green, Stanbrough was quickly a factor after starting back in the 11th spot for the feature. The Brownsburg native charged in to the third spot after edging past Seth Parker. Stanbrough settled in behind Shuman with 12 laps remaining. Up front, Schuerenberg, or “Hunter %” as he’s become known for his all out effort behind the wheel, maintained the lead ahead of Shuman, but troubles were on the horizon.
While leading down the stretch, Schuerenberg’s mount began to smoke and Stanbrough made his charge, closing on the top side to get past Shuman, Parker and Sterrett. With five laps remaining, Robert Ballou hooked a rut and checked up in turn three as Clayton came to a halt. The caution set up a final battle to the checkered flag.
Once the field went green, Schuerenberg held fast to the lead as Stanbrough looked for an opening. However, he slipped the top of the cushion, which gave Schuerenberg just enough room. Both Stanbrough and Shuman closed in on Schuerenberg over the last two circuits, but the Missouri native was up to the task to pick up the victory to start the season.
Stanbrough claimed second ahead of Shuman, Parker, Ballou and Bill Rose. Sullivan’s Chase Stockon came forward from 21st to place seventh.
In the UMP Modified feature, Randy Shuman started inside of the front row and battled alongside Kenny Carmichael Jr. after an early spin by Wes McClara.
Shuman and Carmichael were wheel-to-wheel through the midpoint of the race when a caution came out when Wayne Newlin and Gary Ricketts made contact. On the restart, Shuman went low to edge into the lead as Carmichael gave chase on the high side ahead of Dan Lewellen and Randy Lines. Once Shuman got to the front of the pack he built upon his lead over the last five laps as Lewellen and Carmichael slugged it out for the second spot. Lewellen would eventually take the runner-up spot as Kenny Carmichael Jr. made his way into the third spot just ahead of his father. Lines claimed fifth with Jimmy and Gary Hayden, Jeff Deckard, Jake Humphrey and Tyler Loughmiller wrapping up the top-10.
Shuman earned the win in his HP Machine, Midwest Light Source, Little Nugget Barn and Grill, Kawtown Kawasaki, Carnaghi Towing, D&C Sandblasting and Powder Coating No. 62.
The UMP Super Stock A-main looked to be a thriller early on as Dustin Shoulders and Josh Boller battled over the first half of the feature. It turned into a late cruise for Shoulders as he pulled away to top Doug McCullough, Boller and Carmichael Sr.
Shoulders gained the advantage near the halfway point and pulled away for the victory.
The final two A-mains of the night proved entertaining as Tim Wright and David Bumgardner fought for the lead door-to-door early in the opener. Wright was nearly sidelined in his struggle for the lead when his No. 44 bomber caught a turn three berm and rolled on to two wheels. After lifting off the throttle, Wright’s car regained speed and he chased down Bumgardner for the lead.
Wright built upon his advantage late as Bumgardner had mechanical problems on the final lap and slipped back to ninth at the checkered flag. Ron Smith advanced into the second spot at the line ahead of Chad Weiner, Jordan Almanza and Bob Farris.
In the final race of the night, Brazil, Ind. native David Wallen started 2014 as he ended the season in 2013. In Victory Lane.
Wallen fought his way past Carlos Bumgardner to score the lead and built his lead late to claim the win over Bumgardner. The pair were side-by-side for the first half of the race over several restarts, but once Wallen got to the lead, he slowly built upon his advantage. Michael Harris would take third ahead of Blake Cross and James Walters.
This weekend will be the ‘Spring Fling’ for bombers, paying $500-to-win and $50 to start. Sprint cars, modifieds and super stocks are on the card as well.
Midwest Sprint Car Series A-main feature
1. Hunter Schuerenberg, 2. Jon Stanbrough, 3. Casey Shuman, 4. Seth Parker, 5. Robert Ballou, 6. Bill Rose, 7. Chase Stockon, 8. Thomas Meseraull, 9. Bradley Sterrett, 10. Brian Hayden, 11. Chad Boespflug, 12. Ethan Barrow, 13. Aaron Farney, 14. Kyle Cummins, 15. Brandon Mattox, 16. Daron Clayton, 17. James Lyerle, 18. Wes McIntyre, 19. A.J. Hopkins, 20. Jeff Bland Jr. B-main winner: Wes McIntyre Heat race winners: Kyle Cummins, A.J. Hopkins, Thomas Meseraull, Jeff Bland Jr.
UMP Modified feature
1. Randy Shuman, 2. Dan Lewellen, 3. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 4. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 5. Randy Lines, 6. Jimmy Hayden, 7. Gary Hayden, 8. Jeff Deckard, 9. Jake Humphrey, 10. Tyler Loughmiller, 11. Josh McDaniel, 12. Carlos Bumgardner Sr., 13. Wayne Newlin, 14. Brent Hudson, 15. Elijah Heminger, 16. Wes McClara, 17. Gary Ricketts, 18. J.D. Francis, 19. Randy Milburn, 20. Doug Bryan Jr., 21. Terry Fish Jr.
Heat race winners: Wes McClara, Kenny Carmichael Jr., Randy Shuman
UMP Super Stock Feature
1. Dustin Shoulders, 2. Doug McCullough, 3. Josh Boller, 4. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 5. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 6. Dan McCullough, 7. Josh McDaniel, 8. Travis Heramb, 9. Kenny Fields, 10. William Harris, 11. JR Watkins, 12. Larry Babbs, 13. David Daniels
Heat race winners: Dustin Shoulders, Josh Boller
Bomber Feature 1
1. Tim Wright, 2. Ron Smith, 3. Chad Weiner, 4. Jordan Almanza, 5. Bob Farris, 6. Kyle Krupa, 7. Jack Campbell, 8. Chris Schepper, 9. David Bumgardner, 10. Kyle Prince, 11. Lenny Krupa III, 12. DJ Smiley, 13. Fred Grayless, 14. Chucky Walden, 15. Jerry Hutto, 16. Cody Wright
Bomber feature 2
1. David Wallen, 2. Carlos Bumgardner Sr., 3. Michael Harris, 4. Blake Cross, 5. James Walters, 6. Mark Dickerson, 7. Mike Wright Jr., 8. William Norton, 9. Jason Thornburg, 10. Matthew Cooley, 11. Dustin Colvin, 12. Tom Plemons, 13. Mike Fisher Jr., 14. D.J. McCullough, 15. Jack Hatton, 16. Kevin Kemp Heat race winners: Ron Smith, David Wallen, David Bumgardner, James Walters