By CAREY FOXTimes Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE — A hearty group of fans and drivers were on hand at Lincoln Park Speedway Saturday night despite the chilly weather. Those in attendance were treated to some excellent racing as Seth Parker won an instant classic sprint car feature over Carson Short.
Putnamville was also host to a special night for the Groomer Family.
Derek Groomer started the night off with a victory in the UMP Modified feature and his brother Ralph, followed that up with a dominant win in the UMP Super Stock A-main. C.J. Bryan and Carlos Bumgardner Sr. scored bomber wins as the track hosted National Armed Forces Night.
Both Parker and Short have gotten off to a solid start to the 2014 campaign, but both drivers were looking for their first victory.
Arizona’s Chad Boespflug, Bloomington’s Ethan Barrow and Bradley Sterrett were each heat race winners with 23 cars on hand searching for the top prize.
Terre Haute’s Brandon Mattox started alongside Sterrett in the front row to open the A-main, but contact on the start relegated the pair to the back of the field before the first lap was completed.
On the re-start, Short jumped to the lead ahead of Barrow, Parker and Casey Shuman with Boespflug and Jordan Kinser in tow.
Parker and Shuman battled wheel-to-wheel early on before Parker blasted into the second spot with a masterful job running the top as the front runners made their way into lapped traffic just seven laps into the race.
At the midway point, Short had Parker closing quickly and the lapped traffic would play a big role down the stretch. Short got caught up in traffic as Parker blasted into the lead and Shuman threatened to take second from Short ahead of Boespflug. Parker tried to build a cushion, but Short immediately came right back as the leaders weaved through traffic with five laps remaining. Short flashed back into the lead with a move off of turn four as Parker stayed closely connected.
The pair went to the wire in their battle for the victory as Parker made his move off the final corner and outraced Short to the finish line in a thrilling battle. Shuman took home third with Boespflug and Barrow in the top-five. Chris Gurley, Dickie Gaines and Jeff Bland Jr. followed and Mattox rocketed from the back to finish ninth ahead of Chris Babcock.
The first contested feature of the evening was the UMP Modified A-main as Groomer caught a bit of racers’ luck to pick up the victory ahead of last week’s victor, Roy Bruce Jr.
Wes McClara started on the pole and had designs on the victory as he led the first 15 laps ahead of multiple challengers, starting with Kenny Carmichael Jr. However, Carmichael would slow on lap 10 and head pitside. That only opened the door for the charging Groomer as Jake Humphrey was on an absolute rail on the top of the track. The Bloomington native was door-to-door with Bruce for several laps before chasing down Groomer for second.
Humphrey and McClara put on a show for several laps ahead of Groomer and Randy Shuman, who charged from the 20th starting spot all the way to third before pulling off late. McClara’s search for the win would end prematurely as well as he came to a stop with five laps remaining. That left Humphrey out front of Groomer on the re-start.
Humphrey held down that lead as Shuman joined the battle and made a move for the lead off turn two. However, Shuman spun and Humphrey clipped him.
Both drivers were forced to the pits with damage leaving Groomer out front to finish off the victory ahead of Bruce and Camby’s Damon Harrell, who advanced from seventh to third in a continuation of a strong rookie season. Kenny Carmichael Sr. took fourth ahead of Carlos Bumgardner Sr. and Jimmy Hayden. Terre Haute’s Brent Hudson advanced from 16th to seventh.
Groomer’s win came in his Gentle Dentist, Burton Masonry, Groomer Asphalt Paving, Nemesis Race Car, powered by a Travis Kern Racing Engine.
Minutes after his brother visited victory lane, Ralph Groomer jumped in the Griffin Auto Sales, U.S. Lawns, Hoosier Towing, No. g2 super stock and came home with the victory ahead of Danville’s Dustin Shoulders and Greencastle’s Scott Carrington. Groomer and Shoulders were out front as Carrington stayed in contact with the leaders ahead of Kris Starks and Travis Heramb early on. However, a battle of attrition began to claim several cars as Doug McCullough moved into fifth trailed by Travis Howe.
Over the final circuits, Groomer opened up a small lead on his way to victory as Shoulders, Carrington, McCullough and Howe wrapped up the top-five spots.
In the bomber features, Bryan came through with his third A-main win of the season in his No. 48 Brownsburg Signs-sponsored machine. He started on the outside of the front row and was able to quickly build a comfortable lead ahead of Kevin Kemp during the early laps. The best battle of the race was for second as Kemp battled with James Walters and David Bumgardner as Tim Wright moved up from the 10th starting position.
As Bryan cruised out front, Bumgardner worked his way through a three-way battle for the second spot as Wright edged into third over the waning laps. Kemp held on to the fourth spot with Walters taking the fifth position.
In the second bomber feature, Carlos Bumgardner Sr. left little doubt as to the winner of the A-main as he pulled out to nearly a half lap victory over Jordan Almanza, Christian Kline, David Wallen and Kyle Krupa.
Lincoln Park Speedway Sprint car feature
1. Seth Parker, 2. Carson Short, 3. Casey Shuman, 4. Chad Boespflug, 5. Ethan Barrow, 6. Chris Gurley, 7. Dickie Gaines, 8. Jeff Bland Jr., 9. Brandon Mattox, 10. Chris Babcock, 11. Jordan Kinser, 12. Bradley Sterrett, 13. Lee Dakus, 14. Brian Karraker, 15. Levi Shields, 16. Kevin Chambers, 17. Hunter ONeal, 18. Ethan Fleetwood, 19. Bub Cummings, 20. Tyler Hewitt
B-main winner: Fleetwood Heat winners: Boespflug, Barrow, Sterrett
UMP Modified feature
1. Derek Groomer, 2. Roy Bruce Jr., 3. Damon Harrell, 4. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 5. Carlos Bumgardner Sr., 6. Jimmy Hayden, 7. Brent Hudson, 8. Josh McDaniel, 9. Jake Humphrey, 10. Randy Shuman, 11. Gary Hayden, 12. Wes McClara, 13. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 14. Gary Ricketts, 15. Tyler Loughmiller, 16. Jason Thomas, 17. Roger Mills, 18. Jeff Deckard, 19. Dan Lewellen, 20. Wayne Newlin
Heat winners: Thomas, Groomer
UMP Super Stock feature
1. Ralph Groomer, 2. Dustin Shoulders, 3. Scott Carrington, 4. Doug McCullough, 5. Travis Howe, 6. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 7. Jonathon Newgent, 8. David Daniels, 9. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 10. Kris Starks, 11. Josh Boller, 12. Steve Peeden, 13. Josh McDaniel, 14. Larry Babbs, 15. Kenny Fields, 16. Travis Heramb, 17. JR Watkins, 18. Dan McCullough, 19. Will Barnett
Heat winners: Carmichael Jr., Groomer
Bomber feature 1
1. C.J. Bryan, 2. David Bumgardner, 3. Tim Wright, 4. Kevin Kemp, 5. James Walters, 6. Cody Wright, 7. Lenny Krupa III, 8. Bob Farris, 9. Barry Hicks, 10. Chucky Walden, 11. Jerry Hutto, 12. Jack Campbell, 13. Curtis Fouts, 14. Blake Cross, 15. Ron Smith
Bomber feature 2 1. Carlos Bumgardner Sr., 2. Jordan Almanza, 3. Christian Kline, 4. David Wallen, 5. Kyle Krupa, 6. Michael Williams, 7. Tom Cox, 8. Mike Fisher Jr., 9. Dustin Colvin, 10. Bobby Tarrh, 11. Megan Cavaness, 12. Fred Grayless, 13. Josh Settles, 14. DJ Smiley, 15. Mike Wright Jr.
Heat winners: Cross, Bumgardner Sr., Walters