By CAREY FOX Times Sports Editor PUTNAMVILLE – A long, cold winter officially came to a close as Lincoln Park Speedway opened its gates and started the season with the IndianaOpenWheel.com Racin’ Fest and played host to the Midwest Sprint Car Series.
The night proved to be one to remember for a driver in each of the four contested classes, who picked up their first career win at the Putnamville oval.
Elizabethtown’s Chase Stockon, fresh off a strong start to the 2015 USAC Sprint Car season in Florida and a “Winter Dirt Games VI” title, recorded a $4,000 payday by pulling away late from Casey Shuman and a hard charging Robert Ballou, who started back in the 17th position.
Stockon’s win came in the Superior Tank & Trailer Co., Crescent Electric Supply, McGill Power S&E, Angle Buildings, DRC Chassis, Fisher Racing Engines No. 32 machine.
Bradley Sterrett hasn’t had much luck in either a sprint car or modified at LPS, but Saturday proved to be his night after he held off Paul Bumgardner in a wild UMP Modified main event finish. The front running duo swapped the lead several times over the last few laps, exchanging sliders through turns three and four. However, Sterrett managed to hold off Bumgardner, as Brian Hayden slipped into the second spot on the final lap.
Sterrett’s victory came in the Umphress Masonry, Spec Racing Engine, JB’s Salvage, Jones Oil Solvent, Champion Spark Plug No. 90 for the Bloomington native.
Greencastle’s Josh Boller came agonizingly close to his first career victory several times last season, but either a mechanical issue or a battling competitor got the best of him at the checkered flag. However, on opening night of 2015, Boller put forth a dominant effort in the UMP Super Stock class, holding off challenges from defending points champion Doug McCullough and Kris Starks.
Boller survived several restarts with one lap remaining to corral his first A-main win in the South Farms, S&B Auto Brokers, Kenny’s Towing, Curtis Towing, Riggen Construction, JR Bowling Excavating, Salon’s By T No. 05B.
Tyler Neal has also never quite found himself at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the night at LPS, but that all changed Saturday as he powered away from the bomber field and second-place running Scott Tidwell, who held off challenges from Josh Settles.
Twenty eight sprint cars were on hand at Lincoln Park Speedway for the Hoosier Tire MSCS series opening event as Shuman, Jon Stanbrough and Stockon were heat race winners. Chad Boespflug claimed the B-main.
Stockon started alongside Shuman and took over the lead on the fifth circuit and wouldn’t look back over the 30-lap A-main.
Stockon was able to build upon his lead during the green flag runs as Shuman trailed behind him as Brent Beauchamp moved up to third ahead of Max McGhee by the midpoint. Meanwhile, Ballou, involved in a heat race crash as Brady Short flipped, rocketed through the field.
As Stockon maintained the point, Beauchamp and Shuman battled for second as Ballou was able to get past Daron Clayton with McGhee and Shane Cockrum in tow.
With the field fighting for position behind him, Stockon powered the Elliott’s Carts & Custom Trailers, Amsoil, FK Indy-sponsored machine into victory lane with Shuman, Ballou, Beauchamp and Clayton rounding out the top-five spots.
Sterrett would have his hands full during the modified feature as he was forced to track down Bumgardner as the two got past early leader Dan Lewellen. The Bloomington driver got past Bumgardner when he encountered lapped traffic and then had to fend him off the final 10 circuits.
With five laps remaining, Bumgardner had reeled Sterrett in by running the extreme top. Coming through turn four, Bumgardner drove hard to the bottom of four and made a sweeping pass as Sterrett attempted to cross him back over.
The two traded the advantage briefly before Bumgardner made contact with the turn four wall and lost momentum as Hayden took over second on the final lap. Bumgardner maintained third ahead of Kurt Allison and David Bumgardner with Jake Humphrey, Kelby Simmons, Kenny Carmichael Sr., Darren Wireman and Carlos Bumgardner Sr. in the top-10.
In the super stock feature, Matt Jordan started on the front row alongside McCullough, but it was Boller that flew to the lead with a strong start. Once out front, Boller fended of all challengers despite caution flags flying three separate times with one lap remaining.
Both Kenny Carmichael Jr. and McCullough took a shot on restarts, but Boller maintained the point leading McCullough, Starks, Carmichael Jr., Jonathon Newgent, James Walters, Chris Campbell, Jordan, Scotty Massie and David Daniels to the line. In the final event of the evening, Neal ripped away from the field by lap 10 and built a large advantage ahead of Tidwell, who battled past Settles as Ryan Freeland and Cody Wright made the top-five ahead of Ron Smith, Chucky Walden, Donald Smiley, Dustin Colvin and Ron Wallen Sr.
This weekend will feature a regular show featuring sprint cars, modifieds, super stocks and bombers.
Midwest Sprint Car Series
1. Chase Stockon, 2. Casey Shuman, 3. Robert Ballou, 4. Brent Beauchamp, 5. Daron Clayton, 6. Chad Boespflug, 7. Max McGhee, 8. Jon Stanbrough, 9. Shane Cockrum, 10. Aaron Farney, 11. Donny Brackett, 12. Brandon Morin, 13. James Lyerla, 14. Bub Cummings, 15. Dickie Gaines, 16. Carson Short, 17. Kyle Cummins, 18. Jeff Bland Jr, 19. Mitch Wissmiller, 20. A.J. Hopkins, 21. Brandon Mattox B-main winner: Boespflug
Heat winners: Shuman, Stanbrough, Stockon
UMP Modified feature
1. Bradley Sterrett, 2. Brian Hayden, 3. Paul Bumgardner, 4. Kurt Allison, 5. David Bumgardner, 6. Jake Humphrey, 7. Kelby Simmons, 8. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 9. Darren Wireman, 10. Carlos Bumgardner Sr., 11. Jay Humphrey Jr., 12. Jeramie England, 13. Brent Hudson, 14. Dan Lewellen, 15. Scott Ricketts, 16. Roy Bruce Jr., 17. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 18. Gary Ricketts, 19. Doug Bryant Jr., 20. Fred Grayless
B-main winner: Brian Hayden
Heat winners: Lewellen, P. Bumgardner, Sterrett
UMP Super Stock feature
1. Josh Boller, 2. Doug McCullough, 3. Kris Starks, 4. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 5. Jonathon Newgent, 6. James Walters, 7. Chris Campbell, 8. Matt Jordan, 9. Scotty Massie, 10. David Daniels, 11. Josh McDaniel, 12. Jaylen Frye, 13. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 14. Luke Timmerman, 15. Chris Brewer, 16. Chris Hillman, 17. Paul Wright, 18. Chris Harcourt, 19. Kenny Fields, 20. C.J. Bryan, 21. Larry Raines, 22. James Campbell
Heat winners: Jordan, McCullough, Boller
1. Tyler Neal, 2. Scott Tidwell, 3. Josh Settles, 4. Ryan Freeland, 5. Cody Wright, 6. Ron Smith, 7. Chucky Walden, 8. Donald Smiley, 9. Dustin Colvin, 10. Ron Wallen Sr., 11. Kyle Prince, 12. Adam Farr, 13. Paul Allen, 14. Bryan Hunt, 15. Mark Dickerson, 16. DJ Smiley, 17. Tim Wright, 18. Josh Litton, 19. Tom Plemons, 20. Jerry Hutto, 21. Travis Heramb, 22. RJ Pruitt, 23. David Wallen, 24. Lenny Kruppa III, 25. Marlin Burns, 26. Cameron Harris, 27. Justin Massie, 28. Jordan Almanza, 29. Zane Fields, 30. Bob Farris
Heat winners: Neal, T. Wright, Burns, D. Wallen