By CAREY FOXTimes Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE – A deep orange, full moon rose over Lincoln Park Speedway on Saturday night and with it came several first time winners.
After a two-week hiatus due to rain, the Putnamville oval roared back to life Saturday night with Jeff Bland Jr. capturing the sprint car A-main from the pole. Derek Groomer was able to do the same in the UMP Modified feature as Steve Peeden picked up the UMP Super Stock win with Ryan Freeland adding his first bomber win of the year.
Bland won the opening heat race of the evening with Shane Cockrum and Shane Cottle also winning their heats in the 24-car field. Cole Smith scored the B-main win to make the show and set the A-main.
Bland and Cockrum started on the front row with Cottle and Kyle Simon in tow behind them. When the field went green for the first two laps it was Bland and Cottle duking it out before JJ Hughes rolled over in turn three to bring out the red flag. He was uninjured in the incident and was actually able to re-start from the back of the pack with no damage.
Bland got off to a strong re-start and had the bottom line mastered on his way to a solid lead. Cottle ripped around the top line in pursuit, but Cockrum found the bottom to his liking as well and made it to second-place. Cottle drew even with Cockrum by the 10th circuit as the leaders caught lapped traffic.
Bland began to build on his advantage as the field strung out behind him. Cockrum regained second-place briefly with Cottle, Nate McMillin and Kyle Simon all battling for a top-five spot. McMillin and Simon were side-by-side over the final laps as Tyler Hewitt made his way to sixth ahead of a charging Casey Shuman.
Over the final five laps of the 25-lapper, Bland pulled away to pick up his first win of 2016 as Cottle regained the second spot ahead of Cockrum, McMillin and Simon at the line.
Thirty-four UMP Modifieds unloaded at LPS this week with Groomer, Bradley Sterrett, Jordan Wever and Travis Shoulders winning the four heats. Cullen Goodman and Schuyler Nahre picked up B-main wins to set the starting lineup for the A-main feature.
Groomer and Sterrett appeared set for a big time battle up front with the two opening a gap on the third-place running Wever.
However, six laps into the fray, Sterrett suffered a mechanical problem and pulled off the track leaving Groomer by himself on the point. He had caught up to lapped traffic at the midway point before a caution re-set the field.
When the field went green again however, Groomer held down the top spot over the final six laps to claim the win ahead of Wever, Shoulders, Shuman and Kenny Carmichael Jr.
Twenty-three UMP Super Stocks were on hand in pursuit of the checkered flag Saturday as Paul Wright, Jonathon Newgent and Josh Boller won the heat races and Steve Peeden raced to the win in the B-main.
Peeden’s heat race issues set him up for an exciting A-main run with a 16th-place start as Josh McDaniel, McCullough, Randy Brawley and Boller made up the first two rows.
McCullough was on pace to repeat his feature win of two weeks ago as he got to the bottom groove first and led Boller the first four laps. However, Boller found the briefest of openings on the fifth lap and shoehorned his way underneath of McCullough off turn four and got to the lead. Boller and McCullough set a solid pace up front of Paul Wright and Newgent, but Peeden had made his way to sixth after 10 laps.
A lap 12 caution bunched the field back up and opened the door for Peeden to make a quick dash into contention. He made the pass for the second spot with six laps to go and found his own opening under Boller for the lead with five laps to go. From there, Peeden was able to hold off Boller’s attempts at regaining the top spot the final circuits to gain the win. McCullough came home third ahead of Wright and Newgent with Larry Raines in sixth.
In the bomber main event, Freeland was the beneficiary of a caution with just four laps to go as James Walters came to a stop after leading half of the A-main.
Ron Smith started from the pole position, but within the first five circuits the dogged pack of Walters, Freeland and Jordan Almanza had found their way into the front pack. Walters took over the lead and had that spot locked in despite Freeland’s challenges through the middle 10 laps. Almanza was close on the bumper of Freeland as Curt Leonard, Cody Wright and Scott Crouch were in tow. David Wallen advanced from 16th to seventh through 10 laps.
A lap 12 caution re-set the field, but for Walters, a tire issue, ended his shot at a victory.
When the field went green once again, Freeland would hold off a challenge from Almanza across the finish line as Leonard, Wright and Crouch wrapped the top-five.
This weekend the Midwest Sprint Car Series will pay $2,500 to the winner with modifieds, super stocks and bombers also on the card.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint car feature
1. Jeff Bland Jr., 2. Shane Cottle, 3. Shane Cockrum, 4. Nate McMillin, 5. Kyle Simon, 6. Tyler Hewitt, 7. Casey Shuman, 8. Jamie Williams, 9. Bill Rose, 10. Chris Phillips, 11. Mike Gass, 12. Charlie Belden Jr., 13. Lee Underwood, 14. JJ Hughes, 15. Shelby Vangilder, 16. Jared Chastain, 17. Ben Phillips, 18. Lukas Smith, 19. Matt McDonald, 20. Cole Smith
B-main winner: Smith
Heat winners: Bland Jr., Cockrum, Cottle
UMP super Stock Feature
1. Steve Peeden, 2. Josh Boller, 3. Doug McCullough, 4. Paul Wright, 5. Jonathon Newgent, 6. Larry Raines, 7. Wes McClara, 8. Randy Brawley, 9. Michael Clark, 10. Chris Harcourt, 11. Scotty Massie, 12. Scott Agnew, 13. Michael Williams, 14. Craig Markel, 15. DJ Smiley, 16. John Shidler, 17. Bob Sample, 18. Josh McDaniel, 19. Kenny Fields, 20. Hayden Rogers
B-main winner: Peeden
Heat race winners: Wright, Newgent, Boller
UMP Modified feature 1. Derek Groomer, 2. Jordan Wever, 3. Travis Shoulders, 4. Randy Shuman, 5. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 6. Tyler Loughmiller, 7. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 8. Broc Burton, 9. Brandon Reed, 10. Carlos Bumgardner Sr. 12. Brad Thompson, 13. Schuyler Nahre, 14. Cullen Goodman, 15. Michael Fish, 16. David Baldwin, 17. Bradley Sterrett, 18. Josh McDaniel, 19. Jay Humphrey Jr., 20. Dan Lewellen
B-main winners: Goodman, Nahre
Heat winners: Groomer, Sterrett, Wever, Shoulders
1. Ryan Freeland, 2. Jordan Almanza, 3. Curt Leonard, 4. Cody Wright, 5. Scott Crouch, 6. David Wallen, 7. Megan Cavaness, 8. Lenny Kruppa III, 9. Justin Massie, 10. Bob Farris, 11. Matthew Grimes, 12. Joe Cash, 13. James Walters, 14. Kyle Krupa, 15. Justin Bumgardner, 16. Jerry Hutto, 17. Ron Smith, 18. Travis Heramb, 19. Glenn Ogden, 20. Paul Alleyn, 21. Daniel Dupin, 22. Alex Reid, 23. Tom Plemons
Heat race winners: Leonard, Almanza, Ogden, Crouch