By CAREY FOXTimes Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE – Lincoln Park Speedway provided a night of “firsts” on Saturday evening with several different drivers making emotional trips to Victory Lane at the Putnamville oval.
Tyler Thomas strapped into the Burton Masonry No. 04 for the second time and took the checkered flag despite dogged efforts from Jeff Bland Jr. and Brady Short.
The young Oklahoma native was driving a non-wing 410 sprint car for just the second time after debuting with a sixth-place run at Bloomington on Friday. He was able to trump that impressive run by putting the #04 on the pole for the 25-lap A-main at LPS.
Thomas took the green flag and was able to open a bit of breathing room by the fifth lap as Kyle Robbins sat in second place ahead of Short, Shane Cockrum and Bland. By the 10th circuit, Thomas had his hands full maneuvering through the back of the field as his challengers tried to reel him in for a challenge.
Through the midway point of the race, Thomas was opening a gap and appeared set to sail away to a solid margin of victory as Short and Bland were each duking it out side-by-side for the runner-up position. Behind those two, Cockrum and Robbins fought for the fourth spot.
A caution flag came out on lap 19 to bring the field back together for a final dash for the win. Thomas caught a break as two lapped cars were set behind the second-place running Bland with a third lapper separating Short from Bland.
When the field went green again, Thomas got a good start and would make it stand up without a serious challenge over the final five laps to gain his first non-wing sprint car victory. Bland and Short were in the top-three as Kevin Thomas Jr. rebounded after a broken rocker that left him starting the A-main from 22nd, to place fourth overall. Robbins took fifth in the feature.
In the UMP Modified feature, 16-year-old Jordan Wever got an early back-to-school present with his second career victory after a great battle with Randy Shuman to the finish line.
A day after running second at Bloomington in pursuit of his second career win on the red clay, Wever started third and trailed Shuman for the bulk of the feature before getting past with four laps remaining to get the win.
Rob Brickert started alongside Shuman on the front row with Wever and David Bumgardner in row two. Shuman got to the lead as Brickert spun in turn four and slipped back in the field. Shuman and Wever set the pace ahead of Bumgardner as Travis Shoulders, Kenny Carmichael Sr. and Tyler Loughmiller ran in the top-six spots.
By the halfway mark of the 20-lapper, Shuman was still holding off Wever’s challenges for the point. Carmichael was able to make his way past Bumgardner for the third position by the 15th circuit with Shoulders opening up some breathing room in fifth.
Wever made the decisive move on lap 17 coming out of turn four and drove to the lead past Shuman and was able to hold off his challenges over the final few laps to get the victory. Carmichael held down the third spot ahead of Bumgardner and Shoulders.
In the UMP Super Stock feature, Brazil’s Larry Raines won a four-lap dash for the victory over Steve Peeden after a red flag halted action after a three-car crash on the backstretch.
Raines started on the pole for the race and was able to successfully run the bottom line ahead of Peeden for lap-after-lap. The two opened up a solid gap ahead of Ralph Groomer, Jonathon Newgent, Doug McCullough and Josh Boller.
On lap 13, Peeden went to the top line and made a strong run to get alongside Raines, but couldn’t maintain the momentum coming out of turn four. As the lead pack came out of turn two, Groomer got sideways as McCullough and Wes McClara each made hard contact. All three cars suffered heavy damage as the race was halted to clean up spilled fuel.
Just four laps remained when action resumed and Peeden tried everything he had as he and Raines swapped the lead a couple of times as both drivers battled for the win. Raines took the point once again with one lap remaining as Peeden went back to the top, but was unable to get past Raines for the win.
Raines won his first of the season with Peeden, Greencastle’s Newgent, Boller and Scott Carrington wrapped up the top-five spots.
Terre Haute’s Lenny Krupa III claimed the bomber A-main on Saturday night after holding off a feature-long challenge from Scott Crouch.
Josh Litton battled with Krupa over the first five laps ahead of Crouch and Curt Leonard before Litton slipped back in the field.
Krupa and Crouch remained up front in a dog fight as Leonard took over the third spot with James Walters advancing forward to fourth after starting ninth. Ryan Freeland was in the mix with the lead pack as well.
Up front, Krupa was able to hold down the top spot for the victory ahead of Crouch, Leonard, Walters and Freeland in the top-five. Brazil’s David Wallen was sixth after starting 11th.
In the second bomber feature, Larry Hutto led the bulk of the way before Josh Presley made a bonzai move on the final corner. The pair made heavy contact out of turn four as Presley was able to regain his momentum first on the way to the checkered flag ahead of Hutto and Brazil’s Harley Burns.
Friday will be the first day of the 2nd Annual Bill Gardner Sprintacular event featuring USAC Sprints, modifieds, super stocks and bombers. Saturday will feature the Midwest Sprint Car Series along with modifieds, super stocks and bombers. General admission for each event is $25 with kids age 10-and-under admitted free.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint car feature
1. Tyler Thomas, 2. Jeff Bland, 3. Brady Short, 4. Kevin Thomas Jr., 5. Kyle Robbins, 6. Jarett Andretti, 7. Tim Creech II, 8. Chris Phillips, 9. Shane Cockrum, 10. Chris Babcock, 11. Cole Smith, 12. Lee Underwood, 13. Jadon Rogers, 14. Nate McMillin, 15. Matt McDonald, 16. Shelby VanGilder, 17. Daylan Chambers, 18. Lukas Smith, 19. Jake Henderson, 20. Parker Frederickson, 21. Dylan Shaw, 22. Ben Phillips
Heat winners: Short, Robbins, Babcock
UMP Modified feature
1. Jordan Wever, 2. Randy Shuman, 3. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 4. David Bumgardner, 5. Travis Shoulders, 6. Derek Groomer, 7. Tyler Loughmiller, 8. Tyler Jones, 9. Dan Lewellen, 10. Brent Hudson, 11. Michael Fish, 12. Josh Settles, 13. Roger Mills, 14. Gary Ricketts, 15. Rob Brickert, 16. Christian Rayburn, 17. Roy Bruce Jr., 18. RJ Pruitt, 19. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 20. Cullen Goodman
B-main winner: Hudson
Heat winners: Shoulders, Loughmiller, Bumgardner, Wever
UMP super Stock feature
1. Larry Raines, 2. Steve Peeden, 3. Jonathon Newgent, 4. Josh Boller, 5. Scott Carrington, 6. Matt Jordan, 7. Paul Wright, 8. Scotty Massie, 9. Jack Cambpell, 10. Michael Clark, 11. Josh McDaniel, 12. Wes McClara, 13. Doug McCullough, 14. Ralphy Groomer, 15. David Wallen, 16. Hayden Rogers
1. Lenny Krupa III, 2. Scott Crouch, 3. Curt Leonard, 4. James Walters, 5. Ryan Freeland, 6. David Wallen, 7. Megan Cavaness, 8. Tom Cox, 9. Jordan Almanza, 10. Alex Reid, 11. Kyle Krupa, 12. Josh Settles, 13. Matthew Grimes, 14. Bob Farris, 15. Tom Courtney, 16. Josh Litton, 17. Travis Heramb, 18. Jerry Hutto, 19. Chad Nolte, 20. Cody Wright
Bomber feature 2
1. Josh Presley, 2. Larry Hutto, 3. Harley Burns, 4. Keivan Clodfleter, 5. Justin Litton, 6. Jeremy Farris, 7. Andrew Pollock, 8. Chris Combs, 9. Scott Tidwell, 10. Justin Bumgardner, 11. Ron Wallen Sr., 12. Randy McPeak
B-main winner: Settles
Heat winners: Freeland, Crouch, Almanza, Wright