By CAREY FOXTimes Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE – The Groomer Family served up a fitting party at Lincoln Park Speedway on Saturday night. The fourth running of the ‘Slick Griffin Memorial’ race for UMP Super Stocks opened the evening as Ralph Groomer carved a late race pass into a popular victory lane fest. Derek Groomer followed minutes later with a dominating win in the UMP Modified Division.
Brazil, Ind. native Slick Griffin passed away prior to the 2013 racing season and his familiar No. G2 super stock was in victory lane to open the LPS A-mains on Saturday. Ralph Groomer got past Greencastle’s Jonathon Newgent on a restart with four laps to go to take the victory. Family and friends of Griffin and the Groomer family packed victory lane to celebrate the win.
Ralph Groomer and Wes McClara were heat race winners and Groomer pulled away to win a four-lap dash to set the 30-lap feature with $1,000 on the line for the victor.
Groomer and McClara started on the front row ahead of Newgent and Steve Peeden. A talented field of 19 super stocks that included four drivers in the top-11 in the United Midwest Promoters (UMP) National Points standings took the green flag.
Newgent hot footed it to the lead after a five-lap battle with Groomer at the start. After the pair raced door-to-door over those opening circuits, Newgent dove to the bottom and took the clear lead off of turn two on lap six. He opened up a small gap on Groomer before a pair of cautions halted the action and bunched the field together once again.
When the field took the green, Newgent continued to master the bottom line and built a 10-car length lead by lap 14 before numbers 1-2 in UMP National Points, Steve Peeden and Josh Boller, got together with Peeden spinning off of turn four. Both drivers would be sent to the tail of the field, giving Newgent a bit of breathing room on the restart.
Groomer threw a serious challenge at Newgent for laps 15-16 as the feature reached the midway point. Newgent fended off Groomer this time around to hold down the top spot ahead of McClara and Doug McCullough gave chase ahead of Chris Harcourt and Kenny Carmichael Sr.
The caution flag flew for the final time on lap 25 after Newgent had rebuilt a sizable lead and appeared set to add his first feature win of 2016. The break in the action proved to be bad news for several top competitors as McCullough broke a drive line and headed to the pits while running fourth. McClara had motor issues and left the track and a potential top-3 finish on the table.
With four laps remaining, Groomer seized his opportunity on the restart, driving deep into turn one and to the top side and swooping back in to edge past Newgent. Once he took over the top spot, Groomer roared away from the field as Newgent slipped to the fourth spot after cutting a tire. Peeden battled back to take over the second spot in a final lap flourish as Carmichael Sr. placed third ahead of Newgent and Boller in the top-five.
There were no such battles for the top spot in the UMP Modified Division as Derek Groomer started on the pole and unleashed a dominant effort on the 20-car field.
Groomer would quickly open a five-car length lead on Owensboro, Ky. driver Tyler Nicely and Randy Shuman. By the 10th lap, Groomer had caught the back of the field and made short work of several cars and continued to build on his lead. Nicely and Shuman were a distant second and third over the final five laps of the 20-lap A-main. Groomer lapped the field up to the 11th position as Nicely and Shuman made up the top-3 as Kenny Carmichael Jr. and Carmichael Sr. came forward from 11th and 12th to take the fourth and fifth positions.
The win was Groomer’s second at Lincoln Park Speedway this season and fourth overall.
In the Bomber Division, Danville, Ind. native Scott Crouch started outside the front row alongside Kyle Krupa, but came away with a win following a green-white-checkered flag finish.
Crouch survived several different cautions as a 29-car field took the green flag to start the 15-lap main event. Crouch managed to avoid the rest of the field’s mishaps while running up front as Krupa, Curt Leonard, Josh Foxworthy and Megan Cavaness were in the top-five after 10 laps.
A red flag flew as Roachdale’s Tom Plemons No. 23c ended up on its side heading into turn three as the field took a collective breath before a two-lap dash to the finish.
On the restart, Crouch held off Krupa’s final advances to take the checkered flag ahead of Leonard, Krupa, Jordan Almanza and James Walters, who spun on the opening lap and battled his way back to place fifth. Brazil’s David Wallen made his way to eighth after starting 28th overall.
Thursday will be the USAC AMSOIL “Indiana Sprint Week” date at Lincoln Park Speedway.
Lincoln Park Speedway
‘Fourth Annual Slick Griffin Memorial’
UMP Super Stocks – 30-lap feature
1. Ralph Groomer, 2. Steve Peeden, 3. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 4. Jonathon Newgent, 5. Josh Boller, 6. Chris Harcourt, 7. David Daniels, 8. Michael Clark, 9. Wes McClara, 10. Doug McCullough, 11. Paul Wright, 12. Jack Campbell, 13. DJ Smiley, 14. Hayden Rogers, 15. Jake Leitzman, 16. Kris Starks, 17. Kenny Fields, 18. Larry Raines, 19. Ken Kelley
Heat winners: McClara, R. Groomer
UMP Modified feature
1. Derek Groomer, 2. Tyler Nicely, 3. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 4. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 5. Travis Shoulders, 7. David Bumgardner, 8. Michael Fish, 9. Jeff Deckard, 10. Rob Brickert, 11. Brent Hudson, 12. Tyler Loughmiller, 13. Josh Settles, 14. Josh McDaniel, 15. JR Watkins, 16. Sydney Landes, 17. RJ Pruitt, 18. Dan Lewellen, 19. Scott Ricketts, 20. Jordan Wever
B-main winner: Wever
Heat winners: Shuman, Lewellen, D. Groomer
1. Scott Crouch, 2. Curt Leonard, 3. Kyle Krupa, 4. Jordan Almanza, 5. James Walters, 6. Josh Foxworthy, 7. Cody Wright, 8. David Wallen, 9. Ryan Freeland, 10. Jerry Hutto, 11. Bob Farris, 12. Megan Cavaness, 13. Chad Nolte, 14. Adam Farr, 15. Chucky Walden, 16. Tom Plemons, 17. Dan Smith, 18. Lenny Krupa III, 19. Justin Bumgardner, 20. Travis Heramb, 21. Jeremy Farris, 22. Paul Alleyn, 23. Chad Casassa, 24. Randy McPeak, 25. Alex Reid, 26. Larry Hutto, 27. DJ Smiley, 28. Devin Wallen, 29. Gary Hayden
Heat winners: K. Krupa, Almanza, Heramb