By CAREY FOXTimes Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE – Lincoln Park Speedway kicked off the Labor Day Weekend in style Saturday evening with an action packed night of racing that featured a massive 117 total cars in the pits.
AJ Hopkins was one of 35 drivers on hand in pursuit of the $2,000 prize for the ‘King of Non-Wing’ champion in the sprint car division.
Hopkins had proven that he knew the fast way around the Putnamville oval and he let the competition know early on that he had designs on taking home the hardware.
Jon Stanbrough picked up the first heat win and Hopkins roared forward from a fifth-place start to claim the second heat. Bradley Sterrett won over Brazil’s Daylan Chambers in the third heat as Brady Short claimed the final heat race.
Short and Sterrett would start on the front row for the 30-lap A-main with Hopkins and Stanbrough one row behind them.
When the field went green, Short got to the front as Hopkins held a close second while biding his time on the top groove. Stanbrough held third comfortably ahead of Brent Beauchamp and Sterrett.
A caution for the slowed car of JJ Hughes came out on the 10th lap and set up Hopkins for his shot at the lead. When the field took the green flag, Hopkins sent a big slider at Short through turns three and four and made the move stick. Hopkins took the lead off of turn four and began to build his lead at the halfway point, but Stanbrough came to a stop to bring out the caution.
On the second re-start it was Short that took advantage of a bobble by Hopkins and re-took the lead briefly before Hopkins tracked him down and snagged the top spot heading into the final 10 laps.
With six laps remaining, Hopkins had caught the back of the field and maneuvered through traffic as Short caught him. The pair ran wheel-to-wheel for a couple of laps before Hopkins was able to squeeze to the front.
At the finish line, Hopkins claimed the win as Short, Beauchamp, Dave Darland and Jeff Bland wrapped up the top-five.
In the second sprint car feature of the evening, Brazil’s Nate McMillin led wire-to-wire to claim the victory ahead of Anthony Leohr and Shelby VanGilder.
Bloomington’s Derek Groomer has been on fire the second half of the season in the D48 UMP Modified.
Groomer was able to track down Kenny Carmichael Jr. at the halfway mark of the 20-lap A-main on Saturday and went on to pick up his ninth feature victory of the season. He would add a 10th win on Sunday at Twin Cities Raceway Park.
Groomer started in the fourth spot, but battled his way past Brent Hudson after the pair fought for second-place for several laps. Once Groomer made his way to the second spot, he set his sights on chasing down Carmichael.
Roger Mills and Randy Shuman trailed Groomer and Hudson in their own side-by-side fight for position.
By lap 10, Carmichael ran the high side as Groomer worked the bottom line into the lead as Mills and Jay Humphrey were battling for fourth after Shuman dropped out.
Once Groomer got to the lead, he set sail and built a solid lead at the finish as Carmichael maintained his season points lead with a runner-up finish. Mills placed third ahead of Humphrey and Rob Brickert, who rocketed forward from 16th to take fifth.
In the UMP Super Stock division it was Bloomington’s Steve Hollars winning his first race at LPS this season as he held off a furious challenge from Steve Peeden followed by Josh Boller. Carmichael Jr. came forward from 10th to take fourth ahead of Jonathon Newgent.
In the bomber features, Roachdale’s Jordan Almanza wasn’t quite able to chase down Paragon’s Josh Litton in the A-main, but he did win the season-long war by clinching the points championship.
Litton took over the lead by the fifth lap over Almanza as the pair seperated themselves from the rest of the field. A lap seven pileup brought the competitors back into the mix as the caution flew while the crash was sorted out.
When the race resmed, Litton, Almanza, Ryan Freeland and Chucky Walden made up the top-four, but James Walters and Lenny Krupa III were in the chase.
As the laps ticked off, Almanza looked for any sort of opening to make a pass of Litton, but he wouldn’t budge from the top spot.
With five laps remaining, Freeland would be forced to the pits with mechanical problems as James Walters charged into third ahead of Gary Hayden. Litton would maintain the top position at the checkered flag as Almanza came home second ahead of Walters, Hayden and Krupa.
In the second bomber feature, Alex Reid got past Bob Farris during the mid-point of the race and went on to pick up the victory ahead of Faris, Jerry Hutto, Joe Cash and Tyler Campfield.
Lincoln Park Speedway
‘King of Non-Wing’ sprint car feature
1. AJ Hopkins, 2. Brady Short, 3. Brent Beauchamp, 4. Dave Darland, 5. Jeff Bland Jr., 6. Kyle Simon, 7. Brandon Mattox, 8. Bradley Sterrett, 9. Brandon Morin, 10. Chris Babcock, 11. Lee Underwood, 12. Tim Creech II, 13. David Applegate, 14. Jadon Rogers, 15. Parker Frederickson, 16. Landon Simon, 17. Jon Stanbrough, 18. Eric Perrott, 19. JJ Hughes, 20. Daylan Chambers
Sprint car second feature
1. Nate McMillin, 2. Anthony Leohr, 3. Shelby VanGilder, 4. Ben Phillips, 5. Jamie Frederickson, 6. Ben McMurray, 7. Brady Ottinger, 8. John Nicoson, 9. Steve Hair, 10. Wayne Newlin, 11. Cody Leohr, 12. Jared Chastain, 13. Dylan Shaw, 14. Max McGhee, 15. Dave Gross
B-main winners: L. Simon, Mattox
Heat race winners: Stanbrough, Hopkins, Sterrett, Short
UMP Modified feature
1. Derek Groomer, 2. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 3. Roger Mills, 4. Jay Humphrey Jr., 5. Rob Brickert, 6. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 7. Travis Shoulders, 8. Brent Hudson, 9. JR Watkins, 10. Katie Lord, 11. Sydney Landes, 12. Doug Bryan Jr., 13. Gary Ricketts, 14. Carlos Bumgardner Sr., 15. Josh Settles, 16. Randy Shuman, 17. RJ Pruitt, 18. Dan Lewellen, 19. Josh McDaniel, 20. Michael Fish
B-main winner: Bricket Heat winners: Shuman, Lewellen, Groomer
UMP Super Stock feature
1. Steve Hollars, 2. Steve Peeden, 3. Josh Boller, 4. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 5. Jonathon Newgent, 6. Chris Hillman, 7. Chris Harcourt, 8. Michael Clark, 9. Scotty Massie, 10. Dennis Morgan, 11. Justin Massie, 12. Jeff Shepherd, 13. Wes McClara, 14. DJ Smiley, 15. Hayden Rogers, 16. Doug McCullough, 17. Jack Campbell, 18. Kris Starks, 19. Ralph Groomer, 20. Larry Raines
B-main winner: Shepherd
Heat winners: Raines, Boller, Peeden
1. Josh Litton, 2. Jordan Almanza, 3. James Walters, 4. Gary Hayden, 5. Lenny Krupa III, 6. Chucky Walden, 7. Andrew Pollock, 8. Matthew Cooley, 9. Tyler Neal, 10. David Wallen, 11. Scott Crouch, 12. Mark Dickerson, 13. Cody Wright, 14. Kyle Krupa, 15. Zane Fields, 16. Travis Heramb, 17. Megan Cavaness, 18. Ryan Freeland, 19. Justin Litton, 20. Curt Leonard
B-main winner: Heramb
Heat winners: Almanza, Josh Litton, Krupa III, Walden
Bomber second feature
1. Alex Reid, 2. Bob Farris, 3. Jerry Hutto, 4. Joe Cash, 5. Tylor Campfield, 6. Adam Farr, 7. DJ Smiley, 8. Jeremy Farris, 9. Ray Walters, 10. Harley Burns, 11. Chad Casassa, 12. C.J. Thrasher, 13. David Bumgardner, 14. Ritchie Hawkins, 15. Paul Alleyn