By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE – A brief rain shower in the middle of Saturday evening’s regular card of racing at Lincoln Park Speedway was not enough to dampen the pursuit of victory for competitors.
The four winners that made their way to victory lane were no strangers to taking the checkered flag as the group have a combined 21 feature wins in 2017.
Steve Peeden picked up his eighth win in the UMP Super Stock division with Bedford’s Brady Short winning his sixth sprint car A-main of the year. Bloomington’s Derek Groomer won his fourth UMP Modified feature and Paragon’s Josh Litton won his third bomber feature.
Peeden has designs on a national championship in the United Midwest Promoters (UMP) Sportsman class. He took another step in that direction this weekend with another feature win at LPS after coming in to the weekend with a 24-point lead over Jamey Wilson (1,333 to 1,309). In fact, four of the top-12 in national points were on hand at the Putnamville oval in an attempt to climb the points mountain.
One of those drivers, Greencastle’s Jonny Newgent, has been making strides with a win and a string of runner-up finishes. Alas, most of those second-place finishes have come with Peeden on top of the podium.
Saturday was another example as Newgent was the man to beat through 19 of the 20 scheduled laps in the feature. However, Peeden found just the opening that he needed as a lapped car broke Newgent’s momentum coming out of turn four with one lap to go. Peeden got a strong run into turn one and slipped underneath of Newgent and ran down his eighth win of the season. Newgent had to settle for another second-place finish after coming into the weekend eighth in national points. Wes McClara placed third ahead of Bryce Shidler and Paul Wright.
The sprint car feature wound down to a wild 10-lap segment to finish out the race that found Short edging out Jeff Bland Jr. and Jon Stanbrough.
However, the race was far from academic as Bland lead for much of the first 12 laps before finding lapped traffic on lap 13. His sizable lead began to shrink quickly as Kyle Cummins reeled him in with Stanbrough in tow. A car length back was A.J. Hopkins making his charge, but Short was closing quickly.
Lapped traffic made choosing the correct line an important one and Cummins did just that as he ripped into the lead for a lap before Bland snagged the top spot back in heavy traffic. Hopkins jumped into the fray with Cummins for the second spot and the two made contact coming out of turn four. Hopkins spun backwards and Terre Haute’s Shelby VanGilder had nowhere to go as both cars ended up upside down on the front stretch. The contact ended both drivers’ nights with Cummins forced to restart at the tail of the field.
Short assumed the top spot and added to his lead over the final 10 circuits as the crowd watched Cummins masterfully check off spots and battle his way to fourth at the checkered flag. Mooresville’s Ben Knights placed fifth after starting 15th.
In the UMP Modified feature, Jeff Deckard looked to pick up a second win at LPS this season, but Groomer took advantage of a late restart to make the pass for the lead. Deckard slipped high off of turn two after leading the opening 13 laps. Groomer ducked under his fellow Bloomington pilot and secured the victory over the final five circuits. Deckard took second ahead of Kenny Carmichael Jr. and the rapidly rising Kenny Carmichael Sr., who advanced 12 spots after starting 16th. Tyler Loughmiller placed fifth.
In the final feature of the evening, Litton overcame C.J. Bryan with four laps to go to pick up the bomber win.
Bryan slipped into the lead after getting past Megan Cavaness early on, but had his hands full with challengers. Cavaness ran second ahead of David Bumgardner and Matt Raber with Litton in fifth-place. With five laps remaining, Bryan held a tenuous lead over Cavaness as Bumgardner and Litton were closing quickly to challenge. One lap later, Litton made a bold move to run on and slightly above the cushion heading into turn three. His car stuck on the pass as he powered around the high side into the lead by Bryan just before a caution flag re-set the field.
On the re-start with four laps remaining, Litton stayed perfect on his lines and picked up his third win as Bryan, Bumgardner, Cavaness and Gary Hayden placed in the top-five.
This weekend will feature a slate with sprint cars, UMP Modifieds, UMP Super Stocks, bombers and the Little Feet Kids Bicycle Race.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint car feature
1. Brady Short, 2. Jeff Bland Jr., 3. Jon Stanbrough, 4. Kyle Cummins, 5. Ben Knight, 6. Koby Barksdale, 7. Kent Christian, 8. Tim Creech, 9. Nate McMillin, 10. Chad Davenport, 11. Brent Moore, 12. Alec Sipes, 13. Lukas Smith, 14. Harley Burns, 15. Brent Beauchamp, 16. AJ Hopkins, 17. Shelby VanGilder, 18. Dave Gross, 19. Stephen Schnapf
Heat winners: Short, Hopkins, Beauchamp
UMP Modified feature
1. Derek Groomer, 2. Jeff Deckard, 3. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 4. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 5. Tyler Loughmiller, 6. Roger Mills, 7. Jay Humphrey Jr., 8. Josh McDaniel, 9. Dan Lewellen, 10. Aaron Zellers, 11. Rob Brickert, 12. Boomer Houk, 13. Chad Steinert, 14. Jordan Wever, 15. Paul Bumgardner, 16. Justin Clodfelter, 17. RJ Pruitt, 18. Roy Bruce Jr., 19. Michael Fish, 20. Alex Reid
Heat winners: Groomer, Humphrey and Wever
UMP Super Stock feature
1. Steve Peeden, 2. Jonny Newgent, 3. Wes McClara, 4. Bryce Shidler, 5. Paul Wright, 6. Kenny Fields, 7. Chucky Walden, 8. Kenny Weaver, 9. Doug McCullough, 10. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 11. Justin Massie
Heat winners: McCullough, Newgent
1. Josh Litton, 2. CJ Bryan, 3. David Bumgardner, 4. Megan Cavaness, 5. Gary Hayden, 6. Matt Raber, 7. Lenny Krupa, 8. David Wallen, 9. Glen Ogden, 10. Kyle Krupa, 11. Cody Wright, 12. Corey Anstead, 13. Jordan Almanza, 14. Bob Farris, 15. Keivan Clodfelter, 16. Devin Wallen, 17. Jim Litton Jr., 18. Tom Cox, 19. Chad Casassa, 20. Tyler Rodgers, 21. Donald Smiley, 22. Joacob Steinway, 23. Matt Grimes, 24. Travis Heramb, 25. Bobby Tarrh
Heat winners: Josh Litton, David Bumgardner, Heramb