The Hoosier Race Report: Hope, Faith and Spring Time
This is written on a day that offers hope and faith to many of us. And whether or not we hope and pray for better times (in the theological sense); for rent money, or for success at the races, we look forward to the new season. We feel everything from relief that the winter has passed to hope for a successful racing season with desired results. With that in mind, there is a lot of hope for Jon Stanbrough and the Roberts/Guiducci team as Stanbrough took the lead midway through the 25 lap sprint feature to take the checkered in the 2012 opener at the Lincoln Park Speedway on a mild Saturday night.
This had to be a promoter’s dream come true. Joe Spiker, who has resurrected LPS in the past couple of years, had to be smiling as both the pits (120 cars) and bleachers were jammed. Despite whatever economic issues folks may have had lately, they showed up ready for their racing fix.
On a track that was the smoothest I’ve ever seen it be, the first heat was a lightning fast, follow the leader affair. That leader was Bill Rose, who has this appreciated habit of showing up at odd places and times. Serious passing marked the second heat, but it was behind winner Dave Darland. 2011 LPS Sprint Champ Ethan Barrow scratched from his pole position in the third heat. Coleman Gulick was the victor. Insurance salesman Danny Holtsclaw took the fourth heat. 16 of 20 spots were filled for the feature with 17 cars vying for the last four places in the B Main.
Jeff Bland Jr. came from sixth to win the B, with Scotty Weir, Travis Welpott and Chase Stockon grabbing starting spots 17-20 in the feature. Notables such as Blake Fitzpatrick, Wes McIntyre, Chase Briscoe and the ageless Troy Link were among those who sat down.
Mr. Spiker’s good fortune continued as precipitation was on the radar at the Illinois state line. The fireworks show went on anyway and the rain stayed away. And despite the late start, the considerable car count, four semi-features along with the fireworks, the sprint feature took the checkered flag right around 11:00 p.m.
Rose and Darland made up the front row and traded the lead for the first half of the race, with Rose working the bottom and Darland the top groove to perfection. A lap nine red flew when Bland got crossed up, tapped the turn four wall and collected Seth Parker. Both flipped and neither was injured. Ironically, both cars were numbered 38.
The re-start saw Rose leading Darland, Joshua Clemons (the classic low-budget racer), Stanbrough and Shane Cottle, in a new Cruz Pedregon machine. Once Stanbrough worked his way around Clemons, he got really busy. Just past halfway, he passed both Darland and Rose in two laps to take the lead and simply check out, building his lead to a full straightaway by lap 25.
The best run that few people saw was that of A-list sprinter and Indy 500 hopeful Bryan Clauson, who motored from 14th to third. Clauson nipped Rose, who had hung around the front for the whole race. Cottle finished fifth. The second five was Casey Shuman, Coleman Gulick (who never recovered from an early race bobble), Kevin Thomas Jr., Robert Ballou and a fading Clemons.
Matt Bex won the UMP modified feature as early leader Brian Hayden fell out with mechanical issues. Troy Clark ran off with the UMP Super Stock feature win. And Craig Walker led flag to flag to take the final feature of the night as the Bombers closed out the festivities.
We need hopes and dreams, no matter what our passion may be. This time of year accentuates that notion. We all need to remember that the horizon beckons and we might do well to go a step at a time to that horizon to see….what? Let’s find out. Jon Stanbrough, among others, did that this past weekend and found everything from a pot of gold to a box full of losing lottery tickets.
Bracing myself to roll away the tomb and find…..?, I’m….