By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE – The early stages of summer have proven lucrative to several drivers at Lincoln Park Speedway.
Cullen Goodman won his fourth consecutive UMP Super Stock feature race and Derek Groomer dominated the UMP Modified main event to extend his win streak to four as well. Not to be out done, Brownsburg, Ind. hot shoe AJ Hopkins passed Brent Beauchamp after a spirited battle with seven laps to go to score the sprint car victory. In the bomber A-main, Terre Haute’s CJ Bryan won a drag race to the checkered flag over Josh Litton to pick up the victory.
The ATM has been open for Groomer lately as the Bloomington, Ind. native has dominated the LPS competition of late. Groomer started on the outside of the front row beside Brent Hudson. The field struggled to get through four laps as caution flags dominated. However, a medical call to the main grandstands gave racers a 45-minute break to figure out their battle plan.
John Grenier, Tyler Loughmiller and RJ Pruitt were heat race winners with Brent Hudson and Groomer starting on the front row for the 20-lap A-main event.
Groomer got to the front by the four-lap mark and then the field waited for the long intermission to conclude as a second ambulance arrived following the medical call.
When the field took the green flag once again, Groomer quickly covered the field to pull away to as much as a straightaway lead to pick up his fourth straight win at LPS. Kenny Carmichael Jr. came home with the runner-up finish ahead of Tyler Loughmiller, John Grenier Jr. and Jay Humphrey Jr.
Hopkins set himself up for another victory at LPS as he started on the pole after winning his heat along with Matt McDonald. However, Beauchamp had designs on snagging the victory as well as he started fourth overall.
When the field took the green flag, Beauchamp and Hopkins were wheel-to-wheel over the first 10 laps.
Beauchamp roared into the top spot with a pass coming out of turn two on the fifth circuit. The top-two gained some separation from the third-place running Tyler Thomas with Garrett Aitken running fourth followed by McDonald.
By lap 10, Beauchamp and Hopkins were in a full fledged battle, side-by-side ahead of the field. Hopkins ripped through to take the point just before a caution flag came out. On the restart, it was Beauchamp that took over the top spot and looked to pull away from the rest of the field. Hopkins gave chase while running the cushion, but Beauchamp quickly built a five-car length lead by lap 15 before a caution flag gave the field another shot.
With another chance at the victory as the field was bunched back together, Hopkins would take advantage. The Brownsburg driver flashed to the lead coming out of turn two with seven laps remaining and remained out front of Beauchamp, who held down the runner-up spot. McDonald took third ahead of Rob Caho Jr. and Nate McMillin.
Greencastle drivers Matt Jordan and James Campbell were heat race winners in the super stock division with Jonny Newgent and Goodman starting out front ahead of Jordan and Campbell. However, Goodman got the hole shot coming out of turn one and got to his preferred line ahead of Newgent. With his mount currently on a rail, Goodman didn’t look back after taking the lead on the opening circuit. The Shelburn, Ind. driver cruised to the win as Newgent came home second ahead of Campbell, Larry Raines and Wes McClara.
The bomber feature started 28 cars Saturday evening after Glen Ogden, Travis Heramb and Justin Bumgardner picked up heat race victories.
Heramb jumped out to the lead early ahead of Bryan and Curt Leonard with Jordan Almanza and Bumgardner racing wheel-to-wheel for fourth. Leonard however would come to a stop with mechanical issues on the fifth lap to bring out a caution.
Heramb stayed out front on the restart and had designs on staying there despite Bryan’s attempts at a pass. By the eighth lap it was a four-car scrum for the top spot as Almanza and Josh Litton joined the fray up front.
As the laps ticked off in the 15-lap A-main, Heramb had his hands full with his three challengers. Litton went to the outside along with Bryan as Heramb and Almanza stayed on the bottom line. Litton got an impressive run on the top side and rocketed around Heramb coming into turn three before a caution flew.
With a five-lap dash for the cash set up, Litton held the top spot over Heramb, Bryan, Almanza and Ogden with David Wallen in fifth. Litton remained in the lead as the field took the white flag, but Bryan had figured out his battle plan. Gathering momentum down the back stretch, Bryan pulled even with Litton heading into the final corner. The duo came out of turn four even, but it was Bryan that won the final drag race to the checkered flag by a nose to snag the victory. Almanza came home third ahead of Heramb, Ogden and Wallen, who started 17th.