By CAREY FOX Times Sports Editor PUTNAMVILLE Joey Kramer hasn’t visited Lincoln Park Speedway often, especially with his No. 77 Lightning Chassis, All-Star Performance, Larry’s Truck Service UMP Modified. However, in a return to the Putnamville oval, the Hanover, Ind. native continued his dominance in the latter half of the 2013 season.
Kramer was one of the fastest in group qualifying, qualifying second fastest overall to Paul Bumgardner, and then parlayed a front row starting spot into a powerful victory in the 10th running of the Patriot 100 at Lincoln Park Speedway.
Kramer lead all 100 laps to top the field in the Fragola, Eibach, Untamedoffroad.com, Lucas Oil Products, Print Worx, Hills Custom Painting and Restoration-sponsored machine.
Coming into Saturday night, Kramer had claimed 14 A-main wins during the 2013 season, including seven straight over a three-week span from July 19 (Moler Raceway Park) to August 17 (Lawrenceburg Speedway). Kramer’s roll continues to power him up the UMP National Points leader board where he stood 27th heading into the weekend. With 39 cars on hand for the $3,000-to-win show, Kramer left little to chance on his way to the victory, stretching out his lead to nearly a straightaway after a caution with 11 laps remaining. In fact, Kramer lapped the field all the way up to the top-five positions in an impressive show. The FK Rod Ends, Williams Precision Engine powered machine was a rocket from the opening qualifying run at LPS.
Cautions were prevalent over the early laps as an opening circuit pileup sent Jesse Cramer, Ryan Thomas, Roger Mills and Dave Beck to the tail of the field after the group started mid-group in the 22-car field. Thomas, Randy Shuman and Brad Barrow each made the A-main through a victory in one of three B-main races. Heat race winners were Brian Hayden, Mills, Dan Lewellen, Bumgardner and Joey Kramer.
Paul Bumgardner earned the pole position after winning a Dash amongst the five heat race winners. However, after several cautions delayed the first full green flag run, Kramer jumped to the point early and wouldn’t look back.
Kramer was a rocket on each re-start and left the battle for the second spot amongst Paul Bumgardner and Brian Hayden early on as Greg Amick, Tyler Nicely and Brad Barrow gave chase. It wouldn’t take long before Kramer found himself battling through back markers, but it didn’t face him much as he masterfully navigated traffic on the high side. Kramer worked the topside cushion to perfection and built a straightaway lead before a caution lead the field into the 50-lap break for crews to make changes to the cars.
At the midpoint, Kramer, Bumgardner, Brian Hayden, Amick, Barrow, Nicely and Jeff Deckard lead the field to the pits.
Not surprisingly, the only thing Kramer’s crew did over the 10-minute break was add fuel while other crews made some setup adjustments or tire changes. The decision worked well as once the field went green for the second half, Kramer powered away from the field once again.
Just one caution would fly over the second set of 50 laps and it was with 11 laps remaining as Amick had managed to work his way to second and was gaining a bit of ground on the frontrunner. Tyler Nicely, Shuman, Bumgardner and Jesse Cramer were in tow and once the final dash went green for the final time, Kramer took care of the remaining laps despite having a broken push bar.
Amick would settle for the second spot ahead of Nicely, Shuman, Cramer, Bumgardner, Mills, Deckard, Wes McClara and Jimmy Hayden in the top-10.
Thirty sprint cars were on hand Saturday night, but you would be hard pressed to find a more popular victor of the 25-lap A-main as Jeff Bland Jr. piloted the Burton Family Masonry No. 04 into victory lane.
The familiar No. 04 sprinter was piloted by Josh Burton during his career before a tragic racing accident took his life early in the season. However, Bland paid a perfect tribute this weekend as he held off Brent Beauchamp and Ethan Barrow down the stretch, but also beat incoming rain that began to fall during the victory lane interviews.
Heat race winners included Jerry Coons Jr., AJ Hopkins, Brian Hayden and Beauchamp, but it was Bland that started on the pole and wouldn’t look back.
Barrow had moved into the second spot when a caution flew with seven laps completed. He was tailed by Brady Short, Beauchamp and Coons when the field went green. Barrow began to pressure Bland at the halfway point and Bland nearly lost the point when he slammed hard off the turn two cushion. However, he recovered quickly to maintain the lead when Dallas Hewitt got upside down in turn one.
As the field was under red and waiting to be restarted, the real threat to a win by Bland appeared to be a more steady rain that began to trickle down. With plenty of rubber already laid down on the track following the 100-lap modified race, the rain was rapidly making the track even slicker.
However, the rain subsided just in time for the field to get restarted and finish the final 13 laps.
Bland got a strong restart as Beauchamp was able to maneuver past Barrow for the second spot, but wouldn’t be able catch the leader. Barrow maintained the third spot with Short settling for fourth a night after claiming the season points title at Bloomington Speedway. Brian Hayden, Matt Westfall, Casey Shuman, AJ Hopkins, Adam Cruea and Max McGhee wrapped the top-10.
Once the sprint car feature took the checkered flag, the rain fell once again and became steadier as the UMP Super Stocks took to the track. Unfortunately, the oncoming storm would claim the final few features of the night, which will be run this weekend.
Lincoln Park Speedway UMP Modified feature “10th Patriot 100” 1. Joey Kramer, 2. Greg Amick, 3. Tyler Nicely, 4. Randy Shuman, 5. Jesse Cramer, 6. Paul Bumgardner, 7. Roger Mills, 8. Jeff Deckard, 9. Wes McClara, 10. Jimmy Hayden, 11. Nick Tharp, 12. Josh Eads, 13. Brian Hayden, 14. Brian Shaw, 15. Brad Barrow, 16. Zach Fair, 17. Collin Thirlby, 18. Dan Lewellen, 19. Gary Ricketts, 20. Roger Cary, 21. Dave Beck, 22. Ryan Thomas
B-main winner: Thomas, Shuman, Barrow
Heat winners: B. Hayden, Mills, Lewellen, P. Bumgardner, Kramer
Dash winner: P. Bumgardner
Fast qualifier: P. Bumgardner, 14.819 (75.916 mph.)
Sprint car feature
1. Jeff Bland Jr., 2. Brent Beauchamp, 3. Ethan Barrow, 4. Brady Short, 5. Brian Hayden, 6. Matt Westfall, 7. Casey Shuman, 8. Aj Hopkins, 9. Adam Cruea, 10. Max McGhee, 11. Logan Jarrett, 12. Carson Short, 13. Kent Christian, 14. Jarett Andretti, 15. Eric Burns, 16. JT Stapp, 17. Derek Hastings, 18. Jerry Coons Jr., 19. Dallas Hewitt, 20. Troy Link