By CAREY FOXTimes Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE – Steamy temperatures greeted a hearty Memorial Day weekend crowd at Lincoln Park Speedway on Saturday night.
For Dave Darland, his successful run at Indiana race tracks continued as he got past Jeff Bland Jr. during the early stages of the race and pulled away late to score his fourth feature win at as many Indiana dirt tracks this season. The victory was Darland’s seventh top-five finish in 13 Hoosier State races this year.
In the UMP Modified feature race, Craig Conyer took the lead with five laps remaining and held off Kelby Simmons’ charge from 18th to second-place. Bradley Sterrett, Brian Yeatman and Kenny Carmichael Jr. wrapped up the top-five as Conyer repeated his victory from the previous week.
In the final two A-main races of the night, Chris Hillman won his third feature of the year in his first trip to LPS in 2012. Hillman’s super stock victory came as he held off multiple feature winner Troy Clark early in the main event before crossing the finish line ahead of Jeremy Helton, Slick Griffin, Roy Bruce Jr. and Doug McCullough.
The last feature of the evening went to Tim Wright, who became the first bomber driver besides CJ Bryan to win at the Putnamville oval this year. Wright’s victory came in the KTI Dirt Werx, Hank’s Sign Shop, Shore’s Racing Engines No. 44. A happy bunch of friends and family joined an emotional Wright in victory lane as he dedicated the victory to Scott Fisher, a friend that had passed away two years previously.
A stout, talented field of sprint car drivers were on hand Saturday as Jon Stanbrough, Coleman Gulick and Darland picked up heat race wins to help set the field for the A-main.
Bland would pace the field with Thomas Meseraull outside the front row followed by Brent Beauchamp and Darland. As the field took the green flag, Bland and Darland quickly established an up front battle with Beauchamp and Stanbrough in tow. Meseraull held down fourth with Josh Burton and Coleman Gulick in the top-six.
Darland would make his move underneath Bland to take the lead in turn three and had designs on pulling away from the field. As Darland opened a several car length advantage over Bland, Stanbrough snagged the third position as the leaders reached lapped traffic.
Very little slowed Darland’s progress in the Jeff Walker No. 11 on Saturday night as he worked masterfully through traffic over the latter stages of the race to take the checkered flag in the Jam It In Storage, Pro Source, Hoosier Tire, Murray’s Body Shop, Parker Store, Maxim Chassis sprinter. Bland was able to hold down second despite Stanbrough’s advances. Beauchamp, Meseraull, Wes McIntyre, Gulick, Boespflug, Scotty Weir and Matt Goodnight wrapped the top-10.
Conyer was nearly as solid in the UMP Modified feature as he battled past pole sitter Bradley Sterrett early on to grab his second win in as many weeks. A lap one pile-up claimed some of the front runners as row one starter Carlos Bumgardner was in the tangle along with Paul Bumgardner and Chris Brewer. Seven cars in all were involved, sending several to the pits and the rest to the tail of the field.
Starting near the back didn’t faze Simmons as he methodically worked his way forward, hauling the mail up top while the leaders worked the bottom line. Simmons had the cushion mostly to himself and it allowed him to make up a lot of ground over the course of the 20-lap feature.
Sterrett led early, but began to fade slightly over the final 10 laps as Conyer grabbed the point following a side-by-side challenge for a couple of laps late. Simmons moved past the No. 10 of Brian Yeatman down the stretch as Carmichael Jr., Schuyler Nahre and Richie Lex were three-wide for fifth position. Lex would soon thereafter spin and have to re-start at the back as Conyer took the green and the lead from Sterrett with five laps remaining.
From there, Conyer continued to also make the top work for him as he held off Simmons and Sterrett over the final circuits. Yeatman, Carmichael Jr., Nahre, Lex, Duane Lee, Wes McClara and Michael Kettnich made up the top-10.
UMP Super Stock heat races went to Chad Nolte, AJ Clark and Troy Clark to set up the field for the A-main.
Hillman and Griffin were the front runners for most of the UMP super Stock race as Troy Clark battled with the two along with Helton in side-by-side action. Griffin held the top spot for the early portion of the race, but Hillman appeared to get stronger as the race went on and would take over the top spot during the second half of the race. Troy Clark and AJ Clark would pull to the infield with mechanical problems as Hillman set the pace. Griffin and Helton waged a battle for the second spot with Doug McCullough and Roy Bruce door-to-door for fourth-place.
Hillman went on to pick up his first LPS win of the season as Helton edged past Griffin for the runner-up spot. Bruce and McCullough were in the top-five followed by Carmichael Sr., B-main winner Mike Staggs, Dustin Shoulders, Marty Cooper and JR Watkins.
The bomber field has basically found itself chasing Bryan this season as the Terre Haute driver has won all four features this season despite not starting better than 10th the last few weeks. On Saturday he won his heat and would start 10th once again. McCullough and Wright won the final two heat races in preparation for the A-main. Josh Presley won the B-main to make the field as well.
Wright would take the opening green and battled with Michael Harris during the early laps, but was able to open a small amount of space while working the bottom. McCullough and Harris raced for second-place as Harris wouldn’t give ground over the course of the feature. Davis Wallen and David Bumgardner were door-to-door for the fourth spot as Bryan and Marlin Burns worked for sixth.
Bryan was able to pick of a couple of spots over the second half of the race and ended up third behind McCullough, but Wright would not relinquish the victory on this night as Harris settled for fourth ahead of Wallen, Bumgardner, Burns, Mike Moody, Presley and Scott Tidwell.
Next up for Lincoln Park Speedway is the special beginning of Thursday night sprint car racing as May 31 will feature sprint cars only with $1,400 going to the winner and $200 to start the A-main. Sprint cars will also qualify as gates open at 4:30 p.m. and hot laps beginning at 6 p.m. and racing at 7 p.m. General admission is just $10 and kids under-10 admitted free.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint car feature
1. Dave Darland, 2. Jeff Bland Jr., 3. Jon Stanbrough, 4. Brent Beauchamp, 5. Thomas Meseraull, 6. Wes McIntyre, 7. Coleman Gulick, 8. Chad Boespflug, 9. Scotty Weir, 10. Matt Goodnight, 11. Josh Burton, 12. Troy Link, 13. Logan Hupp, 14. Lance Hayden, 15. Drew Abel, 16. David Hair, 17. Levi Shields, 18. Kyle Dautrich, 19. Danny Holtsclaw, 20. Eric Edwards, 21. John Nicosin
Heat winners: Gulick, Stanbrough, Darland
UMP Modified feature
1. Craig Conyer, 2. Kelby Simmons, 3. Bradley Sterrett, 4. Brian Yeatman, 5. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 6. Schuyler Nahre, 7. Richie Lex, 8. Duane Lee, 9. Wes McClara, 10. Michael, Kettnich, 11. Chris Brewer, 12. Chris Kerl, 13. Gary Ricketts, 14. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 15. Doug Bryant Jr., 16. Jaymie Turner, 17. Eric Varner, 18. Paul Bumgardner, 19. Ken Kelley, 20. Carlos Bumgardner Sr.
B-main winner: Nahre
Heat winners: Conyer, Yeatman, Brewer
UMP Super Stock feature
1. Chris Hillman, 2. Jeremy Helton, 3. Slick Griffin, 4. Roy Bruce Jr., 5. Doug McCullough, 6. Kenny Carmichael Sr, 7. Mike Staggs, 8. Dustin Shoulders, 9. Marty Cooper, 10. JR Watkins, 11. Dale Jeffery, 12. Butch Fodrie, 13. AJ Clark, 14. Troy Clark, 15. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 16. Chad Nolte, 17. Kenny Weaver, 18. Josh Fagg, 19. Josh McDaniel, 20. Travis Heramb
B-main winner: Staggs
Heat winners: Nolte, Troy Clark, AJ Clark
1. Tim Wright, 2. Doug McCullough, 3. C.J. Bryan, 4. Michael Harris, 5. David Wallen, 6. David Bumgardner, 7. Marlin Burns, 8. Mike Moody, 9. Josh Presley, 10. Scott Tidwell, 11. Tony Tidwell, 12. Blake Cross, 13. Jeff Beggs, 14. Megan Cavaness, 15. Kevin Kemp, 16. Tom Tidwell, 17. Mike Fisher Jr., 18. Jerry Hutto, 19. Daniel Foxworthy, 20. Justin Minardo
B-main winner: Presley
Heat winners: Bryan, McCullough, Wrigh