By CAREY FOXTimes Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE – The battle for a trip to the winner’s circle was tight for multiple classes on Saturday at Lincoln Park Speedway.
With every Indiana track holding its final clash there was a small, but tough sprint car field on hand as Scotty Weir piloted the famed Paul Hazen, No. 57 to a heat race win. Josh Burton, who has risen through the ranks and earned an LPS victory this season, claimed the other heat win and started on the pole alongside Weir for the A-main. Both AJ Anderson and Brent Beauchamp were a row behind the frontrunners as Parker Price Miller and AJ Hopkins eyed the win.
Burton had the point from the opening green, but had his hands full as Weir was immediately behind him throughout the early circuits. Seven laps into the main, Weir went to the top in a challenge for the leader. AJ Hopkins, Anderson and Beauchamp were all in a tight pack with the leaders before a caution flew that reset the field and brought the leaders back.
Once the race restarted, Burton maintained his edge, but Weir continued to search for an opening as Hopkins joined the fray. With the race hitting the mid-point, Weir made his move and was able to battle past Burton for the lead after a multiple lap challenge. As Hopkins challenged for a top spot, there was contact with Burton, which resulted in a flat tire and a trip to the pits for the No. 42 of Hopkins.
With two of the leaders sidelined, Weir wouldn’t be seriously challenged the remainder of the final laps. Beauchamp and Anderson fought to the final checkered flag with Beauchamp getting by to claim second ahead of Anderson. Conner Donelson placed fourth ahead of Miller.
The UMP Modified main event was also a battle to the checkered flag as Brian Hayden held off several challenges from Craig Conyer.
Hayden took the lead early and pulled away from the group challenging for second. Conyer gave chase ahead of Duane Lee and Paul Bumgardner with Carlos Bumgardner Sr. in fifth. Hayden quickly got into lapped traffic before a caution flew for a spin by Gary Ricketts. On the re-start, Hayden was challenged briefly by Conyer, who worked the No. 31c even with the leader on the bottom, but Hayden denied him the lead.
Once Hayden solidified his lead, the battle was for third as Bumgardner and Lee fought for the position side-by-side for several circuits. Bumgardner would eventually make his pass for third stick as he followed Conyer to the finish line for third as Lee and Carlos Bumgardner Sr. rounded out the top-five.
The UMP Super Stock feature will remain as one of the best finishes of 2012 as Steve Peeden was credited with the win by mere inches ahead of Slick Griffin.
An opening lap pileup sent several contenders to the pits and the tail of the field before the action could get started. On the initial green flag however, Griffin and Roy Bruce were battling over the early laps with Griffin running the top and Bruce making the move on the bottom.
Peeden quickly moved into the mix in a three-way challenge for the top spot, but Bruce was sorted to third as Griffin held down the top spot. With the laps counting down, Peeden became a factor as Griffin led the main event. Peeden worked the top, looking for the momentum for a pass as Griffin chased as second win at LPS in 2012.
With several laps remaining, Griffin held the point, but Peeden was gaining traction and found himself even with Griffin coming off turn four. The duo set up a classic finish as Griffin nosed Peeden to the line several times as the two went door-to-door for the final five laps. On the final lap, Peeden and Griffin put everything into the chase. Peeden went to the cushion through turns three and four as Griffin solidified the middle. Coming off turn four, Peeden dove under Griffin and the two rocketed to the finish as Peeden was credited with the win by mere inches.
The final race of the evening saw David Bumgardner edge out Josh Settles and CJ Bryan in another intensive finish.
Bumgardner grabbed the lead from the beginning and appeared as if he would cruise to the win as the rest of the field sorted itself out. However, with David Wallen and Blake Cross challenging for the second spot ahead of Curt Leonard and Josh Presley, a stoppage by Ron Smith brought out a caution.
Bumgardner restarted out front ahead of Wallen as Cross was in the mix before pulling to the pits. A caution set the field as Wallen fought for a top finish with Settles, Presley and CJ Bryan. As the five laps to go signal was given, Bumgardner appeared a lock for the win, but Settles and Bryan were still within striking distance.
Lapped traffic played a key role as Bumgardner saw the white flag.
Chasing another feature win, Bumgardner was edged off the backstretch as his competitors gained ground. As the leading No. 5 slipped off the track heading into turn three, the battling duo of Settles and Bryan nearly made the mistake by Bumgardner count. Settles dove under the leader, rubbing doors off turn four before Bumgardner edged him at the line with Bryan in third-place. David Wallen took fourth with Curt Leonard in fifth.
Next weekend will feature Fan Appreciation Night with sprints, modifieds, super stocks and bombers on the schedule.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint car feature
1. Scotty Weir, 2. Brent Beauchamp, 3. A.J. Anderson, 4. Conner Donelson, 5. Parker Price Miller, 6. Levi Shields, 7. Lance Hayden, 8. Josh Burton, 9. AJ Hopkins, 10. Matt Brannin, 11. Danny Pollock
UMP Modified feature
1. Brian Hayden, 2. Craig Conyer, 3. Paul Bumgardner, 4. Duane Lee, 5. Carlos Bumgardner Sr., 6. Dan Lewellen, 7. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 8. Wayne Cooper, 9. Mike Brown, 10. Bruce Newlin Jr., 11. Casey Lawson, 12. Brent Hudson, 13. Jacob Houts, 14. Gary Ricketts, 15. Travis Shoulders, 16. Andrew Auler, 17. Michael Beatty, 18. David Collier, 19. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 20. Doug Bryant Jr., 21. Wayne Newlin
UMP Super Stock feature
1. Steve Peeden, 2. Slick Griffin, 3. Roy Bruce Jr., 4. Doug McCullough, 5. Mike Staggs, 6. Christian York, 7. Jacob Wright, 8. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 9. Kris Starks, 10. JR Watkins, 11. Kyle Loughlin, 12. Jason Massie, 13. Dale McCullough Jr., 14. Robert Albright, 15. Bobby Davis, 16. Josh McDaniel, 17. Travis Heramb, 18. Dustin Shoulders, 19. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 20. Dustin Bruce
1. David Bumgardner, 2. Josh Settles, 3. C.J. Bryan, 4. David Wallen, 5. Curt Leonard, 6. Josh Presley, 7. Kevin Kemp, 8. Jeff Beggs, 9. Frank Cotton, 10. Mike Fisher Jr., 11. Jerry Hutto, 12. Megan Cavaness, 13. Jeff Cast, 14. Jack Campbell, 15. Blake Cross, 16. Lenny Krupa, 17. Ron Smith, 18. Danny Ray Wampler, 19. Tom Courtney, 20. Marlin Burns, 21. Chris Schepper