Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sutton The Top Invader At Lee County

At the end of my previous entry I made a prediction about track conditions for Thursday night's Sprint Invaders show at the Lee County Speedway in Donnellson. I was wrong.

The twenty-nine-car field of Sprint Invaders were narrowed down to twenty for the main event that would go twenty laps around the 3/8-mile oval that took rubber from the first set of hot laps and on the initial start it was central Missouri's Tyler Blank who shot to the lead from his second row starting spot. But when Matt Krieger tipped his #56 car over onto its side in turn one the lap was not scored and the field was reset for another try. On this start pole-sitter Matt Sutton hugged the bottom and took the lead with Blank now chasing him in second. The caution waved on lap six when Harold Pohren spun and collected Jordan Goldesberry in turn three and on the restart Tony Shilling slipped past Blank to now run second.

Shilling maintained the leader's pace as the field all worked essentially the same line and with three laps remaining the caution waved again, this time for Travis Porter who had spun in turn two. On the restart Shilling took a shot at the lead driving to the middle groove entering turn one, but he drifted wide in turn two allowing Blank to get back into the second spot. Kudos to Shilling for taking the chance and he did a nice job of recovering to maintain the third position and that is how it would end with Matt Sutton taking the win. Blank finished second, Shilling was third, Russ Hall started fifth and finished fourth while Justin Parrish started fourth and finished fifth.

Invader Notes.....Carson McCarl had the first heat race well in hand until he clipped the track tire marking the inside of turn two causing him to spin to the infield. Tyler Blank of California, Missouri, assumed the lead on the restart and took the win in his first ever appearance at the speedway. McCarl would later start at the back of the B-Main and could not get to the top four for a transfer to the A.....Matt Krieger had an interesting evening. He was fast all night, but in hot laps he spun and hit a track tie in turn four. In the third heat race he made some great moves on the high groove to get up to third only to spin out on the final lap. He then qualified third out of the B-Main before his first lap "Tommy Tipover" on the opening lap of the main event......Randy Martin was running tenth during the final caution, but his right rear tire went flat before the restart ending his night.....This was my first chance to see fourteen-year-old Chris Martin out of Ankeny in action. The youngster has some sharp equipment and did a nice job on the slick surface, but failed to qualify for the main event.

I have always told people that Donnellson is one of my favorite tracks because even when it goes dry and hard there is something about the D-shaped configuration that still allows drivers to find more than one racing groove. And, while the Sprint Cars settled into one line, the Stock Cars and Sport Mods did not with the Stock Cars even going three-wide in turn two at one point in their feature.

That Stock Car main event ran caution free and there was going to be no catching Abe Huls who started on the front row and dominated for the victory. The race for second was fun to watch though with Jeff Mueller, Jason Cook and Matt Greiner showing their skills and moving around the track looking for that best line. Mueller had the position with two laps remaining but when he closed quickly on the lapped car of Matt Keller he first looked high, then low, and when he went to go back high again both Cook and Greiner were there as the four cars started their entry to turn one. Mueller's car then did a full spin and he kept it going to avoid the caution but he then pulled to the infield. At the finish it would be Cook as the runner-up to Huls with Greiner in third, John Oliver Jr. was fourth and Tanner Thomann completed the top five.

The Sport Mods would close out the evening and the twenty-two car field included some visiting drivers such as Tom Rawlins, Ben Chapman, Tom Elsen and Levi Laymon. After a couple of failed starts the race got underway with Elsen pacing the field until the caution waved again on lap five. On the restart Tony Dunker found the bite immediately off the low side of turn four passing Elsen as the green flag waved again and there would be no catching Dunker who is currently ranked second in the All Iowa Points for the division. John Oliver Jr. started fourth and faded a bit early, but at mid-race he was showing us that the top groove was still in business as he moved back up to third and even had a run on Elsen for second late, but the Shelbina, Missouri, driver closed the door and held on for the position. Vance Wilson would finish in the fourth spot followed by Jim Gillenwater while Brandon Ruffcorn made the charge of the night coming from the tenth row to finish sixth.

After three straight nights of mid-week racing following a full week of concerts and Miller Lite I am going to take the weekend off and enjoy the company of my son Kyle who is back in town from Dallas for a few days. Honestly I don't know when or where my next race will be, but I hope that you are planning yours and that it will be soon!

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