He never lost the points lead, but Ricky Baker did lose a little bit of his swagger during a dry spell at Grundy County Speedway that began after he won his third late-model feature of the season on May 30.
The dry spell officially is over.
Baker put on one of his most powerful shows of the season in the 70-lap Magnabosco Memorial, leading the final 49 laps and beating Eddie Hoffman to the finish line by 1.120 seconds.
“The car has been decent the past few weeks, we just haven’t had the finishes to go with it,” Baker said. “We keep making changes. I don’t know if we’re going slower, there are a lot of cars that have stepped it up.
“I’m just really happy. The bottom went, everybody raced really clean. It was a lot of fun.”
Baker was biding his time behind early leader John Nutley when Nutley’s No. 96 began spewing gasoline after an overflow hose broke. The race was stopped on lap 21 and Nutley went to the pits for repairs.
Inheriting the lead on the restart, Baker had no challenges the rest of the way. Hoffman took second place away from Anthony Danta on lap 37 but spent the rest of his evening looking at Baker’s bumper about five car-lengths in front of him.
“I don’t think there was any catching him,” Hoffman said. “He was just driving out in front, watching the mirror. I think he was pretty much just out there riding. We had a good second-place car.”
Gentile ran a strong race to finish third, ahead of Danta, Brett Sontag and Larry Schuler. Nutley came from the back to finish 11th in the 20-car field.
Tommy Knippenberg claimed his seventh feature of the season in the Mid-American class, working his way through the field and passing racelong leader Luke Baldwin with just seven laps remaining. Baldwin held on for second, while John Ventrello, Kevin Gentile, Joe Vinachi and Matt Clemmons completed the top six.
Jason Kolbe made his first appearance of the season in a street stock a bountiful one, leading nearly wire to wire in the 25-lap feature.
“Unbelievable. I have to dedicate this to my dad,” Kolbe said of his late father, Butch. “He was with me. He got me into racing. This is his number (37) on the car.
“We got no sleep (Thursday night). The only sleep I got was on the trailer. We finished it at 1:30 (Friday afternoon).”
The real battle was for second place between Logan Love and John Senerchia. It went to Senerchia, with Love hanging on for third ahead of points leader Eddie Ligue, Don O’Leary and Billy Rud.
After winning her heat, Danielle Dobczyk prevailed in the pure stocks main in a one-lap shootout at the finish with Austin Blackwell.
Fast Time: Ricky Baker
Feature: Baker, Eddie Hoffman, Dave Gentile, Anthony Danta, Brett Sontag, Larry Schuler, Scott Koerner, Billy Knippenberg, Ron Vandermeir, Josh Nelms
Fast Time: Tom Knippenberg
Heat Race 1: John Ventrello, Kevin Gentile
Heat Race 2: Cody Clubb, Jim Kachel
Feature” Knippenberg, Luke Baldwin, Ventrello, Gentile, Joe Vinachi, Matt Clemens, Vince Cooper, Kenny Benson, Kachel, Craig Stark
Fast Time: Jake Bradley
Heat Race 1: Billy Rud, John Senerchia
Heat Race 2: Craig Matteson, Bill Serviss
Feature: Jason Kolbe, Senerchia, Logan Love, Eddie Ligue, Don O’Leary, Rud, Bob Davis, Matteson, Rob Scamen, Serviss
Heat Race 1: Steve Hespen, Cirk Lindemuth
Heat Race 2: Danielle Dobczyk, Austin Blackwell
Feature: Dobczyk, Blackwell, Justin Mikel, Dan Schmeissing, Mikey Slabenak, Chris Mihalski, Ricky Wilson, Jeff Law, Bryce Leake, Will Shepard
Fair Time 200 EnduroTo Rick Zifko
A field of 27 cars took the green flag for the 1st Annual Fair Time 200 Enduro for 4 cylinder Pure Stocks style cars with Rick Zifko picking up the win with a late race pass over Alex Clubb.
Best looking car award winner Dylan Marshall started on the pole and led the first 4 laps of the 200 lap event before Alex Clubb would move past and take the lead. Clubb would set a blistering early pace and by lap 50 only 2nd running Mike Cunz and 3rd place Justin Mikel were on the lead lap. Shortly after the 1/4 mark of the race, Clubb would pass 2nd and 3rd and was only car on the lead lap.
Zifko, and Dan Schmeissing who were 2 of the 3 cars who had to start a lap down due to a rules infraction were working their way through the field and cracked the top 5 by lap 55. Schmeissing was the first of the leaders to run into problems when he dropped out of the race while running in the 4th spot on lap 85.
As the drivers closed in on the halfway fuel break at lap 100, Zifko moved into 2nd spot but was still a lap down to the leader. At the break the top 6 were Clubb, Zifko, Cunz, Mikel, Joe Labombarbe and Mark Ross Jr.
On the restart Zifko would line up behind Clubb and made quick work of him getting by the leader and putting himself on the tail end of the lead lap. Labombarbe and Cunz were both running in the top 5 when they retired to the pit area with mechanical problems. This would move Mikel up to 3rd, Ross up to 4th and Dave Eder into the top 5.
Zifko slowly started eating into the lead but by lap 150 had only managed to get within a half a lap of Clubb. Around this time Clubb’s lap times seemed to slow down some and in the next 30 laps Zifko inched closer and closer to leader. At lap 180 Zifko caught Clubb and the top 2 drivers battled hard for the top spot with Zifko making the pass on lap 184 and leading the final 16 laps. In victory lane Clubb told fans that he blew a brake line and was having to use the emergency brake just to slow down in the corners. In the end only Zifko and Clubb would finish on the lead lap.
Fair Time 200 Results – July 6th
Rick Zifko, Alex Clubb, Justin Mikel, Mark Ross Jr., Dave Eder, Ryan Lagestee, Dylan Marshall, Anthony Doliver, Kyle Clubb, Peter Hayes, Chuck Fox, Tyler Griswold, Nathan Colman, Bruce Amell, Trevor Martin, David Prince, Mike Cunz, Gerald Hayes, Joe Labombarbe, Tyler Wheaton, Ryan Gilliam, Dan Schmeissing, Jacob McKown, Mike Nelms, Burl Page, Mitch Moag, Joe Murray.
– Grundy County Speedway Press Release. Top Photo Credit: Doug Hornickel/FastLapPhoto.com