Even a late shower could not stop the racing action at the famed South Bend Motor Speedway this past Friday night. With a good sized field of cars on hand, a stray shower moved in just before race time. A quick driver’s meeting was held and drivers were asked if they would prefer to cancel the show or race for a possible reduced purse. In a near unanimous vote, the drivers elected to stay and race. Fans were called upon to tell friends via social media that the track was still racing and, by the time the races began, the crowd had increased significantly. On track action saw Terry Brittain Jr take home his first win in the Hornet main while Matt Sullivan scored his first ever Pro Late Model main event. Mike Verduin picked up the win in Bellman Oil Oulaw Late Models and Rich Hensley held off challenges to win his first street stock feature of the year. Mike Long won his second Front Wheel Drive main of the year while Jason Cogswell took his third Mini Stock feaure in a row. When the night was complete, track owners, Steve and Jen Brown were able to pay full payouts for all classes. A huge thank you goes out to the drivers for their cooperation and support.
In the first main even of the night, the new Hornet cars took to the high banks for their fifteen lap feature. Terry Brittain Jr of South Bend took advantage of his front row starting position to lead every lap. The win, however, was not without competition as Eryn Hartz of South Bend finished a close second while Dominic Yankauskas of Michigan City came home in third. Lizzy Wolkens of Niles was next over the mini van of Scott Binkley of Goshen while Michael Werntz of South Bend, Bobby Alwine of Bremen, Richele Wolkens of Niles, Margret McIntyre of South Bend and Samantha Wolkens of Niles completed the top ten. In the first heat, Tim Fredricks of South Bend, tangled with sisters, Samantha and Lizzy Wolkens as the trio raced down the back stretch with Fredericks ending up on his top in turn three. He was unhurt but his night was done. Lizzy took the win over Richele and Samantha while Yaskauskas topped Alwine and Hartz in heat two. More cars are expected next week as this starter class continues to grow.
In the Pro Late Model 30 lapper, Matt Sullivan of Hartford picked up his first ever win for the class by holding off challenges from Rodney Smith of Elkhart and Rich Boal of Plymouth. Danny Brown Sr of New Carlisle came home fourth with youngster Bradley Blackburn Jr of Goshen in fifth. Danny Brown Jr of LaPorte led Michael Mast of New Paris, Billy Stevenson of Rolling Prairie and Jimmy Klimowixz of South Bend to round out the field. Brown Jr took the heat race win over Boal and Brown Sr.
In the Bellman Oil Company Outlaw Late Model division, the action was just as hot as it has been in previous weeks. In a move that reminded many of us of Danny Sullivan from Indy fame, Scott Ross of Plymouth did a complete 360 degree spin in turn three, continuing on without making contact. The spin, however, relegated Ross to the tail for the restart. Mike Verduin of North Liberty took advantage of the fact that the earlier rain had washed some of the grip from the high groove on the track and held off repeated challenges from Charlie Hanna of Goshen for a well deserved win in the thirty lap event. Shawn Amor of Plymouth, who challenged Verduin as well, finished third in a blanket finish for the top three. kenny Lollar Jr of Buchanan was next over Ross. Robert Haisley of South Bend, Chuck Lymangrover of Mishawaka, Rick Hahn Jr of Indianapolis and Jacob Maynard of Elkhart completed the field. Amor took top honors in the heat race over Lollar and Ross.
The Mini Stock 25 lap feature was setting itself up to be a repeat of last week as Derek Davis of South Bend jumped out to the lead early with Jason Cogswell of LaPorte in hot pursuit. As Cogswell looked high and low trying to get around Davis, the 28 car of Davis showed fire in the engine compartment. Davis, who has been plagued with mechanical woes all season ended his night with yeat another DNF as Cogswell continued on unchallenged for the win over Kevin Davis of South Bend, Ryne Balsley of Plymouth, Terry Kline of Centreville, MI and Howie Fisette of South Bend. Aaron Zimmerman of Shipshewana rounded out the field. Cogswell also took the win in the heat over Derek Davis and Zimmerman.
Fifteen drivers took the green for the 25 lap Street Stock feature with Rich Hensley of South Bend taking the point at the start followed closely by Jay Coffin of Hamlet and Joe Coffin of Plymouth. As the trio broke away, action was heating up farther back in the pack. After a series of cautions around lap 15, Hensley held off a determined Derek Wunder of South Bend for his first win of the season as Wunder scored his best finish of the season ahead of Jay Coffin and South Bend’s Doug Fox. Mark Swan of Mishawaka took fifth over Dennis Kaiser of North Liberty and Vernon Knight of Michigan City. Addison Davis of North Liberty, Braxdon Sims of Walkerton and Joe Coffin rounded out the top ten. In heat race action, Kenneth Dodd II of Osceola took heat one over Kaiser and Fox while Knight topped Frankie Fairchild of Osceola and Tom Taylor of Michigan City in heat two.
The final event of the evening was the popular Front Wheel Drive cars as eighteen drivers took the green for their feature. Early leader, Mike Shewchuk of South Bend spun while leading, taking Mike Long of Niles with him and sending both drivers to the tail of the field. In a great display of sportsmanship, Shewchuk took responsibility for the caution allowing Long to retake the lead where he held on to win his second main of the season. At the finish, it was Long over South Bend drivers, Craig Ponsler and Helmut Forstinger Jr as Kyle O’Dell of Plymouth topped Sean Stuart of North Liberty and defending champ Bryant Ragsdale of Mishawaka. James Trussell of Niles, James Austin of South Bend, Matt Plencner of South Bend and Rowdy Ronnie Holaway of South Bend copleted the top ten. Ragsdale topped O’Dell and Brandon Boyd of North Liberty for the win in heat one while Stuart took heat two over Austin and Ponsler.
Join us this week for another six pack show on the high banks as the action continues to heat up. Will we see more first time winners on Friday? Will Charlie Hanna return to the winner’s circle in the Outlaw Late Models? Will Derek Davis shake his mechanical demons? Tune in this Friday for the answers to those and many other burning questions when we bring you yet another episode of “As the Drivers Turn.” Adult admission is just $12 with kids 6-12 only $5 and those 5 & under free with an adult. Senior citizens and active military receive a $2 discount on general admission. Gates open at 5 with racing set to get underway at 8 pm. Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, your in-laws, your outlaws, your sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s cousin. Tell everyone the place to be on Friday night is the high banks of the South Bend Motor Speedway…and we will see you at the races.
1) Terry Brittain Jr – South Bend, IN – Saturn Coupe
2) Eryn Hartz – South Bend, IN – Neon
3) Dominic Yankauskas – Michigan City, IN – Honda Civic
1) Lizzy Wolkens – Niles, MI – Neon
2) Richele Wolkens – Niles, MI – Neon
3) Samantha Wolkens – Niles, MI – Neon
1) Dominic Yankauskas – Michigan City, IN – Honda Civic
2) Bobby Alwine – Bremen, IN – Cavalier
3) Eryn Hartz – South Bend, IN – Neon
Pro Late Models:
1) Matt Sullivan – Hartford, MI – Impala
2) Rodney Smith – Elkhart, IN – Impala
3) Rich Boal – Plymouth, IN – Impala
1) Danny Brown Jr – LaPorte, IN – Chevrolet SS
2) Rich Boal – Plymouth – Impala
3) Danny Brown Sr – New Carlisle, IN – Monte Carlo
Bellman Oil Outlaw Late Models
1) Mike Verduin – North Liberty, IN – Nadwe’ Zibe Tattoos, Ridge Auto Parts Special
2) Charlie Hanna – Goshen, IN – R&B Car Company, Gene Davis Special
3) Shawn Amor – Plymouth, IN – Amor Automotive, Whitman’s Auto Sales
1) Shawn Amor – Plymouth, IN – Wiers Fleet Partners, Amor Automotive
2) Kenny Lollar Jr – Buchanan, Mi – Golden Malted Pancake Flour Special
3) Scott Ross – Plymouth, IN – Bran’s Roofing Special
1) Jason Cogswell – LaPorte, IN – Mustang
2) Kevin Davis – South Bend, IN – Mustang
3) Ryne Balsley – Plymouth, IN – Mustang
1) Jason Cogswell – LaPorte, In – Mustang
2) Derek Davis – South Bend, IN – Mustang
3) Aaron Zimmerman – Shipshewana, In – Mustang
1) Rich Hensley – South Bend, In – Monte Carlo
2) Derek Wunder – South Bend, IN – Monte Carlo
3) Jay Coffin – Hamlet, IN – Monte Carlo SS
1) Kenneth Dodd II – Osceola, IN – Monte Carlo
2) Dennis Kaiser – North Liberty, IN – Monte Carlo
3) Doug Fox – South Bend, IN – Monte Carlo
1) Vernon Knight – Michigan City, IN – Monte Carlo
2) Frankie Fairchild – Osceola, IN – Impala
3) Tom Taylor – Michigan City, IN – Monte Carlo
Front Wheel Drive:
1) Mike Long – Niles, MI – Neon
2) Craig Ponsler – South Bend, IN – Honda Civic
3) Helmut Forstinger Jr – South Bend, IN – Honda Civic
1) Bryant Ragsdale – Mishawaka, IN – Neon
2) Kyle O’Dell – Plymouth, IN – Saturn Coupe
3) Brandon Boyd – North Liberty, IN – Escort GT
1) Sean Stuart – North Liberty, IN – Escort GT
2) James Austin – South Bend, IN – Saturn Coupe
3) Craig Ponsler – South Bend, IN – Honda Civic