If Wednesday night’s King of the Wing Opener at Toledo Speedway is any indication, race fans are in for a night of incredible racing! JoJo Helburg battled Troy DeCaire to the wire to claim the first event of the Series, the Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness Rollie Beale Classic. Ron Hemelgarn presented the trophy in the 7-Up Winner’s Circle.
A good crowd for the first mid-week race at Toledo since 1977 saw Travis Eddy top the 22 car field in the 40 lap Top Speed Modified Tour feature, while Ross Rankine notched the 40 lap USAC Honda HPD Midget feature.
The 40 lap Sprint Car Shootout main event was filled with outstanding racing for position, and the final 12 laps saw the top 5 cars running nerf bar to nerf bar! Helburg held the point, DeCaire reeled him in and the duo swapped the lead for 2 laps going from the high lane to the low groove as the crowd roared. Helburg held on for the popular win as the crowd stood and applauded JoJo as he climbed atop the wing of his car in celebration! DeCaire’s great run took him to second, Davey Hamilton Jr. moved up 3 spots in the closing laps to take third, while Ryan Litt was fourth and Cody Gallogly fifth.
The race was slowed by just a pair of yellow flags. The final 20 laps were sensational, as Jason Blonde took a shot at the lead, battling Helburg for several laps. Litt took his shot and moved up to do battle for the point also, as the first 5 cars diced back and forth in amazing racing action, perhaps the best Sprint Car race at Toledo in recent memory. Shane Butler, Tim Skoglund, Blonde, Kyle Edwards and Davey Hamilton completed the top ten. 19 cars took the green flag. Kody Swanson encountered mechanical woes and was unable to compete. Helburg swept the night by setting fast time at 12:814, leading 5 cars into the 12 second bracket. JoJo also captured his heat race win. Tim Cox and DeCaire were the other heat race winners.
Travis Eddy had his huge lead erased by a red flag on lap 20, but took right off again on the restart on his way to the victory in the 40 lap Top Speed Modified main event. The red came out when David Dobbins got tapped in the middle of the backstraight and spun, leaving the track blocked and no open lanes. All drivers were ok. Eddy just jumped back on the throttle and took off again as he sailed to the win over Derek Griffin, Tim Burkett, Tyler Shullick, Chad Poole, Greg Fullterton, Trei Deubel, Dan Loughan, Jordan Pruitt and Walt Obrinski Jr. Griffin set a new track record in time trials for the Mods at Toledo with a lap of 16:380. Griffin was at the wheel of Brian Nester’s car, who held the old mark before Derek set the new record.
Ross Rankine was victorious in the 40 lap USAC Honda HPD Midget Series feature on the ¼ mile oval. Toledo resident Austin Nemire recovered from a spin and tried to reel in the leader but had to settle for second spot. Tate Martz, Anthony McCune, Adam Thomason, Jack Cross and Steve Myers were next in line. Nemire won the heat and set fast time at 10:353.
The family of Rollie Beale was introduced during a ceremony to honor Rollie, who passed away in February. A group of former racers was also introduced to the crowd by track announcer Gary Lindahl.