Columbus, OH — Donnie Hill captured Saturday’s late model feature at Columbus Motor Speedway as a part of a seven feature race program of NASCAR Whelen All American Series racing action. Hill piloted his Architect Glass late model to win number three of the 2016 campaign on a hot humid night which included a pair of rain delayed feature events in two support divisions.
The 35-lap late model event saw Daryl McKay showing the way early on ahead of Cody Robinson and Mike Rush. Rush wasted little time showing his prowess powering around the top two as lap-5 went up on the NASCAR scoreboard. Following along in his tire tracks was Kyle Purvis and the eventual winner who was up from his fourth starting spot. As that trio battled through lap-10, Hill squeezed past both and set sail. That’s when fast qualifier David Carter began to make some noise as he advanced from his eighth starting birth. Utilizing the outside lane of the third-mile oval Carter powered around Purvis and Rush before setting out after Hill. Chipping away at his straightaway advantage a little each lap Carter was going to need a caution and with nine laps remaining he got it. Unfortunately, for him, it was caused when engine failure in his JVM racing machine ended his night. Following a brief track cleanup, Hill led Purvis and his teammate Kyle Jones back to the green flag. Purvis stayed close for a couple of circuits but Hill stretched his advantage in the waning laps carrying a five car length advantage under the checkered flag. Purvis was second at the stripe followed by Jones, Rush and McKay.
Action in the Columbus modified division showcased two main events including the evening’s opening race, a 40-lap rain delayed affair. In that Robbie Dean Memorial contest Shane Shirk prevailed. The Springfield, OH driver started eighth and maneuvered his Maplewood Tree mod toward the front from the outset. He tracked down Terry Humphrey near the races midpoint and pulled ahead after a dramatic side-by-side battle. As he pulled away, the red flag flew after early leader Greg Blackburn collected the turn two wall in a grinding crash. The veteran was able to step out of the car with assistance but took the obligatory trip to the hospital for a checkup. Once back underway, Shirk pulled away to the win with Humphrey, Jeremy Menninger, Gary Zink and Josh Kempf rounding out the top five. The modified division’s “nightcap” race witnessed a popular victory for Ethan Mullet who secured his first win since 2014. The former quarter midget standout slipped past early leader Scott Leach on lap-9 and held on for victory in the 30-lap finale ahead of Leach, Menninger, Kevin Doran and Jack Jones. It was heartwarming that late model driver and good friend, Erika Newcome, was able to join Mullet on the racing surface to celebrate the win. Newcome, an accomplished racer in her own right and 2016 NASCAR Diversity Driver candidate is in the battle of her life and it has nothing to do with racing. Diagnosed recently with Stage 4 Sarcoma, Newcome is undergoing treatment at The James Cancer Center. Track officials, and the Nuckles family, are keeping Erika in our prayers.
The sport stock division doubled their pleasure in a rain delayed Robbie Dean Memorial event along with the regularly scheduled contest. In the first, it was Phil Gussler Jr powering past early pacesetter Bruce Holmes with ten circuits left in the 30-lapper. From there he held off George Lindsay to prevail. Ralph Vinson, Kenny Simpson and Bruce Snider chased the fleet duo under starter, Boots Longenete’s, checkered flag. The tandem sport stock feature race win went to Chris Meier in convincing fashion. Felled by a flat tire in the evening’s early race, Meier came back with a new tire and a vengeance to secure the winners share of the purse. Bridesmaid honors went to Lindsay again, chasing Meier’s Rocky Fork Camaro across the stripe with Steve Karnes, Ralph Vinson and Gussler close behind.
Devin Stansbury allocated his first feature win of 2016 in a green-to-checkered 20-lap affair. Starting twelfth, Stansbury weaved his way through heavy traffic in an event that witnessed a 29-car starting field bypassing Ryan Smith with 8-laps remaining. Lonnie Brown was third in the final analysis ahead of Corey Kyer and Bill McElfresh.
The pride of South Charleston, OH, Zach Miller outran Adam Sturgill and ,brother Ryan Miller, to claim victory in legend car action. Rounding out the top five at the conclusion of that division’s 20-lap contest was Bob Eaton and Madalynn Minnear.
-Columbus Motor Speedway Press Release
-Photo Credit: Columbus Motor Speedway