KANSAS CITY, Kan. — As drivers and fans alike celebrated the life of one of the most popular dirt track racers of all time, Friday’s 3rd Annual Grant Junghans Memorial at the Lakeside Speedway gave the fans a night to remember.
In the 32-lap feature co-sanctioned by the USMTS and USRA, Jake O’Neil came away with the biggest win of his career by holding off Johnny Scott-the toughest USMTS competitor so far this season.
Lance Town took the initial lead in the race with Cade Dillard, Mark Schafman and Scott in tow.
With four laps in the books, Scott snuck underneath Town to lead the fifth circuit with Dillard following into second one lap later.
Lucas Schott, who won the inaugural Grant Junghans Memorial two years ago, slipped by Dillard the next time around with O’Neil following him into third on lap 8.
Two laps later, O’Neil got around Schott in the first turn and then disposed of Scott in the next corner to snag the top spot away in just 10 laps after rolling off 13th on the 30-car grid.
Scott never let O’Neil get away, and hounded him for the next 10 laps as the lead pair picked their way through heavy lapped traffic, finally finding a run off of turn four to lead lap 21.
But it was a short-lived reign as O’Neil’s line around the outside of a lapped car was quicker than Scott’s inside line and O’Neil was back in front at the end of lap 22.
Schott narrowed the gap between himself and the two leaders in the closing laps, but could not mount a challenge as O’Neil stayed clear of trouble and kept Scott behind him the final 10 laps to take home a $10,002 payday.
“You have no idea (what the money mean),” said O’Neil, who had to rent a truck to get up and down the road last week when his hauler broke down. “I don’t even know what to say really.
“Grant was riding with us tonight. This was my number one race of the year I wanted to go to, even if I didn’t race at all, and for sure the one I wanted to win. Coming here I didn’t think we really had a chance but thank God I talked with Jimmy Owens on the phone and he gave me a few ideas, and I’ll tell you what, that guy he builds a hell of a race car.”
Scott and Schott settled for second and third, respectively, with Terry Phillips and Dillard rounding out the top five.
Tyler Wolff was sixth, defending race winner Rodney Sanders grinded out a seventh-place finish, Town held on for eighth, Stormy Scott nabbed the ninth spot and Dereck Ramirez claimed tenth place a the checkers.
The USMTS Hunt for the Casey’s Cup powered by Summit resumes Saturday night at the Salina Highbanks Speedway in Pryor Creek, Okla., for the 6th Annual Salute To Our Veterans presented by ARMI (Arkansas Myriad, Inc.) which is sponsoring free admission to veterans and active military with proper ID.
The event will kick off with a pre-race military flyover by Paul Mackey and the Warbirds, and will feature the Smith All-Fab Back Row Challenge and a $500 Hard Charger Award. The top eight redraw drivers will have the option of electing to start tailback for a $3,000 bonus if they win. The first two drivers who take the challenge will start from the rear. The Hard Charger bonus is included in the Back Row Challenge bonus.
Plus S&J Plumbing Pure Stocks, Super Stocks and AmeriFlex B-Mods will also be on the card.
The pit gate opens at 3 p.m., grandstands open at 5, the drivers meeting commences at 6:15, hot laps start at 6:30 and racing gets underway at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $20 for adults or $17 for seniors ages 62 and up. Kids ages 6-12 are $10. Members of the military and veterans are admitted free of charge, as well as children ages 5 and under. Pit passes are $35 ($5 off w/ NASCAR license).
Discount coupons good for $2 off the adult ticket price are available on race day at Casey’s General Store locations in Adair, Chelsea, Claremore, Tahlequah and Wagoner plus the Siloam Springs location in Arkansas. To find the location nearest you, visit www.caseys.com.
Zack VanderBeek will be at the 100 W. Main St. in Adair from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to meet ‘n’ greet fans.
The Salina Highbanks Speedway is located 7 miles east of Pryor on SR 20. For more information, visit the website at www.salinahighbanksspeedway.com or call (918) 434-7223.
SPIKE HARDCORE ENERGY “A” MAIN (32 laps):
1. (13) 0 Jake O’Neil, Tucson, Ariz., LG2/Cornett, 32, $10,002.
2. (6) 1st Johnny Scott, Cameron, Mo., VanderBuilt/Hill, 32, $5222.
3. (9) 69 Lucas Schott, Chatfield, Minn., MBCustoms/Hill, 32, $4302.
4. (5) 75 Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo., GRT/Durham, 32, $3402.
5. (2) 97 Cade Dillard, Robeline, La., MBCustoms/ASI, 32, $3002.
6. (8) 4w Tyler Wolff, Fayetteville, Ark., MBCustoms/Hatfield, 32, $2502.
7. (14) 20 Rodney Sanders, Happy, Texas, MBCustoms/Hatfield, 32, $2202.
8. (1) 21t Lance Town, Wellsville, Kan., MBCustoms/Driskell, 32, $2002.
9. (17) 2s Stormy Scott, Las Cruces, N.M., VanderBuilt/Mullins, 32, $1802.
10. (7) 4r Dereck Ramirez, Woodward, Okla., Hughes/Cornett, 32, $1602.
11. (22) 21x Travis Saurer, Elizabeth, Minn., MBCustoms/PerfAuto, 32, $1502.
12. (11) 96t R.C. Whitwell, Tucson, Ariz., Victory/Mullins, 32, $1402.
13. (12) 91 Joe Duvall, Claremore, Okla., MBCustoms/ChevPerf, 32, $1302.
14. (27) 27L Trevor Latham, Rogers, Ark., Hughes/BCD, 32, $1292.
15. (18) 66t Tyler Schmidt, Easton, Kan., Hughes/Mullins, 32, $1282.
16. (3) 34 Mark Schafman, Edwardsville, Kan., Schweizer/Yeoman, 32, $1272.
17. (20) 90 Terry Schultz, Sedalia, Mo., Hughes/Mullins, 32, $1262.
18. (10) 33z Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, VanderBuilt/Sput’s, 31, $1252.
19. (21) 16 Austin Siebert, Grandview, Mo., MBCustoms/Durham, 31, $1242.
20. (25) 3366 Ryan Gillmore, Springfield, Mo., Hoffman/ChevPerf, 31, $1232.
21. (16) J17 Jake Gallardo, Las Cruces, N.M., LG2/ProPower, 31, $1222.
22. (29) 12 Johnny Bone Jr., Pea Ridge, Ark., Shaw/Yeoman, 31, $1212.
23. (19) 3b Nic Bidinger, Perry, Kan., GRT/Siebert, 22, $1202.
24. (23) 88 Chad Wheeler, Muskogee, Okla., MBCustoms/Durham, 21, $1202.
25. (15) 87 Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, Kan., MBCustoms/Driskell, 20, $1202.
26. (30) 1k Tim Karrick, Basehor, Kan., VanderBuilt/Millert, 19, $1202.
27. (28) 111 Bumper Jones, Mesilla Park, N.M., GRT/Sput’s, 9, $1202.
28. (4) 68 Kerry Davis, Parkville, Mo., GRT/Sput’s, 4, $1202.
29. (26) 19sb Lance Mari, Imperial, Calif., MRT/Yeoman, 2, $1202.
30. (24) 70 Aaron Marrant, Richmond, Mo., GRT/Burlington, 2, $1202.
-USMTS Press Release
-Photo credit: USMTS