While many people around the nation were nursing their post-New Year’s Eve hangovers, Midwest racers convened at Sandusky Speedway (OH) on Sunday to find their annual cure: the Wild Bill Hart Hangover Race.
The 39th edition of the Hangover Race, which runs annually on New Year’s Day in any weather, featured 25 racers across three divisions. Front Wheel Drive racers joined the Whiskey Stock division, while Street Stock and Mini Truck racers joined the Moonshine Stock division. Drivers could also enter the Champagne Stock division, which was an open division with no rules.
Ron Miller captured his 13th Hangover win, taking the Champagne Stock win by over half a lap. Miller brought a fleet of Dirt Late Models with large sideboards, and battled with teammate JR Gooden for most of the race. Mark Kackenmeister led early, before losing the lead to Miller before lap 10.
“It’s the first race of the year, how can you get any better? Today was a blast, it really was, because we can use everything we’ve got,” Miller told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Anytime we are running around in circles with horsepower it’s a good day”
Doug Cantley battled with Jason Purtee for the win in the Moonshine Stock class, which needed a few extra laps to determine a winner. Cory McCaughey led the race early, before being forced off track with a fluid leak. Dave Gumby inherited the lead and sped off from the field, before also being sent off the track with a fluid leak.
The black flags put Cantley and Purtee to the front of the field, and the two would battle throughout the last 10 laps. With the checkered flag about to fly, the two made contact in turn four, sending Cantley around. Purtee would instead see the yellow and restart from the rear of the field. Cantley was placed back in first, and would go on to win his first ever feature.
Cantley spoke to the tradition of the race after his win.
“It’s a pretty iconic race, so I’d have to say this is probably nice to get a first win here,” he said. “The only other one I’d say would be at Hy-Miler you’d want a first win, but I’ll take it here.”
Kelly Lilie won the Whiskey Stock division, which featured the biggest field of the day. Lilie raced from the rear of the 16-car field, making several three-wide passes while battling with Terry Eaton. Traffic late in the feature let Eaton catch up, but Lilie was able to secure her first Hangover Race win.
Lilie was happy to improve on her 2016 Hangover Race finish.
“It’s exciting. Last year I ended up winning a heat race but finished third in the feature. Things just worked out this year.”
Speed51.com will have more from the Hangover Race, including in-car camera footage, this week.
-By Patrick Hahe, Speed51.com State Editor (IN, MI, OH) – Twitter: @PatrickHahe_S51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/Patrick Hahe