SANDUSKY (OH) – Trent Stephens sailed to his fourth Bio Based.US Midwest Supermodified Association (MSA) presented by Adkins Glass Championship in grand style last Sunday afternoon, with a victory to seal the deal. As the MSA came back to their home track of Sandusky (OH) Speedway for their final event of 2014 Stephens came up with the closest of close MSA finishes ever. Just by a nose wing did he beat another former MSA Champion, Charlie Schultz, back to the checkered flag in a last lap dog fight that saw a drag race to the checkers off turn four.
Part time driver Matt Marlowe would bring the field to the start with veteran Jon Henes alongside at the track by the lake for 40 green flag laps. Henes used his wealth of experience and blasted to the top spot from the outside as the winged warriors pounded the pavement into turn one. Just as the field was shuffling through for positions the first yellow would fly at lap two when Mike McVetta spun coming off turn four from a broken brake caliper. That yellow turned red when a pot hole was found in the track just across from the front stretch flag stand. A 30 minute delay and the track was fixed and back green they went. Henes wasted no time, back on point he went. Henes would remain the leader through three more yellow for minor spins. At the halfway mark Henes was wide open by several car lengths but in pursuit was both Schultz and fast qualifier Dave Shullick Jr. Both drivers had started deep in the field and Shullick Jr. lost his nose wing very early in the going and had his hands full. Shullick would muscle by Schultz for second and two laps later the yellow would fall. All that track position for Henes was no evaporated as the field tightened up for the restart. Just as the green dropped Schultz suddenly found himself the new leader when Henes and Shullick made contact and both spun under the flag stand. Shullick would be finished and go pit side, Henes to the tail and on they went, back racing on the restart. Schultz would blister the pavement with a very lose race car, sometimes broad side in the corners and now the No. 19 Stout car with Stephens piloting was baring down on the May Motorsports No. 7. A race for the ages, once Stephens got there, he had to figure out how to get by. Schultz made the May Motorsports mount really wide but Stephens got inside him on the last lap coming around turns one and two. Forced to drop back in line down the backstretch Stephens made a charge to the outside in turns three and four, and the car stuck like glue. Coming of corner number four the two drag raced to the finish with the crowd on their feet Stephens took the victory by a whisker. Kyle Edwards would follow in third, with Jim Paller fourth, as Davey Hamilton rounded out the top five.
“I could not do that again if I tried,” stated Stephens. “A crazy race, it worked out for me, obviously a little bad luck for DJ and Jon. I am still kind of surprised I pulled it off, the opportunity popped up and I was able to capitalize on it. I was fighting all kind of issues with a not so great car. The car was really lose, losing water out of the radiator, got hit in the rear and almost cut down a right rear tire. Every racer dreams of winning a race like that, and I was able to pull it off. Charlie gave me room to race when I got there, it’s nice to have drivers that respect each other enough to race like that for the win and not wreck each other. This Championship is awesome. Four in a row with this team, it’s amazing,” finished Stephens.
“Just quote me as saying, heartbroken,” said a dejected Schultz. “I did not have anything for Jon when I was running second the car just kept staying free. Then when DJ and Jon got together, taking each other out, and I got the lead I thought clean air would help. But, it didn’t last, the car just kept getting loser and loser. I just overworked the right rear tire. I saw Trent get under me in turn one after we took the white flag, I was able to try a little defensive move off turn two and got back to the bottom in turn three. Then he was able to stick it to the outside and we both got a little sideways, and he was able to get a little better run off turn four than me. Last night the car was really tight in the heat race, we just figured it would free up, we just didn’t go far enough. The biggest thing was the track second grove with oil downs and the abuse it took this weekend. I love to run out there but there just was not much to work with out there. Congratulations to Trent and Steve Stout and those guys on their fourth Championship,” finished Charlie.
“I am glad we finished third, we just missed the set up,” stated Edwards. “We have made a lot of gains with this car, a great finish to the season. We are happy; we had good speed out of the trailer. Really we were lacking forward bit off the corners, but we are satisfied with third,” finished Edwards.
20 cars were on hand for the final race of the 2014 season with Shullick blistering the pavement in qualifying with a new track record time of 14.045. The three heat winners included Stephens, Edwards, and Henes.