Even without Tony Stewart, Bob Newton Classic a success
Stewart cancelled his appearance at the race, which honored the Hoosier Tire founder.
It was a night to honor a pioneer in racing and the four features that ran at the Playground of Power Saturday night, Plymouth Speedway in Indiana, made the Bob Newton Classic a night to remember.
The Newton family came to the track to watch the excitement. Joyce Newton, who worked with her husband Bob to start Hoosier Tire, was there with members of her family and cheered on the drivers with the many fans in attendance for the Bob Newton Classic at Plymouth Speedway. NASCAR driver Tony Stewart had committed to attend the race to honor his friend Bob Newton, but cancelled following last week's tragedy at Canandiagua Speedway, when Stewart was involved in an accident that cost the life of racer Kevin Ward, Jr.
The Dickies Restaurant 600 Sprints found Billy Cribbs the early leader. Garrett Saunders had slipped back slightly in the pack at the start of the race but began working his way to the front. By lap 11, Saunders worked from sixth to the third position. He was attempting to pass Brad Nichols for the second position but ran out of laps. Pole-sitter and points leader Billy Cribbs won the feature with Brad Nichols in the second spot and Garrett Saunders rounding out the top three.
“It’s been a good season,” said Cribbs. “We were kind of behind in the beginning of the season and then got into a groove where we were consistent.”
The Sprints on Dirt Series packed power in their feature Saturday night. Eyes were on Randy Hannagan (in photo, from a previous race) who last won when the series visited Plymouth Speedway in May. However, heavy-hitters Dustin Daggett and Gregg Dalman started on the front row and showed great speed in the beginning of the race. It was Daggett and Dalman in the first and second position until lap 15 when a caution came out for an off-track medical emergency. Just as the caution came out Daggett spun and the leader got a flat right rear tire. He went into the pits and was scored in the tenth position which was the last car on the lead lap,when the field went back to green. The race was red-flagged for a period of time as the ambulance had to leave the track to take that person to the hospital. By rule, an ambulance has to be at the track before an event can be resume. After the ambulance arrived, the flattening tires on the Winged Sprints were filled and the track went green. Dalman continued to lead but a caution on lap 18 bunched up the field and allowed Ryan Ruhl to get a run on the leading Dalman and went on to win the race. Dalman came in second while May’s winner Randy Hannagan was third.
“I’ve been racing Daggett pretty hard this season and his bad luck was my gain,” said Ruhl. “I had a great run on Dalman there at the end and I got the win. I had a great time racing here tonight.”
Thayer tops UMP Modifieds
The Swan Lake Resorts UMP Modifieds had a new driver on top of the podium. Michael Thayer started on the pole and was able to hold off the field for his first win of the season. Dylan Woodling stayed right behind him and made a move to get the first spot on lap 10 but Thayer had the stronger car.
Meanwhile, Frank Marshall was moving through the field despite a damaged race car. He moved his way to the third spot after starting 7th and didn’t have enough to catch Woodling in the closing laps. Former Kalamazoo champion Andy Bozell started fourth but had car issues and finished in the 19th position. Points leader Jamie Lomax also exited the race early and finished in the last position. The podium found Michael Thayer on the top spot with Dylan Woodling second and Frank Marshall third.
“I feel awesome!” smiled Thayer. “It’s great to be back at Plymouth Speedway and thank you to all of the fans for being here on this special night.”
The Super Streets were on the schedule as the last feature of the night where Michael Clark dominated the field. Calvin Peek, Jr. had the early lead and was pulling away from the field when he made a mistake coming out of turn three and traveled through the inner track. He re-entered the field in the fifth position. Clark then assumed the lead with Peek Jr. quickly setting his sights back to the front. Peek Jr. got to the third position by lap 12 and had the second spot by the 14th lap. Kory Conner was running in the second position and traveled up the racetrack coming out of turn four on lap 16 and slapped the front stretch wall. That allowed Peek Jr. to move to the second position. Peek didn’t have what it would need to hunt down Clark for the lead. Michael Clark continued in his winning ways with Calvin Peek, Jr. in second and Kory Conner in third.
“This trophy feels just like the championship trophy to me,” said Clark after solidifying his championship in the Super Streets Division. “This is awesome. I’ll bring back my Super Street in 2015 here to Plymouth Speedway - my home track.”
It needs to end now
Sprint car racer, a paraplegic since age 14, wins his first feature race