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Linda Mansfield, Restart Communications
Young Boyles and Veteran Hazen
Make a Championship Combination
In Gas City I-69 Speedway Sprint Car Action
GAS CITY, Ind., Jan. 7 — Clinton Boyles, a native of Greenwood, Mo. who currently lives in Lees Summit, Mo., earned the non-wing sprint car track championship at Gas City I-69 Speedway in 2018 over 76 other drivers by posting three consecutive feature victories and two additional top-five finishes in the quarter-mile dirt oval’s nine regular sprint car events. It was a remarkable accomplishment since the 23-year-old Boyles had only driven at Gas City I-69 Speedway twice before the 2018 season opener in April.
Veteran car owner Paul Hazen of Columbia City, Ind. owns and fields the red-and-white DRC chassis No. 57 that Boyles drove to the title. Powered by a Kercher Racing Engines-prepped Chevrolet engine, the car is sponsored by Physical Medicine Consultants of Fort Wayne, Ind.; Kercher Engines of Roann, Ind., and KECO Engineered Coatings of Indianapolis.
Shane Cottle of Kansas, Ill. won the season opener and finished second in the championship driving Steve and Carla Phillips’ No. 71P DRC powered by a Foxco engine the first part of the year. That car is sponsored by Half Moon Restaurant and Brewery, Frank and Jill Daigh, and PennGrade 1 motor oil. He and Boyles were second and first in the point standings, respectively, when their rivalry became more than a little heated during the feature on July 6, adding to the steamy nature of the “Beach Night/Summer Thunder” show. Cottle finished the season in the famous Goacher Racing No. 5G, and remained second in the championship. That car is a DRC chassis with a Jeff Claxton-prepped engine, and its primary sponsor is Parallax Power Supply.
Tyler Hewitt of Marion, Ind. stayed out of the controversies and placed third in the year-end standings with his bright yellow No. 97X Maxim sponsored by his engine preparer, McGunegill Engine Performance (MEP). Garrett Abrams of Rushville, Ind. placed fourth in the No. 32 DRC, which is sponsored in part by Bob-O-Link Liquors, TLF Logistics and Torpedo Ventures. Dallas Hewitt of Troy, Ohio was fifth in the No. 18 DRC sponsored by Carts & Parts of Union City, Ind. and King’s Auto Body.
Sixth through tenth were Travis Hery of Piqua, Ohio; Adam Byrkett of Burnettsville, Ind.; Kyle (KRob) Robbins of New Castle, Ind.; Luke Harbison of Fishers, Ind., and the 2010 track champion, Thomas Meseraull of Waveland, Ind.
Gas City I-69 Speedway, which distributed nearly $250,000 in purse money to its five classes of weekly racers during the season, bestowed its non-wing sprint car Rookie of the Year award to two drivers: Harbison and Bryar Schroeter of Kokomo, Ind.
The first co-Rookie of the Year, Harbison, made his first start ever at Gas City at the season opener with his No. 40, which is sponsored by CustomPrintProducts.com and Krueckeberg Auction and Realty. It’s a Mach I chassis powered by a Tranter Chevy engine. The other co-Rookie of the Year, Schroeter, finished 11th in the point standings with his No. 21S, which is a Stealth chassis sponsored by Billy’s Auto Repair, JR New and Used Tires and Taylor Powder Coating, all of Kokomo.
In addition to Boyles and Cottle, other non-wing sprint car feature winners in the hotly contested division were Meseraull with two feature victories and one each for C.J. Leary of Greenfield, Ind.; Steve Irwin of Fenton, Mich., and the “Flying Fireman,” Shane Cockrum of Benton, Ill., so there were six different feature winners in the track’s regular sprint car action in all. The division attracted drivers from as far away as Australia to compete at the Grant County, Ind. track about one hour and 23 minutes north of Indianapolis.
Two spectacular finishes were particularly memorable in the sprint car action at Gas City last year.
The first was when Leary passed the versatile Matt Westfall of Pleasant Hill, Ohio in the fourth turn on the last lap to win the 25-lap Jerry Gappens Sr. Memorial on June 29.
Then 16-year-old Gio Scelzi of Fresno, Calif. passed Caleb Armstrong of New Castle, Ind. to win the BOSS winged sprint car feature in similar fashion on Aug. 31. The latter race was the first winged 410 sprint car event at Gas City in 14 years, and Armstrong set a new track record of 10.653 seconds in time trials.
Kevin Thomas Jr. of Avon, Ind. also made headlines when he won both the MSCS sprint car feature and the track’s biggest race of the year, the “James Dean Classic” USAC AMSOIL national sprint car feature that closed the season.
Dillon Nusbaum of Warsaw, Ind. was victorious in the closest title fight, as he earned the track’s DIRTcar UMP (United Midwestern Promoters) modified championship by just 66 points over Bradley Jameson of Royal Center, Ind. Nusbaum’s family-owned No. 17N is sponsored in part by Loretta Reeder with Brian Peterson Real Estate, ATC World Class Trailers and Bruner & Son Construction. Nusbaum, who was also the modified track champion at Gas City in 2015, didn’t win a feature at the track in 2018 but he had eight top-five finishes, including three seconds. Jameson didn’t post a feature victory either, but his consistency also paid off with the runner-up honors.
Randy Lines of Marion, Ind. was third in the final point standings followed by Garrett Jameson of Royal Center, Ind., and Bub Roberts of Warren, Ind.
Rounding out the top 10 in the UMP modified standings were Jessica Sroufe of Huntington, Ind.; Jim Mallery of Mooresville, Ind.; Lance Krider of Garrett, Ind.; Andy Bishop of Gas City and Jerry Bland Jr. of Anderson, Ind. Krider earned the track’s UMP modified Rookie of the Year title too.
The UMP modified competition attracted almost the same amount of cars as the non-wing sprint car division did, as 78 different modified drivers earned points compared to 77 non-wing sprint car drivers.
Zeke McKenzie of Claypool, Ind. had three UMP modified feature victories at Gas City last year. He ended up 12th in the track’s final point standings, but he was seventh in the national standings out of 1,380 drivers, and second to Jamie Lomax of Lake Village, Ind. in the UMP modified Northern Indiana regional point standings. Derek Losh of Rennsaler, Ind., Lines and Nusbaum rounded out the top five in those regional standings.
Lines had two feature victories in the division at Gas City. NASCAR star Kenny Wallace of Imperial, Mo.; Michael Tarlton of Albion, Ind.; Mallery; Roberts; veteran Jerry (the Jedi) Bowersock of Wapakoneta, Ohio and Losh also took feature checkered flags during the course of the year to make up the eight different winners.
Wallace’s victory came in his first visit ever to Gas City, and he said he was amazed at how beautiful the facility is. That night showcased the determination of the track officials, staff, push-truck drivers, race car drivers, crews and fans, as a downpour with hail delayed the event about two hours, but with hard work and patience the show went on.
Lines competed in several divisions. Besides finishing third in the UMP modified points and tenth in the thunder car standings, he earned the track’s super street championship in Sam Thompson’s white No. 14 Rocket chassis by earning 605 points to the 520 posted by runner-up Tony Homan of St. Marys, Ohio. Jarrett Rennaker of Huntington, Ind. finished third and earned the division’s Rookie of the Year honors. James Headley of Marion, Ind. and Josh Robertson of Defiance, Ohio rounded out the top five.
Joe Wiggins of Jonesboro, Ind.; Jami Cale of Huntington, Ind.; Mike Fincher of Rochester, Ind.; Jeffrey Jessup of Union City, Ind. and Jeremy Creech of Richmond, Ind. placed sixth through tenth for the season out of 33 competitors.
Lines’ super street, which is sponsored in part by Thompson Trucking and R&R Transmission, won three super street features at Gas City last year enroute to the title. The two other features went to Cale and Glenn Bradley of Marion, Ind.
D.J. Holt of Marion, Ind. topped the list of 38 thunder car drivers to earn that championship over 13-year-old Bryce Krider of Garrett, Ind., who was also the division’s Rookie of the Year. Stevie Clark of Kokomo, Ind.; Ron Flaugh of Converse, Ind. and Greg Marlow of Granger, Ind. rounded out the top five.
Braxton Strait of Hartford City, Ind.; Ervin Turner of Marion, Ind.; Headley; Greg Long of Atlanta, Ind. and Lines rounded out the top 10 in the thunder car division.
Holt won three features with the No. 36 Holt Auto Body thunder car. Lines won twice in that division, while Headley, Jason Fritz of Winamac, Ind., Jimmy Watters of Montpelier, Ind., Turner and Flaugh also posted feature victories.
One of the highlights of the thunder car division was the July 13 “Thunder Car Rumble,” the brainchild of Turner, Holt and Flaugh. It offered a $6,000 purse, which was the largest purse ever posted for thunder cars in the Hoosier state. Watters ended up the big winner, as he took home $700 for winning the 20-lap feature in his Hoosier Pearl Company No. 2. The event wasn’t without controversy, however, as he and leader Headley had contact three laps from the finish.
One of the most spectacular features of the thunder car season occurred on Aug. 3 when Holt flipped in Turn 4 with seven laps down while battling for the lead, and then Braxton Strait’s car caught on fire and he flipped in about the same spot with only two laps to go. Luckily neither was hurt.
Eric Solms of Fairmont, Ind., owner-operator at TFS Trucking, proved he can drive a smaller vehicle well too, as he won the 2018 front-wheel-drive (FWD) compact class with his Silver Bullet No. 88. Alyssa Clark of Columbia City, Ind. won the feature on July 13 and finished second in the championship over Gage Allen of Warren, Ind. and two drivers based in Columbia City, Ind. — Randy Brommer and Jacob Beard.
Kolton Sollars of LaFontaine, Ind.; Brad Evans, also of LaFontaine; James Headley Jr. of Wabash, Ind.; Dillen Loudy of Marion, Ind. and Robbie White of Kokomo, Ind. rounded out the top 10 in that class, which attracted 34 drivers. Headley Jr., who won the season finale, was the division’s Rookie of the Year.
Solms and Josh Gamblin of Kokomo, Ind. both won two features. Allen and Beard each had one win in the class like Clark and Headley Jr.
In addition to the five regular weekly divisions that competed at Gas City, the track hosted other series and classes, including the USAC AMSOIL national sprint cars and the MSCS sprint cars (Kevin Thomas Jr. of Avon, Ind. won both of those features); GLSS winged sprints (Max Stambaugh of Elida, Ohio took the top honors out of 31 360 sprint car drivers); USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 midgets (Stratton Briggs of Anna, Ohio and Chet Gehrke of Louisville, Ky. were the winners); 600cc winged micro sprints (Todd Kirkman of Kokomo, Ind. was the victor); open-competition midgets (Landon Simon of Tipp City, Ohio won the feature); UMRA TQ midgets (Matt Hedrick of Rushville, Ind., a deputy for the Rush County Sheriff’s Department, was the feature winner); BOSS winged sprint cars (won by Californian Gio Scelzi); winged outlaw micro sprints (Blane Culp of Columbia City, Ind. was the winner), and even a school bus race, which went to Jim Ashton of Anderson, Ind.
Despite evenings that often featured around 100 race cars in the pits, almost all of the shows were finished by 11 p.m., which was a testament to the track officials, their staff, the push-truck drivers and the racers and crews themselves.
Promoter Jerry Gappens added all sorts of special events for the track’s family-friendly crowd. Intermission entertainment included games of knockerball, helmet tosses, a beachball game, coin scrambles, a “Soccer Moms Gone Mad” race and bubble ball competitions. One show featured fireworks, there was an exhibition by the Midwest Oldtimers Vintage Race Club, and drivers threw Frisbees with gift cards attached into the grandstands. Santa Claus showed up one hot summer night bearing gifts, and two James Dean look-alikes graced the James Dean Classic USAC AMSOIL sprint car season finale.
Track sponsors included Marion Tire, Miller’s American Auto Body, Indiana Oxygen, Brandt’s Harley-Davidson and Hoosier Racing Tire.
The top 10 in points in all five weekly divisions, the Rookies of the Year, and others will be honored at the track’s awards banquet Saturday, Jan. 12 at Eventfully Yours Event Center in Marion, Ind.
For more information, see the track’s website at GasCityI69Speedway.com and follow it on Facebook at @GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas and on Twitter at @GasCitySpeedway.
The point rundowns for all five regular classes follow:
Non-wing sprint cars: 1. Clinton Boyles, 1,101 points; 2. Shane Cottle, 1,005; 3. Tyler Hewitt, 984; 4. Garrett Abrams, 822; 5. Dallas Hewitt, 723; 6. Travis Hery, 629; 7. Adam Byrkett, 542; 8. Kyle Robbins, 527; 9. Luke Harbison, 504; 10. Thomas Meseraull, 485; 11. Bryar Schroeter, 463; 12. Ted Hines, 454; 13. Parker Fredrickson, 428; 14. Aaron Davis, 420; 15. Isaac Chapple, 405; 16. Jamie Fredrickson, 396; 17. Brandon Mattox, 392; 18. Evan Mosley, 390; 19. Tony Main, 351; 20. Shane Cockrum, 350; 21. Jarett Andretti, 347; 22. Matt Goodnight, 321; 23. Matt McDonald, 276; 24. Jack James, 263; 25. Ty Tilton, 256; 26. Landon Simon, 239; 27. Matt Cooley and Steve Irwin tied with 236; 29. Matt Westfall and Jacob Gordon tied with 227; 31. Braydan Willmington, 225; 32. C.J. Leary, 224; 33. David Gross, 222; 34. Cory Gardner, 218; 35. Kyle Simon, 202; 36. Tony DiMattia, 196; 37. Kayeleb Bolton, 195; 38. Cole Ketcham, 188; 39. Adam Wilfong, 177; 40. Brandon Morin, 173; 41. Paul Dues, 168; 42. Brian VanMeveren, 165; 43. Chad Wilson, 156; 44. Gage Etgen, 132; 45. Kevin Thomas Jr., 130; 46. Brady Bacon and Garrett Aitken tied with 125; 48. Jay Waugh, 123; 49. Dave Darland, 115; 50. Carson Short, 106; 51. Robert Ballou and Scotty Weir tied with 102; 53. Chase Stockon, 90; 54. Tyler Gunn, 87; 55. Aaron Farney, 84; 56. Bob McMillan, 78; 57. Rob Caho Jr. and Chad Davenport tied with 75; 59. Donny Brackett and Zane Hendricks tied with 72; 61. Billy Cribbs, 71; 62. Joe Stornetta and Jeff Wilson tied with 69; 64. Joe Liguori and Daylan Chambers tied with 66; 66. Lee Underwood, Aric Gentry and Brian Karraker tied with 63; 69. Dakota Jackson and Chase Jones tied with 60; 71. Critter Malone, 57; 72. Michael Fischesser, 54; 73. Curtis Mulhenkamp, 41; 74. Tyler Kendall, 35; 75. Kory Crabtree, Tom Davies and Corey Smith tied with 5.
UMP Modifieds: 1. Dillon Nusbaum, 1,153 points; 2. Bradley Jameson, 1,087; 3. Randy Lines, 1,027; 4. Garrett Jameson, 987; 5. Bub Roberts, 904; 6. Jessica Sroufe, 876; 7. Jim Mallery, 778; 8. Lance Krider, 775; 9. Andy Bishop, 745; 10. Jerry Bland Jr., 661; 11. Daniel Russell, 645; 12. Zeke McKenzie, 573; 13. Darek Snyder, 504; 14. Michael Tarlton, 491; 15. Todd Sherman, 484; 16. Dylan Woodling, 444; 17. J.J. Nordman, 436; 18. Cory Bevard, 376; 19. Brent Davis, 317; 20. Jason Jones, 302; 21. Lynn Johns, 285; 22. Jamie Lomax, 281; 23. Bill Lewis, 269; 24. Garrett Rons, 264; 25. Derek Losh, 260; 26. Todd Gnat, 256; 27. Jon Raney, 252; 28. Jerry Bowersock, 245; 29. Phil Hamand, 231; 30. Zach Brubaker, 222; 31. Jesse Strange, 213; 32. Colin Thrilby, 212; 33. Pete Wormcastle, 201; 34. Steven Hogue, 192; 35. Aaron Orr, 176; 36. Drew Smith, 170; 37. John Halsey, 153; 38. Terry Sroufe and Ryan Ramseyer tied with 147; 40. Glenn Bradley, 141; 41. Casey Davis, 132; 42. Kenny Wallace, 130; 43. Ryan Sutter, 125; 44. Mickey Carman Jr. and Matt Chambers tied with 120; 46. Will Bennett, 118; 47. Lee Hobbs, 116; 48. Scott Orr, 110; 49. Ernie Gingerich and Brennan Sherman tied with 107; 51. Daryl Banks, 102; 52. Josh Lolmaugh, 94; 53. Mason Stewart, 92; 54. Tony Anderson, Michael Patrick and Tim Wilbur tied with 90; 57. Cole Sink, 89; 58. Pat Ehlert, 84; 59. Cameron Head and Luke Timmerman tied with 83; 61. Shaun Patrick and Roger Mills tied with 81; 63. Craig Walker, 77; 64. Bruce Hogue, 75; 65. Tyler Teegarden and Brad Eitnier tied with 72; 67. Doug St. Meyers, 69; 68. Josh Malott and Cole Murray tied with 63; 70. Josh Knebel and J.J. Butler tied with 45; 72. Trent Musk, 43; 73. Richard Swan, 41; 74. Josh Betts, 39; 75. Tim Craig, 37; 76. Travis Nichols, Tyler Morehouse and Michael Thayer tied with 5.
Super Streets: 1. Randy Lines, 605; 2. Tony Homan, 520; 3. Jarrett Rennaker, 480; 4. James Headley, 421; 5. Josh Robertson, 388; 6. Joe Wiggins, 362; 7. Jami Cale, 360; 8. Mike Fincher, 291; 9. Jeffery Jessup, 281; 10. Jeremy Creech, 240; 11. Terry Sroufe, 235; 12. Ron Flaugh and Jeff Matheny tied with 225; 14. Craig Walker, 192; 15. Dan Snyder, 162; 16. Glenn Bradley, 130; 17. Tim Wilbur, 120; 18. Jeff Hinkley Jr., 110; 19. Connor East, Ervin Turner and Greg Marlow tied with 106; 22. Jeff Beggs and Jason Trimmer tied with 102; 24. James Watters and Casey Barr tied with 98; 26. Jeff Robertson, 94; 27. Josh McCord, 90; 28. Joshua Hotsinpiller, 87; 29. Scott Robertson, 84; 30. Stevie Clark, 75; 31. Braxton Strait, 72; 32. Greg Long, 66; 33. Matt Cale, 60.
Thunder Cars: 1. D.J. Holt, 1,199; 2. Bryce Krider, 889; 3. Stevie Clark, 824; 4. Ron Flaugh, 814; 5. Greg Marlow, 771; 6. Braxton Strait, 654; 7. Ervin Turner, 573; 8. James Headley, 474; 9. Greg Long, 471; 10. Randy Lines, 404; 11. Justin Wheeler, 401; 12. Mike Reitz, 392; 13. Mark Keith, 360; 14. Shane Richardson, 279; 15. Rick Paul, 268; 16. Wryan Collis, 265; 17. T.J. Larson and Kevin Kerlin tied with 240; 19. Kaleb Hinkley, 222; 20. Kaleb Nutter, 205; 21. Bob Byrley, 167; 22. Cody Devlin, 165; 23. Roy Mulkey Jr., 156; 24. James Watters, 135; 25. Jason Fritz, 130; 26. Lee Hall, 125; 27. Randy Brommer and Jeff Hinkley Jr. tied with 115; 29. Eric Hunter and Steve Tanner tied with 110; 31. Cale Ramey and Brad Keith tied with 106; 33. Mike Oler, 103; 34. Travis Bright, 98; 35. Gerald Owens, 94; 36. Joshua Hotsinpiller and Dalton Smith tied with 87; 38. Jason Fuller, 5.
FWD Compacts: 1. Eric Solms, 943; 2. Alyssa Clark, 872; 3. Gage Allen, 824; 4. Randy Brommer, 751; 5. Jacob Beard, 717; 6. Kolton Sollars, 698; 7. Brad Evans, 656; 8. James Headley Jr., 559; 9. Dillen Loudy, 534; 10. Robbie White, 478; 11. Storm Hayes, 388; 12. Josh Gamblin, 380; 13. Don VanBuskirk, 273; 14. Brandon Nutter, 214; 15. Loren Swanson, 201; 16. Austin Dailey, 200; 17. Scott Harrington,178; 18. Chris Harrington, 169; 19. Ryan Piker, 159; 20. Josh Neal, 125; 21. Brandon McDaries and Logan Easterday tied with 115; 23. George Meachum, 107; 24. Carson Day, Austin Scott and Billy Beard tied with 106; 27. Brett Clark, 102; 28. Mike Alley and Greg Adams tied with 98; 30. Jack Ellingwood, 94; 31. Darin Harrington, 90; 32. Ryan Okuley and Joel Smitley tied with 81; 34. Randy Owen, 5.
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