By Scott Binkley
South Bend, IN (6-2) Slightly cooler temperatures saw fans flock to the latest installment of “Automotive Mayhem” at the South Bend Motor Speedway this past Saturday night. And they all came to cheer on their favorites as some of the area’s best drivers displayed their talents. South Bend’s Nick Newgent outlasted all others to take home his first win of the season in the Sedan Demolition Derby while John Rinehart of Osceola scored the front wheel drive Mini Car Demo win. Greg LaPierre of Battle Creek, MI scored the Enduro victory while Jason Dobosiewicz of South Bend took the win in the Trailer Race and Josh Forman of Rolling Prairie thrilled the crowd with his skills in the Rollover competition.
First on the card was the 100 lap Front Wheel Drive Enduro race. A total of nineteen drivers took the green from starter Bill Rosencrantz. Jim Cauffman of North Liberty jumped out to an early lead with South Bend’s Doug Fox in hot pursuit. Near the 25 lap mark, LaPierre took command and never looked back. As he skillfully maneuvered his Ford Escort through traffic, he avoided spinning cars and blown tires by other competitors. At the finish, it was LaPierre over Cauffman, the only other car on the lead lap. Ed Clawson, also from Battle Creek came home 3rd over Michael Jenks of Niles, Keith Dunlan of Plainwell, MI and Helmut Forstinger Jr of South Bend. Shawn Swinehart of Elkhart, Thomas Groning of South Bend, Doug Fox and Terry Ferrell of Mattawan, MI rounded out the top ten. LaPierre took home $500 and a trophy for his efforts.
Once again, the Trailer Race proved to be the crowd favorite as Brad Whiteman of South Bend showed up pulling his huge sailboat. Clinton Stremme from Decatur, MI had a hot tub behind his Chrysler sedan. As the field exited turn 2 on the 1st lap of the race, the hot tub (and its contents) went flying. It wasn’t until the closing laps of the race that Whiteman’s boat beame separated from its trailer, causing the huge crowd to erupt in cheers. Jason Dobosiewicz put his Chevy pickup in the winner’s circle and took home the $150 prize ahead of Ray Matlock of Niles, also in a Chevy pickup. Blayne Woodcock of Warsaw brought his Suburban home in 3rd over Whiteman and Kyle Heider of LaPorte. Ryan Benson of Mishawaka was next ahead of Roger Streeting of Chesterton, Mishawaka’s Steven Hensley, Cody Phillips of Elkhart and Larry Hopper of LaPorte.
Josh Foreman proved to be the only entrant in the Rollover competition. All he had to do was roll the car over one time to clinch the win and take home the trophy and $100. Not wanting to disappoint the large crowd, Josh set out to entertain as well as win. On his first attempt, he scored a perfect flip, landing the car back on its wheels. The rules state that each driver is allowed 3 attempts to score as many points as possible. Josh rolled his car 3 out of 5 tries, much to the delight of the fans.
In the front wheel drive Mini Car Demo event, John Rinehart outlasted Larry Staats of Macy for the win in, what appeared to have once been a Chevy Corsica. Scott Breeding Jr of New Carlisle finished 3rd ahead of Mike Straka of Granger, Anthony Colcord of Niles, Scott Breeding Sr of New Carlisle, Robert Riggs of Buchanan, Taylor Lamber of South Bend and Larry Runyon of Niles.
The sedans were divided up into 4 preliminary heats in order to set the field for the big car Demolition Derby feature. Heats 1 & 3 lined up on the front stretch while heats 2 & 4 took to the back stretch. Several drivers who advanced were unable to compete in the feature, however, as wheels and axles were chucked out right and left. A total of 18 cars advanced from the heats into the main event. When the cars came out for the feature, only 15 of the 18 made the call. When the dust settled and the smoke cleared, it was Nick Newgent who took home the big trophy and the $1000 top prize. At the end, Nick had to battle Michael Newgent Jr, also of South Bend for the title. Jon Lichkay of Osceola finished in 3rd over Justin Lintz of South Bend. April winner, Stanley Larrew of New Carlisle finished 5th while Justin Stambaugh of Walkerton took home 6th. Ryan DeBaillie, Terry Burgess, Jessie Stambaugh and Chad Newgent, all of South Bend, rounded out the top ten.
Next on the schedule for the speedway is this Saturday when the Sportsman division will take center stage for their $2500 to win 75 lap feature. Cars from all over Indiana and Michigan are expected to compete. Also on tap are the “Bellman Oil Company” Late Models, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks and Front Wheel Drives. Pit gates open at noon with practice set to go at 2 pm. Qualifying is at 5 and racing at 7. Spectator gates open at 4 pm. Pit passes are $25. General admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids 6-12 and kids 5 & under are free with an adult. Small coolers are welcome but NO alcohol and NO glass containers.
The next “Automotive Mayhem” event will be July 4 when we will host a “Night of Destruction”. Fred Sibley’s jet car will be on hand to blow up some cars, there will be Monster Trucks and a Rollover contest. There will also be Trailer races and a Road Course Enduro for front wheel drive cars.
Mark you calendars and plan on attending one or both of these events and, as always, we’ll see you at the races.