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South Bend recap May 30

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South Bend recap May 30

Postby Ron Verash » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:01 am

Free for All Huge Success at South Bend Motor Speedway

By Scott Binkley
South Bend, IN (5-30) South Bend Motor Speedway owners and promoters, Steve and Jennifer Brown have never shied away from trying new things and this past Friday was no exception. In a bold move, the pair decided the best way to thank their existing fans for their support and entice new fans to give the famed speed plant a look-see was to offer free grandstand admission for everyone. And, nearly 7000 folks took them up on their offer. Eighty drivers packed the pit area and put on an awesome show for those fans with three drivers notching their first feature wins at the high banked oval. Craig Ponsler and Vernon Knight took wins in the FWD and Street Stock mains for their first ever wins as David Raley Jr took his first feature win at South Bend in the Mini Stock class. Brandon Cretacci in Pro Lates and Charlie Hanna in Bellman Oil Company Outlaw Late Models both became the first repeat winners of the 2014 season.

In the 20 lap Front Wheel Drive feature, Allyson Cretacci of Walkerton jumped out to the early lead and held off challenges for the first six laps before South Bend’s Craig Ponsler took over. As the race progressed, Ponsler eased into a comfortable lead while the rest of the field battled for the runner up spot. As the checker flew, Bryan Banta of South Bend and Kyle O’Dell of Plymouth held off a strong challenge from a very impressive, Devin Lauderback, also from South Bend. Jason Horton of South Bend was fifth while Alyson dropped back to a strong sixth place. Bryant Ragsdale of Mishawaka, Jim Cauffman of North Liberty and South Bend drivers, Drew Davis and James Austin rounded out the top ten. In heat race action, Drew Davis topped Matt Maurer of Granger and Banta in heat one while Sean Stuart of North Liberty beat out O’Dell and Horton in heat two. Austin bested Rowdy Ronnie Holloway of South Bend and Lauderback in heat three.

Thirteen of the season high fourteen Mini Stock drivers took the green for their 25 lap feature. It was a very happy David Raley Jr of Osceola who took home the top prize but he had his hands full as he had to battle Jerime Damron of Goshen through most of the event. Chad Lindsey of LaPorte came home with third over Dustin Kline of Constantine, MI and Kevin Davis of South Bend. Jim Newman of South Bend was next but was disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct after the race, giving sixth spot to Aaron Zimmerman of Shipshewana. South Bend drivers Howie Fisette and Derek Davis, Jason Cogswell of LaPorte and Allen Tink of Angola completed the top ten. Derek Davis topped Kline and Damron for the win in heat one while Fisette took heat two over Zimmerman and Lindsey.

In one of the best street stock main events ever, nineteen drivers took the green with last week’s winner, Danny Brown Jr of LaPorte starting shotgun on the field. Vernon Knight from Michigan City took the lead early and pulled away from the field. As the laps ticked off one by one, Brown slowly worked his way to the front, finally moving into the runner-up spot near the two thirds mark. However, Knight was not to be denied as Brown searched high and low for racing room. As the pair came off turn four for the checker it was Knight taking his first ever feature win ahead of Brown, Mark Swan of Mishawaka and Joe Coffin of Plymouth. Derek Wunder and Doug Fox, both of South Bend were next as A.J. Lubelski of Walkerton, Rich Hensley of South Bend, Brad Smith of Niles and Kenneth Dodd II of Osceola rounded out the top ten. Knight also scored the win in heat one over Wunder and Kevin Papa of Elkhart as Brown Jr topped heat two over Swan and James Haisley of South Bend. Heat three went to Jeff Kaiser of North Liberty over Jay Coffin of Hamlet and Addison Davis of North Liberty.

In the Pro Late Model main, Brandon Cretacci of Walkerton jumped out to an early lead and appeared headed for an easy win, only to have that lead disappear when the caution flag flew. On the restart, Cretacci, once again, opened up a good lead and, again, watched that lead disappear. With just a few laps remaining, Rodney Smith of Elkhart moved into second and set his sights on wrestling the lead away. The pair ran side by side for the last three laps with Cretacci beating Smith to the line by just inches to take his second ever feature win. Gregory Gifford of Michigan City took third for his best finish in years while last week’s winner, Brian McFadden of South Bend came home in fourth ahead of Bobby Stremme of South Bend. Danny Brown Sr of New Carlisle, Nick Stremme of South Bend, Matt Sullivan of Hartford, Rich Boal of Plymouth and Brandon Nieto of Mill Creek filled out the top ten. Sullivan took the win in heat one over Smith and Boal while Bobby Stremme topped Gifford and Cretacci in heat two. For Smith, it was his third straight second place feature finish.

Saving the best for last, the Bellman Oil Company Outlaw Late Models closed out the evening with twelve of the finest drivers in the area taking the green. A red flag on lap five for the blown engine on the mount of Dave Simpson from Lawton, MI slowed action but did not dampen the competition as Andrew DeVreese of Mishawaka held onto the lead for most of the event. However, it was Goshen’s Charlie Hanna who wrestled the lead away to score his second win of the young season. DeVreese held on for second in one of his best finishes to date at the track. Kenny Lollar Jr of Buchanan took third over defending series champion, Mike Tutino of Walkerton and Mike Shewchuk of South Bend. Corey Woods of South Bend was next with Mike Verduin of North Liberty, Mike Prescott of Nappanee, Chuck Lymangrover of South Bend and Cory Pressler of South Bend following. Hanna topped Shewchuk and DeVreese for the win in heat one while Tutino bested Lollar and Nick Kretchmer of Granger in heat two.
This Friday will see another “High Five” show with Bellman Oil Company Outlaw Late Models, Pro Lates, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks and Front Wheel Drive cars. Spectator gates open at 7 with racing set to get underway at 8 pm. For those fans that would like to watch practice, general admission tickets will be available at the pit gate beginning at 5:30. Adult admission is just $12 with kids 6-12 only $5 and kids 5 & under free with an adult. Even though the concession stands offer the best food around, small coolers are welcome but NO alcohol or glass containers please. The weather forecast calls for warmer temps so we look forward to seeing you at the races.
Ron Verash
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Michana Vintage Racers
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Ron Verash
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