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Erb Jr Dominates Summer Nationals Event At Spoon River

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Dennis Erb, Jr. of Carpentersville, IL is a quiet man of few words who prefers to let the powerplant of his #28 UMP Super Late Model do the talking.

And that it did Thursday night at Spoon River Speedway as Erb powered his way to a dominating “Hell Tour” Victory, making history and picking up a $10,000 first place check in the process in front of a huge and enthusiastic crowd filling the grandstands at the legendary high-banked oval.

“We don’t get to come here and run much,” Erb said in Victory Lane, “but it’s always fun to race here. The track was great and racey all over, and that helped once we got into lapped traffic, I could put the car anywhere I needed to and that helped keep the lead. Great to see a big crowd tonight, it was a good night.”

It was the first time Spoon River Speedway put a $10,000-to-win show on during the Summer Nationals, and the racing did not disappoint.

After an initial false start, the Late Models blazed 28 of their scheduled 50 laps before the first caution of the event came out, for a spin by former Spoon River winner Ryan Unzicker. Erb, from the pole, jumped out front and never relinquished the lead in those first 28 laps, but the caution allowed Batesville, Arkansas legend Billy Moyer to draw back up on the rear bumper of Erb’s car for the restart.

It was of no matter to Erb, who picked right up where he left off before the caution and once again built a comfortable lead to take the win. Moyer, a two-time winner already this year on the Tour to become the all-time victory leader in Summer Nationals history with 92 (ahead of Moweaqua’s Shannon Babb, with 90) finished second on the night. Both Moyer and Erb had earlier won heat races, along with Unzicker and Gibson City’s Kevin Weaver.

Weaver was part of a terrific three-car battle for third over the last 30 laps of the feature, as he dueled with impressive Tennessee driver Mike Marlar and Oakwood, Illinois phenom Bobby Pierce. The three swapped positions, used every groove the track, threw crossover moves at each other, and put on a thrilling show as they tried to stay with the leaders. Pierce was quite possibly the fastest car on the track over the last 10-15 laps of the event, eventually getting clear of Marlar and Weaver to finish 3rd, as he was gaining on Moyer when the laps ran out.

Pierce, a three-time winner on the tour this year and the defending Summer Nationals Champion, added to his points lead with the victory. Marlar held off Weaver for fourth, with Weaver earning 5th on the night.

New Berlin’s Brandon Sheppard made up ground from his 10th starting spot to finish 6th, followed by Jason Feger of Bloomington, the 2014 Spoon River SN winner (2015 was rained out), Arkansas driver Timothy Culp, Babb, and Iowa hotshoe Chris Simpson to round out the top 10. Waukesha, Wisconsin’s Taylor Scheffler, making the Main event through the B-main qualifier, was the winner of the Hard Charger award as he drove from near the back of the field to a 12th place finish in the Main.

Ashland, Illinois youngster Kolby Vandenbergh won the Super Late Model B-main. Vandenbergh started his Late Model career at Spoon River Speedway in a Pro Late Model, as did several competitors in the event Thursday night, including Bobby Pierce. The C-main was won by Springfield’s Brian Diveley.

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The UMP Summit Modified Nationals were the other half of the show Thursday, and Mooresville, North Carolina’s Nick Hoffman spanked the field to pick up the winner’s share of the purse, $1,000.

“We want to win this tour this year, and thought we had a good chance here tonight after last year,” Hoffman said. Hoffman was at Spoon River for the 2015 Modified Fall Nationals, and ran well.

“We were good here last fall, and then I had an altercation on the track with my teammate, of all people,” he laughed, “but the track was to our liking tonight…smooth, dry slick with a good surface top to bottom…I could drive it wherever I needed to.”

Hoffman picked up his third Summit Modified feature win out of four events on the tour thus far, padding his points lead in the process. Litchfield, Illinois veteran Brent Mullins came home second, holding off Peoria’s Allen Weisser in a classic Spoon River inside-outside duel, with Mullins down low and Weisser working the top most of the 25-lap event.

In keeping with what Spoon River fans have been seeing on almost a weekly basis this year, Weisser was followed across the line by Kelly Kovski and Ray Bollinger. Those three drivers have battled at the front of the regular Saturday night features the entire 2016 season, and had a great race again Thursday.

Rounding out the top 10 in the Mod feature were: Tyler Nicely of Owensboro, Kentucky, Creve Coeur’s Mike Chasteen, Jr., Chris Osborne, Jr. of East Peoria, Sheffield, IL driver Nathan Balensiefen, and Phil Dixon of Crosby, TX.

Heat race wins in the Mod division went to Weisser, Michael Long of Quincy, and Hoffman. Balensiefen won the Hard Charger award in the feature.

Spoon River Speedway will take this Saturday night off to prepare for the next show, coming up Saturday, July 2nd, which will include a famous post-race fireworks show from promoter Brad Denney.

The UMP Summer Nationals continue at tracks throughout the Midwest through the middle of July, go to www.dirtcar.com for complete schedule, updated points, photos and more.

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The UMP Summer Nationals Hell Tour Spectacle On Dirt, Returns to Spoon For Historic Event

Summer Nationals 2016

On Thursday
Night June 23rd the UMP Summer Nationals Hell Tour will Invade Spoon
River Speedway and will be running for the Highest Payout in Spoon’s history.
The UMP Super Late Model 50 Lap Feature winner will walk away with a $10,000 check.
Some of the best dirt track specialist
are expected to try and tame the High Banked 3/8’s mile monster.

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Anderson Wins Father's Memorial Race, Davis and Midgets Honor Late Racer

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It was a night full of emotion at Spoon River Speedway Saturday, as the track hosted the 7th Annual Bill Anderson Memorial for E-Mods, honoring the longtime Spoon River regular who at one point had three sons racing at the Speedway. Along with that, the IMRA/USAC NuTech Seed Midgets came together to honor the late Aaron Hull of Monmouth, who lost his life in an accident while working on his race car last week.

Mark Anderson, the last active racer among Bill Anderson’s sons, earned the victory in the 30-lap main event while former racers and brothers Bill, Jr. and Kirk – and the rest of a large contingent of family and friends in specially made t-shirts - watched him work. Anderson was the third driver of the event to build a good sized lead, but the only one who eventually made it to the finish without mechanical issues.

Early leader Butch Weisser suffered a flat left front early, forcing him to the infield hot pits for a tire change and ultimately to the back of the pack for the ensuing restart. From that point, Pekin’s Kevin Morrow took charge, but handling issues cost him the lead when his car suddenly darted up the track in turn two and out of the racing groove. He drove off under the subsequent caution period, with a car that “just turns right when I least expect it!”

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Biggest Payout in Spoon's History Thursday Night June 23rd

Summer Nationals 2016

This years Summer Nationals Hell Tour on Thursday Night June 23rd, will be one for the record books at Spoon River Speedway as they will payout the biggest purse in Spoon River Speedways History as they play host to the 22nd running of this specticle on dirt at the fame 3/8's mile, high banked oval. A huge field of UMP Late Models are expect as they will do battle for the $10,000 grand prize. We also expect a large field of Summitt UMP Modifieds also. This is one race you won't want to miss, so make sure to mark it on your calendars and tell all your friends.

Mullins Hold Off Kovski and Bollinger In Mod Thriller At Spoon River Speedway

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Every year about this time, as the UMP Summer Nationals draw near, the Zane’s Auto Service UMP Modified field gets dotted with big names from throughout the Midwest making a trip to Spoon River on a Saturday night to race with the regulars and “tune” for the big event in late June.

Veteran Modified hotshoe Brent Mullins of Mt. Olive, IL made the trip up from about an hour South of Springfield to get his 41M ready for June 23rd’s Summer Nationals event, and made it pay off when he held off hard-charging Kelly Kovski on the inside and Ray Bollinger on the outside to claim the win in the 20-lap Mod feature Saturday night.

“Yep, we did come here in part to get it ready for the Summer Nationals,” Mullins said in Perkins Seed House Victory lane, “but I try to make three or four trips up here every year because we just love the track. Smooth, fast, racy, wish I could get up here more, it’s always a good time.”

Mullins is also a Modified engine builder, and one of his engines, under the hood of Ray Bollinger’s #77, has also visited Victory Lane at Spoon River this year. On this night, Bollinger was able to get up to third behind Mullins and Kovski, but with the fastest lines being down low and being used by the two leaders, Bollinger made the best of the top side of the race track to make it close at the end.

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Indiana Speedster Wins Cook Jr Memorial

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The first time Levi Kissinger of Mt. Vernon, Indiana laid eyes on Spoon River Speedway was Sunday afternoon when he arrived to check his UMP Modified and crew into the pits. His first thought: “wow, what a hidden gem this is!”

A few hours later, in the late evening air, Kissinger proved to be the best of the 50 Modifieds on hand as he won the 3rd Annual Gary Cook, Jr. Memorial Race in a thrilling battle with Central Illinois stalwarts like Allen Weisser, Kelly Kovski, and Steven Brooks.

In Spoon River Speedway’s Perkins Seed House Victory Lane, he had a wave of emotions as he discussed the win. “I raced Gary Cook, Jr. a couple of times, everybody knew how good he was,” Kissinger said,     “and it is just a tremendous honor to win a race named after him, and to think I was out there racing with his Dad and got to meet Gary, Sr. down here…it’s really an awesome thing.”

Cook, Sr. was the 31st starter in the huge feature field, driving the Cook, Jr. tribute car displaying the final wrap and sponsor scheme the younger Cook ran until passing away from cancer three years ago.

Kissinger gushed at the racing surface and the competition. “I was having so much fun,” he smiled, “I didn’t care if I won, ran second, third or wherever. These guys were fun to race against and they are fast…and so is the track. What a great place! We will make every effort to come back whenever we can.”

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3rd Annual Gary Cook Jr Memorial Set For This Sunday Night

Cook Jr 2016

NEXT SUNDAY Night May 29th the Gary Cook Jr Memorial featuring the Zane Automotive Service UMP Modifieds running for $2064 to Win and $125 to start. Also on hand will be the UMP Super Late Models running for $1500 to Win and $150 to start, the Perkins Seed House UMP Pro Late Models for $500 to Win and the USAC/IMRA Speed 2 Midgets sponsored by NuTech Seed running for $500 to Win and $80 to start.
Modifieds and Supers will be only classes to TT. Midgets and Pro Lates draw for ...starting spot. All classes top 6 to 8 will redraw at intermission for feature spot
All classes will be on transponders. $10 rental plus driver's license, $15 for pouch or $250 to purchase Transponder, Charger and Pouch.
We have two $25 gas cards to give away along with merchandise from Hoosier and a few other prizes.
After a mix up on the boys bike last Saturday we will be doing the 20" bike give away again on Sunday. So boys 7 and up make sure to sign up.
Cooler size is 10x14x12 Tall (NO EXCEPTIONS) $5 everytime through the gate. (NO FOOD OR GLASS)
NO Large Purses and NO BACKPACKS ALLOWED
Everything is subject to search
Pit Gate opens at 12
Driver's Draw Starts at 3 and ENDS at 5:30
Driver's meeting 5:45
Hot Laps 6
Grandstands open at 5
Modified and Super L/M TT around 6:20
Racing to start around 7
General Admission $20
Kids 10 and Under are $5
All Pit Passes $35
New policy on Rain out, as long as you have your armband or ticket stub you may use it at any racing event in 2016 at Spoon plus any extra cost over the purchase price of that ticket or armband. This doesn't include coolers. Transponders must be turned back in night of race.
This is one race you won't want to miss, so make your plans now for Sunday Night May 29th to see some of the Best Driver's on Dirt do Battle on the High Banks of the Spoon!!

Kovski Triumphs In Test Memorial Thriller

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Kelly Kovski, Ray Bollinger and Allen Weisser certainly didn’t get together before the race and make plans to put on a show, but they sure did once the green flag flew on the Zane’s Auto Service UMP Modified Feature Race Saturday night at Spoon River Speedway.

Racing for $1,000 to win the 5th Annual Randy Test Memorial Modified Feature, named for the longtime Spoon River Speedway modified car builder and owner, the three Modified Hot Shoes used every inch of the high banked super smooth oval to thrill the nice crowd in attendance under a full moon on a picture-perfect spring evening.

Bollinger held the lead throughout the first 17 laps, maybe not so much in dominating style, but certainly in a way that everyone involved knew would be hard to top. A caution came out as the leaders were working through lapped traffic, allowing Kovski and Weisser to draw back on the tail of Bollinger with a clean track ahead of them for the restart.

Weisser flew around the outside of Bollinger coming out of turn two shortly after that restart, and the talented youngster took his turn in the lead spot. After using the high side to pass, Weisser quickly dropped his racing line in the next couple of laps to protect the lead and undoubtedly to check the capability of the bottom groove, but he quickly moved back up.

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Rain Delay, Showers Go Away, Leading to Wins by Biswell, Bollinger, Mallonee and May

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Mother Nature’s version of putting water on the track caused a short delay in the Saturday night program at Spoon River Speedway, but after the shower passed and the racing resumed, driver’s were left with a perfect track for feature racing.

The delay came in the Pro Late Model heat, with just one more heat to follow before intermission. Promoter and track prep guru Brad Denney had closely monitored the weather radar all day, and knew what he wanted to do should the shower hit the speedway. When it did, midway through that heat race, Denney sent the Pro Late Models off the track and immediately jumped in his tractor to start “wprking” the track as the shower subsided.

After a few minutes of track prep, Denney announced over the crew radios to have the Pro Late Models return to the track and finish their heat, and the rest of the night went off as planned with the usual smooth, multi-groove racing surface for driver’s to battle on.

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Bollinger, Baugh Dominate In Feature Wins

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Ray Bollinger of Kewanee, IL missed Opening Night at Spoon River Speedway two Saturdays ago, but made up for it this past weekend with a dominating win in the Zane’s Auto Service UMP Modified Division feature at The Spoon.

“I love this place,” an exuberant Bollinger said in Perkins Seed House Victory Lane, “we like to travel around a bit and can’t always make it, but I do love this track.” Bollinger picked up cool $1,000 for his victory Saturday, and said the track was a “driver’s track”.

“You had a choice of grooves here as usual tonight, and always smooth,” he said. “We changed gears about three times after the heat trying to decide if we wanted to run the top or the bottom. Thanks to my crew, they worked hard and they made the right call!”

To earn the win, Bollinger had to get around one of the early leaders and pole sitter Brandon Roberts, who, hugging the bottom, was the early man to beat and who finished second. Bollinger was forced to the high side after running low early to make the pass for the lead, and it stuck. Kelly Kovski led the races initial laps, but a mechanical issue forced him out of the lead and eventually out of contention. Josh Allen, in his second week running with the Open Mods full time, started 8th and drove to 3rd with an impressive run, followed by Allen Weisser and Rodney Bowman.

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