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The first “hot” race of the spring, with temps in the high 80’s at the start of the night, happened Saturday at Spoon River Speedway outside of Canton, and surprisingly it was the veteran drivers that handled the heat of the track and the heat of the competition to take victories at the 3/8-mile high banked clay oval
The USAC/IMRA Speed 2 Midgets were in the spotlight for the Aaron Hull Memorial, honoring the driver from the Galesburg area who lost his life while working on his race car last year. Another memorial race happens this coming Saturday, June 17th, at the track when the E-mods will run their annual Bill Anderson Memorial Race, honoring the longtime car builder/owner/sponsor/track supporter who still has one of three racing sons going at it each week when Mark Anderson takes to the track.
In Saturday’s Midget Main, Mason City’s Andy Baugh, with multiple wins over the last few years at Spoon River in both midgets and sprints, grabbed the early lead in the 24 lap feature (24 laps to honor the late Hull’s car number), but he was quickly challenged by a cadre of machines running the high side and picking up ground rapidly on Baugh as he worked the slick inside groove.
Alex Watson, charging from his 8th starting spot, worked his way past Baugh and into the lead as the race hit the 6 lap mark, but Havana’s Gedd Ross, from 12th on the grid, ran down Watson and eventually got underneath and around him on the backstretch. It looked like Ross’ race the rest of the way until his #51R machine went up in a huge puff of smoke on the last lap coming out of turn two, allowing Tyson Hart to swoop by and pick up the Hull Trophy and a $700 first place check.
As frustrating as it was for Ross, the first thing he did after getting out of his car was to compose himself enough to do a quick interview over the PA and then hustle to Perkins Seed House Victory Lane to congratulate Hart on his win.
“I could tell the engine was laying down a couple of laps before the finish,” Ross said “I was just hoping it made it to the end, but it didn’t. Hate to lose one that way, but congratulations to Tyson.”
Hart echoed those sentiments for Ross. “I feel awful for him, he had that race won, we were going to settle for second,” the winner said, “but that’s unfortunately how it goes in racing and we will take the win. Aaron (Hull) was a great competitor and gone too soon, I’m honored to win this race named for him.”
The entire Hull family joined Hart for an emotional Victory Lane gathering and a couple of group photos.
Brock Hunnell, another of the drivers to work the top of the track, followed Hart across the line, Ross was able to drop to the bottom of turns 3 and 4 and coast across the line 3rd, followed by Adam Taylor and Aaron Schuck.
In the Perkins Seed House Pro Late Model Division, the all-time leader in career wins at Spoon River Speedway added another to his total, as Brad Denney grabbed the lead on Lap one and held off hard-charging Allen Weisser for his 299th career feature win at the track on his family’s property.
“I knew I had to get up high as quick as I could and get the lead,” he said afterwards, “because it would have been hard to pass Allen if he got out there in front. It was a fun race, always fun to race with Allen and he drove his usual clean race. I haven’t won one for awhile, so it’s good to finally get number 299. I think if I get number 300 might be a good time to hang ‘em up.”
Denney got the win in just his second night behind the wheel this year, having concentrated on promotion, concessions and track prep all throughout the spring. But it didn’t take the wily vet long to return to Victory Lane.
Weisser finished second, followed by Josh Jackson in a strong run, AJ May, and Chris Osborne, Jr.
Kewanee’s Ray Bollinger topped a field of 18 to win the Zane’s Auto Service Modified feature race, but he had company at the end of the race.
“Whew, happy to get that one,” said Bollinger, “I tell you what, Josh [Allen] was coming, man, I could hear him back there and knew he was creeping up on us. Just glad to get to that flag first.”
Josh Allen, his car the best of those trying to run the bottom, powered his way to second and might have been able to challenge if there had been another five laps of racing. Zac Oedewaldt, Brandon Roberts and Todd Bates rounded out the top 5.
In the Fulton FS E-mod division, Canton veteran Mark Anderson was running well behind leader Kevin Morrow at mid race, and had made his mind up that it would take a caution to win, or he would end up second, until he started to do the math as he suddenly made up huge chunks of ground.
“Yeah, I thought it would take a caution…then I gain about two car lengths two laps in a row and I’m doing the math and looking at the laps on the scoreboard, and I said to myself ‘I’m going to catch him at this rate’,” Anderson said, “so I told myself to stay calm and drive my line, and maybe we’d reel him in. Of course, passing would be a different story, but I knew when I got that run that I had to make the pass right when I did it, because if I let up and waited a lap, Kevin was going to move up and protect.”
Anderson wheeled around Morrow just before the white flag and then pulled away in the final lap for the win, Morrow finishing second ahead of Matt Dobey, Dawson Cook (who earlier won his first ever heat race) and Bob Goodin.
The Farmington Locker Hornet feature win went to Brett Ragon, ahead of Joey Davis and Kyle Dearing, who had a physical battle that had officials watching closely, only to find out later the two buddies were bumping and banging and having fun racing together.
All results and upcoming events are available at www.spoonriverspeedway.com.
After Saturday’s 8th Annual Bill Anderson Memorial for E-mods, the next event at the track will be the annual visit from the UMP Super Late Model Summer Nationals Tour, coming to the track Thursday, June 22nd, and bringing the top Super Late Model drivers from around the Midwest to the track, along with the UMP Modified Summer Nationals tour, which has attracted NASCAR drivers Kenny Wallace and David Stremme in recent seasons. Filling out the racing card Thursday night will be the E-Mods.
The Aaron Hull Memorial is scheduled for this coming Saturday Night June 10th. A large field of the USAC/IMRA Speed2 Midgets co-santioned with the POWRI D2 Midgets are expected as they compete for $700 to win the 24 lap feature event in a 24 car starting field in honor of Aaron. Lap money will also be handed out for the Midgets. A handsome Purse for the Midgets is as follows, 700,500,400,300,200,175,160,160,160,150,150,150,13th-22nd 125, 23rd and 24th 105.
Also on hand will b...e the Zane's Automotive Service UMP Modifieds, the Perkins Seed House UMP Pro Late Models, The Fulton Farm Service E-Mods, the Farmington Locker UMP Hornets and 6-Shooters.
General Admission $15
Kids 10 and under are FREE
Pit Passes $35
Kids 10 and under Pit Pass $20
Pits open at 4
Grandstands at 5
End of Draw 530
Hot laps around 6
Racing to follow after Hot Laps
Big weekend set for Memorial day weekend at the Spoon!!
First up on Saturday Night the UMP Pro Late Models will have the night off. It will be Austism Awareness Night, $1.00 Hot Dog Night, while they last and we will be giving away 6 bicycles for the kids. 3 girl and 3 boys bikes, two for ages 5 and under, 2 for ages 6-8 and 2 for ages 9-12. On hand will be the Zane's Automotive Service UMP Modifieds running for $1000 to win, the Monical's Pizza USAC/IMRA Speed 2 Midgets, t...he Fulton Farm Service E-Mods, the Farmington Locker UMP Hornets and the Spoon 6-Shooters.
Pits open at 3, Grandstands at 4
End of Draw 4:45, Hot Laps 5:15
Racing to begin around 6
General Admission $13
Kids 10 and Under are FREE
Driver's Pit Pass $35
Crew Pit Pass $30
Kids 10 and Under Pit Pass $20
“It’s always tough to beat the boys from Illinois, so yeah, this one feels good,” said Greg Satterlee of Indiana, Pennsylvania Sunday evening at Spoon River Speedway. Satterlee spoke from Perkins Seed House Victory Lane after he hauled in a $5,000 check and a big trophy to go with it for winning the 40-lap Mother’s Day ALMS/MARS Super Late Model Special at the 3/8-mile high banked track outside of Canton.
The “boys from Illinois” he was referring to were some of the best Super Late Model drivers in the nation, like Bobby Pierce, Shannon Babb, Ryan Unzicker, and Jason Feger, all Illinois based and all former winners of big shows at the legendary oval.
Satterlee jumped out front from the opening lap of the Main Event and led until getting caught up in traffic on lap 13, when Pierce ducked inside Satterlee’s #22 and grabbed the lead.
“I knew Bobby was right there and I kinda got hung up trying to pick my way through there,” Satterlee said, “but I knew we had a good car and hoped I’d get a shot at getting back by him.”
After a caution bunched up the group on lap 14, the old saying “cautions breed cautions” came into play, as it started a 10—lap stretch filled with short green flag runs and cautions for action in the middle or rear of the field. When the cars finally got loose on a green flag run, Satterlee went to the outside of Pierce to regain the lead and never looked back.
He was asked about running different lines and searching for the quickest way around. “Yeah, the track was good and we had choices, so I was able to up and outside to get around him. It started to rubber up right where I was running towards the end, so I moved a little and it worked good enough,” he said.
Pierce stayed glued to the bottom and finished a solid second, followed by Billy Moyer, Jr., Moweaqua’s Shannon Babb, and Billy Moyer to round out the top five. Satterlee and Pierce started on the front row together and ran either first or second all night, while the Batesville, Arkansas-based Moyers battled each other for most of the event for third, joined by Babb for a thrilling three-car battle in the late stages of the race. Several times Babb shot in the middle of the two Moyer machines, but wasn’t able to clear them both. He finally got around the elder Moyer on a late restart to finish fourth after starting ninth.
The rest of the top 10 were: Ryan Unzicker of El Paso; Arkansas racer Timothy Culp seventh – he set a new track record for Super Lates in qualifying with a blazing 13.59 second lap; Rich Bell of Sheffield, near Kewanee; Bloomington’s Feger and Caleb Ashby from Cunningham, Tennessee. The field of 28 featured drivers from 10 states.
There were three heats in the division, won by Pierce, the elder Moyer, and Satterlee.
Also on the card were the UMP Modifieds, and 23 machines were on hand to go after the $1,000 first place check.
After several weeks of bad luck in the “redraw” to determine starting order for the feature races, Kewanee’s Ray Bollinger finally pulled a #1 out of the jar, on a night when he was in line for a $500 bonus offered by promoter Brad Denney if any driver could pull a double on the weekend and win both the Saturday and Sunday mains. After winning Saturday night, Bollinger was the guy with a shot at the extra $500, and was not looking forward to the redraw.
“I actually get more nervous before the redraw than I do before the racing now,” he laughed in Victory Lane. “Finally pulled a #1 tonight, though, and that’s just what we wanted.” He backed up that draw with a green-to-checkered run out front, and pocketed the $1,500 with bonus.
“This track, so smooth, so perfect, man, that’s why we love it here so much,” he said, effusively praising the track prep of the Denney’s, Brad and his father Morey. “It was smooth and after those late models nice and slick, just how we like it.”
The smooth slick track, noted as a “driver’s track”, is thought by many as the great equalizer in power and equipment, putting the emphasis on the driving, and the Mods put on their usual display of outstanding driving and racing throughout the field.
Nothing came easy for Bollinger, even from the pole, as Indiana’s Josh Harris and Peoria’s Allen Weisser kept pressure on throughout the 25-lap event. They settled for 2nd and 3rd, ahead of Quincy’s Michael Long and Canton’s Todd Bates, who made impressive back-to-back top five runs over the weekend as he returns this year to Open Mods after several years running the “E-mods” at the track.
“We’ve raced Josh (Harris) a lot, we know how good he is, and of course Allen (Weisser) and Michael (Long) are as good as it gets, so to win against a field like this is also special,” said Bollinger. The deep field also included Mike Chasteen, Jr. – a feature winner already this year at Spoon - who won his heat early in the evening and ran sixth, along with Mason City’s Flyin’ Brian Lynn (7th), NASCAR driver/TV commentator/dirt track barnstormer Kenny Wallace, who finished 8th. Jason Frankel and Brandon Roberts rounded out the top 10.
Along with Chasteen, Jr., heat race wins went to Frankel and Bollinger.
The UMP Hornets were also on hand Sunday, with Normal’s David Lauritson getting around heat race winner Shane Kelley in the feature to take the win, his first of the season. Rick DeFord finished third followed by Jimmy Dutlinger and Tyler Carlyle.
Back to Ray Bollinger to wrap up the night’s events:
“One more thing,” he said over the public address in Victory Lane before heading back to the pits, ”I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms in the stands and in the pits, and I want to thank each and every one of them for their support and for allowing all of us drivers to come out here and play in the dirt every weekend. Thank you to all Moms, this is your day!”
Some of the biggest name driver's in dirt track racing are set to appear at the high banks of Spoon River Speedway this Sunday Night May 14th competing for $5000 to Win the 40 lap main event. National Champion Bobby Pierce, Jason Feger, Dennis Erb Jr, Ryan Unzicker, Kevin Weaver, both Gardners (Bob and John), Billy Moyer Jr, Tanner English, Gordy Gundaker, Jose Parga and many more are expected. Sunday will cap off a three track weekend that starts at Farmer City on Thursday and ends at Spoon on Sunday with Fairbury inbetween. Also on hand will be the UMP Modifieds running for $1000 to win both Saturday and Sunday nights at Spoon. If a driver can win both nights at Spoon they will collect a bonus check of $500. The UMP Hornets will fill out the card on Sunday Night. Check Spoon's face book page for updates.
Creve Coeur driver Mike Chasteen, Jr. grabbed the lead away from Zac Oedewaldt early in Saturday night’s Zane’s Auto Service UMP Modified Feature at Spoon River Speedway and then held off a hard-charging deep, talented field to take the win on the track’s second night of racing in 2017.
And it was a victory he did not take lightly.
“It is always a huge deal to come here and win at this great track and be able to beat who we did, lots of great cars” the younger Chasteen said in Perkins Seed House Victory Lane as his father, a guy who certainly knows his way around the legendary high-banked oval, proudly celebrated with him. Chasteen, Jr. used a low and middle line for most of the race, instead of his familiar location right around the top of the track, and made it work on a night where the track developed some extremely rare ruts in it’s normal silky smooth surface. Chasteen had no complaints.
Spoon River Speedway is set to open it’s doors for the 34th year this Saturday Night April 22nd. Twenty eight events are scheduled this year featuring the Zane’s Automotive UMP Modifieds, the Perkins Seed House UMP Pro Late Models, the Monical’s Pizza USAC/IMRA Speed 2 Midgets (14 events), the Farmington Locker UMP Hornets, the Fulton Farm Service E-Mods and the Spoon 6-Shooters. Special events will include the MARS/ALMS Super Late Models on Sunday May 14th, the 4th running of the Gary Cook Jr Memorial on Sunday May 28th, the UMP Hell Tour Summer Nationals on Thursday June 22nd, The MSSC Street Stocks return on Sunday July 16th, the Lucas Oil POWRI WAR NON-Wing Sprint Cars on Saturday July 22nd, the 27th running of the UMP Modified
We are proud to once again have Monical's Pizza on board for the 2017 season. This year Monical's will be the Sponsor of the USAC/IMRA Speed 2 Midgets at Spoon. We also welcome back Zane's Automotive Service sponsoring the UMP Modifieds, Perkin's Seed House as sponsor of the UMP Pro Late Models, The Farmington Locker sponsoring the UMP Hornets, The Fulton County Farm Service sponsoring the E-Mods. We still have the 6-Shooter division open for sponsorship. There will be a point fund in all divisions paying out to the top 10 that race in 75% of their scheduled races at Spoon. The UMP Modifieds, UMP Pro L/M and USAC/IMRA Midgets will be guaranteed a $700, $500, $300 payout to the top 3. E-Mods will be $500, $300, $200 and UMP Hornets will be $300, $200, $150. Each Driver's pit pass will be $35 (Specials maybe different and will be announced) and $5 will go into that divisions point fund. On top of what is guaranteed 1st gets 14%, 2nd 10%, 3rd 7% then 4th gets 15%, 5th 13%, 6th 11%, 7th 9%, 8th 8%, 9th 7% and 10th 6%. This should end up with a nice point fund at the end of the year. The more cars you can bring on race night in your division the bigger your point fund will be at the end of the year.
Stay tuned for more announcements