Pro Late Models, May 3: Moody Gives Competition The Blues
Logan Moody had a choice Saturday: Stay home in Catlin, IL and attend his high school prom, or head across the state to Spoon River Speedway with his #162 Pro Late Model and go racin’. The results show the high school junior made the right choice.
After turning the fastest lap in qualifying (14.76 seconds) thus far in 2014 at the high-banked 3/8 mile oval, Moody established himself as the man to beat on a comfortable spring Saturday evening, and backed it up later in the evening with the feature win in the Monical’s Pizza UMP Pro Late Model Division.
Drawing pole position for the feature after winning the first heat, Lightning Logan bolted to a huge lead in the first half of the 20-lap feature, checking out while veterans Brad Denney battled youngsters Myles Moos, Aaron Heck, and Jose Parga in a great battle behind him. At one point, Moody led by a full straightaway. Cautions drew the field closer, and although Moody didn’t pull away as easily late in the race, he still comfortably won his first feature of the year.
“My Dad (Jim) set up a great race car tonight, I can’t thank him enough,” said Moody. “It was a good night from the start.” When asked if he knew he had a fast qualifying lap going as he crossed the flagstand, the youngster said “not really, I was kind of surprised when I saw that time on the scoreboard. But we’ll take it!”
Bauman eventually got into a solid rhythm and drove to a second place finish, just ahead of Hartsburg’s Moos and Auburn’s Parga. Earlier, Bauman had won the second heat, holding off Parga for the win. Parga was the quick qualifier among those in Heat 2, clocking a 14.81 second lap. Aaron Heck, who won the first two features of the year at Spoon, started in the last row after fuel pick up problems in his heat race, and drove to a fifth place finish. Tommy Sheppard, Jr. took home 6th, with Denney settling for seventh after he went to the back of the field mid race, bringing out a caution when the front of his #11 smacked a turn 3 mine tire.
Modifieds, May 3: Allen Weisser Wins Thriller In Epic Battle With AJ May And Jim Hibser
18 laps of hard racing were already complete when the Perkins’ Seed House UMP Modifieds lined up for one final two lap sprint to the finish Saturday night. Allen Weisser was in front, followed by AJ May and Jimmy Hibser, the two drivers that had been pressuring him since early in the race.
What would Weisser do? Protect the low side, where May had been rocket fast, or protect the top, where veteran high-wire act specialist Hibser was flying all night.
“I didn’t really know what I was going to do,” the defending Spoon River Speedway Modified Champion said later, “except stand on it and hope for the best.” Throughout the race, Weisser had deftly moved from the top to the bottom of the almost perfect racing surface that allowed two- and three-groove racing all night long, protecting his lead from the two relentless pursuers. On that final restart, Weisser dove to the bottom of 1 and 2, keeping May at bay, then let his car drift higher into turns 3 and 4, keeping Hibser from getting the clean run off of four he was craving. The car worked in both cases, and he was able to hold on for the win, with the crowd enjoying every last second of the battle.
Hibser crossed the finish line right on Weisser’s rear bumper for second in his second week back aftger not driving regularly over the last two seasons, and looked every bit like the high-side expert Spoon River fans have come to know. Scott May, AJ’s dad, got inside AJ on the final lap as the younger driver drove in deep in one final effort to catch the leader, and finished third, with AJ fourth and Mason City’s Brian Lynn rounding out the top 5.
Early leaders Floyd Jordan, Jr. and Bobby Allen, who both won heat races Saturday (Butch Weisser was also a heat winner earlier in the night) finished 6th and 7th in the feature. Allen Weisser and Hibser were the two fast qualifiers of the night, both under 15 seconds on their timed lap, with Weisser turning a Modified season-best 14.79.
Pro Modified, May 3: Anderson Muscles To Win
Adding to the excitement of Saturday night’s thrilling Modified Feature, the Farmington Locker UMP Pro Modifieds put on a whale of show, with two exciting heats and a fast-paced 15 lap feature that saw division vets Mark Anderson and Kevin Morrow duel all the way to the finish.
Andrew Schooley topped Morrow and Josh Smith in a fast opening heat, Schooley’s second straight heat win. The second heat was as exciting as they get, with young Josh Allen battling vets Anderson and Todd Bates for eight great laps of racing action. Not a speck of paint was swapped as the three came flying across the finish line three abreast, Anderson taking the win on the outside line while Bates flew off turn four, shot to the bottom and nosed just ahead of Allen for second. Race fans anywhere would be hard pressed to see a finish as close, clean and exciting as that one.
With the feature lineups set, pole sitter Anderson used a good run off of turn two on the opening lap to squeeze ahead of Schooley, and held the lead throughout, but the win didn’t come without a battle, as Morrow worked his way to second, and then hugged the bottom of the speedway while Anderson circled the top side. Lap after lap Morrow would draw nearly alongside Anderson coming out of turn 4, but was never able to crack the lead position. They came across the finish line in that same position, followed by DePue’s Josh Smith, who gets faster each time out, and Matt Parrott, who drove from the back of the field after another mine-tire incident brought out the yellow. For both it was their second straight top-5 finish. Mark Ross of Havana rounded out Saturday’s Top 5, followed by Josh Allen and Todd Bates.
“I think I’m gettin’ old,” said a worn-out Anderson in Victory Lane, “that high side just beat up my shoulders tonight.” From outside the car, it appeared to be the other way around, as
Hornets, May 3: Butterfield Smooth In Hornet Special
Saturday night saw the Fulton FS Ump Hornets racing for $250 to win in a special 20-lap event, and in a division that normally races 10 to 12 lap features that can sometimes be filled with caution flags, a field of talented drivers raced 20 quick laps with minimal yellow flag slowdowns, capping a great night of racing at Spoon River Speedway with a solid race of their own. Glasford’s Kenny Butterfield, who celebrated the birth of a son just over 5 months ago, earned the trophy and the $250 first prize, leading start to finish.
How did you like the 20 lap event, Kenny? “I was nervous, real nervous,” he said later. “I was afraid of overheating problems. That’s a lot of laps for these cars. But it was fun!”
Eric Wisher drove from sixth starting spot to finish second, followed by Steve Jones, David Lauritson, and Butterfield’s teammate, Dallas Strauch. Earlier in the night, Butterfield and Jones won their heats, Butterfield coming from a sixth starting spot to win the first heat.
The extended feature did produce a couple of tense moments, the first when Thomas Angelo lost the right front tire off of his #23 in turn one, and the tire careened wildly up and over the track, bounding through the grassy area above turns one and two before hitting the retaining wall of heavy-duty mine tires lining the pits and bouncing harmlessly back into the grass. The second came at races end, when Danny Oates’ #82 caught fire under the hood in turn four. Oates got the car stopped, and he safely bailed out. The track crew and officials quickly extinguished the small fire.
Hard Chargers, 4/26:
During Saturday’s Intermission, Joe Wagner was awarded the Zane’s Auto Service Hard Charger award for the 4/26 Modified Division races, and Kyle Girard got the KB Action Photos Hard Charger prize for the Pro Modified Division
Story by BJ StoneAnderson wore out that top groove to earn yet another feature victory.