Goulden Holds Off Kovski On Lightning-Fast Spoon River Speedway

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Springfield area UMP Modified drivers Matt Goulden and Kelly Kovski are good friends off the track, and race each other hard but clean on the track. Saturday night at Spoon River Speedway, the two buddies put on a show at the front of the field on the high-banked 3/8-mile oval, on a night when the track was the fastest it’s been all season. Almost too fast, if you ask Goulden.

“I love this track, it’s always so smooth and fast,” he said in Husqvarna Victory Lane after holding off Kovski in the thrilling 20-lap feature. “But tonight, it was almost too fast,” he added with a chuckle. “I had to just focus on not making mistakes, because I could see both of them [Allen Weisser, who finished third and challenged for the lead mid-race, and Kovski] and I knew the only way they would be able to pass me was if I made a mistake.”

Both Kovski and Weisser pressured Goulden in hopes of that mistake that never came, and even though Kovski was able to nose in front in turns 1 and 2 a couple of times in the late stages of the race, Goulden was able to hold him at bay and officially lead every lap to claim the first of the four Poker Chip Lottery races.

 

Springfield area UMP Modified drivers Matt Goulden and Kelly Kovski are good friends off the track, and race each other hard but clean on the track. Saturday night at Spoon River Speedway, the two buddies put on a show at the front of the field on the high-banked 3/8-mile oval, on a night when the track was the fastest it’s been all season. Almost too fast, if you ask Goulden.

“I love this track, it’s always so smooth and fast,” he said in Husqvarna Victory Lane after holding off Kovski in the thrilling 20-lap feature. “But tonight, it was almost too fast,” he added with a chuckle. “I had to just focus on not making mistakes, because I could see both of them [Allen Weisser, who finished third and challenged for the lead mid-race, and Kovski] and I knew the only way they would be able to pass me was if I made a mistake.”

Both Kovski and Weisser pressured Goulden in hopes of that mistake that never came, and even though Kovski was able to nose in front in turns 1 and 2 a couple of times in the late stages of the race, Goulden was able to hold him at bay and officially lead every lap to claim the first of the four Poker Chip Lottery races.

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Speaking of fast laps, the Monical’s Pizza Pro Late Models set the stage for the night and let the fans know early how fast the track was going to be. Six of the 17 cars in the field turned laps under 15 seconds. Shawn Diggs turned a 14.79 as the third car out, just .03 off the fastest lap of the year in the division going into the night, set by Jose Parga early in the season. Just three cars later in qualifying, Flyin’ Brian Lynn turned a new season-best 14.68 second lap. Parga took his shot later, but wasn’t able to top Lynn, turning a 14.84. But the second to the last car out, Kolby Vandenbergh, then blistered the track, the field, and year’s best to date with a sizzling 14.40 second lap.

Parga got his revenge in the 20-lap feature, however, as he led every lap of the event, a race marred by more cautions than normally seen in the division, including a big wreck on the front straight that ended the nights of Andy Clark, Vandenbergh, and Brad Denney. Clark and Vandenbergh came together coming off turn four and a cars started to spin wildly in front of the grandstand, ending when Vandenbergh’s car banged the wall nose first right in front of Denney’s #11, giving the veteran nowhere to go and no time to stop. The force of Denney’s car hitting Vandenbergh bent the steering column and steering wheel in Denney’s machine. He was able to walk away, but stiff and sore in the ribcage from the impact.

Parga was never seriously challenged, winning a feature for the first time on the legendary oval.

“We wanted that one, long time coming!” said Parga’s exuberant dad Joe before the young driver made it off the scales and into Victory Lane. For his part, Jose was thankful for the setup his dad gave him.

“I gotta thank Dad for that car, it was perfect,” he said, adding thank yous to his loud and loyal rooting section in the grandstand. Nick Bauman finished second, followed by Roben Huffman, Myles Moos and Tommy Sheppard, Jr. Heat race wins in the division were earned by Lynn, Clark and Vandenbergh, with Vandenbergh’s fast time being the quickest Pro Late Model qualifying lap in the Division’s history at the track.

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In the Farmington Locker Pro Modified Division, Todd Bates continued his hot streak with another feature win, holding off Josh Smith, who hugged the bottom groove while Bates ran middle-top. Mark Anderson, Josh Allen, and Matt Parrott rounded out the Top 5. Heat race wins went to Bates and Trent Ross.

An exhausted Bates said with a big grin after his 15-lap feature win, “that’s hard work running the top when the track is so fast, whew!” He acknowledged strong runs from both Smith and Anderson behind him, saying “I just made sure to make no mistakes, I knew they were right there.”

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Derrick DeFord took advantage of his Saturn’s ability to start quickly to move around the field and win the Fulton FS Hornet feature. With each green flag, both on the start and after cautions, DeFord’s car got up to speed quicker than fellow front runners Dion Smith and Steve Jones, who finished behind him. Fourth in the feature went to ever-improving youngster Dallas Strauch, and Mark Williams, Jr. rounded out the Top 5. Smith and his diminutive Honda took the win in the heat.

Story By,

BJ Stone