August in the Midwest is a month where everyone realizes the dirt track racing season is winding down, but the lateness of the season has still been a month of firsts at Spoon River Speedway.
Two weeks ago it was Jose Parga in the Monical’s Pizza Pro Late Model Division picking up his first-ever feature win on the smooth, fast, high-banked 3/8-mile oval, and this past Saturday is what another young gun, Mike Chasteen, Jr., earning his first feature win in the Perkins Seed House Modified Division on the speedway at which he started his driving career. For good measure on Chasteen’s big night, Parga went ahead and added another feature win to his resume. And even though Glasford’s Richie Biswell has visited Victory Lane at Spoon many times, his win in the Farmington Locker Pro Modified Feature was his first of the season in that division, and first time in over a month he’d been able to smile for the photos reserved for the winner.
Chasteen, Jr. drew the pole position for the Modified Feature, and kept his car hugging the bottom to lead the 20-lap event from start to finish, holding off Allen Weisser for the duration. Weisser gave it all he had, running the high side for the majority of the race, as well as attacking the bottom groove a couple of times to see if he could make the pass for the lead. On one occasion around the ¾ mark of the race, Weisser dove deep into turn three on the inside, but never got his front wheels up alongside Chasteen’s car, and he deftly backed out of the throttle without losing too much momentum, hanging on to second place and resuming his hunt for the lead, which he was never able to wrestle away from the #C40 of Chasteen, Jr.
“I saw Allen up there on that high side a lot,” said Chasteen, Jr. “I knew the bottom was better, and I knew I just had to focus on my line and not make any mistakes, because if I did, Allen and the other guys right behind him would pounce on it.” He was paid a visit in Husqvarna Victory Lane by his jubilant dad, veteran driver Mike Chasteen, Sr., who was sitting in the stands, and knows a thing or two about winning at The Spoon.
Chasteen, Jr. later gave a shout out to fellow young gun Weisser for the clean race, knowing that Weisser had several opportunities to “move him out of the way”, but never once did the two make contact.
“That will be remembered,” he said, acknowledging Weisser’s efforts with a thumbs up.
While those two battled up front, Adair’s JD Beal charged through the field in the late laps to take third, ahead of Brian Lynn and Bobby Allen. Saturday was the third night of the “Poker Chip Lottery” and those three drivers all are in the Top 5 in poker chips earned heading into Saturday’s final event in the Poker Chip races, with the chips earned being entered into drawings for extra cash in all divisions this coming Saturday night. Full Poker Chip standings are posted on the track’s Facebook page.
Heat winners in the division were Butch Weisser, Brian Lynn, and Bobby Allen, with Allen setting the Mod’s fast time in qualifying with a 15.30 second lap.
Parga won the Pro Late Model Feature in dominating fashion, ahead of Aaron Heck and Nick Bauman. Bauman holds the most poker chips by virtue of three straight Top 3 finishes. Daniel Heck finished fourth and Braden Johnson earned his second straight Top 5 finish in the feature.
Heat race wins in the Division went to Brian Lynn and Bauman, fast time was set by Bauman with a 14.77 second lap in qualifying.
After a month of bad luck and broken parts, Biswell put his #242 in Victory Lane by jumping out front early and maintaining a comfortable lead throughout the 15-lap Pro Modified Feature.
“Feels good after all the frustrating last few weeks,” he said after climbing out of the car. Normally fond of running the high line, Biswell stayed down low throughout the feature, and when asked if he had to be nimble with the throttle/brake balance, he said “nope, I kept my foot on the floor”.
Todd Bates finished second in the feature and carries the most poker chips into the finale, while Kevin Morrow, Josh Allen and Matt Parrott rounded out the Top 5. Morrow is second in line in chips, thanks to last wee’s win and the third place on Saturday. Josh Allen is next in line in poker chip count. For Allen, it was his third straight 4th place finish.
Heat race winners were Bates and Biswell.
Derick DeFord continued to own the Fulton FS Hornet Division with yet another feature win Saturday night, and has 30 poker chips, the maximum, earned heading into Saturday. Steve Jones, Dallas Strauch, Dave Lauritson and Mark Williams, Jr. rounded out the top 5 in the feature. DeFord won the division’s heat race.
The new “Six-Shooter” division continues to grow, and Marvin Williams earned two victories Saturday, winning the heat and the feature in the new low-cost, entry-level class for those just getting started in racing or for those wanting to race on a limited budget.