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Bauman, Weisser Prevail in 50 Lapper At Spoon River

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The Tuff 50 Features for Modifieds and Pro Late Models took center stage at Spoon River Speedway Saturday night, and 90 degree temps with high humidity at race time just added to the toughness.

With the race track ultra smooth and drivers able to drive successfully in a number of grooves, the lead in both 50 lappers changed several times throughout the night, making it a great and unpredictable show for the good sized crowd on hand at the high-banked oval.

And as with all longer-than-normal races, patience and equipment care paid off for both winners, Nick Bauman in the Monical’s Pro Late Model Division and Allen “A-Dog” Weisser in the Perkins Seed House Modified feature.

 

Bauman didn’t grab the lead until lap 34 of the Pro Late Model event. Fellow New Berlin-based driver Tommy Sheppard, Jr. shot away from the drop of the green flag to lead the first 14 laps, with Logan Moody chasing him like a heel-nipping hound. While they battled, Myles Moos of Hartsburg started to reel them in, and his car, running the high line and doing it in a hurry, took the lead on lap 16. Moos started to pull away before bad luck struck, his transmission popping out of gear and causing him to coast to a stop on the high side coming out of turn 4 on lap 20.

Brad Denney was next up to control the race, flying to the top groove and ripping into the lead shortly after the restart. From there, Denney pulled away steadily for 13 laps, including pulling away on a lap 27 restart after a spin ended up involving five cars in turns three and four, most of them spinning to avoid the original looped car. With the high groove becoming more treacherous with each lap, Denney finally blew the berm on the top of turn two, allowing Bauman to slip inside and grab the lead.

“Brad had us all covered,” said a jubilant Bauman in Husqvarna Victory Lane, “but I knew there was just a few inches of cushion up there and I just stayed in it, because you never know when that top side will bite.”

The veteran Bauman controlled the race from there to the checkered flag, earning the $750 first place check, the Tuff 50 trophy, and scoring one for the “old guys”.

“We’ve got all those great young drivers in this division, like Jose [Parga], Logan [Moody], Tommy {Sheppard], Myles [Moos] and all the rest,” said Bauman, before delivering the most colorful quote of the season while laughing, “but tonight me and Brad, the two Old Farts showed ‘em how it was done!”

Parga overcame a flat tire early in the race to come from the back of the field on a restart and work his way all the way to a second place finish, followed by Sheppard, Moody, and Denney. Side-by-side and three-wide racing prevailed throughout the pack for most of the race, setting the stage for the UMP Modified feature that came out next.

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That feature, however, looked at the beginning to be the Donovan Lodge show, as the Moline driver deftly wheeled his Mr. Fix It #32 to the front early in the event, and rocketed away from the field from there. Several cautions marred the opening 20 laps of the race, as all 26 Modifieds were invited to start in the main event, with track promoter Brad Denney teaming up with Zane’s Auto Service out of Hanna City to extend the night’s purse, which normally only pays for a 20-car main event field. 23 of the 26 made the call for the main.

With each early restart, Lodge, as if shot out of a cannon, bolted away from the pack with incredible ease, building leads to ½ of a straightaway or greater in a matter of two or three laps. But, like Moos before him in the previous race, bad luck struck for Lodge around lap 22, as oil pressure problems forced him to the pits.

From there, Pekin’s Floyd Jordan, Jr. took over and himself built a nice lead while cars diced for position behind him, until Allen Weisser finally broke free from the pack to put himself in second. Weisser eventually snuck by Jordan shortly after another restart, and held on from there for the win and the $1,000 first place check.

“This one is right up there,” a smiling Weisser said when asked where the win ranked in his already fine young career. “The track was good all over, but I stuck to the bottom and seemed to have good drive down there. I knew that Jimmy [Hibser] was coming hard on the top side, saw him a couple of times, and I knew Kevin [Weaver, the Gibson City super late model ace who piloted one of Bobby Allen’s cars on the night] was coming, too.”

But catching the A-dog and passing him proved to be two different things, as the young star grabbed the win. Weaver, who spun while trying to complete an impressive slide-job mid race and had to retreat to the rear of the field, ran all the way back through the pack to finish second, with Jordan third, followed by Taylor Ridge’s Rich Smith fourth, an impressive run in his first visit to Spoon River, piloting a car normally wheeled by Galesburg star A.J. Fike.

Brandon Roberts continued his string of strong runs at Spoon River with a fifth, and Jammin’ Jimmy Hibser showed he is ready and able to compete for another Fall Nationals win next week, running second for most of the race before running out of room late in the race the back stretch as he battled Weaver for position, Weaver’s car drifting up enough that Hibser slipped over the top of the backstretch, costing him a few spots while he battled to save it, which he did. Steven Brooks wheeled to 7th in his first appearance at Spoon this year, followed by JD Beal, AJ May and Zac Oedewaldt, who finished tenth despite the roof and hood being the only sheet metal left on his car after a couple of early race incidents he was caught up in, through no fault of his own. The car was so exposed, it was almost considered a wardrobe malfunction.

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Todd Bates took home the victory in the 15-lap Farmington Locker Pro Modified feature, on a track he was prepared for. During the driver’s meeting well before the races, and upon learning the two 50 lappers would immediately precede his division’s feature, he quietly pumped his fist and said, “smooth and slick, that’s good for us!”

He went out and proved it in the main, earning a relatively comfortable win the well-balanced division, which always features tight racing. Pekin’s Kevin Morrow finished 2nd, followed by strong runs from Josh Smith, Josh Allen and last week’s winner Richie Biswell.

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In the Fulton FS Hornet Division, Derrick DeFord won again, winning his fourth straight feature and in the process all four of the Poker Chip Lottery main events, giving him 40 chips heading into Saturday’s drawing for the extra cash, which will take place before the races begin. Steve Jones gave DeFord another solid battle before settling for second, ahead of Kenny Butterfield, Dave Lauritson, and Mark Williams, Jr.

The night saw a season-high field of 18 Pro Mods, as well as good fields of Hornets (15 total), Pro Lates (13) and Modifieds (26). Heat winners for the night are listed in the results section here at spoonriverspeedway.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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