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Mother Nature’s version of putting water on the track caused a short delay in the Saturday night program at Spoon River Speedway, but after the shower passed and the racing resumed, driver’s were left with a perfect track for feature racing.
The delay came in the Pro Late Model heat, with just one more heat to follow before intermission. Promoter and track prep guru Brad Denney had closely monitored the weather radar all day, and knew what he wanted to do should the shower hit the speedway. When it did, midway through that heat race, Denney sent the Pro Late Models off the track and immediately jumped in his tractor to start “wprking” the track as the shower subsided.
After a few minutes of track prep, Denney announced over the crew radios to have the Pro Late Models return to the track and finish their heat, and the rest of the night went off as planned with the usual smooth, multi-groove racing surface for driver’s to battle on.
The Farmington Locker E-Mods were the first to run their feature event and Glasford’s Richie Biswell, making his first appearance at Spoon in 2016 took home the feature win. Biswell spent the first half of the race trying to track down early leader Trent Ross, and when the leaders came upon slow traffic, they swapped spots back and forth before Biswell finally secured the lead for good. Ross finished a solid night including a heat race win and a second place run in the main, followed by Mark Anderson, Butch Weisser and Kyle Girard. Butch Weisser triumphed in the second E-Mod heat.
Next up were the NuTech Seed Speed 2 Midgets, and after two weeks of coming up just short, Davenport’s Jeff Mallonee cashed in to win the 20-lap feature.
“Such a great job to get the track ready for the features,” he said in Perkins Seed House Victory Lane, “I can’t thank the staff enough for getting the show back on schedule.”
“The car was fast, and if the driver was better at finding Vctory Lane, the night would be perfect,” Mallonee joked, as he picked on himself for having to take a extra lap to get to the winner’s circle for photos. When informed he had also set a new division Quick Time for the year earlier in the evening in Qualifying, cranking out a blistering 14.612 second lap, he said, “Wow, that’s great, really cool. But it actually feels faster than that. We can really really get these little cars moving on this surface.”
Mallonee who earlier in the evening won his heat, was followed across the finish line by Gedd Ross, with a season best second to add to his own heat win earlier in the evening, then Brent Burrows, Mitchell Davis and Jacob Sollenberger.
Following the Speed 2 Midgets race, a stellar field of Zane’s Automotive Service UMP Modifieds came out and put on a position swapping show for 20 laps, as Kewanee’s Ray Bollinger got by early leader Josh Allen mid –race and held on for the win as Allen, Allen and Butch Weisser, and Kelly Kovski dueled for spots two through five for the rest of the race, deftly swapping positions back and forth in an effort to run down the smooth Bollinger.
Again, the track itself was praised bt he winner: “ Thanks Brad for that race track, it’s awesome to race on every week, but to think it was this good after a rain delay, that’s really something,” Bollinger stated. Between three straight Friday night feature wins at Lincoln Speedway and two straight at Spoon River (an April 23rd win to go with Saturday’s victory- the April 30th show was rained out), Bollinger set a personal best with his fifth main event win.
“I’ve won four in a row before, but never five. Five in a row, Wow, I can’t thank my crew enough for putting a good car out there ever weekend” he exclaimed, as he introduced a new crew member, a little puppy that has been named “Mullins.”
“Yep, that’s after [Brent] Mullins, the engine builder,” Bollinger said, smiling. Little Mullins and a large contingent of crew members then grabbed some well deserved group photo’s in Victory Lane. Josh Allen ultimately took home second, followed by Allen Weisser, Butch Weisser and Kovski.
Bollinger set fast time in qualifying at 14.93, and heat race wins on the night went to Josh Allen, Allen Weisser and Zac Oedewaldt, three secong generation drivers who all compete with their Dads in the Modified Division. Speaking of Dads, Butch Weisser took third (behind Bollinger) in the heat won by Josh Allen, Bobby Allen finished right behing the younger Weisser in heat two and Zane Oedewaldt finished right behind his son Zac in the third heat. All of this happened on Mother’s Day. We’ll see if the roles reverse on Father’s Day next month.
In the Perkins Seed House UMP Pro Late Model Class, after having been forced off the track by rain showers midway through their heat, the Pro Lates came back to to finish that race and AJ May took the win, followed by Austin Simpson, Nick Bauman and Evan Fink.
With threatening skies in the area, the decision had been made at the drivers meeting at the beginning of the night to start the features straight up and forego the “redraw” at intermission, so with the heat win May earned the pole postion for the feature and made the most of it leading wire to wire to take home his second feature win of the year at Spoon, third overall this spring.
A accident midway through the feature event took out hard charging Evan Fink, who was fling on the high side of the Spoon. The incident also took out Austin Simpson whom was also having another great run. The race was stopped while the Ambulance crew tended to Fink who had injured his wrist in the accident.
Finishing behind May was Nick Bauman in second, Bill Kettering Jr, Jacob Denney and teen driver Melissa Hansmeyer to round out the top five.
In the Fulton Farm Service Six-Shooter division, Mark Williams won the heat race and looked to be set up for his third straight feature win, but Marty Williams shot out to an early lead and the drove a solid feature race to pick up his first win of the year, followed by Mark Williams, Ellie Vogel and Austin Yerbic.
Next Saturday Night is the rescheduled Autism Awareness Night at Spoon River Speedway. T-Shirts are still available for this event. Modifieds will be running for $1000 to win, Pro Lates for $500 to Win and the E-Mods for $275 to Win. Get more info at www.spoonriver speedway.com or on our Facebook page.