Jul 25, 2020 04:57 PM EDT
AJ SLIDEWAYS PICK-UP SECOND FEATURE WIN OF THE SEASON AT OUTLAW SPEEDWAY
Matt Sheppard and Glen Whritenour Bounty’s roll over to next week.
Story by Kenny Shupp JR. PR Director
(Dundee, NY) Alan Johnson took advantage of a late race flat tire on then race leader, Matt Sheppard and went on to pick-up his second feature event of the 2020 season and first since opening night on June 5 at the Outlaw Speedway. A full twenty-four car field consisting of many of Upstate New York’s top Modified stars were in action including Syracuse native, Lightning Larry Wight who made his first appearance of 2020. All were looking to take down four -time feature winner and current high point leader, Super Matt Sheppard. For the second consecutive week track owner/promoter, Tyler Siri had posted a bounty for any driver that can beat Sheppard with the catch that Super Matt must be running at the end of the thirty-lap feature event and be on the lead lap as the winner. The Matt Sheppard Bounty had increased from $1,000 the first week to $1,500 on this night. Last week Sheppard suffered mechanical woes just past the half-way point and was relegated to a twentieth-place finish.
A pair of second-generation drivers in Greg Birosh and Cory Costa brought the field to the opening green flag with Costa not wasting anytime hustling his new HigFab machine to the front and cruised out to a comfortable lead. Three early caution flags on laps six, seven and eight slowed the pace and kept Matt Sheppard in touch with the leaders as he was moving quickly thru the field from his customary sixth row starting spot. On the lap eight restart Sheppard was already up to third and by lap eleven had disposed of both Costa and the second place running machine of Brady Fultz and began to open a massive lead. Another yellow flag would wave on lap thirteen and by that point invader, Larry Wight was already into the top ten from his twenty-first starting spot. On the restart, Super Matt would again extend his lead to over a full straight away, however the fourth of five caution flags would wave again on lap twenty-six. It was at this point that Sheppard’s machine was noticed to be having a right rear tire going soft. In the restart, then second place runner, Alan Johnson was able to get by the Sheppard machine and take the top spot. The final yellow came on the next lap as Sheppard made a dash to the hot pit area for a tire change and he returned to the speedway only to have to re-start deep in the field and with just a few laps remaining did not have nearly enough time to make it back to the front and challenge AJ Slideways. Sheppard’s problems only continued as he pulled into the infield on lap twenty -eight and was done for the night. For the second week in a row the unflappable Super Matt Sheppard has been beaten at a facility that he has dominated for the past four seasons, both nights falling to mechanical woes. With that the $1,500 bounty that was placed on Sheppard will now roll over till the next event, which is scheduled for Friday, July 31.
Give due credit to AJ Slideways as he started the race in the tenth starting spot, drove very methodically by some very good drivers and equipment and once out front cruised to the popular win. Brady Fultz continues his strong season with yet another runner-up finish and again proves that he can run with the upper echelon in the sport. The third and final podium finishing position was claimed by Lightning Larry Wight who put on a masterful drive and took full advantage of the last race caution flags to improve positions and crack the top three. Fourth at the finish was claimed by The Doctor, Danny Johnson who has been nothing but a picture of top five consistency at Outlaw all season long. Kyle Coffey, who like The Doctor has been solid all season long in running with the lead group rounded out the top five finishers.
In the Sunrise Insulation American Racer Tire Crate Sportsman feature Doug Smith and Bryan Rhodes brought the twenty-five-car field to Raymond Kennerup’s opening green flag. Second generation pilot, Billy Paine has been steadily honing his skills under the watchful eye of his legendary father, The Hurricane Steve Paine. Fast tracking his career thru the Crate Sportsman Division and even doing a stint in a full blown Modified, Billy Paine has shown that the apple has not fallen far from the tree when it comes to driving talent. After a season filled with disappointment and problems, Paine has struggled at times, but on this night, he was able to put it all together. Starting inside the second row, Billy P moved to the lead, held his composure thru a rash of caution flags including a late race bone jarring crash taking out several cars including pole starter, Smith along with Hollywood Chris Silvers and Doug Kline among others. On the restart, Paine was able to keep perennial Sportsman favorites, Will Shields and Zach Sobotka at bay over the closing laps and hold on for his first ever Sunrise Insulation American Racer Tire Crate Sportsman feature win at the Outlaw Speedway. Sobotka just nipped Shields at the line for second and third with Travis Grover and veteran driver, Dale Welty rounding the top five finishers.
In the companion Hoosier Tire Crate Sportsman Division, a huge field of some twenty-nine machines took to the fast four-tenths of a mile clay oval for their twenty-five-lap feature.
Stacy Jackson and JT Sperring brought the field to the green with Sperring not wasting any time wrestling away the top spot. Sperring would lead thru lap five when two-time 2020 class feature winner, Will Shields would take over the top spot. A barrage of caution flags, seven in all would keep the pace slowed and the field bunched with yellow flags coming on laps six, seven, eight, seventeen, eighteen and twenty-one. However, the final and worst caution by far came on the last lap as Sheilds was taking the double checkered flags. A mid-pack train wreck occurred just shy of the start finish line involving numerous hard charging machines. As the carnage was removed from the speedway included in the wreck were the Duhow, Rhodes, Jacobsen, Waldron, Buono, Harward and Mayo machines. First time drivers at the track this season in Dylan Duhow and Andrew Jacobsen suffered heavy, heavy damage to both machines with reports that both cars being destroyed. For Jacobsen it was only the fourth race on his new machine. Luckily, all drivers walked away, but the damage to numerous machines was big. Because the checkered flag had waved and at least seven machines had crossed the line prior to the crash the race was determined to be official. 2019 Hoosier Tire Sportsman Track Champion, Will Shields was able to hold on for his third trip to victory lane in the division thus far on the season as he was chased across the line by top class runners Alex Payne, Zach George, Zach Sobotka while early race leader, JT Sperring stayed with the lead group all race long and rounded out the top five.
Like Matt Sheppard before him, Stan’s No Tubes Street Stock top gun, Glen Whritenour also had a bounty placed on his potent number fifteen machine. A nifty two-fifty in extra cash would go to any other driver that could defeat the current point leader and three-time 2020 feature winner. Zach Teed and Aaron Miller brought the fourteen-car field to the opening green flag and with GW mired mid pack he knew he was in for a tussle as every other driver was looking to claim the added bounty cash. 2019 class Track Champion, Dylan Cecce was even on hand looking to knock off Whritenour as he was piloting a Jared Hill owned machine. Providing their usually exciting side by side racing, GW was able to clear a good field of top notch machines and once in the lead put it on cruise control and picked-up his fourth win of the season and third in the last four weeks of competition. With the win, the Glen Whritenour Bounty will roll over to July 31. Finishing second at the checkers was front row starter, Aaron Miller who had his best run of the season in his new sleek ride while opening night feature winner, Quinn Sutherland capped off a nice podium finish in the Schuyler Family Racing 57j. Aksel Jensen continues to show his muscle by running with the leaders all race long as he finished fourth while one-time 2020 feature winner, CJ Guererri came home for fifth at the finish of the Stan’s No Tubes Street Stop feature event.
In the IMCA Modifieds it was another first time 2020 feature winner as Shawn Bruce led throughout much of the twelve-lap feature. Bruce was able to keep Bumps Scutt at bay throughout the event to claim the win as July 3 feature winner, Bad Brad Smith came home for third. Last weeks feature winner, Kevin Smith was next across the line chased there by Rick Watt and Rich Karlnoski.
In the IMCA Hobby Stock feature it was a classic between the two top cars in the division. Wayne Ellison entered the night with four feature wins with his number one nemesis, Marc Minutolo coming in with two wins. Kenny Hunt and Allison Pierce led the fourteen-car field to the opening green flag, but all eyes were on Minutolo who started tenth and Ellison eleventh on the grid. The two sliced and diced their way thru a stout field of competitors, but it was Minutolo getting to the point first and try as he might Ellison could do nothing with the two time and defending Outlaw Speedway Track Champion as MM went on for his third win of the year. Wayne Ellison, however did keep pace by finishing second as the top two were followed across the line by Rookie contender, John Oles who finished third. Jason Clugstone and Jamie Eldredge rounded out the top five finishers.
The Might 4 Cylinder Division saw class veteran, Ray Hyer pick-up his first feature win of the season thus breaking up the Bob Doolittle/Jeremy Bunn strangle hold on victory lane thus are in 2020. Hyer took advantage of his outside row two start spot, got to the lead in a hurry and held off a determined Jeremy Bunn to claim the red flag shortened event. Derrick Evans had his best run of the season finishing third while Bob Doolittle came across the line for fourth. Like Evans before him, Robert Decker had a solid run in grabbing a well-deserved fifth place finish.
Earlier in the evening Bob Doolittle was able to capture the July 10 makeup feature for the 4 Cylinder Division. Doolittle was able to claim his third feature win of the season in the make-up as he was able to hold off the cream of the crop in the class with Jeremy Bunn finishing second. Fourth place runner, Ray Hyer sandwiched last week’ s feature winner, Scott Lehman Jr. who was third while dad, Scott Lehman rounded the top five.
All total some 130 machines, the same car count as last week, jammed into the Outlaw Speedway pit area with again no fans in the grandstand seating area as per NYS Health Department and Governor Cuomo’s stringent guidelines. This now appears to be the new norm for the 2020 season. However, fans at home can watch the action weekly online by going to www.dirttrackdigest.tv.
Unless the state regs loosen by the next scheduled Outlaw Speedway event set for Friday, July 31 it will remain business as usual with no butts in the bleachers and a Regular Super 7 Show featuring all of Outlaw’s weekly classes of competition.
For continual updates leading into next weeks event including pit gate, hot lap and start times simply go to www.Facebook.com/OutlawSpeedwayLLC/
For an undated list of all the points for all regular classes log on at www.outlawspeedwayllc.com.