After a violent start to the 25-lap main event with two separate flips by Ben Knight and defending track champion Max Adams, the top runners ran under a blanket numerous times in the beginning stages of the race, often three abreast.
That was more than a little exciting, but when they caught the tail of the field it became a sprint car feature for the ages. They weaved their way by other competitors, sometimes getting boxed in, sometimes having to take evasive action, sometimes clearing other drivers’ cars by the smallest of margins, and in a couple of cases making slight contact. Despite the pressure they had to keep a clear head, their tempers in check, and be patient while simultaneously going as fast as possible as they pursued the $2,000 winner’s check. In the end that went to Bacon, a native of Broken Arrow, Okla., who now lives in Richmond, Ind.
The other feature winners Friday night arguably had an easier time, as they “only” had to fight off the drivers behind them. Dillon Nusbaum of Warsaw, Ind., led all 20 laps of the modified feature; Ervin Turner of Marion, Ind., led all 15 laps of the street stock feature, and James Headley Jr. of Wabash, Ind., led all 15 laps of the hornet feature.
Bacon started ninth in the 24-car field for the sprint car feature in the Wedgewood Motorsports Triple XXX/J&D Chevy, which is sponsored by Glenn Farms, Fatheadz Eyewear and Drive WFX.
Knight, of Mooresville, Ind., flipped high in Turn 4 on the initial start. Adams, a native of Loomis, Calif., now living in Marion, Ind., flipped in almost the same place after contact with Shane Cottle of Kansas, Ill., on the second attempt to get the race underway. Both Knight and Adams got out of their cars under their own power, but Adams was transported to a local hospital afterwards for further evaluation.
Justin Grant, a native of Ione, Calif., now living in Avon, Ind., out-dragged everyone into the first turn on both of those starts driving Paul Hazen’s famous No. 57. He did the same for the third attempt that stuck. Cottle edged ahead on lap three for an instant but Grant fought back and was still leading when Bacon passed Cottle for second on lap eight and then set his sights on Grant.
Bacon dipped under Grant on the frontstretch on lap nine for the lead and led the rest of the way. Cottle passed Grant for second on lap 14, right before Max Guilford, who calls Auckland, New Zealand home, spun low in Turn 4 to bring out a yellow with 15 laps down. That gave Cottle a clear shot at Bacon for the restart with 10 laps remaining.
Bacon was up to the challenge, and with a clear track ahead of him he was able to accrue a 2.016-second advantage over Cottle at the line. Grant finished third. Last week’s winner, Thomas Meseraull of Waveland, Ind., placed fourth and Matt Westfall of Pleasant Hill, Calif., rounded out the top five.
Bacon set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 12.932 seconds on lap eight while he was taking second place. Tyler Kendall of Connersville, Ind., was the hard charger, as he started 22nd but finished 11th.
Nusbaum started second in the 20-lap modified feature, beat polesitter Andy Bishop of Gas City to lead lap one, and then led the remaining 19 laps too in a non-stop main event. Nusbaum had nearly a 2-second lead over Bishop at one point, but with two laps to go Bishop had cut that to just 0.395 of a second. At the checkered Bishop was 0.707 behind Nusbaum’s new Elite No. 17N with a Head Racing engine. Among its sponsors are Pro Strip Custom Powder Coating; Dairy Queen of Plymouth, Ind.; M.C. Wheeler and Sons; Quality Lawn Services; Westons Travel Agency and Sparkman Auto Auction.
Cole Sink of Fort Wayne, Ind., ran third every lap but lap two. He lost the spot to NASCAR veteran Kenny Schrader of Concord, N.C., on that lap, but got the position back on the following lap. Schrader finished fourth followed by last week’s winner, Bub Roberts of Warren, Ind.
Turner started third in the 17-car street stock feature but he passed both drivers who started in the front row, Larry Long of Tuscola, Ill., and James Williams of Wheatfield, Ind., to lead the whole way. There were five yellows to give the field ample opportunity to pass Turner, but he was up to the challenge each time with his No. 1, which is a Hobbs chassis powered by a Ron Flaugh Chevy engine. The car is sponsored by Erv’s Card Shack, Hobbs chassis and Barry Bunker Chevrolet. Chris Hunter of Kokomo, Ind., was the winning chief mechanic.
Bishop, who was doing double duty, and Lee Hobbs had a good battle for second. Hobbs got the position on lap seven and was 0.617 of a second behind Turner at the checkered. Tony Homan of St. Marys, Ohio came on strong in the late stages to finish third. Bishop held on for fourth and Williams finished fifth. Bishop set the fastest lap of the race on lap two with a time of 14.021 seconds.
Headley Jr. started on the pole of the 15-lap hornet feature and led the entire race. At first he was pressured by his father, James Headley of Marion, Ind., but the latter headed to the pits on lap nine, giving second to Jeremy Jones of Gas City.
Headley Jr. had a whopping 9.555-second lead over Jones at the checkered as well as his second feature victory in a row. Aaron Tatman of Lafayette, Ind., finished third and Brandon Lines of Marion, Ind., placed fourth. Kolton Sollars of Lafontaine, Ind., turned a 16th-place starting spot into a fifth-place finish.
Headley Jr.’s No. 00 is sponsored by Dudding’s Heating and Cooling, Shrouts Towing and his father.
In preliminary action Brayden Clark of Tipton, Ind., got upside down between Turns 1 and 2 at the start of the third sprint heat, but was unhurt. Luke Hall of Pleasant Hill, Ohio had a very violent flip and ended up outside Turn 2 with five laps complete in the first sprint B-main. Luckily he climbed out of his sprint car under his own power too.
Gas City is dark this coming Friday night, May 21, but the next day, Saturday, May 22, it hosts the Flo Racing All Star Circuit of Champions winged sprint cars plus the All Star TQ midgets in an event that has been on many people’s calendars since the day it was announced. The pit gate opens at 3 p.m. and the grandstands at 5 p.m. Hot laps are at 6 p.m. followed promptly by time trials. The racing starts at 7 p.m. An adult general admission for this show costs $30 and a pit pass $35.
On Memorial Day weekend Gas City is back to its Friday night format with its big Memorial Day Tribute on Friday, May 28 featuring the track’s core program of non-wing sprint cars, modifieds, street stocks and hornets. An adult general admission ticket for that show is $15, with kids 12 and under free. A pit pass costs $30. The pit gate will open at 3 p.m., the grandstands at 5 p.m., hot laps will be at 6:30 p.m. and the races start at 7:30 p.m.
The complete 2021 schedule and more information is on the track’s website at GasCityI69Speedway.com. Fans and competitors can also follow it on Twitter: @GasCitySpeedway; Instagram: @GasCitySpeedway and Facebook: GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas.
Gas City I-69 Speedway is located on State Road 22, approximately a half-mile west of I-69, exit 259. The quarter-mile dirt oval is about halfway between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, and attracts drivers and fans from all over the Midwest.
BOSS Non-Wing Sprint Group 1 Qualifying: 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 12.059; 2. Justin Grant, 12.469; 3. Cole Ketcham, 12.527; 4. Ryan Barr, 12.573; 5. Evan Mosley, 12.654; 6. Jackson Slone, 12.898; 7. Dustin Ingle, 13.084; 8. David Hair, 13.547; 9. Zack Pretorius, no time.
BOSS Non-Wing Sprint Group 2 Qualifying: 1. Katlynn Leer, 12.353; 2. Matt Goodnight, 12.378; 3. Cody White, 12.459; 4. Ben Knight, 12.462; 5. Lee Underwood, 12.501; 6. Tyler Kendall, 12.507; 7. Blake Vermillion, 12.593; 8. Aaron Davis, 12.712; 9. Braydon Cromwell, 12.972.
BOSS Non-Wing Sprint Group 3 Qualifying: 1. Brady Bacon, 11.859; 2. Matt Westfall, 12.240; 3. Max Guilford, 12.496; 4. Mike Miller, 12.514; 5. Anthony D’Alessio, 12.585; 6. Saban Bibent, 12.837; 7. Parker Fredrickson, 12.884; 8. Brayden Clark, 13.044; 9. Jesse Vermillion, 13.074
BOSS Non-Wing Sprint Group 4 Qualifying: 1. Max Adams, 12.291; 2. Issac Chapple, 12.661; 3. Luke Hall, 12.786; 4. Korbyn Hayslett, 12.840; 5. Steve Little, 12.990; 6. Toby Alfrey, 13.494; 7. Jerry Dahms, 13.807; 8. Cody Gardner, 14.196; 9. Dallas Hewitt, no time.
BOSS Non-Wing Sprint Group 5 Qualifying: 1. Thomas Meseraull, 12.052; 2. Travis Hery, 12.408; 3. Shane Cottle, 12.669; 4. Adam Byrkett, 12.795; 5. Zane Devault, 12.931; 6. Rob Caho, 12.987; 7. Paul Dues, 13.166; 8. Jamie Fredrickson, 13.341.
BOSS Non-Wing Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps, 4 transfer): 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 2. Justin Grant, 3. Cole Ketcham, 4. Evan Mosley, 5. Ryan Barr, 6. Zack Pretorius, 7. Jackson Slone, 8. Dustin Ingle, 9. David Hair. Margin of victory: 1.951.
BOSS Non-Wing Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps, 4 transfer): 1. Cody White, 2. Ben Knight, 3. Katlynn Leer, 4. Matt Goodnight, 5. Tyler Kendall, 6. Aaron Davis, 7. Lee Underwood, 8. Blake Vermillion, 9. Braydon Cromwell. Margin of victory: 0.196.
BOSS Non-Wing Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps, 4 transfer): 1. Brady Bacon, 2. Matt Westfall, 3. Max Guilford, 4. Mike Miller, 5. Anthony D’Alessio, 6. Parker Fredrickson, 7. Saban Bibent, 8. Jesse Vermillion, 9. Brayden Clark. Margin of victory: 4.406.
BOSS Non-Wing Sprint Heat 4 (8 laps, 4 transfer): 1. Korbyn Hayslett, 2. Max Adams, 3. Issac Chapple, 4. Jerry Dahms, 5. Toby Alfrey, 6. Luke Hall, 7. Cody Gardner, 8. Steve Little, 9. Dallas Hewitt. Margin of victory: 0.831.
BOSS Non-Wing Sprint Heat 5 (8 laps, 4 transfer): 1. Shane Cottle, 2. Thomas Meseraull, 3. Adam Byrkett, 4. Travis Hery, 5. Rob Caho, 6. Zane Devault, 7. Paul Dues, 8. Jamie Fredrickson. Margin of victory: 2.884.
BOSS Non-Wing B-Main 1 (10 laps, 2 transfer): 1. Anthony D’Alessio, 2. Rob Caho, 3. Ryan Barr, 4. Paul Dues, 5. Aaron Davis, 6. Blake Vermillion, 7. Brayden Clark, 8. Steve Little, 9. David Hair, 10. Jackson Slone, 11. Saban Bibent, 12. Luke Hall. Margin of victory: 0.734.
BOSS Non-Wing B-Main 2 (10 laps, 2 transfer): 1. Tyler Kendall, 2. Zack Pretorius, 3. Jesse Vermillion, 4. Zane Devault, 5. Dustin Ingle, 6. Parker Fredrickson, 7. Dallas Hewitt, 8. Lee Underwood, 9. Braydon Cromwell, 10. Jamie Fredrickson, 11. Cody Gardner, 12. Toby Alfrey. Margin of victory: 0.644.
BOSS Non-Wing Sprint Feature (25 laps, with starting position in parenthesis): 1. Brady Bacon (9); 2. Shane Cottle (3); 3. Justin Grant (2); 4. Thomas Meseraull (6); 5. Matt Westfall (4); 6. Korbyn Hayslett (5); 7. Kevin Thomas Jr. (10); 8. Issac Chapple (14); 9. Mike Miller (18); 10. Cody White (8); 11. Tyler Kendall (22); 12. Max Guilford (13); 13. Katlynn Leer (7); 14. Matt Goodnight (17); 15. Cole Ketcham (12); 16. Adam Byrkett (15); 17. Rob Caho (23); 18. Zack Pretorius (24); 19. Jerry Dahms (19); 20. Travis Hery (20); 21. Anthony D’Alessio (21); 22. Evan Mosley (16); 23. Max Adams (1); 24. Ben Knight (11).
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-2, Grant; lap 3, Cottle; laps 4-8, Grant; laps 9-25, Bacon.
Margin of Victory: 2.016 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: Bacon, lap 8, 12.932 seconds.
Modified Group 1 Qualifying: 1. Cole Sink, 13.699; 2. Dillon Nusbaum, 13.741; 3. Josh Betts, 14.099; 4. Kenny Schrader, 14.226; 5. Nick Richards, 14.300.
Modified Group 2 Qualifying: 1. Bub Roberts, 13.768; 2. Andy Bishop, 14.306; 3. Garrett Rons, 14.314; 4. Jesse Strange, 14.336; 5. John Halsey, 14.675.
Modified Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Kenny Schrader, 2. Cole Sink, 3. Dillon Nusbaum, 4. Josh Betts, 5. Nick Richards. Margin of victory: 0.054.
Modified Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Garrett Rons, 2. Bub Roberts, 3. Andy Bishop, 4. Jesse Strange, 5. John Halsey. Margin of victory: 0.783.
Modified Feature (20 laps, with starting position in parentheses): 1. Dillon Nusbaum (2); 2. Andy Bishop (1); 3. Cole Sink (3); 4. Kenny Schrader (5); 5. Bub Roberts (4); 6. Garrett Rons (6); 7. Nick Richards (9); 8. John Halsey (10); 9. Josh Betts (7); 10. Jesse Strange (8).
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-20, Nusbaum.
Margin of Victory: 0.707 seconds.
Fastest Race Lap: Nusbaum, lap 2, 14.016 seconds.
Street Stock Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Ervin Turner, 2. Lee Hobbs, 3. Larry Long, 4. Tyler Bradley, 5. Dustin Marcum, 6. Dalton Bishop, 7. Greg Long, 8. Maygin Collis, 9. Gerald Owens. Margin of victory: 0.580.
Street Stock Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Andy Bishop, 2. Adam Lantz, 3. James Williams, 4. Tony Homan, 5. Brent Sutton, 6. Scott Hubbard, 7. Ryan Willard. Margin of victory: 0.275.
Street Stock Feature (15 laps, with starting position in parentheses): 1. Ervin Turner (3); 2. Lee Hobbs (5); 3. Tony Homan (7); 4. Andy Bishop (4); 5. James Williams (2); 6. Dalton Bishop (10); 7. Dustin Marcum (8); 8. Tyler Bradley (6); 9. Larry Long (1); 10. Scott Hubbard (11); 11. Ryan Willard (13); 12. Maygin Collis (14); 13. Adam Lantz (15); 14. Gerald Owens (16); 15. Greg Long (12); 16. Brent Sutton (9).
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-15, Turner.
Margin of Victory: 0.617 seconds
Fastest Race Lap: A. Bishop, lap 2, 14.021 seconds.
Hornet Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. James Headley Jr., 2. Aaron Tatman, 3. Brandon Lines, 4. Eric Solms, 5. Alexes Spaulding, 6. Sam Wheeler, 7. Tracy Runion, 8. Charlie Teegarden, 9. Nick Edwards. Margin of victory: 5.513.
Hornet Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. James Headley, 2. Jeremy Jones, 3. Eddie Tucker, 4. Jaime Razo, 5. Seth Trissel, 6. Jeff Young, 7. Jesse Arenas, 8. Kolton Sollars. Margin of victory: 5.856.
Hornet Feature (15 laps, with starting position in parentheses): 1. James Headley Jr. (1); 2. Jeremy Jones (4); 3. Aaron Tatman (3); 4. Brandon Lines (5); 5. Kolton Sollars (16); 6. Eddie Tucker (6); 7. Seth Trissel (10); 8. Alexes Spaulding (9); 9. Charlie Teegarden (15); 10. Tracy Runion (13); 11. Jesse Arenas (14); 12. Sam Wheeler (11); 13. Nick Edwards (17); 14. Eric Solms (7); 15. Jacelyn Edwards (18); 16. James Headley (2); 17. Jeff Young (12); 18. Jaime Razo (8).
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-15, Headley Jr.
Margin of Victory: 9.555 seconds.
Fastest Race Lap: Headley Jr., lap 6, 15.082 seconds.