Northeastern Legend Danny Johnson Scores Super DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds Series 100-Lap Feature Win
Lake Odessa, Michigan (Tuesday, August 7th, 2012): The superstars of Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada, the high-powered Big Block Modifieds Super DIRTcar Series made their first ever appearance in the state of Michigan on the famed 1/2 (0.500) mile high-banked dirt oval of I-96 Speedway, located east of Grand Rapids and West of Lansing in Lake Odessa, Michigan on a special Tuesday night, August 7th.
The first Feature of the night and the first feature on the 1/2 mile since Memorial Day Monday in 2011 would be the 15-lap main which served as the Pro Stocks / Pro Trucks Invitational and the front row would be a pair of regulars in the Rudd’s Septic Service UMP Street Stocks on Saturday nights, Defending Track Champion Bill Brandt Jr., and Current Points Leader Josh Frye lead the 15-car/truck field to Chief Starter Brett Farmer’s green flag.
Frye would lead lap one while Brandt Jr., had a pair of Pro Trucks on his back bumper as Carl Thayer and Brad Roberts were on his back bumper. One of the hardest crashes of the evening occurred on lap four as the second through fourth place machines of Roberts, Brandt Jr., and 2010 UMP Street Stocks Track Champion Gary Vandermark all slammed the turn four wall. All three were ok but done for the evening.
Throughout the event, Frye would be up to the challenge of taking on the Pro Stocks & Pro Trucks invaders as the Coopersville, Michigan driver in his #44 Rhino Roofing & Construction / Chevrolet UMP Street Stock would fend off the hard chargers and score the big Feature Win. Dick Reynolds finished second over Jake Headley, one more UMP Street Stocks regular Ron Harper, and Mike Seaman were the top five. Mike Husted finished sixth as Luke Hubbell, Jason Playter Jr., Thayer, and Brandt Jr., wrapped up the top 10. Earlier in the Heat Races it was Vandermark and Roberts scoring those victories.
The second Feature of the night would be the 25-lap main event for the Accurate Engines UMP Modifieds and it was Brian Ruhlman and John McClure leading the 20-car field to the green. At the start it would be Ruhlman beating the rest of the field to the first corner to snare the lead from the rest of the field and immediately began pulling away from the rest of the field.
Defending Track Champion and Reigning UMP DIRTcar Racing Series Michigan State Champion, Jacob Poel would climb up into second place and began slowly but surely reeling in Ruhlman who had built up a comfortable lead around the 1/2 mile. As Poel tried desperately tried to bring Ruhlman closer to him to battle it would be Ruhlman who would keep enough real estate between himself and Poel to stay out in front.
In the end, Ruhlman’s #49 Malcuit Racing Engines / Rocket Chassis by Ruhlman machine would go on to lead all 20 laps to score the impressive Feature triumph over Poel who finished second. Curt Spalding would come home third ahead of J.R. Hotovy while Current Points Leader Zack Olger finished off the top five. Mark Anderson was sixth as McClure, Two-Time Track Champion Todd Feutz, Jared Guinn and Tim Dalman were the final top 10. Olger, Anderson, and Ruhlman would collect the Heat Race triumphs.
Then it was time for the main event of the evening; The 100-Lap Feature for the traveling invaders of the Big Block Modifieds Super DIRTcar Series and as legendary starter, Dave Farney of Syracuse, New York waved the green flag it was Tyler Siri and Rick Scagliotta leading the field into turns one and two. Jimmy Phelps, who started third slid underneath the front row to grab the lead out of turn two and he would pass the field for the first half of the event setting a torrid pace in the process.
Four-Time Series Champion, Danny Johnson, who started fifth began chipping away at Phelps’ lead and on lap 53, the legendary Empire State driver would grab the lead away using a daring three-wide pass for the top spot as he, a lapped car, and Phelps were three abreast coming out of turn four. Johnson took the lead but soon had Two-Time Defending Series Champion Matt Sheppard to deal with as Sheppard began his charge from his 10th starting spot.
However Johnson wouldn’t be denied as the Rochester, New York legend in his #27j Honeoye Auto Parts / Bicknell Chassis would cross the start / finish line first to collect the $7,500 payday! Sheppard settled for second with Billy Dunn, Gary Tomkins, and Phelps completing the top five. Vince Vitale started 11th and finished sixth while Mat Williamson, Justin Haers, Rob Bellinger, and Tim Currier were the final top 10. Earlier in the evening, Pete Britten established the Big Block Mods Track Record in Qualifying as he went an 18.531 which measures out to 97.1325mph. In the Qualifier Heat Races, Britten and Phelps would pick up the wins.
Complete Results from the Big Block Modifieds Super DIRTcar Series is Available at the link provided: August 7th BBMSDCS Results
The second BIG event in just three days in Lake Odessa, Michigan features the return of the United States Auto Club (USAC) AMSOil National Sprint Cars Series on the special “Flashback Friday” (Friday, August 10th, 2012). Superstars like Five Time & Defending Series Champion Levi Jones as well as Indy 500 starter Bryan Clauson, Current Points Leader Jon Stanbrough, Veterans Dave Darland, Tracy Hines, rising superstar Kyle Larson and more take on the famed 1/2 mile in the series’ first appearance at I-96 since 1996.
Joining the USAC AMSOil National Sprint Cars Series on the famed 1/2 mile will be three of the tracks weekly divisions within the United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) DIRTcar Racing Series as the Accurate Engines UMP Modifieds, Rudd’s Septic Service UMP Street Stocks, and Smyrna Bar & Restaurant UMP Sport Compacts as all three weekly classes will get the chance to conquer the historic 1/2 mile dirt oval.
For this special event the pit gates will open at 2:00pm. Grandstands will swing open at 4:00pm. Practice will start at 6:00pm., with qualifying for the USAC sprints beginning at 7:00pm. Then after Pre-Race Ceremonies / Invocation / National Anthem(s), Racing is set to begin at 7:30p.m. Get your tickets early for this event at the link below: http://www.showclix.com/event/226174
I-96 Speedway is located at 3823 Portland Road in Lake Odessa, Michigan. For more information about the on-going 2012 racing season, please call: 1 (616) 642-0555 or visit the website at: www.i96speedway.com You can also follow along all season long by becoming a fan on the tracks Facebook Fan Page. Just go to: www.facebook.com/i96speedway and click on “Like” button. You can even follow us on Twitter as well, just go to: www.twitter.com/i96speedway and “Follow” us today.