PlymouthSpeedwayLogoSeveral new faces made their way to the podium Saturday night as the season point race got underway at Plymouth Speedway. Kayeleb Bolton, Kokomo, Ind. in the 600 cc non-wing mini-sprints and Josh Lank, mini-stock division, both got their first feature wins of the season. Austen Hubbard of Valparaiso, Ind. won the Street Stock Feature and Ryan Cripe, North Manchester, Ind., won his second UMP Modified feature in 2020.
20 cars were scheduled to start the 25 lap Modified feature but Bobby Stremme, South Bend, Ind. the B Feature winner would scratch with mechanical issues.
Cripe would start the feature in the eighth position along side Zeke McKenzie, Claypool, Ind., with Garrett Jameson, Royal Center, Ind., on the pole with Clayton Bryant, Yoder, Ind., alongside on the front row. Cripe moved on the high side to the lead on lap five with McKenzie, Jameson, Bradley Jameson, Logansport, Ind., and Dillon Nusbaum of Warsaw, Ind., all trading spots and racing under a blanket not far behind.
As the leaders were getting into lap traffic Garrett Jameson would spin nearly collecting McKenzie in turn two bringing out the yellow. McKenzie would would restart in third position with Cripe leading and Nusbaum in second.
McKenzie got around Nusbaum and was pacing Cripe as they started to catch lap traffic. The yellow with only a handful of laps remaining had McKenzie trying a slide job on Cripe in turns one and two that brought him up even but unable to get ahead. Cripe would maintain his momentum while McKenzie had to check up to keep from collecting them both and Cripe went on to the win.
2019 UMP Modified Track Champion Frank Marshall won his heat earlier in the program but his engine was unable to make the feature. Marshall would get in the 21 of Kenny Carlson and start from the tail in the feature. His finish in tenth spot would make him the hard charger and salvage season points on the first night.
The hard charger performance of the evening would have to be the runner-up finish of Shane Sanders, South Bend, Ind., in the Street Stocks. Sanders transferred from the B Feature, finishing second in that race also from a fifth place start. He would start 17th in the 19 car field in the A Feature, keeping his nose out of trouble, riding the cushion to move up into the second spot as the laps ran out. “During the yellow at the half point of the race, I was looking at finishing in tenth,” said Sanders after the race. “I had a hard time seeing the final laps as the rain was starting to come down and I ran out of tear offs.”
Hubbard and RJ Akers, Portage, Ind., would start the feature on the front row. Akers got the lead with Hubbard and Simmons close behind. Akers would suffer a flat tire that he would repair but would send him to the tail. He made stead progress forward but a broken ball joint would eventually end his evening in 14th place. Winamac’s Jason Fritz started fifth and moved into second when a yellow at lap 9 restarted the field. Getting a good jump on Hubbard he moved into the lead getting into Hubbard but an unrelated yellow on the next lap would move him back to second to redo the start. Having gone to school on the previous restart Hubbard changed his starting point and would regain the lead for good. Fritz spun on lap 11 collecting the 42 of Simmons with him. Fritz would retire and Simmons would restart on the tail and move through the field to finish back in third.
The 600 cc Non-Winged Mini Sprints feature was a fast 25 laps with only one yellow. Eric Saunders, Lakeville, Ind. would start on the pole with Bolton alongside and Dylan Woodling, Warsaw, Ind., behind in third. These three would run nose to tail in close quarters the entire race with Bolton getting the lead early and Woodling following him past Saunders. Bruce Clay, Elkhart, Ind. made his first appearance at the track this year holding down fourth place until Hard Charger Plymouth’s Ed Cleveland could make his way from his 14th starting position to wrestle it away. Woodling set up Bolton for a last lap pass but he just couldn’t muster the bite coming out of the final turn and would finish right on Bolton’s bumper for the runner-up spot.
The remaining feature of the evening was was the Mini-Stock event with Skylar Antonelli starting on the pole and leading the affair until the end only to be disqualified for failure to go through the post race tech procedures. This handed the win to Josh Lank who started seventh. Randy Brommer, Columbia City, Ind. started tenth and made his initial appearance on the podium and finishing third was the Hard Charger of the event Rich Loraff, Buchanan, Mich.
The Super Sports feature was rained out and will be run Saturday along with the regular event. Shaun Wiltjer is scheduled to start from the pole with Mentone’s John Rhoads alongside and Ron Wilkes of Lowell, Ind. starting third.
Friday, June 26 night will be a special event the stars of USAC 410 Non-Wing Sprints making their return to the speedway. Justin Grant, Chris Windom, Brady Bacon, C.J. Leary and Kevin Thomas Jr. are the current top five in the series. These non-wing sprints will share the bill with the 600cc Non-Wing Micro Sprints and the 4-cyl. mini-stocks. The gates will open at 4 p.m with hot lapping starting at 6 p.m. and the racing beginning at 7 p.m.
July 3 and 4 the AMA Flat Track Motorcycles will also be returning to the speedway and with the altered schedule due to the pandemic look for several all-star riders to make the haul to the “Playground of Power” that weekend. The fans will enjoy racing on the short track and fireworks Friday, July 3. The riders will move to the big track with more fireworks on Saturday the 4th. Practice starts at 6 p.m. with racing scheduled for 7 p.m. both evenings.
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