Birch Run Speedway
Cummings Jr Wheels It, While Miller Jr Tames Transmission on Wheelman 50 Night!
Features only was the theme of the rescheduled Wheelman 50 special for the Sportsman class. Along with their special event that paid $1,200 to win, all of the classes that race at Birch Run were in action. With no heat races being run, qualifying was at a premium. Fast times for the night were set by Fred Cummings Jr in Sportsman (17.197), Michael Luberda DTS Modifieds (16.363), Lonnie Saumier Jr Pure Stocks (17.345) and Street Stocks (15.848), Dan Shamel American Trucks (18.133), Jason Jones Applebee's Pro Compacts (16.672) and Mike Schmidt Applebee's Sport Compacts (17.828).
The DTS Drive Train Specialists were first up with their 30 lap feature. Rick Wiecorek and Dave Christensen paced the field to green and the duo battled for position. The field stayed two by two until Robbie Johnson made a three wide move around Nick Lechota on the backstretch to move up a spot. Johnson would then use the high side to get around Christensen and then Wiecorek to take the top spot. Close racing throughout the field was the theme as Donnie Matteson Jr made moves to get toward the front. The caution flew fourteen laps in when fast qualifier Luberda tried to get to the inside of Nick Lechota in turn one and made contact with the number 12. At the halfway point Johnson continued to lead over Nick Clemens, Donnie Matteson Jr, Wiecorek and David McManus. Something broke in the right front of the Luke Warhurst machine on lap 20, bringing out the final caution of the event. Johnson nailed the final restart and pulled away to pick up his first feature win of the season at Birch Run Speedway. Clemens settled for second ahead of McManus, Matteson Jr and Michael Luberda.
Casey Snover made a three wide pass of Jim Miller Sr and Hunter Forrester to take the lead at the start of the Wheelman 50 for the Sportsman. Fred Cummings Jr didn't let that lead last long as three laps in he powered to the outside of Snover to take the lead. Larry Plamondon, who was driving the John Leonard owned number 28, moved past Snover for second on lap five. Snover would soon be pressured by Miller Sr as the duo battled for fourth. Forrester started to reel in Plamondon. Forrester forged ahead of Plamondon for the second spot with twelve laps to go, but couldn't make up any ground on Cummings. Cummings cruised to pick up the $1,200 payday ahead of Forrester, Plamondon, Miller Sr and Snover.
Mike Mosier dove to the inside of leaders Caleb Beechler and Anthony Williams in turn one of the start of the Pure Stock feature to take the lead down the backstretch. By lap six, Jon Parish, Lonnie Saumier Jr, Andrew Burton and Hunter Doutre were all chasing Mosier. Saumier Jr was able to sneak by the 36 of Parish for second and brought Burton and Doutre with him. Caution waved eleven laps in when Don Garrison and Parish got together. Burton took advantage of an opening by Mosier on the restart to get to the inside and take the lead. Mosier would then tap and go to the rear after getting into Saumier Jr with 14 to go. Saumier Jr retained his spot and then moved past Burton with six laps to go. One last caution didn't rattle the driver of the M15 as Saumier would go on to hold off Doutre, Burton, Andy Shelters and Mosier.
Tim Crabb took the lead at the start of the American Truck feature and held it until Cam DeLong went three wide in turn four of lap two. Josh DeLong had soon moved up from his eighth starting spot to move in to second to challenge his son. Josh made the move to the inside of Cam and took the lead on lap seven. A caution eleven laps in restacked the field. DeLong chose inside and took advantage to lead on the restart. Zachary Ahrns had worked his way up as well and started challenging Cam Delong. Behind him, the last two feature winners in Joe and Dan Shamel had joined the battle for third. That battle got crossed up with ten laps to go when the trio got tangled together in turns one and two, resulting in Ahrns going to the tail. Joe Shamel pressured the 067 of DeLong, but in the end it was Josh DeLong holding on to claim his fourth feature win of the season. Joe Shamel finished second while Cam DeLong held off Dan Shamel and Josh Shaw.
Jeff Owens grabbed the lead at the start of the Factory Stock feature. The battle for second heated up and on lap five, Lonnie Saumier Jr and Adam Rowe got together in turn one bringing out the first caution. One lap later and leader Owens got a speeding ticket for having three laps under his qualifying time and was sent to the tail of the field. That gave the lead to Adam Rowe. The action got intense again on lap eight when Jim Miller Jr and Rowe touched on the front stretch and that allowed Saumier to get to the inside. As Miller Jr spun on the backstetch, the duo of Saumier and Rowe touched and spun in turn three. With all drivers having to go to the pits, that put Jesse Collinge on point for the restart. Collinge held the lead until Jeff Owens made his way around. Miller Jr managed to get by Owens for the lead with twelve to go and would then hold off the duo of Owens and Saumier to pick up the win after rushing home to change transmissions after a failure during hot laps! Bob Hiney and Jesse Collinge completed the top five.
Despite a spin after contact on the initial start of the Applebee's Pro Compact feature, Ryan Hollister made the trip to Birch Run Speedway worthwhile. The Olivet,MI driver took the lead from the outside pole and cruised to the win in the 15 lap feature. Randy Moore finished second ahead of Billy Luckhurst and Jason Jones.
In the Applebee's Sport Compact feature, Jeff Asmus put his number 14 car to the early lead. Asmus tried to pull away but was reeled in by Gary Koepke. On lap six Koepke made the pass for the lead, bringing Mike Schmidt with him. Schmidt applied pressure to Koepke before doing a crisscross move in turn three where he peeked high and then dove low out of turn four to take the lead. Schmidt would take the checkered flag and dedicate the win to his Brother Kurt, who suffered a massive stroke earlier in the week. Following Schmidt and Koepke were Asmus, Cole Koepke and Mike Koepke.
To close out the night, the Motor City Core Figure 8 drivers took to the track. Eric Gilbert grabbed the lead at the start but was chased by Anthony Williams. Williams ducked around Gilbert in turn three to take the lead at lap one. Andrew Burton moved into second just two laps later. The intersection heated up when Paul Rigda III made contact with the 112 of John Hitsman. Hitsman spun to the infield and then timed the intersection and returned the favor to Rigda III. While the race stayed green, Williams maintained his lead over Burton. Then with only a lap to go Williams saw his lead end in the intersection with a nasty hit involving himself, Gilbert and John Hitsman Jr. All three vehicles were disabled and the red flag was thrown giving the win to Andrew Burton. Williams was credited with second ahead of Gilbert, Tim Crabb and John Hitsman Jr.
This Friday will see the return of the Reveal The Hammer Outlaw Super Late Model Series for the running of the Dixie Classic 100! Steve Needles brings a 28 point advantage over Brock Ganus and Brandon Short into the event and looks to add to his win total of two on the season. Possibly 20 or more of the best Outlaw drivers will try to etch their names into the record book as a winner of this prestigious event! Joining the Reveal The Hammer Series will be the Sportsman, Street Stocks, Pure Stocks, American Trucks and the Applebee's Pro and Sport Compacts. There will be an autograph session at intermission and it is Good Neighbor Night for Flint and Lapeer residents as they can get in free with ID!
On Saturday, the John Vance Band will be taking to the United Financial Credit Union concert stage! Bringing a mix of Country, Southern Rock and Blues the band will take to the stage at 8 p.m. Tickets for this concert are $15 and can be purchased at the track the day of the show, or in advance at www.birchrunevents.com
Photo Credits: Dana Gagne
Article Credit: Chuck Darling
Submitted By: Charles Darling