Spartan Speedway Race Highlights for April 27, 2001

By Todd Cumming

Perfect weather and a sell-out crowd made opening night at Spartan Speedway one of the most successful in years at the racy mile speed plant. Feature racing opened with the 40 lap Metro Ford Super Late Models drawing an eleven-car invert. Jim Heeney (#17h) and Tom Hernley Jr. (#81) was the starting front row of a field packed with stout competition. Hernley won the race to the first turn from the outside and quickly stretched his lead until lap 6 when Ben Hidy (#97) spun. Tim Rugg (#67) pulled to the infield as brothers; Charlie Ryan Jr. (#24) and Tim Ryan (#14) waged a heated battle for fourth behind Hernley
Jeff Finley (#70) and Heeney. The restart seen the pack play bumper tag down the backstretch
causing Leonard Cousino (#91) to come in contact with the wall thus ending his night. Lap seven restart had Jeff Finley hounding Hernley for the lead as Charlie Ryan Jr. made a nice move to get by Heeney for third. Tight racing was then seen back in the pack for seventh between Bill Heeney Jr. (#47) and track champion
Doug Finley (#29). With 14 laps to go
Dave Stehower (#33) got hooked up on the always fast outside groove and got by both for the seventh spot. Heeney Jr. seemed to lose the handle as he went three wide with John Dunivon (#3) and fast qualifier
Leroy Magoon (#11). Magoon was ninth with nine laps to go and then got by Doug Finley two laps later. A caution with one lap to go bunched up the field for a two-lap shootout
but the lapped car of Ben Hidy held up any advances by Jeff Finley. Tom Hernley Jr. of Lansing took the win driving for car owner
John Smalley. This combination looks to be a strong contender for the championships at Spartan and Owosso this season. Following Hernley and Finley was Heeney in third
Charlie Ryan Jr. fourth and Tim Ryan fifth.

Super Late Model heats seen rookie
Chuck Garrison (#3) take his first ever checker in spectacular fashion as he and Ben Hidy got together causing Garrison to cross the line sideways and into the front stretch wall. Other heats went to Don Bergau (#21) and Tim Ryan (#14). 24 Super Late Models took qualifying with fast qualifier
Leroy Magoon
clocking in at 12.88.

The Michigan Modifieds were out next with a deep 16-car invert
putting Fred Lytle (#5) and rookie Jeff Travis (#80) on the pole. Lytle took the early lead
as Cory Miechiels (#423) headed to the pits with left front damage. After a few cautions
the racing got dicey for eight place. Three wide racing seen Clint Heinz (#57) and Dan Hamel (#61) getting together in turn 2. The race for the lead heated up between Lytle and Terry Goldberg (#47) when Harry Parish (#31) broke running for fourth. With 9 laps to go
Tim Easy (#63) slowed to the infield in a shower of sparks causing Brian Heeney (#1H) to spin Hamel. Both drivers got their spots back for the restart. Goldberg got under Lytle for the lead and Brad Roberts (#17) followed. The man to watch was Brian Nester (#11) as he was up to fifth from his 19th starting spot with 5 laps remaining. Sophomore driver
Terry Goldberg claimed the popular win
Roberts second
Lytle a good run for third and Nester nipping Lee Taylor (#99) at the stripe for fourth.

Modified heats were won by Brian Netster
Chris Hall (#45) and Brad Roberts. The 9-car consi was won by Springport track champ
Lanny Clawson (#31). Jason Parish took over the controls of the #69 of Tracy Rice to gain fast qualifier at 13.84 of 29 modifieds on hand.

The last feature of the evening was the Performance Automotive Northwest street stocks. 22 cars and a 16-car invert put Hidy (#87) and Marc Smith (#14) on the front row. Hidy took the early lead with Marc Long (#7L) all over his rear bumper. Two laps into the event seen Pat Dent (#6)
Jeff Houghton (#98)
Howard McDonough (#22) and Rob Buckley (#43) racing four wide back in the pack. With action all over the track
Hidy got freight trained for the front spot when the caution flew for the lost tire of Mark Ragsdale (#33). On the restart
Pat Dent jumped to the outside with Buckley in tow. These two made the race exciting as Buckley jumped to his popular third groove to get by Dent for fifth with 16 laps to go. Three laps later
Buckley got by Mike Wells (#21) for second and set his sights on first year driver
Mark Long. The yellow flew with 12 laps to go as Hidy spun into the infield and rookie
Doc Dutton (#T2)
pulled into the infield. The restart seen Buckley take over the lead and seemed to be on his way to victory. The heated battle for fourth between Jeff Houghton and Dent seen Dent spin on the last lap causing another last lap shoot out. A strange twist of fate seen Buckley loop it in turn one on the restart causing Long and Rick Bailey (#5) to get into him. Heavy damage for Buckley and Bailey ended their nights and Marc Long went on for the surprise win
followed by Rob Martin (#79) third
Chad Sheppard (#47) fourth and Brad Moore (#83) fifth.

Street stock heats went to Tommy Turner (#28)
Tom Johnston (#3)
Marc Long (#7L) and Rick Bailey (#5). The 10-car semi was won by Jason Huey (#711). 30 street stocks took qualifying with Rob Buckley first with a time of 14:37.

The new Post-Net Pony Stocks seen their first feature taken by Cathy Clinger (#27). All four classes will be in competition this Friday night at "The Track the Stars Call Home."


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