2002 Champions crowned at Spartan Speedway
A tension filled pit area greated race fans on Coca Cola Championship Night at Spartan Speedway.The drama filled Art Moehen Chevrolet-Honda Super Late Models 50 lap feature had Doug Finley waisting no time claiming the point over outside pole sitter, Chris Place. Finley was determined to take the championship and was hooked up, stretching to a straightaway lead as John Dunivion, Stan Perry and Phil Massuch battled hard for 9th.
Lap 7 had Jon McNett looping it in turn 2 with a broken rearend, ending his 6th place run. Massuch was the man on the move from his 14th starting spot and took 8th from Dunivion on the restart. The next 10 laps, Massuch picked cars off and was battling Charlie Ryan Jr. for 5th as leader Finley caught heavy lapped traffic. The 1/2 way point had Dave Stehouwer working Place hard for 2nd as Finley continued to run in heavy traffic. Lap 29 had all the excitement a championship race should have as Finley got caught under the lapped cars of Leonard Cousino and Pierre Goulett. Both touched at the flagstand and Cousino bounced into Finley causing a 5 car pile up on the frontstretch. The wreck ended Massuch's great run with heavy front end damage. As the dust settled, Finley and Ryan were rewarded their spots back. The big question was if Finley's car suffered any internal damage besides sheetmetal. The restart had Finley picking up where he left off and quickly stretched his lead as Place was busy holding off Stehouwer. Jeff Hackworth brought home 4th and Tim Ryan, driving K-zoo's Mike Schippers mount, had a great run to 5th over brother Charlie. Cousino, Chuck Garrison Jr. and Tin Ryan won the heats.
The Michigan Modified Championship was quickly claimed as Jim Butler took the green flag. Butler and Larry Wallace ran side by side for 3 laps until Wallace went high in turn 2 allowing Harry Parish to take 2nd. Terry Goldberg was looking strong and was up to 3rd by lap 6. Lap 15 had Parish and Goldberg all over Butler as the leaders hit heavy traffic. Gary Sherman used the traffic to allow himself to join in the mix. Goldberg drove the traffic well and took over the lead with 18 laps to go. The first caution with 13 laps remaining had points champion Butler being sent to the rear with Brian Heeney. The last 10 laps had Goldberg settling in for the win as Parish and Sherman battled hard to the line for 2nd and 3rd. Bud Perry and Larry Wallace rounded out the top 5. Kyle Hicks, Bill Luckherst and Dan Logan were heat winners and Luckherst repeated with the semi-feature over Ron Parish.
The 2002 Performance NW Street Stock champion, Rob Marten set sail from the pole position for their 30 lap feature event. Mike McEwan and Pat Dent quickly headed to the front until Dent headed to the infield with mechanical problems. On lap 8, Doc Dutton and Stan Lambert got together racing for 5th and were sent to the rear. On the restart, the leaders stretched the field as Dave Thornburn and Dave Parker worked Howard MCDonough for 5th. Marten continued to take the easy victory over McEwan, Mike Havens and Ken Clingan. Parker took home the hard charger award as he brought home 4th from his 20th starting spot. Thornburn rounded out the top 5. Heat race wins were taken by Tom Trujnowski, Rich Kinch, Wayne Beckner Jr. and Pat Dent. Kinch repeated in the semi-feature over a quickly closing Dave Parker.
Kyle Ballard clinched the Post-Net Pony Stock Championship by starting the 15-lap feature event. Ballard and Cathie Clingan ran side by side until Clingan secured the point the point and watched as the race was for 5th. Trei Duble snuck through Andy Sands and Missy Bishop, as up front Julie Abott had the quick car and ran down Clingan in traffic with 5 laps to go. The women of the Pony Stocks put on a show as Abott shadowed Clingan to the checkered. Ballard, Chris VanGorden and Duble rounded out the top 5. Robert Fletcher and Abott brought home heat wins.
Spartan Speedway and its staff would like to congradulate all the 2002 Champions. Doug Finley-Supers, Jim Butler-Michigan Modifieds, Rob Marten-Performance NW Street Stocks and Kyle Ballard-Post-Net Pony Stocks.