By: Spartan correspondent, Michelle Sprague
Opening day at the Spartan Speedway in Mason, MI was picture perfect. Sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted fans to mark the start of the 2009 racing season at “The Track the Stars Call Home.” But figuratively speaking, the storm clouds rolled in two-thirds of the way into the Andrews Chevrolet Super Late Model 40-lap feature. When the green flag dropped, Logan Beckwith of Hanover, and Vicksburg’s Harry Foote Jr. led the charge, with Foote taking the advantage on lap one. Dewitt’s Jon McNett tacked on to his bumper and the duo set sail, as Beckwith held off Flushing’s Tim Ryan and defending track champion, Jimmy Gallagher of Dimondale, who raced side by side for fourth. McNett took his familiar high line and got on the outside of Foote on lap 11. Caution waved as McNett got into the front stretch wall, ending his night. On the restart, it was Gallagher trying to run down Foote, as Lansing’s Doug Finley had quickly worked his way into the third spot. Finley dove under Gallagher, with Gallagher sliding up the track a bit in turn one, opening the door for Finley to take away the spot. Another Finley, young Chad, also of Lansing, sat ready to pounce after Uncle Doug began to reel in Foote, whittling away at his commanding lead. Foote and Finley played cat and mouse with Finley taking the high road. On lap 37, Finley pulled to the outside of Foote coming off of turn four, and then mayhem. Finley ended up in the front stretch wall and careened into the infield. Foote also slammed the wall and coasted to a stop against the wall going into turn one. Both retired for the evening. On the restart, C. Finley found himself in the cat-bird seat and went on to take the win over Beckwith, Dave Stehouwer of Muskegon, Gallagher, and Ryan. Beckwith took the heat win.
It looked like Sportsman veteran, Nate Moon of Leslie, had found his niche, as he moved up to the Valvoline Instant Oil Change Modified division for 2009. Moon led the first 21 laps of the 35-lap feature, with Charlotte’s Bill Butler in tow. Tim Easey, of Hastings, and Lansing’s Chris Ozanich battled for third with Ozanich taking the spot away on lap five. “Lightening” Leroy Ellis of Vermontville found his way into the top three, working his signature high line by lap 15. Ozanich, looking for a way around Butler for a shot at Moon, took to the second groove and got around Butler, bringing Ellis with him. Ellis made a run on Ozanich for second and took away first from Moon as well. Lap 25 saw Ellis pulling away from the field, as Butler made his way around Moon and into third behind Ozanich. John Mamula, of Okemos, quietly had worked his way into contention for a top five, taking fourth spot away from Moon on lap 28. At the checker, it was Ellis (picking right up where he left off in 2008), Ozanich, Butler, Mamula, and Moon. Butler also scored the heat win.
The Performance Automotive NW Sportsmans were small in number but big on excitement. Jordan Harvey, of Williamston, and Holt’s Jimmy Scavarda brought the five-car field down for the green, with Scavarda jumping out to the lead. Clio’s Robby Johnston jumped into the fray, getting under defending Sportsman champ, Jack Koone Jr. of East Lansing, then going on the attack by diving under Harvey and Scavarda, making it three wide. Johnston took the lead as caution waved for Koone on lap two. On the rstart, Johnston went back on the hunt, taking down Scavarda on lap four, while Charlotte’s Dane Long began his move to the front. Johnston took a commanding lead as Long got around Scavarda on lap seven. Long went to work, cutting Johnston’s lead lap after lap, and found his way to Johnston’s rear bumper by lap 19. Long got under Johnston, but was never able to completely shake him as they crossed the line a close one and two. Scavarda, Harvey, and Koone rounded out the top five. Harvey took the heat win for the evening.
The “Eastside Invaders” were back in town as Flint’s Jordan Lacoda and Davison’s Lonnie Saumier came to play with the Pure Stock boys. Jordan Lacoda took a commanding lead in the twenty lap feature, with Saumier and Dimondale’s Spencer Drake flexing their muscle early on. Drake drove into the second position on lap three, with Saumier right there to challenge. Dimondale’s Ian Schafer watched the duo duke it out just ahead of him, while Justin Lewis of Leslie and Charlotte’s Mark Childers fought for position. Saumier struck on lap nine, driving under Drake for second and went after Lacoda for the lead. Saumier reeled Lacoda in by lap 16 and ducked under him for the lead on lap 17. After twenty quick laps, it was Saumier, Lacoda, Drake, Schafer, and Lewis. It was Saumier’s second trip to the Corrigan Oil Winner’s Circle as he also won his heat.
Seventeen Boss Snow Equipment Pony Stocks tested their mettle as the action was fast and furious (or wild and wooly). Lead changes were abundant, as Lansing’s Brad Harbenski jumped out to the early lead, with Rich Roberts, also of Lansing, taking command on lap three. Jackson’s George Wyers challenged for the lead on lap four, with the duo swapping the lead until lap ten, when Wayne Beckner Jr. blew past them to take the lead from both Wyers and Roberts. Patrick Denison, of Eaton Rapids, and Gregory’s Jeremy LaFontaine duked it out for second. LaFontaine took the second spot away on lap 14 while the battled raged for fourth on back. At the line, it was Beckner Jr., LaFontaine, Denison, Lansing’s Lex Jarecki, and Wyers. Wyers tallied a heat win for the evening.
Please join us each and every Friday night for exciting racing action. The May 1st program features a MOD 50 for the Valvoline Instant Oil Change Modifieds, Performance Automotive NW Sportsman, Pure Stocks and Boss Snow Equipment Pony Stocks along with the Legends. May 8th features MARFC and Red Carpet Night with all five regular divisions in action. As always, we’ll see you at the races!