By: Spartan correspondent, Michelle Sprague
Friday, July 31st, was School Bus Figure 8 Night, with eight drivers wheeling the huge yellow (well, not all of them) modes of transportation that school children dread the sight of come September. The packed grandstands however had been waiting with great anticipation, since September, for their return. It had been a long wait, as the last time the busses ran the “8” was last September. The drivers didn’t disappoint as there were many near misses at the X. With the likes of “The Disturbed One” Dane Long, “Jellybean” Misty Allen, defending Super Late Model champion, Jimmy Gallagher, Super Late driver of the Stan Perry Memorial racecar, Tommy Fedewa, flagman, “Dancing” Doug Allen, “Hey Culligan Man” Chris Hoffman, tech inspector, Chuck “Conehead” Ewing, and Golden Circle Award winner and darn fine photographer, Bob “Whitebread” Cantine, these drivers have many years of combined experience both on and off the track, but the undisputed winner of the first 2009 School Bus Figure 8 was Dane Long. This seasoned veteran lapped a number of busses on his way to the Corrigan Oil Victory Circle. Hoffman and Long took heat wins when the busses ran the oval earlier in the evening. Look for the school busses to return again in September!
When the green flag waved over the field of Boss Snow Equipment Pony Stocks, it was like a stampede towards the first turn at the Spartan Speedway. Joe Bates took the early lead from rookie competitor, Marissa Jones, with Jeremy LaFontaine working his way into contention. He wasn’t alone though, Patrick Denison and George Wyers were also making their run to the front just ahead of Edson Rowley III. Denison dove under LaFontaine and Bates to take the lead. Denison pulled away from the field only to receive a speeding ticket for exceeding his qualifying time by more than a quarter of a second. LaFontaine inherited the lead, but Rowley was right there on his rear bumper and took the spot away, while fast qualifier, Todd Metz Jr. had worked his way up into the top three. Wayne Beckner Jr. had other ideas though, as he drove around Metz and into third at the halfway point. Beckner Jr. got around LaFontaine for a shot at the leader, while Brian Beckner, Metz and LaFontaine made it three-wide for third. Denison got a second wind in the waning laps and dove under Beckner for third. At the stripe, it was Rowley, Beckner Jr., Denison, Beckner and Metz. Rich Roberts and Rowley took heat wins.
Ben Hidy made his return to the Spartan Speedway count in a big way, scoring the Mark Childers ride for the night and putting it in the Corrigan Oil Victory Circle twice during the racing program, taking both the feature win and a heat win. The Pure Stock drivers were itching to get the feature underway as a couple of drivers jumped the start. Finally, the green stayed out on the start and it a battle royale. Rob Newman took the wheel of Joe Sharp’s Pure and put it out front, with Ian Schafer giving him a run for his money. Newman opened the door and Schafer slipped under him to take the lead and Hidy dove under Newman as he drifted high in turn two. Hidy and Schafer had company though, as Lonnie Saumier had made his way into the top three and was challenging for the lead as laps wound down. Hidy made Childer’s car nice and wide with Saumier hoping that Hidy would make a bobble. That was not the case though and Hidy went on to win followed by Saumier, Schafer, Jake Pearson and Josh Sevenski. Hidy and Newman scored wins in their heats.
The Valvoline Instant Oil Change Modifieds saw past champion, Larry Wallace, working week after week to dial in the race car sponsored by “his own wallet.” All the hard work pair off as Wallace was able to hold off a very strong, and persistent, Chris Ozanich, for the win. Ozanich was able to stick a nose under Wallace in the corners, but Wallace was able to pull away down the straightaways. Ozanich was able to make the pass on Wallace, but caution waved and Ozanich had to assume the second spot as the lap had not been completed at the caution. With less than five laps to go, Ozanich dove under Wallace, the two touched, got loose, but both were able to gather the cars back up and proceed, with Ozanich darting into the lead. Once again, caution waved and Ozanich was sent cak to the second spot. On the restart, Ozanich tried the high side and Wallace shut the door. Travis Eddy had a strong showing running in third, while Ron Parish and Leroy Ellis duked it out for fourth with Ellis taking the spot away to finish fourth, and Parish rounding out the top five. Ozanich, Tim Easey, and Earl Miles took home hwat wins for the division.
Please join us each and every Friday night for exciting racing action at the track the stars call home. Sunday, August 9th will feature a Super Late Model 75 for the Andrews Chevrolet Super Late Models, along with a Sunday Slugfest for Performance Automotive NW Sportsmans, Spartan Pure Stocks and Boss Snow Equipment Pony Stocks. Double Figure 8’s will be run for the Pure Stocks and Pony Stocks. On the docket for August 14th is CARQUEST Night featuring the MOD 50 for Valvoline Instant Oil Change Modifieds, along with Sportsmans, Pure Stocks, Pony Stocks and GLS Mini-Cups. Check out the website at www.spartanspeedway.com for more info. As always, we’ll see you at the races!