Gallagher "Borrows" First Win on Valvoline Cup Night
Spartan Speedway opened the 2003 season to a full grandstand and pit area on a very chilly Valvoline Cup night. Valvoline and Whowon.com presented drivers with the 2003 best appearing car awards. Chris Place and Jeff Hackworth; Super Late Models, Rookie; Michael Gaier: Michigan Modifieds, Bob Flotka; Street Stocks and Missy Bishop; Pony Stocks took home the honors.
The Comcast Cablevision Super Late Models 50-lap feature event had a deep 16-car invert putting Jimmy Gallagher and Tim Ryan on the front row. Gallagher took the early lead and held the point throughout a rash of cautions. Chris Place was quickly working his way to the front as he got by Jeff Hackworth for 5th on lap 11. Gallagher was watching all the racing in his mirror as he stretched his lead. Lap 18 had Stan Perry, Ryan and Place all dicing for the 2nd spot. The trio raced hard for 5 laps until finally Perry and Place forced Ryan back to 4th. The midway point had very tight racing from 2nd through 7th spot and you knew something had to give and it finally did coming out of turn 4 as Tom Fedewa, Dave Stehouwer and Chip Garlock got together ending their nights. Gallagher seemed untouchable as he stretched his lead after every restart. Place took over 2nd from Perry as his car started to fade and Jack Landis was coming on strong after the half way point and was the fastest car on the track as he got by Place for 2nd with 15 laps to go. Things then got real interesting as Landis started to smoke all while catching Gallagher in lapped traffic. The lapped car of Lee Taylor allowed Landis to get to Gallagher's rear bumper and Landis dove under Gallagher for the lead with 5 laps to go. Both made contact and somehow Gallagher was able to get back by diving into turn 1. The last lap had Landis trying the outside down the backstretch though turn 4, but Gallagher took home his first career Super Late Model win over Landis, Place, Bill Heeney Jr. and Charlie Ryan Jr. Jack Landis was the Pierce Race Engines Hard Charger.
Charlie Ryan Jr., Tim Ryan and Chip Garlock were victorious in the heat races and John Ledwidge took home the 7-car semi feature win. Joey Shuryan set fast time at 13.09 for the 26-car field.
The WIBM AM1450 Michigan Modifieds 35-lap feature event had an eight car invert putting Bob Bauer and Brian Heeney on the front row. The lead duo ran side by side until Bauer finally took the point. Fast qualifier Bud Perry was the man on the move as he took the lead on lap six as the yellow flew. Perry restarted in third and the trio of Bauer, Heeney and Perry then went three abreast on the restart. Perry was able to take the point on lap ten with 2002 track champion, Jim Butler taking over 2nd. Dan Logan took 3rd from Bauer and then tried all lanes in a great battle for 2nd with Butler. Perry went on for the win over Butler, Logan, Dick Lapratt and Heeney. Tim Easy brought home the 3-D Auto Racing Supplies Hard Charger Award.
Modifeds heats were won by Larry Wallace and Tim Easy in a photo finish over Wayne Beckner Jr. Bud Perry was the fast qualifier of 20 cars with a time of 13.776.
The Performance NW Street Stocks 25-lap feature had a deep 14-car invert putting Nathan Moon and Butch Morence of the front row. Morence took the early lead when Moon lost a wheel and made hard contact with the front stretch wall on lap 2. Morence took off on the restart with Jim Blanchard and Rick Bailey fighting hard for 2nd. Mike McEwan jumped to the outside and was up to 4th from his 11th starting spot by lap 6 and then took the lead on lap 11. Trent Jensen was having one of his best runs ever in 6th when he lost a tire on the backstretch causing a caution on lap 12. Dane Long was now the truck to watch as he worked Rob Patrick hard for 3rd. Long's night then went up in smoke with 8 laps to go. The restart had Blanchard catching McEwan sleeping and took over the lead until McEwan dirt tracked through turn 4 to regain the point. David Thorburn was working the outside to join the fun and beat Blanchard at the line for 2nd behind McEwan. Landon Hidy and Patrick rounded out the top 5. McEwan also took home the Lost Tiger Tattoo Hard Charger Award from his 10th starting spot.
Street Stock heats were won by Dane Long, Stan Lambert and Don Zakrewski. Rookie, Corey Davis took home his first win ever in the 8-car semi feature. Ben Hidy set quick time for the 25 street stocks with a time of 14.727.
The Midwest Amusement Pony Stocks 15-lap feature had a full 15-car invert putting Kathy Flotka and Jerry Munn on the front row. Flotka took the early lead until Andy Sands took over on lap 3. Sands stretched his lead as Chris VanGordon and Julie Abbot worked up to 3rd and 4th from the last row starting positions. A caution on lap 6 enabled the duo to catch up to Sands and Abbot took the lead on the restart. Abbot went on for the win over Van Gordon. Missy Bishop, Kyle Ballard and Jason Huey rounded out the top 5 in a great battle to the stripe. Abbot also cleaned house by winning the Mac's All Car Pony Express Hard Charger Award.
Kathy Flotka and Chris VanGordon won heats and Julie Abbot set fast time for the 16-car field with a lap of 17.237.
This week will be "Poor Paul's Monies From Heaven" money drop as all four divisions will be racing at 7:30 sharp at "The Track the Stars Call Home"- Spartan Speedway.