BELLEVILLE, Kan. (Sept. 1, 2002) - Kelly Boen must really like racing on the Belleville (Kan.) High Banks Speedway. Prior to tonight, the Henderson, Colo., driver had racked up two feature wins on the big half-mile track with the O'Reilly Auto...
BELLEVILLE, Kan. (Sept. 1, 2002) - Kelly Boen must really like racing on the Belleville (Kan.) High Banks Speedway.
Prior to tonight, the Henderson, Colo., driver had racked up two feature wins on the big half-mile track with the O'Reilly Auto Parts/NCRA late model division, and at least one more with another series.
Now Boen can add another "W" to his Belleville resume as he dispatched 24 other drivers to earn his fourth NCRA feature win of the season and the sixth of his career.
"That track's been good to us this year," Boen said. "We stumbled onto a setup early in the season and it's really been consistent."
Boen easily won his heat but started the feature from the inside of the second row. Alongside Boen was heat winner Al Purkey, while Dean Moore, who won the other heat, lined up on the inside of the third row. The first row honors went to Eddie Tidwell and Jason Friesen, who each finished second in their respective heats.
Boen didn't stay behind anyone for long as he grabbed the lead with an outside pass on the backstretch of the very first lap.
"I was just talking to myself on the start, thinking about where I wanted to go on the green," he said. "A little opening came available and I tried to use it up right away so I could get to the front without having to fight my way up there."
As he put a bit of daylight between himself and the others, Tidwell and Friesen fell in line behind Boen, just the beginning of a long battle for second. Purkey followed in fourth with Earl Kinderknecht, who started seventh, in fifth.
Two restarts within the first few laps did nothing to slow Boen. Each time, he put the hammer down and pulled away from the field. He maintained a comfortable margin for most of the race, settling down to the task of turning 25 laps as quickly and smoothly as possible.
The top three remained Boen, Tidwell and Friesen for most of the race, with action going on behind them for fourth place. Purkey, who was never very far behind the leaders, moved in and out of that position, along with Moore, Kinderknecht, Chad Lyle and others.
Late in the race, Friesen (2nd), Tidwell (3rd) and Purkey (4th) seemed to gain ground on Boen; that's when Purkey made his move. Purkey, who won the last NCRA race on the highbanks, caught Tidwell and was looking for third, as Friesen had pulled away in second. On lap 20, Purkey moved around Tidwell into third, setting his sights on second place. The next lap, Purkey slipped by Friesen into second, with only Boen in front.
"It took awhile to get by the two cars in front of me; Friesen and Tidwell both were running pretty good," Purkey said. "When we did get around them, Kelly had too big of a lead."
Purkey continued to move up on Boen but there just weren't enough laps left in the race.
"We were catching Boen just a little bit at the end," Purkey said. "Catching him was one thing and passing him would have been another."
"My right rear was starting to blister so I was probably slowing up a little bit," Boen said, "but he (Purkey) was probably just getting better because I was pretty consistent throughout the race."
Boen's crew used hand signals to let him know Purkey was closing. Combined with a overheating motor, Boen got a little anxious late in the race.
"I was just looking for that white flag. I knew Purkey was getting closer and closer while the motor was getting hotter and hotter," Boen said. "I started to sweat a little under the collar but it did live long enough."
Boen took the checker first, still comfortably in front of the second-place Purkey. Rounding out the top five were Friesen, Tidwell was fourth and Moore fifth.
"There was one adjustment we should have made but we didn't and it left the car a little loose," Purkey said. "That made it real tough to pass anyone."
The heat races were tough on machines with several drivers not making it to the only feature of the night.
As mentioned, Kelly Boen took the first heat of the evening. On lap two, Bill Martin and Dave Conkwright got together in turn two. Martin, all the way from Franklin, Tenn., smacked the wall and was done for the night. Conkwright moved away and continued.
Dean Moore made a late-race pass of leader Ted Martin to capture the second heat. Martin had slowed unexpectedly in turn four with Moore right on his tail. There was contact and Moore, from Grand Junction, Colo., slipped around on the inside while Martin coasted into the infield.
Al Purkey battled with Jason Friesen and Delbert Smith during heat number three. Purkey moved in front on the high side and make it stick to capture the checker.
Points leader Kyle Berck experienced overheating problems and only finished seventh in the feature. His next closest challenger, 2001 champion Delbert Smith, also encountered mechanical problems. In the feature, Smith hit the turn one wall on lap three and retired for the evening. He was credited with a 18th-place finish.
Heat 1 (8 laps) - 1. Kelly Boen, Henderson, Colo; 2. Earl Kinderknecht, Salina, Kan.; 3. Chad Lyle, Lone Jack, Mo.; 4. Tim Echevarria, Junction City, Kan.; 5. Marty Murdock, Bassett, Neb.; 6. Dave Conkwright, Manhattan, Kan.; 7. Mike Conkwright, Manhattan, Kan.; 8. Bill Martin, Franklin, Tenn.; 9. Brad Morris, Junction City, Mo.
Heat 2 (8 laps) - 1. Dean Moore, Grand Junction, Colo.; 2. Eddie Tidwell, Ada, Okla.; 3. Donnie McClellan, Grant City, Mo.; 4. Davey Nall, Phillips, Neb.; 5. Kyle Berck, Marquette, Neb.; 6. Ted Martin. Bennington, Kan.; 7. Brett Lafollette, Kansas City, Kan.; 8. John Kuchar, Henderson, Colo.
Heat 3 (8 laps) - 1. Al Purkey, Coffeyville, Kan.; 2. Jason Friesen, Sutton, Neb.; 3. Delbert Smith, Wichita, Kan.; 4. Jerry Breeden Jr., Salina, Kan.; 5. Rob Bencken, Oakley, Kan.; 6. Brian Bolster, Wichita, Kan.; 7. Dan Topliff, Manhattan, Kan.; 8. Jeff French, Ankey, Iowa.
A feature (25 laps) - 1. Boen; 2. Purkey; 3. Friesen; 4. Tidwell; 5. Moore; 6. Echevarria; 7. Berck; 8. Nall; 9. M. Conkwright; 10. D. Conkwright; 11. French; 12. Kinderknecht; 13. McClellan; 14. Lyle; 15. Bencken; 16. Topliff; 17. Breeden Jr.; 18. Smith; 19. Murdock. Did not start - T. Martin, Bolster, Lafollette, B. Martin, Kuchar, Morris.