The Shooter's Iceman Series closed out their season Saturday night at Sandusky Speedway. Jr. Hanley led the entire 200-lap distance to take the win and the season championship. Tonight's race was really a battle for the championship, since the...
The Shooter's Iceman Series closed out their season Saturday night at Sandusky Speedway. Jr. Hanley led the entire 200-lap distance to take the win and the season championship.
Tonight's race was really a battle for the championship, since the top four drivers in points were separated by only eight points. Scott Baker held a five point lead over Hanley, who led third place Glenn Gault by one point. Dave Kuhlman was in fourth place two points behind Gault.
Hanley drew the pole position in a blind draw for the top eight positions, a huge advantage on the tight, semi-banked half mile track. Gault drew the second position, Baker and Kuhlman drew third and fifth.
Hanley got he jump on Gault when the green flag dropped and shot into the lead, followed by Baker, who had also gotten by Gault.. Kuhlman sailed by fourth place starter Aaron Hulings on the first lap and settled in behind Gault's Orange Blossom Special.
While pressuring Hanley for the lead on lap 26, disaster struck Baker. The points leader's Sypolt Chevrolet/Tallmadge Asphalt Monte Carlo's rear end locked up causing his car to come to a halt in turn two. The 1999 Iceman champion saw his hopes of a repeat title fade while the car sat in the pits as the crew tried to make repairs. The Akron, Ohio driver's crew finally threw in the towel at the halfway point when they were unable to repair the car. Baker finished 20th and dropped to fourth in the final points.
Hanley continued leading Gault, Kuhlman, Aaron Hulings, Doug Ehret and Mike Hennessy trailing behind him. Harold Fair Jr, NASCAR Craftsman Truck driver, Matt Crafton and Jerry Cook seem to be the only drivers making any moves towards the front. Fair Jr who started 10th, was running in sixth when he and the lapped car of Jeff Carnacchi tangled on the frontstretch on lap 47. Cook had moved up from 15th to eight and Crafton was in ninth after starting 14th.
Ehret, Crafton and the lapped car of Randy Triplett tangled on lap 80, ending Ehret's night. Gault, Kuhlman, Hulings, and Hennessy continued to chase Hanley for the remainder of the first half.
The halfway flag was thrown on lap 96 after Randy Triplett and Rick Everidge crashed head on into the frontstretch wall. Triplett crashed so hard his car was spun around on impact to hit the wall again. Surprisingly, neither driver was injured. Everidge was through for the night, but the Triplett's crew began working on the Wendy's/Penzoil 10-Minute Lube Monte Carlo. Triplett, who was in a battle for the Rookie of the Year title with Brad Perry, returned to the race on lap 149. minus any front end sheet metal.
When the race resumed, it was Hanley, Gault, Kuhlman, Hulings, Hennessy, Fair Jr, Kyle Edwards, Greg Taylor, Cook and Crafton on the lead lap. Jon Helman, Dave Peffers, Brad Perry, Jason Mignogna and Jeff Carnacchi also returned for the second 100. Perry's car stopped on the backstretch wall during the pace lap and he was towed back to the pits where he remained for the rest of the race.
Hanley, on a rail, picked up where he left off, moving out to a half straightaway lead, while Gault, Kuhlman and Hulings battled amongst each other. Kuhlman worked on Gault lap after lap trying everything to get around the Orange Blossom Special. He finally got a run on Gault on lap 135 in turn four and was able to pass the #32 to take over second position.
Ten laps later, Kuhlman caught up Canadian driver Jr. Hanley who had driven away to a straightaway lead over the rest of the field.
A caution was thrown on lap 147 when Jerry Cook's car burst into a fierce fire in the pits, shooting flames nearly 15 feet in the air. A brake line had broken and brake fluid gushed out onto the hot headers. Cook was fine and the car only received damaged to the fiberglass body.
Although, Kuhlman dogged Hanley after the race resumed, he was unable to get past the veteran driver. The pair put a straightaway lead, over the next 20 laps, between themselves and the battle for third between Gault, Hulings and Fair Jr., who were running nose to tail.
After the final caution on lap 169, Kuhlman tried everything to get around Hanley. Kuhlman was able to get a run on Hanley in the corners, but Hanley would pull away on the straightaway, lap after lap. Hanley took the checkered flag, with Kuhlman on his bumper, for the win, and to take his first Iceman championship.