DARLAND DELIVERS A+ PERFORMANCE AT JUNCTION MOTOR SPEEDWAY McCOOL JUNCTION, Neb. (July 27, 2005) -- School may be out for the summer, but class was in session Wednesday night at the Junction Motor Speedway with "The Professor" of midget car...
DARLAND DELIVERS A+ PERFORMANCE AT JUNCTION MOTOR SPEEDWAY
McCOOL JUNCTION, Neb. (July 27, 2005) -- School may be out for the summer, but class was in session Wednesday night at the Junction Motor Speedway with "The Professor" of midget car racing teaching a lesson to 45 students of the sport.
In it's freshman season, the Gateway Racing midget series filed into the state-of-the-art McCool Junction, Neb. speedplant with a field of 46 drivers in attendance. The course proved to be difficult in the early going with two red flags and six caution periods plaguing the first three of five heat races. With an ever-changing track surface and multiple racing grooves, teams had to do their homework to find the fastest way around the 3/8-mile clay oval for the 24-car main event.
When the bell rang at 11:20 p.m. to start the 25-lap feature race, polesitter Jay Drake jumped into the lead as the field entered the first turn. Drake's hopes for victory were immediately dashed, however, as the Val Verde, Calif. pilot slowed after one lap with a flat right front tire, bringing out the race's first of three caution flags.
After the restart, fellow California drivers Stephen Graves and Josh Wise swapped the lead several times over the next four laps. Driving the Wilke-PAK #11 that carried Davenport, Iowa's Davey Ray to a victory here last year, Wise secured the lead on lap 4 with pressure coming from fourth-row starter Mike Hess of Petersburg, Ill. and fifth-row starter Dave Darland.
Running the extreme high side of the track in turns 1-2, Darland got by Hess on lap 5, then moved around Graves for second place on lap 7 and set his sights on Wise. With Darland still running up near the concrete wall, Wise was utilizing the low lane through the first two turns, but both drivers wanted the bottom real estate in turns 3-4.
With a textbook move on lap 11, Darland scooted around Wise on the backstretch and shut the door in turn 3 to take away the top spot. From that point on, it was all elementary as "The Professor" motored away from the field to take the $2,000 top prize in Bob Traford's Esslinger-powered Venture Racing #27 Spike midget.
The win served as a prelude to this weekend's Belleville Midget Nationals, where Darland is looking to rewrite the history books by becoming the first three-time winner in the event's 28-year history.
Wise earned runner-up honors behind the 38-year-old veteran, while Ray steered Terry Klatt's #4 midget to a third-place finish. Hess -- the Gateway Racing points leader -- scored a fourth-place paycheck while Luke Icke of Littleton, Colo. rounded out the top-5 finishers. Of note, Drake clawed his way back to an eighth-place finish after restarting the race in the 24th position.
Heat race checkers waved for Ray, Hansen, Hess, Darland and Kuhn. The B-mains were won by Jimi Quin and Scott Pierovich. The event was staged without any serious mishaps. The worst crash of the evening came on the final lap of the first heat race when Kevin Doty made contact with Greg Lueckert in the final turn while battling for the third position. Doty's car, which was originally entered for Kiwi Michael Pickens, climbed the side of Lueckert's midget and barrel-rolled about eight times along the banking. Doty walked away with a sore shoulder while the Hawke #1AU midget suffered severe damage.
Following the National Anthem, which was delivered via saxophone by driver Andy Mason of Westminster, Colo., track owner Delmar Friesen announced that this event will be a two-day, Wednesday-Thursday event in 2006.
In Wednesday's modified action, Kurt Johnston of Concordia, Kan., performed a last-lap pass to capture the win over race-long leader Jason Friesen of Sutton, Neb. in their 20-lap feature. Joe Cleveland of Bennington, Kan., Matt Richards of Lincoln, Neb. and Jarrod Johnston of Concordia, Kan. completed the top-5 finishers.
On Junction Motor Speedway's smaller interior dirt track, Ryan Roberts of Phillips, Neb. held off Nick Clifford of Elkhorn, Neb. and Frank Galusha of Lincoln, Neb. for the 20-lap win.
GATEWAY RACING MIDGETS
"A" Main (25 laps): 1. Dave Darland, Lincoln, Ind.; 2. Josh Wise, Riverside, Calif.; 3. Davey Ray, Davenport, Iowa; 4. Mike Hess, Petersburg, Ill.; 5. Luke Icke, Littleton, Colo.; 6. Brad Kuhn, Avon, Ind.; 7. Darren Hagen, Columbus, Ind.; 8. Jay Drake, Val Verde, Calif.; 9. Travis Miniea, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; 10. Brett Anderson, Belleville, Ill.; 11. Thomas Meseraull, Mountain View, Calif.; 12. Jerome Rodela, El Monte, Calif.; 13. Tyler Brown, Norco, Calif.; 14. Josh Lakatos, Arroyo Grande, Calif.; 15. Chad McDaniels, Concordia, Kan.; 16. Scott Pierovich, Alamo, Calif.; 17. Jimi Quin, Brownsburg, Ind.; 18. Stephen Graves, Upland, Calif.; 19. Garrett Hansen, Manhattan Beach, Calif.; 20. Ryan Pace, Arroyo Grande, Calif.; 21. Eric Wilkins, El Mirage, Calif.; 22. Rik Forbes, Omaha, Neb.; 23. Jerry Coons Jr., Tucson, Ariz.; 24. Brad Galedrige, Los Altos, Calif.
First "B" Main (10 laps): 1. Quin; 2. Brown; 3. Tom Hessert, Cherry Hill, N.J.; 4. Ryan Durst, Lincoln, Neb.; 5. Mike Leslie, Peoria, Ill.; 6. Mario Marietta, Clinton, Ind.; 7. Brian Gard, Kelseyville, Calif.; 8. Garrett Hood, Newton, Kan.; 9. Garrett Boyden, Santa Cruz, Calif.; DNS - Greg Lueckert, Grain Valley, Mo.; Matt Mitchell, Yorba Linda, Calif.; Jimmy Light, W. Springfield, Pa.; Robby Flock, Murrieta, Calif. (top 2 advanced to the "A" main)
Second "B" Main (10 laps): 1. Pierovich; 2. McDaniel; 3. Mike Courtney, Surprise, Ariz.; 4. Bobby Grewohl, Hollister, Calif.; 5. Andy Mason, Westminster, Colo.; 6. Ken Love, Lincoln, Neb.; 7. Mike Woodruff; Satanta, Kan.; 8. Darin Jenkens, Sydney, Australia; DNS - Brad Loyet, Sunset Hills, Mo.; Cody Brewer, Choctaw, Okla.; Kevin Doty, Burlington, Iowa; Johnny Rodriguez, Galt, Calif. (top 2 advanced to the "A" main)
First Heat (10 laps): 1. Ray; 2. Graves; 3. Meseraull; 4. Forbes; 5. Hessert; 6. Mason; 7. Love; 8. Lueckert; 9. Doty; 10. Flock. (top 4 advanced to the "A" main)
Second Heat (10 laps): 1. Hansen; 2. Coons; 3. Wilkins; 4. Rodella; 5. Grewohl; 6. Loyet; 7. Boyden; 8. Brewer; 9. Light. (top 4 advanced to the "A" main)
Third Heat (10 laps): 1. Hess; 2. Wise; 3. Miniea; 4. Pace; 5. Durst; 6. Brown; 7. Courtney; 8. Mitchell; 9. Revell. (top 4 advanced to the "A" main)
Fourth Heat (10 laps): 1. Darland; 2. Galedridge; 3. Icke; 4. Anderson; 5. Woodruff; 6. McDaniels; 7. Marietta; 8. Jenkins; 9. Rodiguez. (top 4 advanced to the "A" main)
Fifth Heat (10 laps): 1. Kuhn; 2. Drake; 3. Hagen; 4. Lakatos; 5. Quinn; 6. Leslie; 7. Pierovich; 8. Gard; 9. Hood. (top 4 advanced to the "A" main)
"A" Main (20 laps): 1. Kurt Johnston, Concordia, Kan.; 2. Jason Friesen, Sutton, Neb.; 3. Joe Cleveland, Bennington, Kan.; 4. Matt Richards, Lincoln, Neb.; 5. Jarrod Johnston, Concordia, Kan.; 6. Troy Johnson, Concordia, Kan.; 7. Mike Goldfuss, Sutton, Neb.; 8. Wade Cross, Doniphan, Neb.; 9. Brant Fastnacht, Grand Island, Neb.; 10. Shane Stutzman, Milford, Neb.; 11. Drew McDermott, Grand Island, Neb.; 12. Lonnie Veteto, Belleville, Kan.; 13. Jeff Mazza, Lincoln, Neb.; 14. Mike Stearns, Rising City, Neb.; 15. Dusty Blake, Carleton, Neb.; 16. Bob Zoubek, Dorchester, Neb.; 17. Jerry Warner, La Vista, Neb.
"A" Main (12 laps): 1. Ryan Roberts, Phillips, Neb.; 2. Nick Clifford, Elkhorn, Neb.; 3. Frank Galusha, Lincoln, Neb.; 4. Joel Fritz, Waverly, Neb.; 5. Josh Most, Red Oak, Iowa; 6. Mark Gass, Belleville, Ill.