U.M.A.R.A. DURA-LITE SPORTSMANS MIDGET SERIES for June 3, 2000 By Kathryn Clark With the season opener being plagued with rain, the kind and cool weather that wafted into Grundy County Speedway on this night was a welcome visitor. The...
U.M.A.R.A. DURA-LITE SPORTSMANS MIDGET SERIES for June 3, 2000
By Kathryn Clark
With the season opener being plagued with rain, the kind and cool weather that wafted into Grundy County Speedway on this night was a welcome visitor. The U.M.A.R.A. Sportsman Midget drivers were calm and rather laid back at the start of this terrific night of racing. With The National class out of town, the Sportsman Division invited a group of legend racecars to share the track. The night sky was clear and the temperature made for almost perfect racing conditions.
The question on everyone's mind was, could Matt Daily once again take that fastest qualifying spot, as he had the week before? The answer would come quickly, and this week's spotlight would shine brightly upon Loran Critchett Jr. Loran baked the asphalt at this third of a mile oval with a fast time of 16.101 seconds, just a few ticks slower than Matt's record time of a week ago. Could we be experiencing the start of a season where a U.M.A.R.A. Sportsman car breaks into that illusive 15-second time bracket? Only time will tell.
Other fast qualifiers around the bowl where Joe Knipple 16.203, Sean Murphy 16.251, Matt Daily 16.327, Tom Shilkuski 16.377 and Bob Shreffler 16.451. These six warriors showed their might in the trophy dash, a race of six lightning laps culminating in the honor of strutting your stuff as the best of fastest. Only one pass would take place. In the second lap Sean Murphy moved from third to second. The balance of the race resulted in the seasoned veterans holding their positions with Tom Shilkuski bringing home the bragging rights. <pre> #23 Tom Shilkuski #5 Sean Murphy #21 Bob Shreffler #31 Matt Daily #17 Loran Critchett Jr. #33 Joe Knipple </pre> The trophy dash drivers would be joined by three more entries for the first heat of the evening. This race was to be determined almost at the start, with Bob Shreffler taking the lead at the green flag and defending his position to the bitter end. Over 65 years of combined racing experience throughout the field produced a well-contested event, and it could have easily become anybody's race. In a textbook display of defensive driving however, Mr. Shreffler, in the Shreffler Motorsports sponsored #21, held off the hard charging field to capture the heat race win. <pre> #21 Bob Shreffler #23 Tom Shilkuski #31 Matt Daily #5 Sean Murphy #33 Joe Knipple #17 Loran Critchett Jr. #99 Rich Peceniak #7 Terry Guimond #0 Doug Orseske </pre> The second heat would represent a more offensive form of driving. Mike Bettenhausen in just his second year was out to show that he has learned a thing or two about making clean passes as he moved up through the field. Dave Ohlendorf passed Mark Schuck on the final lap for the win. <pre> #1 Dave Ohlendorf #8 Mike Bettenhausen #6 Mark Schuck #91 Aaron C. Willis #88 Mike Smith #38 Bob Guess #28 Rick Shoemaker </pre> With the growing popularity of the U.M.A.R.A. Sportsman Division, almost the entire third heat was rookies. Each lap filled with the joy of watching these pilots earning their wings, and putting in their bid for Rookie of the Year. The U.M.A.R.A. Sportsman rules state that all rookies must start in the back of each event until they have started 3 feature races, and have the approval of the Sportsman board to start in the position they earned through qualifying. Each time out is another chance to prove their worth within the ever-growing field. Jack Knox made an impressive run moving from the fifth position at the first lap, to third by lap six, and in finally into second where he finished by lap eight. Jim Hellane, who started in sixth, leapt to third by the end of the first lap and had the lead by the end of the second lap. No one could touch him after that and he earned a very impressive heat race win. <pre> #23x Jim Hellane #57 Jack Knox #69 Jim Ziarkowski #9 Rich Sponholts #94 Joline Deheve-Slomka #3 Bill Hoffmeyer #31 Scott Brzeckec </pre> The culmination of the night's events would be the Sportsman feature. 23-Race cars made the call for this event and in turn one of the very first lap they would suffer the first causality as Bob Guess found himself a victim of circumstance and staring at the wall. In the fifth lap we would loose Matt Daily and Joline Deheve-Slomka. In the eleventh lap the yellow would once again come out, due to spins in turns 3 and 4. To the drivers it looked more like a parking lot full of Midgets than a racetrack. When the green flag flew once again, only 15 cars were left on the racing surface. That would only last a single lap when, due to oil on the track, there were 3 more spinning tops in turns 3 and four. The officials made sure that they got the corner cleaned up and racing was back underway, now with only 11 vehicles left, Loran Critchett Jr. and Joe Knipple were leading the way, as they had done from the start. Joe would gain on Loran through each corner, only to have Loran pull ahead in the straight a ways. Lapped traffic also added to the suspense as you watched these determined drivers working toward the checkered flag. Through 20 laps we would see that the battle was actually one of tactics, as Loran Critchett would pull off of the track having only fumes in his fuel cell, and Joe Knipple would go on to take his First Feature in 2000. #33 Joe Knipple #7 Terry Guimond #1 Dave Ohlendorf #8 Mike Bettenhausen #23x Jim Hellane #69 Jim Ziarkowski #17 Loran Critchett Jr #6 Mark Schuck #57 Jack Knox #9 Rich Sponholts #99 Rich Peceniak #5 Sean Murphy #21 Bob Shreffler #88 Mike Smith #91 Aaron C. Willis #0 Doug Orseske #22 Basil Hicks #23 Tom Shilkuski #31 Matt Daily #94 Joline Deheve-Slomka #28k Kevin Langston #28x Rick Shoemaker #38 Bob Guess U.M.A.R.A. wishes to thank all of its fans and sponsors for their continued support. We look forward to seeing all of you out on June 10, 2000, when both the National and the Sportsman divisions will return to Grundy County Speedway, Morris IL. For more information visit us on the web at www.umara.com <http://www.umara.com/> .