UMARA: Sportsman Midgets at Grundy County Speedway 2000-06-10

U.M.A.R.A. Sportsman Midgets June 10th, 2000. By James & Kathryn Clark Another night of exciting racing has come and gone for the U.M.A.R.A. Sportsman Midget series at Grundy County Speedway in Morris Illinois. Each of the 29 teams have come...

U.M.A.R.A. Sportsman Midgets June 10th, 2000.
By James & Kathryn Clark

Another night of exciting racing has come and gone for the U.M.A.R.A. Sportsman Midget series at Grundy County Speedway in Morris Illinois. Each of the 29 teams have come to know what to expect out of their Midgets and have made the proper changes to help get the most out of their vehicles. In addition, for those of you who care, the WEATHER was just beautiful at the speedway this week!

Matt Daily set fast time for the evening with a sizzling time of 16.248. This is the second time that Matt has held the fast time slot in the 2000-racing season. Amazingly, Doug Orseske, who qualified only seven cars after Matt Daily, set the exact same time during his qualifying attempt. That rarely happens. Loran Critchett, Jr., last week's fast qualifier, had third fast time with a 16.399. Other times to beat: Joe Knipple 16.433, Sean Murphy 16.458 and the first rookie to make it into the top 6, Jim Hellane, with a time of 16.524.

The first heat, containing 9 U.M.A.R.A. Sportsman cars, all had times of 16.747 or better. As the green flag fell, Joe Knipple took the lead, with Sean Murphy hot on his tail. Doug Orseske who, after the first lap found that his engine problems from the week before had returned, would, by the 5th lap, find himself leaving the track. With Orseske out of the way, Loran Critchett Jr., who led most of the feature the week before, began a charge to the front. Alas, it was not to be however, as Loran would find himself stalled in third place behind the hard charging Sean Murphy and the elusively fast Joe Knipple. As each lap passed Joe could see the nose of Murphy's #5 diving toward the inside around each corner. In the end Joe held on for the win.

<pre> #33 Joe Knipple #5 Sean Murphy #17 Loran Critchett Jr. #21 Bob Shreffler #31 Matt Daily #10 Mic Bilhorn #23x Jim Hellane #8 Mike Bettenhausen #0 Doug Orseske

</pre> The second heat had people holding their breath as the cars passed into the first turn. Terry Guimond and Frank Reiss came together, interlocked wheels and knerf bars, and just as quickly the two cars were again two separate entities. This incident would eventually put Frank into the pits. Rich Peceniak, passing Basil Hicks on the second lap, started heading for the leader David Thompson. David would not be swayed. Even with the weight of running with both U.M.A.R.A. divisions, his concentration was steady, and he conquered the task.

<pre> #56 David Thompson #99 Rich Peceniak #22 Basil Hicks #7 Terry Guimond #91 Aaron C. Willis #88 Mike Smith #1 Dave Ohlendorf #88 Mike Smith #69 Jim Ziarkowski #11 Frank Reiss

</pre> John Knox was running an impressive third heat holding Dave Polson at bay. Each lap Dave tried to find a hole to get around Mr. Knox but John held him back. That is until the sixth lap. Deep in turn two Dave pulled along side, and then passed going down the backstretch.

<pre> #25p David Polson #25 John Knox #9 Rich Sponholtz #28k Kevin Langston #94 Jolene Deheve-Slomka #1n Lyle Riggens

</pre> With only a few positions open for a transfer out of the B main and into the Feature race, tensions were running high on pit side! Aaron C. Willis would take the early lead with Dave Ohlendorf close behind. The first pass of the race came in the third lap, with Tom Shilkuski getting by Jim Ziarkowski. His charge would not stop there, as he then blew by Mike Smith and Dave Ohlendorf. Setting his sights on Aaron, it was not long before Tom was in the lead. During the final Lap Rich Sponholtz and Aaron C. Willis came together, ending their night of racing, while Tom Shilkuski received the checkered flag.

<pre> #23 Tom Shilkuski #1 Dave Ohlendorf #88 Mike Smith #69 Jim Ziarkowski #57 John Knox #94 Jolene Deheve-Slomka #91 Aaron C. Willis #9 Rich Sponholtz #11 Frank Reiss #16 Bob Shoemaker

</pre> The U.M.A.R.A. Sportsman feature would start out - as it did the week before - with a caution in the first turn. This week however, everyone was able to restart the race. Mic Bilhorn took charge of the pack early on, with Bob Shreffler pushing him around each corner trying to get an edge. Meanwhile rookie driver Jim Hellane was making his move through the pack of veterans. On lap 7, Jolene Deheve-Slomka would find herself spinning around in turn 1 collecting Mike Bettenhausen, who had no where else to go. Mike, in his McDonald's of Joliet sponsored Midget Racer, would make his way back through the pack to reclaim a decent finishing spot, however. Mic Bilhorn was holding on to the lead when the yellow came out on the 13th lap due to a spin by Mike Smith. Mike's spin was the result of a broken shock. Jim Hellene, who started in 12th, had fought his way through the pack and was now in 5th place. Sean Murphy was handed second place the lap before when Bob Shreffler had to drop out, also due to mechanical failure. Sean has always had a strong showing after restarts, and even Mic Bilhorn's ability was not enough to keep Sean from taking the lead after the restart. Within 3 laps the leaders where upon lap traffic, and this gave Sean a chance to put a little distance between himself and the second place car. Each time Mic would get within striking distance, more lapped traffic would be there to prevent it. In the end Sean held onto his first feature win of the season.

<pre> #5 Sean Murphy #10 Mic Bilhorn #17 Loran Critchett Jr. #31 Matt Daily #23x Jim Hellane #23 Tom Shilkuski #7 Jim Ziarkowski #57 John Knox #1n Lyle Riggens #94 Jolene Deheve-Slomka #28k Kevin Langston #88 Mike Smith #21 Bob Shreffler #11 Frank Reiss #25p David Polson #33 Joe Knipple

</pre> On Saturday, June 17th, both U.M.A.R.A. divisions will be back at Grundy County Speedway in Morris Illinois. Qualifying at 6:15 / Races at 7pm. BRING DAD OUT FOR FATHERS DAY!!!!!! On June 24th U.M.A.R.A. has invited a sprint car division out to Gundy County and we expect over 100 racecars between the Sprints and Midgets. For more information you can e-mail U.MA.R.A. at

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Series Midget
Drivers Sean Murphy , Mike Smit