Bloomington opener

BLOOMINGTON, IN (May 5, 2001) - Bloomington Speedway's season opened with a bang Friday evening. The pits were full, the hillside was full, and action filled every race run. After a long winter off, everyone was anxious for the season to start.

BLOOMINGTON, IN (May 5, 2001) - Bloomington Speedway's season opened with a bang Friday evening. The pits were full, the hillside was full, and action filled every race run. After a long winter off, everyone was anxious for the season to start. The evening began on a solemn note with a tribute to Dale Earnhardt. After the National Anthem it was non-stop racing to the last lap of the O'Neal Wood Products Modified feature.

SPRINT CARS

There was talk at the end of last season about Kevin Thomas going into retirement again. However, over the winter, he hooked up with Rodney Reynolds and agreed to fill the seat occupied by Jeff Wilson last season. He brought with him some deals to help make the team more competitive; and everything seems to have worked out to everyone's satisfaction. The car looks very good courtesy of crew member Bill Moffatt, one of the area's best sign painters; and it runs even better.

When the green flag fell to start the feature, Thomas was inside of the second row; but by the time they reached the flag stand to start the second lap, Thomas was in the lead; and he never surrendered it.

Although Thomas was never seriously threatened, the competition behind him was pretty intense. Kevin Briscoe started on the outside of the first row in Tony Elliott's backup car; and he managed to hold it for the first three circuits before losing it to a particularly racy Dave Peperak. Peperak and Briscoe battled lap after lap until 13th circuit when Briscoe took second place back for good. Peperak held on to finish third trailed by Dickie Gaines, Jason Knoke, Josh Cunningham, Jason Setser, Danny Holtsclaw, Wil Newlin, and Critter Malone.

Derek Scheffel, 1998 & 1999 Bloomington Speedway sprint car champion, had set quick time in the Booe Brothers machine; and he looked like the man to beat as the evening unfolded. But, on the ninth circuit, Critter Malone got the Greg Staab machine crossed up and collected Scheffel in the process. As often happens, Malone survived the shunt to restart; but Scheffel flipped. His night was done.

Another promising young racer, Jason Knoke of Columbus, got upside down in his heat race and had to transfer to the feature through the B Main which he won handily. He started outside of the fifth row and managed to work his way up to fifth by the time the checkered flags waved.

TIRE & WHEEL CENTER SUPER STOCKS

The Tire & Wheel Center super stock feature was a barnburner from beginning to end. Veteran Michael Purtlebaugh earned the pole position by winning the dash; but it quickly became apparent that the feature win was not going to be a "gimme" for anyone. Greg O'Neill came quickly from the second row to battle with Michael Purtlebaugh for the lead. He eventually prevailed in the duel. During the closing laps, Brad Cummings moved through the field to take over second in the closing laps of the race. Terry Arthur came home fourth trailed by Brian Campbell, Rick Hines, Jeremy Hines, Darin Geore, Mel Bigham, and Steve Hollars.

O'NEAL WOOD PRODUCTS MODIFIEDS

Matt Boknecht pretty well had the modified guys covered Friday night. He managed to win his heat race; and his win in the Blackwell Trucking Dash for Cash gave him the pole for the feature event. Boknecht went on to lead the feature from flag to flag. Adam Sasser took over the second spot from John Gurley on the tenth circuit and went on to attempt to wrest the lead from Boknecht. But, it was not to be. He was forced to accept second. John DeMoss came from deep in the field to finish third trailed by Donnie Parson, Roy Bruce, Jr., Richie Lex, Shelby Miles, John Gurley, Ryan Thomas, and Brian Yeatman.

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About this article
Series Sprint , Stock car
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Tony Elliott , Jeff Wilson