Briscoe rolls on - sets new track record; Groomer scores first win - Sasser wins again. BLOOMINGTON, IN (May 4, 2002) - Bloomington Speedway's fans got their money's worth last night. It was a beautiful evening. Mike Miles had the track and ...
Briscoe rolls on - sets new track record; Groomer scores first win - Sasser wins again.
BLOOMINGTON, IN (May 4, 2002) - Bloomington Speedway's fans got their money's worth last night. It was a beautiful evening. Mike Miles had the track and grounds up to his normal standards. Everything was set for a great evening of racing. Then, the cars just kept coming. When everyone had unloaded there were 123 of them. There were 48 Non Winged Sprint Cars. That kind of car count rivals a Sheldon Kinser Memorial or an Indiana Sprint Week event. Most racers know that Bloomington Speedway is one of the best-maintained facilities in the nation; and, last night, they elected to settle for nothing but the best.
A little less than half way through qualification, Kevin Briscoe knocked Kevin Thomas unceremoniously off of the pole; and set two new track records in the process. His first record lap of 11.371 stood for only 11.357 seconds - the new Bloomington Speedway non winged sprint track record. As is often the case, Briscoe notified his competitors that he is the man to beat. Eric Burns, the driver whose track record was obliterated, is recovering from injuries suffered when his racing simulator fell on him, just happened to have his simulator in operation right behind the Bloomington Speedway scoring tower. He came up to the tower and put those present on notice when he said, "I'll be back to get my record back real soon."
Because of the large field of non-winged sprint cars, the field was divided into five heats with three transferring to the feature from each of them. The heat race wins went to Hud Cone, Kevin Thomas, Danny Holtsclaw, Brian Hayden, and Justin Marvel. Thomas had to come from his sixth place starting position to win his heat; and he won it convincingly.
Rookie Tim Spindler, might have been expected to fail to transfer from either his heat or the "B". After all, it was only his second race; and there were 48 cars in the field. However, Spindler out-dueled Jeff Hartjoy for the final transfer spot from his heat race. He missed his setup in the feature and finished well back in the field; but he drove a good, clean race; and his car lived to race another day.
However, the big story from the heat races was what didn't happen. Two two-time Bloomington Speedway sprint car champions (fast qualifier Kevin Briscoe and Derek Scheffel had failed to transfer from their heat.
Briscoe and Kent Christian won the B's while Donnie Gentry, Scheffel, and Jared Fox earned the other transfer spots frim the "B".
When Rusty Nunn waved the green flag to start the race, Dave Peperak took the point and held it until the 11th circuit when Kevin Thomas took it away. Thomas and Peperak dueled for a few laps; but Briscoe was coming. On the 16th lap, Briscoe got past Peperak and went after Thomas. He passed Thomas the following lap; and he cruised to another Bloomingon Speedway victory. Kevin Thomas almost always runs his race on the bottom of the track while Briscoe generally rim-rides his way to victory lane. Both drivers tested their customary lines in the early going; but they found them wanting. Briscoe moved down low while Thomas went up on top; but Briscoe was faster using Thomas' line than Thomas was using Briscoe's. Briscoe previailed.
In victory lane, announcer Pat Sullivan commented that Briscoe is generally strong at the start and end of the season but not as good in the middle. Briscoe explained, "Dad and I were talking about that this evening. We've had such good luck with our motors that we've been running the whole season without doing anything to them. This year I think we'll freshen it at about the middle of the season and see what happens."
Last night's win was Briscoe's third in five starts this season.
O'NEAL WOOD PRODUCTS MODIFIEDS
After finishing second in both previous O'Neal Wood Products modified features at Bloomington Speedway this season, Adam Sasser very much wanted to move up a notch. He did it in style. He took the lead on the eighth lap and held off defending Bloomington Speedway O'Neal Wood Products modified champion Matt Boknecht for the balance of the race. The win was Sasser's first at Bloomington Speedway this season. The win, along with his two second place finishes, should give Sasser the points lead as well as the feature win.
As the evening unfolded, it seemed like Shelby Miles would sweep the O'Neal Wood Products modified competition last night. Miles pulled the low pill to start up front in the first heat. He won his heat and backed that up by leading the dash flag to flag. In the feature event, the years of experience that Sasser and Boknecht have probably made the difference; but Miles should not be discouraged. His day will come - soon.
Brady Short also drove a strong feature event. He brought his mount from his 16th place starting position to finish seventh.
In preliminary action, Miles, Jesse Cramer, Boknecht, and Sasser won the heats while Perry Bruce and Clint DeMoss took the two "B" features.
TIRE & WHEEL CENTER SUPER STOCKS
Mooresville Middle School eighth grader Zach Carney dominated Tire & Wheel Center super stock competition last night. He won the first heat, streaked to a win in the dash, and led all but about 100 feet of the feature event. Zach took the lead at the drop of the green flag and stretched his lead to half a lap when the white flag fell. As he came out of the fourth turn to take the checkered flag, his beautiful #56 swapped ends and his evening was done, just short of his first Bloomington Speedway feature win. Carney seems to be an exceptional talent; and he could well be one of the upcoming starts to watch. We need to enjoy watching Carney this season as it is reported that he plans to switch to pavement racing next season.
While we're certain that veteran Ralph Groomer would not have chosen to score his first Bloomington Speedway feature victory this way, like just about all racers, he'll take it however he can get it. It will balance out one of the shows where the luck fell the other way. He apparently didn't realize that he'd won as he returned to the pits following the checkered flag. Somebody had to retrieve him for the victory lane ceremonies.
While it appeared that the win was decided very early in the race, there was a spirited battle for second including Groomer, Trent Niflis, Greg Kendall, and Chris Deweese. Groomer got by Niflis to take second; and he held off all comers until the checkered flag waved. Carney's late race spin moved everyone up a notch. Chris Hillman came from his 17th place starting position to finish second ahead of Kendall, Deweese, Niflis, Mel Bigham, Kim Blevins, Mike Cawood, Michael Purtlebaugh, and Gerald Todd.
In preliminary Tire & Wheel Center super stock action, Carney, Niflis, Danny Harris, and Groomer won the heats while Hillman, and Steve Morin prevailed in the "B" features