RICE CAPTURES FIRST BLOOMINGTON VICTORY NORRIS AND O'NEILL ALSO FIND WINNER'S CIRCLE BLOOMINGTON, IN (July 10, 1998) - Robbie Rice earned his first feature win at Bloomington Speedway Friday night, capping a thrilling battle with Kevin Thomas...
RICE CAPTURES FIRST BLOOMINGTON VICTORY NORRIS AND O'NEILL ALSO FIND WINNER'S CIRCLE
BLOOMINGTON, IN (July 10, 1998) - Robbie Rice earned his first feature win at Bloomington Speedway Friday night, capping a thrilling battle with Kevin Thomas and Dave Peperak. The three drivers traded the lead, frequently more than once a lap, through the bulk of the 25-lap Pennzoil Cup sprint car series main event. Rice's strategy of using the high groove to challenge Peperak, and after taking the lead, keeping his car low, earned him a car-length margin at the checkered flag. In victory lane, Rice told the crowd that he had watched Thomas win often enough at Bloomington, he knew he couldn't give Thomas the bottom groove.
Rice started the Pennzoil Cup feature behind Peperak, who had the pole, and grabbed second at the start. Peperak was able to open a short advantage early, but on a lap 8 restart, Rice took to the outside and they ran wheel-to-wheel. Rice gained the lead in turn three on lap 8, but by the flagstand, Peperak had battled back and led by a wheel. The next two laps were led by Rice, but then Peperak battled back into the lead on lap 11. While they continued to race side-by-side, Peperak led the next four laps. On the fifteenth circuit, Rice grabbed the lead as they raced into turn three, and when Peperak bobbled slightly in the turn, Thomas quickly took second place.
The former Bloomington track champion immediately challenged Rice for the lead, and they were suddenly dicing through lapped cars while racing side-by-side. When they cleared the slower cars, Rice dropped to the lower groove on the oval, forcing Thomas to begin trying to pass the long way around. Although Thomas worked even with Rice several times in the closing laps, the young Brownsburg veteran kept the Terre Haute First National Bank/J.D. Gould sponsored Stealth ahead at the finish line. Brian Hayden took third place, with Peperak fourth. Derek Scheffel, Wil Newlin, Butch Winings, Kevin Miller, Jason Knoke and Levi Jones completed the top ten.
The race was red flagged on the first lap when Jerry Miller Jr. climbed the wheel of another car and barrel-rolled over the first turn banking. Miller, from Danville, Indiana, was taken to Bloomington Hospital for evaluation and treatment.
Nick Adams, Hayden and Levi Jones won heat races. Lennie Waltz took the lead on the last lap to win the B-main.
Greg O'Neill started on the pole, and dominated every lap as he claimed his first Bloomington victory of the season in the WalMart Tire & Lube Express street stock division. O'Neill's lead was nearly half a lap in the closing stages until a yellow flag bunched the field with one lap remaining. Joe Lucas charged from the sixth row to finish second, with J.D. Francis third, Trent Niflis and Don Bush filling the first five spots.
In the open wheel modified division, Kerry Norris claimed his first Bloomington win of the 1998 season. Norris led the first dozen laps, until he was passed by hard charging Ray Humphrey. A lap later Humphrey began spewing smoke from his engine, and as Norris roared past, rolled into the pits. Norris kept Gary Trammell behind him through the second half of the race and won by five car lengths. John DeMoss was third, followed by Brad Cummings and Albert Webb.
Modified veteran Matt Tiller took the wheel of Tyler Waltz' sprint car and passed "Captain" Brad Marvel on the ninth lap to win the Sprint Car Owners and Mechanics Race.
Bloomington Speedway Summary July 10, 1998
Pennzoil Cup Sprint Cars Fast Qualifier: Kevin Thomas (12.082) Heat 1: Nick Adams, Kevin Thomas, Robbie Rice, Jason Knoke, Justin Marvel Heat 2: Brian Hayden, Kevin Miller, Derek Scheffel, Butch Winings, Dickie Gaines Heat 3: Levi Jones, Wil Newlin, Matt Booe, Jerry Miller Jr., Dave Peperak Feature: Rice, Thomas, Hayden, Peperak, Scheffel, Newlin, Winings, K. Miller, Knoke, Jones, Gaines, Vennard, Burns, Mills, Adams, Shuman, L. Waltz, Booe, J. Miller, Marvel
WalMart Tire & Lube Express Indiana Street Stocks Heat 1: Don Short, Danny Harris, Tony Bezzy, Bob Bex, Michael Purtlebaugh Heat 2: J.D. Francis, Cory Brown, Gerald Todd, Joe Lucas, Mel Bigham Heat 3: Perry Bruce, Greg O'Neill, Don Bush, Denny Campbell, Steve Hawkins B Main: Steve Hunt, Al Flick, Trent Niflis, Roy Bruce Jr., Mike Beatty Feature: O'Neill, Lucas, Francis, Niflis, Bush, Brown, Bruce, Hunt, Flick, Hawkins, Bruce, Beatty, Bezzy, Harris, Short, Campbell, Bex, Purtlebaugh, Todd, Bigham
Open Wheel Modifieds Heat 1: Gary Trammell, Bret Barr, Brad Cummings, Brian Campbell, John DeMoss Heat 2: Ray Humphrey, Kerry Norris, Kenny Weaver, Andrew Davis, Tommy Welin Heat 3: Richie Lex, Jack Taylor, Rob Brickert, Jeff Miller, John Hollifield B Main: Terry Trammell, Albert Webb, Lee Hobbs, Brian Sullivan, Charles Phillips Feature: Norris, G. Trammell, DeMoss, Cummings, Webb, Weaver, Hobbs, Davis, Sullivan, Phillips, Taylor, Humphrey, Lex, Brickert, Barr, Campbell, Trammell, Miller, Welin