Matt Neely Claims Awesome Kokomo KISS June 19, 2005 - "This is awesome!" Matt Neely told a friend on his cell phone minutes after winning the King of Indiana Sprint Series main event at Kokomo Speedway Sunday. Then he advised us, "it's great to...
Matt Neely Claims Awesome Kokomo KISS
June 19, 2005 - "This is awesome!" Matt Neely told a friend on his cell phone minutes after winning the King of Indiana Sprint Series main event at Kokomo Speedway Sunday. Then he advised us, "it's great to be as competitive as we were tonight. It means a lot because we pour everything we've got into this sprint car deal and we do the best we can every night."
Neely led the final seven circuits to win his first KISS series feature. Justin Marvel led the first 23 laps and held second, as Shane Cottle took third, with Bill Rose and Brandon Petty also in the top five. With a sixth place run from the eighth row, Dave Darland continues to top the KISS points, with Marvel close on his tail.
Beginning the night second in points, Dickie Gaines spun in the first turn on the first lap and restarted from the tail. From there he could see Darland, who took the green from 16th spot. Running smoothly on a generous cushion, Marvel opened a half-straightaway lead after starting on the outside of the front row. Neely ran in fourth, behind Cottle and Rose through the first half of the race.
Following a lap 9 restart, Neely's Twister Chassis/Maverick Energy machine began to surge forward. On the 21st circuit he caught Marvel as they worked through traffic. With Marvel continuing to work the high line entering turn one, Neely dove low three laps later and completed a nearly textbook slide job, compelling Marvel to lift momentarily before they drag-raced out of turn two. Marvel fought back before Neely took command and opened a 6-car length advantage at the finish.
Neely said that he needed to settle down, stop driving too deep into the turns and missing his marks, before he began to gain on Marvel. "The straighter I'd enter, the better I'd get off," he said. "I tried to work any hole I could find or any room to race on. I had to throw a slide job on him. I hate to do that, but I thought anybody else would have done it."
With 48 cars in the pits and starting spots determined by a draw, six intense heats were run. Rose, Kent Christian, Marvel, Neely, Jon Sciscoe and Petty claimed wins. In the fifth heat, Shane Hollingsworth had a front end failure and slammed the first turn's concrete. The next heat race, Jesse Hockett rode out a hard flip in Lynn Reed's F-5 after catching Kokomo's turn 2 cushion wrong.
Results (with starting position):
Heat 1: Bill Rose (3), Casey Shuman (8), Jon Stanbrough (4), Jonathan Vennard (7), Brent Beauchamp (6)
Heat 2: Kent Christian (3), Kyle Wissmiller (2), Dickie Gaines (7), Darr Lawson (1), Kenny Carmichael Sr. (4), Bobby Stines (6), Brent Whited (8)
Heat 3: Justin Marvel (4), Shane Cottle (3), Dustin Smith (1), Corey Smith (5), Josh Spencer (7), Michael Burthay (8)
Heat 4: Matt Neely (2), Chris Windom (1), Dave Darland (7), Scotty Weir (8), Rex Norris (4), Jared Parsons (3)
Heat 5: Jon Sciscoe (7), Marc Arnold (6), Brad Sweet (4), Terry Pletch (1), Russell Dockery (7)
Heat 6: Brandon Petty (2), John Wolfe (3), Hud Cone (6), Mitch Wissmiller (6), Bart Grider (7)
Semi (#1): Burthay (8), C. Smith (2), Vennard (1), Beauchamp (4), Chris Kopczynski (10), Pletch (3)
Semi (#2): M. Wissmiller (3), Whited (10), Weir (2), Norris (5), A. J. Anderson (11), Lawson (1), Carmichael (4)
Feature (30 laps): Neely (3), Marvel (2), Cottle (5), Rose (4), Petty (9), Darland (16), D. Smith (15), Christian (7), Wolfe (6), Shuman (8), Sciscoe (11), Sweet (17), Gaines (14), C. Smith (21), Cone (18), M. Wissmiller (20), Arnold (1), Whited (22), Burthay (19), Stanbrough (13), Windom (12), K. Wissmiller (10)
Points: Darland 353, Marvel 344, Gaines 329, Christian 298, Anderson 279, Wolfe 262, Neely 255, Petty 250, Stanbrough 249, Arnold 234, Cottle 232, Weir 228
SCHEDULE. The final leg of the 2005 KISS-fest begins at Paragon Speedway this coming Saturday, June 25. The grand finale will headline the Independence Day program at the Terre Haute Action Track and crown the 2005 King of Indiana Sprints, on Saturday, July 2.