ROOKIE TAKES LEAD IN BLOOMINGTON'S PENNZOIL CUP DEMOSS AND TILLER TIED IN MODIFIEDS BLOOMINGTON, IN (August 25, 1998) - When was the last time a genuine rookie lead Bloomington Speedway's Pennzoil Cup sprint car standings? With just one point...
ROOKIE TAKES LEAD IN BLOOMINGTON'S PENNZOIL CUP DEMOSS AND TILLER TIED IN MODIFIEDS
BLOOMINGTON, IN (August 25, 1998) - When was the last time a genuine rookie lead Bloomington Speedway's Pennzoil Cup sprint car standings? With just one point paying race remaining for Bloomington's three racing divisions, Derek Scheffel, an impressive rookie, has climbed dramatically to the top of the annual battle for the Cup.
Last summer, Columbus' Scheffel was hustling a TQ midget to sixth in the UMRA TQ ranks. He made the jump to a full load sprint car this spring in the family Maxim, and quickly impressed many veteran railbirds. He was third in the points coming into the Indiana Sprint Week race, behind Eric Burns and Robbie Rice. When he outpointed both by winning a heat race and finishing fifteenth in the USAC feature, he climbed a notch to second. The very next night he got caught up in a fracas at the start of the Paragon feature and tumbled the length of the frontstraight, destroying his car.
Bloomington's sprint car title is unique in that it awards points for both winged and non-winged competition. To be specific, after rainouts and scheduling adjustments, the '98 season will pay points for five wingless, and three winged events. But being so close in the points, the Scheffels decided they weren't going to let small stuff hold them back. They spent many 20 - 22 hour days over the past couple weeks. Good guy Terry Pletch helped with a frame, other parts were borrowed, bought, or cannibalized from the wreck.
They didn't even own a wing, but when the pit gate opened for the Tribute to Dizz Wilson last Friday, they were there. In Bloomington's pits before hot laps, Derek was still wiring the car. The rest of the story may sound like a Hollywood script, except it is true. Good racers just seem to have a feel for their business. Without ever driving a winged sprint car before, Derek cut a lap at 10.285 in qualifying. This was second fast, only .111 slower than Kelly Kinser, but ahead of veterans like Randy Kinser, Bob Burkle, Tim Engler and Pete Abel. Derek then strapped in and scored a solid fourth in the feature.
Derek's efforts have jumped him nine points ahead of Brazil's Eric Burns, who also competed, but didn't make the feature lineup. Friday night's Sheldon Kinser Memorial will attract many top sprint car racers, and Scheffel and Burns will go head-to-head for the Pennzoil Cup. Robbie Rice and Dickie Gaines still have a slim mathematical chance to win the title, but if either Scheffel or Burns show up, they are out of championship contention. Rice earned a feature victory at Bloomington last month. Gaines, the son of Hall of Fame driver Dick Gaines, has scrambled into fourth in points by running two races with wings and two without. Kelly Kinser climbed to fifth in points by competing in two events, and winning both. Surprisingly, the second five in the point standings boasts three previous Bloomington sprint car champions: Brad Fox, Kevin Thomas and Randy Kinser.
In the open wheel modified division, Ray Humphrey lost the point lead when he was disqualified following last Friday's main event. The result is a tie at the top, with Matt Tiller and John DeMoss both compiling 407 points. Albert Webb climbed to third, while Humphrey dropped to fourth. Brian Campbell continues his steady season in fifth and still has a mathematical chance to claim the championship if the leaders stumble. Kerry Norris' charge from last to first in last week's race moved him to twelfth in the points.
Cory Brown continues to lead the WalMart Tire & Lube Express street stock division going into the last point race. But Perry Bruce closed the gap to nine points with his second place finish on Friday. Joe Lucas climbed to third, only ten points behind, followed closely by J.D. Francis. Should Brown and Bruce both run into major problems on Friday, either Lucas or Francis could claim the title. Greg O'Neill, last Friday's feature winner, advanced from ninth to seventh.
Friday's 10th Annual Sheldon Kinser Memorial will feature 40 laps of the best sprint car racing in the country. It pays $3,000 to the winner (if pre-entered), plus $50 per lap to the lap leader. The WalMart Tire & Lube Express street stocks and open wheel modifieds are also on the card. General admission is just $16, with kids 12 and under admitted FREE with an adult. Gates open at 5:30, hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:45. The pit gate opens at 4:30, with pit admission $23.
BLOOMINGTON SPEEDWAY POINTS
After August 21, 1998
Pennzoil Cup Sprint Cars 1. Derek Scheffel 293, 2. Eric Burns 284, 3. Robbie Rice 224, 4. Dickie Gaines 223, 5. Kelly Kinser 215, 6. Justin Marvel 213, 7. Butch Winings 212, 8. Brad Fox 209, 9. Kevin Thomas 198, 10. Randy Kinser and Kevin Miller 191 (tie)
Open Wheel Modifieds 1. Matt Tiller and John DeMoss 407 (tie), 3. Albert Webb 397, 4. Ray Humphrey 386, 5. Brian Campbell 377, 6. Richie Lex 343, 7. Troy Jarvis 320, 8. Bret Barr and Rodney Harris Jr. 310 (tie) 10. Rob Brickert 307
WalMart Tire & Wheel Express Street Stocks 1. Cory Brown 311, 2. Perry Bruce 302, 3. Joe Lucas 292, 4. J.D. Francis 291, 5. Gerald Todd 267, 6. Don Bush 265, 7. Greg O'Neill 263, 8. Michael Purtlebaugh 245, 9. Steve Hawkins 243, 10. Roy Bruce Jr. 242