AC Delco/Murray's Iceman Series - Race #1 - Toledo

The AC Delco/Murray's Iceman Series opened their 13th season at Toledo Speedway, Friday night. Dave Kuhlman picked up where he left off at the end of 1998 by winning the feature over Scott Baker. Kuhlman started fourth in the 20-car starting ...

The AC Delco/Murray's Iceman Series opened their 13th season at Toledo Speedway, Friday night. Dave Kuhlman picked up where he left off at the end of 1998 by winning the feature over Scott Baker.

Kuhlman started fourth in the 20-car starting field and inherited the lead when front row starters Jerry Cook and Scott Baker got into it going down the frontstretch on lap 6. On the restart the Howell, Michigan resident got a great jump on second place Scott Hantz and outdistanced Hantz by 3/4ths of a straightaway after three laps. The only cars that got close to Kuhlman's Right Tools/Zeillers Farm Market Monte Carlo was the cars he lapped or when a caution flag flew. Kuhlman's jet propelled blue and white number #24 began to hiss and sputter with about 20 laps but the car never missed a beat. A late caution (lap 94) gave the cars of Harold Fair Jr, Steve Sauve and Scott Baker one last chance at Kuhlman but it was for naught. During this caution, Kuhlman's Monte Carlo quit sputtering. With the battle for second place raging, Kuhlman hot-footed and he took the checkered flag by a third of a lap over eventual second place finisher Baker.

Scott Baker passed the most cars during the course of the 100 lap feature. On lap 6 polesitter Jerry Cook and Baker were racing for the top spot. Baker got under Cook's Marco Pizza/UB Machining/Giles Auto Body Thunderbird coming down the frontstretch. The pair were side-by-side when Cook moved down, forcing Baker's Sypolt Chevrolet/Miles Farmer Market/Excalibur Body and Frame Monte Carlo down into the infield, where it nearly clipped the tires protecting the end of Toledo's short track. Baker's car slid through the turn one grass and back onto the track, coming to rest facing oncoming traffic. All the drivers did a terrific job and no one touched his red #11. The Akron, Ohio driver restarted at the back and made it back to seventh when he tangled with Len Couvillon's white #12. Back to the rear again for Baker. He was fourth when Steve Sauve (third) and Harold Fair Jr bounced off each other battling for second (on lap 97). Scott saw his chance and slung his red #11 low and came out with second place. By this time Kuhlman was long gone. Baker kept Sauve at bay for second place.

Harold Fair Jr spent most of the race trying to chase down Kuhlman but the only time he got near him was on the restarts from a caution. On lap 97 Steve Sauve dove low around the Redford, Michigan driver and the two touched sending Fair Jr sliding high into the marbles and nearly clipping the wall. He finished fifth aboard his Lefthander Chassis/Phil Harper Motorsports Monte Carlo after losing three positions during the exchange with Sauve. Fair Jr had a busy off season when he and wife Trish welcomed the couples first child, Katelyn, into the family on December 17. He also is offering technical assistant to 1999 Rookie of the Year contender Dan Ford Jr.

Steve Sauve returned to the series after an absence of two seasons. The Saginaw, Michigan driver started 13th and spent most of the race running in tight formation with a group of cars that included Scott Hantz, Len Couvillon, Scott Baker and Mike Hennessy. When the final caution came out on lap 95 it gave Sauve the chance he was looking for. He dove to the inside of Fair Jr and the pair pushed high allowing Scott Baker to sneak by both of them. Sauve recovered for third. "We ran a nice steady race and stayed out of trouble. That move around Harold (Fair Jr) almost worked. We tried. We're planning on running 4 or 5 races this season with our next race will probably be here at Toledo on June 11th)," said Sauve.

Scott Hantz, with the exception of running the races at Baer Field (Fort Wayne, Indiana), returns to the Iceman Series semi-full time. The white #72 ran in second place for much of the first quarter of the race when Harold Fair Jr passed him for the position. Hantz from Pleasant Lake, Indiana, ran in the top 4 until he and Mike Hennessy tangled on lap 62. After going to the rear, Hantz got his EMF Corporation/Angola Motor Speedway back up to seventh at the checker flag. "My car was pretty much a rolling roadblock out there tonight. We'll work on it for next time and be better. It's been a while since I ran here. My next race will either be Sandusky next week, or here at Toledo in two weeks," Scott said after the race.

Jim Baker wound up eighth, tying a career best finish from race 3 in 1998. "We got through the race in one piece. I just had early season handling problems, but we worked on the car during the race and it got a little better. I'm really pleased with our finish and hopefully next time out it'll be even better," said Baker from Rochester Hills, Michigan.

Len Couvillon finished a career best fourth after starting 12th. Couvillon got up to fifth by lap 20 and ran there until he and Scott Baker tangled on lap 46 and the pair were sent to the rear of the field. The LaSalle, Ontario driver led the way back to the front with Baker trailing him. Baker passed Couvillon for position on lap 75. In the scramble after the final caution, Couvillon tried to follow Baker through but was never able to get around Sauve.

1998 Rookie of the Year, Claude Plante Jr, arrived at the track with a new paint scheme, courtesy of his new sponsor, Wynn's Distributing. The Sterling Heights, Michigan driver had moved up five positions to fifth when he tangled with Don St. Denis on lap 22. After pitting to check the car he returned to the track, but the car was never as good as it was prior to the accident. He eventually finished sixth.

Jerry Cook and Scott Baker comprised the front row and led the field of 22 cars down for the start of the 1999 season. Cook would retire his Marco Pizza/UB Machining/Giles Auto Body on lap 22 after suffering a broken transmission and other mechanical problems.

ROOKIE CORNER: Four rookies have signed up to run for Rookie of the Year, but only three of them showed up for tonight's event. Missing was Billy Vinton from Romeo, Michigan. ~~~ Alan Pinsonneault took home rookie of the race honors, finishing two laps down in ninth driving the Build A Mold/Trimplas/Moldplas Monte Carlo. Pinsonneault is the son of ASA veteran Alec Pinsonneault and is driving a car his father drove once on the Iceman circuit last season. Alan from Belle River, Ontario, is one of two Canadian drivers competing for Iceman Rookie of the Year. ~~~ Dan Ford Jr was having a terrific race running in fourth place when his battery died on his Walt Michals RV Center/Davenport Construction/Behlen Building Systems Monte Carlo with five laps to go. He ultimately finished tenth. ~~ Brett Reaume is our other Canadian rookie and is trying for the Rookie title for the third season. He has the most experience on the series of this year's contenders with four races on the circuit over the past two season. The Blenheim, Ontario driver suffered a severe vibration all race long and made numerous pitstops trying to fix it. He finished 14th in his Westside Performance/Robertson Grand Prix.

Several cars had trouble during the event. Fred Campbell broke the right front A frame and finished 18th. Mike Hennessy and Steve Seegott tangled and both retired from the damage, finishing 15th and 16th. Jason Mignogna broke a right front shock and finished 19th and Doug DeGarmo had a flat tire several laps from the end and finished 13th. Phil Massuch broke an oil pump during his qualifying run and didn't compete. Glen Gault had engine problems and spent 33 laps in the pits and finished 17th.

RACE #1 - TOLEDO SPEEDWAY, MAY 28th. Dave Kuhlman, Scott Baker, Steve Sauve, Len Couvillon, Harold Fair Jr, Claude Plante, Scott Hantz, Jim Baker, Alan Pinsonneault, Dan Ford Jr, Don St Denis, Greg Taylor, Doug DeGarmo, Brett Reaume, Mike Hennessey, Steve Seegot, Glenn Gault, Freddie Campbell, Jason Mignogna, Jerry Cook, Phil Massuch (DNS)

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Series Stock car
Drivers Phil Mass