Bloomington Speedway race report 2002-05-10

O'Neal is still "The Real Deal" Boknecht & Hillman win too. BLOOMINGTON, IN (May 11, 2002) - Bloomington Speedway's was scheduled to host the third leg Indiana Dirt Late Model Speed Week. However, when rain washed out the opening two events (at...

O'Neal is still "The Real Deal"
Boknecht & Hillman win too.

BLOOMINGTON, IN (May 11, 2002) - Bloomington Speedway's was scheduled to host the third leg Indiana Dirt Late Model Speed Week. However, when rain washed out the opening two events (at Twin Cities Raceway Park on Wednesday night and at Paragon Speedway on Thursday night), Bloomington Speedway inherited the honor of hosting the inaugural event of this new series. Other events in the series are scheduled for Brownstown Speedway tonight, Tri-State Speedway at Haubstadt tomorrow night, and at Twin Cities Raceway Park Monday night (the rain date for the May 8 race).


Don O'Neal of nearby Martinsville has dominated dirt late model racing to such an extent that fan generally talk about who might finish second. The smart money is already on O'Neal to win. O'Neal has won just about everything he has run; and the opening night of Indiana Dirt Late Model Speed Week was no exception. He was second in the qualifications to Kevin Claycomb; but he was first the rest of the night. He won the dash to earn the right to set on the pole to start the feature; and he led the feature flag to flag. The feature event was everything a race fan could want. The drivers raced clean for the entire thirty laps under the green flag. With no yellow flag to negate the effect of his great start, O'Neal continued to stretch out his lead. He treated the Bloomington Speedway fans to an awesome display of the amazing talent that has made him the top ranked dirt late model in the nation. Kevin Claycomb drove a race to second place that would have been good enough to beat all but the best - "The Real Deal" Don O'Neal

Steve Barnett drove to a third place finish trailed by Jason Setser, Doug McCammon, Brad Barrow, Rodney Melvin, Steve Casebolt, Jr., Tim Prince, and Doug Ault.

One of the question marks going into last night race was Jason Setser. The Columbus, Ind. driver is in his rookie season in a late model. Until the middle of last season Setser was a very promising sprint car driver; and sprint cars are probably still his first love; but the doctors told him that he ought to give up open wheel racing. With sponsorship from Midwest Tube Mills, Jason has put together a dirt late model; and he has been running pretty well. However, last night's run was his best so far in a premier event. He was seventh quick in qualifications; and he drove from his eighth place starting position in the dash to a sixth place finish. This earned him a locked in sixth place starting position in the feature without having to run the feature. In the feature, he drove from sixth to finish fourth ahead of a lot of very experienced late model drivers.

Of his future, Setser commented, "I'm working hard to get used to running late models. I still love sprint cars; and I probably won't be able to stay out of them forever. Midwest Tube Mills is giving me the sponsorship help that I need to run late models; and I'm doing my best to earn their continued support. We're also looking at what kind of pavement stock car circuit that I should tackle first - probably ASA or All Pro."


Defending O'Neal Wood Products champion Matt Boknecht of Seymour, Ind. won half of the first six O'Neal Wood Products modified features in 2001 season; but, going into last night's competition, Boknecht had a second and a fifth. However, he had failed to make the feature on April 26; and he had not yet found victory lane. Everyone knew that he was bound to win soon. Matt came from fifth place to win his heat race; and he won the dash from outside of the front row. This gave him the pole for the feature event; and he would not waste it.

However, Adam Sasser had other ideas. Sasser went in to Friday night's competition leading the points and with a win and two seconds in three shows. If Matt were going to win this feature he would have to contend with Sasser first. Sasser passed Lee Hobbs to take second place on the ninth circuit.and set sail for Boknecht. They ran much of the feature side by side; but Matt prevailed and scored his first O'Neal Wood Products feature win of the year.

Sasser held on to finish third and maintain his points lead. Lee Hobbs came home third ahead of Dan Hamstra, Shelby Miles, modified rookie Greg O'Neill, Brady Short, Tony Roland, and Brandon Short.

In preliminary action, Lee Hobbs, Boknecht, Ray Humphrey, Brady Short, and Sasser won the heat races while Boknecht prevailed in the dash. Brandon Short and Brent Londeree took the two "B" features.


Chris Hillman has performed better every time out this season. On April 19 he failed to maker the Tire & Wheel Center super stock feature. On April 26th he finished 13th; and last week he finshed second in striking distance of first time winner Ralph Groomer. Last night got he past Chris Deweese on the sixth circuit. Although Deweese kept him within range most of the way, it seemed that Deweese's handling started to go away in the closing laps.

It looked like Greg Kendall would come from his tenth place starting spot to win. He got into second; and he got past Hillman to take an unofficial lead on the white flag lap. But, a flat tire slowed him and he managed to keep the beautiful #44 under him to score a seventh place finish.

Deweese held on to finish second ahead of Dan McCullough, Michael Vest, Danny Harris, Marty Cooper, Kendall, Kim Blevins, Gerald Todd, and Steve Hollars.

In preliminary action McCullough, Deweese, Trent Niflis, and Hillman won the heat races while Deweese took the dash. Steve Hollars and Jeremy Stierwalt prevailed in the "B" Features.


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Series Stock car
Drivers Brady Short