Kramer Dominates Open-Wheel Field For Second Straight UMP Modified Triumph BARBERVILLE, FL -- For the second straight night, Jerry Kramer claimed the headline United Midwestern Promoters Open Wheel Modified feature event at Volusia Speedway Park.
Kramer Dominates Open-Wheel Field For Second Straight UMP Modified Triumph
BARBERVILLE, FL -- For the second straight night, Jerry Kramer claimed the headline United Midwestern Promoters Open Wheel Modified feature event at Volusia Speedway Park. While leading just the final three circuits on Thursday, the Hanover, Indiana pilot paced the field all 25 laps en route to the convincing 15 car-length victory on Friday in round four of the 34th Annual Winter Nationals.
"I was very concerned when that last caution came out with five to go," admitted Kramer, after pocketing another $700 check for his second win of the week in the Sunshine State. "I just tried to remain calm and keep my line on the restart. After that I was able to put it on cruise control and was still kind of surprised nobody came up to challenge at the end."
Kramer was not as complacent when the night began with a pre-race draw among 63 cars that placed him in the last row to start qualifying heat race two. But when the initial green flag flew, the lead pack left the inside lane open and Kramer passed cars at will to put himself in first-place with half the race still to go.
Come feature time, Kramer followed the same strategy and left the rest of the competition in his tire tracks for the duration.
"I normally like to go out and ride the rim, tonight I turned into a bottom feeder," said Kramer, following the decisive victory in front of an over-flowing crowd that jammed the Volusia County half-miler. "I watched the consis and saw the middle groove turning black and slick with the sprinters. When the feature started the bottom was open so I ducked down low going into turn one and stayed there the rest of the way."
While Kramer had the field covered throughout, the battle behind him kept the capacity crowd reeling. Heat five winner Craig Thatcher was one driver to watch as he finished among the top-two positions in the opening three shows and held a comfortable lead in the point standings.
Thatcher traded the runner-up spot with pole-sitter Greg Baumberger before Jim Shipman slammed the turn three/four wall to require the first yellow flag on lap six. While Kramer built up an eight car-length lead by the halfway mark, opening night winner Steve Arpin and Chad Ohnstad had entered the fray to challenge Thatcher and Baumberger.
Caution lights flashed for the second and final time on lap 20 when Scott Orr looped his open-wheel mount in turn four. The nearly 20 car-length advantage that Kramer enjoyed suddenly evaporated while the slowdown allowed Thatcher, Ohnstad, Arpin and Baumberger to reacquaint themselves with the leader.
But that was as close as they could get as Kramer opened up a lead that he would never relinquish. Ohnstad made the final pass for second on lap 21 and Arpin sped by Thatcher on lap 24 while Baumberger settled for his first top-five finish as the checkered flag waved.
Through four of six scheduled races, Thatcher (224) continues to lead the Florida Tour standings followed by Kramer (159), Arpin (146), Ohnstad (124), Brian Shaw (121) and female sensation Julie McDermid (117), who won a heat race before recording her third top-10 finish on Friday.
The U.M.P. Modifieds enter the weekend at Volusia on Saturday with just two events remaining in the six-race Winter Nationals points series. The overall 2005 champion will be crowned Sunday, Feb. 13 following their final night of open-wheel competition.
SUMMARY EVENT NO. 4
FEATURE (250x00adLAPS): 77k-JOEY KRAMER, 1a-Chad Ohnstad, 00-Steve Arpin, 91-Craig Thatcher, t3-Greg Baumberger, 2w-George (Paul) White, 1m-Julie McDermid, 00m-Jason Miller, 33-Steve Wetter, 1s-Brian Shaw, 2t-Corky Thomas, 24-Brad Waits, 85d-Mark Dotson, 111-J.R. Nolan, 55-Tom Moore, Q-Joey Jensen, 88-Scott Orr, 7j-Johnny DeYoung, 71-Bill Davis, 2j-Blake Jegtvig, 65-Todd Sherman, 20-Mike Wilson, 77-Jim Shipman, 7w-Jason Wheatley.
HEAT 1: Baumberger, White, Nolan, Shipman.
HEAT 2: Kramer, J.DeYoung, Davis, Adam Gootee.
HEAT 3: McDermid, Wetter, Matt Goulden, Moore.
HEAT 4: Ohnstad, Thomas, Dotson, Brad Miller.
HEAT 5: Thatcher, Wilson, Orr, Wheatley.
HEAT 6: Arpin, Jensen, Sherman, Shaw.
CONSI 1: Shipman, Waits, Gary Clark, Brad Miller.
CONSI 2: Wheatley, J.Miller, Mark Trautner, David McWilliams.
CONSI 3: Shaw, Jegtvig, Jesse Snyder, Brandon Green.
WINTER NATIONALS U.M.P. MODIFIED POINT STANDINGS (Top-10): 224-Craig Thatcher, 159-Joey Kramer, 146-Steve Arpin, 124-Chad Ohnstad, 121-Brian Shaw, 117-Julie McDermid, 115-Brad Waits, 113-Steve Wetter, 104-Johnny DeYoung, 103-Greg Baumberger.