PUTNAMVILLE -- For racing fans across the Midwest, Memorial Day weekend means a long weekend with a bevy of entertainment, but for Terre Haute's Kenny Carmichael Jr. from now on it will be the weekend that he got his very first sprint car ...
PUTNAMVILLE -- For racing fans across the Midwest, Memorial Day weekend means a long weekend with a bevy of entertainment, but for Terre Haute's Kenny Carmichael Jr. from now on it will be the weekend that he got his very first sprint car victory.
Carmichael Jr. was able to withstand an early challenge from Mitch Cunningham and Kyle Wissmiller to pull away late for his inaugural 410 sprint win at the Putnamville oval.
"This feels pretty good," said the pilot of the J&W Transport/Carmichael's Exhaust mount. "We've won some heats and some 'B' races here but this is the first feature win. This really feels great."
The win was obviously a popular one as Carmichael was surrounded by a group of perhaps 15-20 friends, fans and family after his Victory Lane photos were taken. Brady Short was also cruising for his first sprint win and led the early laps of the feature event on a hard, slick track.
Carmichael Jr. started the feature in the fourth position and ran on the high side during the early going, searching for some moisture high on the cushion. He would find just enough to get him past and into the lead near the halfway point.
With dust rising quickly, a yellow came out for a spin by the #11T of Ty Deckard. On the restart, Cunningham made a challenge and Wissmiller got even with Carmichael briefly but was able to fend them off. A little farther back, Jon Sciscoe was making big progress from his eighth starting spot, moving up to fifth and eventually picking off Short to take over third place.
Carmichael meanwhile was gaining ground on the field including the runnerup, Cunningham. Carmichael would ride the Brazil Carquest/VP Racing Fuels/Pepsi machine the remainder of the way in first and under the checkered flags for his first victory and a $1,200 payday. His father, Kenny Carmichael Sr., was fifth followed by Jared Fox, Bobby Stines, Tim Creech II, Wissmiller and Bill Baker rounded out the top-10. Over the in Modified division, Ray Humphrey made a late race pass following a caution restart to pick up back-to-back victories for the Reeves Logging/Franklin Racecars ride.
Ralph Groomer held the point for nearly the entire race as Humphrey attempted to find enough traction on the top to get a run on Groomer. However, he was unable to get the opportunity he needed until a caution late in the race due to a spin by Travis Shoulders gave him just the shot he was looking for. "We were racing as hard as we could," noted Humphrey, but I knew we just needed a good jump."
He got just that as he drove the Hoosier Disposal car hard into the turn one and goosed the throttle in spurts around the top rim of the track and got the car to stick on top to pull even with Groomer. But it wasn't until Turn 4 when he tried a high move and Groomer slid up to close off the lane and Humphrey switched to the low side and edged past him for the lead with five laps remaining.
From there, Humphrey held on as Groomer finished as the runnerup, James Tumey ran third with Greencastle's Paul Bumgardner in fourth, Matt McDonald in fifth followed by Rob Brickert, Kenny Brewer, Phil VanSant, Chris Kerl and Jimmy Hayden in the top-10.
The SuperStock class got to see an old, but familiar face in victory lane as Dan McCullough held off his son Doug for his first win at Lincoln Park Speedway in three seasons. The part-time driver already has six past points championships under his belt and drove a whale of a race starting from the pole to hold off Doug McCullough who had won the past two races at LPS. Kenny Carmichael Sr. was in third place followed by Danny Harris, Doug Arnold, making his season debut, was fifth, Derek Groomer was sixth followed by Kris Starks, Bob Farris, David Bumgardner and Scott Carrington in the top-10.
Harry Shepard started the Bomber feature from the pole and never looked back after holding off an early challenge from Lloyd Walls and Kevin Kemp and eventually Carmichael Jr. completed a stellar night with a runnerup spot to Shepard, who hails from Terre Haute.
Taking the Motorsports Unlimited/Bud's Auto Salvage/Kessco Water and Auler Enterprise machine to victory lane is becoming quite a habit with Saturday's 'A' win the third of the season for Shepard. Kemp would place third with last week's winner, Ritchie Hawkins in fourth and Greg Riser in fifth. David Bumgardner II, Travis Heramb, Ron Wallen Sr., Ron Smith and Arvis Shepard completed the next five. In the Modified Lite division, Tom Drake was the winner followed by Mike Wilson, Gregg Davis, Ross Ford and Steve Baldwin in the top-5.