Toledo Speedway season opener

June, 3 - The Shooter's Iceman Series opened their 2001 season Sunday night at Toledo Speedway. The race was delayed one week because of rain. The traveling circuit's 15th season of competition drew 28 template bodied cars. A wreck in hot laps...

June, 3 - The Shooter's Iceman Series opened their 2001 season Sunday night at Toledo Speedway. The race was delayed one week because of rain. The traveling circuit's 15th season of competition drew 28 template bodied cars.

A wreck in hot laps sent rookie Bob Varney to the hospital with a broken left leg. William Long III, Don St. Denis were also involved in the wreck and were through for the night. Patrick Alltop blew an engine during hot laps and Jeff Carnacchi crashed while qualifying.

Dave Kuhlman was fast qualifier with a lap of 16.53 seconds and drew the pole position. Kuhlman took the lead from fellow front row starter Scott Baker when the green dropped. The 23-car field made only a lap because defending series champion Harold Fair Jr spun after tangling with Jerry Cook in turn one. Mike Hennessy and Douglas Ehret were also involved in the accident. Hennessy was out with suspension damage and Ehret returned with some sheet metal damage. Fair Jr made repairs over the next nine laps and then returned minus the nose of his car.

A battle for fourth ensued with Jr. Hanley leading Freddie Campbell, Tom Hernly Jr, Claude Plante Jr, Jason Mignogna, and Chuck Roumell. The group ran in tight nose to tail formation lap after lap. Campbell stepped out of line a few times, testing Hanley high and low but Hanley guarded his position and forced Campbell to settle back into line.

A spin on lap 33 by Mignogna brought out the third caution, allowing Baker to pull up on Kuhlman's rear bumper. Kuhlman had a 10 car length lead over Baker until he got caught behind a group of slower cars, racing side-by-side allowing Baker pull up on his bumper. Baker dived to the inside and was able to take over the lead when Kuhlman got hung up behind the slower cars on lap 43. The caution came out on lap 44 when Douglas Ehret spun. The track scorers reverted to the last completed lap and put Kuhlman back into the lead.

The field made one lap after a caution for Kyle Edward's accident on lap 66. Hanley, Campbell, Plante Jr all tangled in turn four. Plante Jr parked his car because of a broken oil cooler. On the restart, Randy Triplett crashed into the turn one wall after he and Campbell came together on the frontstretch. On the same lap Tom Hernly Jr, Chuck Roumell, Doug DeGarmo and Harold Fair Jr crashed in turn three. Only Fair Jr was able to continue. The other three drivers retired their damaged cars. The red flag was thrown for track cleanup.

The rest of the race was caution free and at times Kuhlman was able to pull away from Baker by 2/3 of a straightaway. Kuhlman beat Baker to the checkered flag by three car lengths. In victory circle Kuhlman got out of his car and kissed the track, his trademark whenever he wins a race.

Freddie Campbell recovered for third and was the fastest car on the track at the end of the race. Glenn Gault and Jason Mignogna rounded out the top five.

NOTES:

Dave Kuhlman swept the Iceman event by being the fast qualifier, leading every lap and winning the race. It was the Howell, Michigan driver's 20th career Iceman series win, tying him with Freddie Campbell for the most wins. It was Kuhlman's 15th career Iceman fast time. "Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Tonight I was both. My car was good tonight. The lucky part was having that caution come out just after Scott (Baker) passed me in traffic. After getting the lead back I was able to stay ahead of him for the rest of the race. It was a great race for us," said the driver of the Right Tools/Zeillers Farm Market/HJ Prime Cuts/KMH Monte Carlo. ~~ Kuhlman was one of five drivers that drove the Iceman 100 lap feature and the companion Glass City 100-lap qualifier. Kuhlman was running second in the qualifier when he had to pit with a flat tire. He finished 10th in that race.

The caution on lap 43 in the Iceman race was Scott Baker's downfall. He had just passed Dave Kuhlman for the lead but when the track scorers reverted back a lap they gave Kuhlman back the lead. Baker was unable to mount a challenge for the lead after that point and finished second. "We had two really good cars tonight. We missed the setup on the Iceman car, it was a little too loose. The outlaw car ran well, despite all the damage we got while battling with Jerry Cook for the lead as we were going around that lapped car. The crew did a great job. We did everything we could tonight, except win." said the driver of the Sypolt Chevrolet/Tallmadge Asphalt/Excalibur Frame Monte Carlo. The Akron, Ohio resident finished second in the Iceman race and seventh in the Glass City qualifier race.

Freddie Campbell passed Glenn Gault with 10 laps remaining and finished third. The Battle Creek, Mich. driver had dueled ferociously with Canadian Jr. Hanley most of the event, until Hanley spun on lap 67. Campbell who drives the Port City Chassis/Connan Construction Monte Carlo is racing locally this year at Berlin Raceway and this will probably be his only race with the series this year.

Glenn Gault, from Hubbard, Ohio driver finished fourth in his American Title & Trust/Gault Heating/Tabone's Snow King Monte Carlo. It was Gault's 42nd career top five finish.

Jason Mignogna has a new sponsor and has changed body styles on his car. His car, a Ford Taurus, is sponsored by The Sign Shoppe. The Greensburg, Pa. driver recovered from a spin on lap 33 to finish fifth. His fourth top five finish of his Iceman career was the last car on the lead lap.

Harold Fair Jr spent nine laps in the pits repairing his Lefthander Chassis/Phil Harper Motorsports Monte Carlo after crashing on the first lap with Mike Hennessy, Greg Taylor and Douglas Ehret. After changing the radiator, oil cooler and a strut Fair Jr returned to the track minus all the front end sheet metal. He finished 13th. "The car is the one my dad (Harold Sr.) drove in several Iceman races last year. We still have last year's body on it, but it's a good car. A little ugly, that's for sure, after the accident, but it really ran well. The wreck on the first lap happened by a driver that lacked patience early in the race. He spun me and I was hit by Mike (Hennessy) but he had nowhere to go." said the Canton, Mich. driver. "My outlaw car ran also great but we ran out of tires at the end." Fair Jr finished fourth in the outlaw race.

Greg Taylor has a new sponsor and paint scheme for the 2001 season. Grace Anne's Laskey Diner came aboard to help sponsor the Brooklyn, Mich. driver. His car is now a "Howe" green color.

HARD HIT AWARD #1 ~ This is an award a driver never wants to get and it goes to two rookies, Bob Varney and William Long III. Varney spun his car on the backstretch during hot laps. Long, with nowhere to go, slammed into Varney, T-boning him in the driver's door. Varney was conscious when he was taken from the car and placed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital. The Richmond, Mich. driver broke his lower left leg and returned to the track as a spectator for the rest of the night. Varney's Action Automotive/Tomtech Systems/K&K Die Monte Carlo was a write-off. "It was my fault," said Varney. "I just feel real bad for William (Long III). He had absolutely nowhere to go and tore up his car because of my mistake. We're probably through for the year because I don't have enough sponsorship money to rebuild it. It's sad because I was really looking forward to this season." ~~ The first Iceman race of the season wasn't a good day for the Varney/Plante family as Varney's cousin Claude Plante Jr was involved in a crash on lap 67 and suffered a broken oil cooler in the process.

William Long III, a 15-year old from Flint, Mich., was uninjured in the accident. "The car up is going to Port City Chassis tomorrow morning and hopefully we'll have it back in time for next week's race (Central PA Speedway). It's radiator was pushed back into the engine and the transmission was jammed from the hard crash. I'm fine, just sore." said the driver of the Comfort Inn/Scooter's Bar and Grill/Braswell Carbs Monte Carlo. Long is running for the 2001 Iceman Rookie of the Year title.

Also involved in the wreck was Don St. Denis who was returning to the series after a year and a half absence. His Dart Machine Monte Carlo went low on the track to miss Varney and Long and hit the inside wall. His car suffered front end damage and it was parked for the night.

HARD HIT #2 ~ Dennis Strickland's Strategy One/Provide Net Monte Carlo abruptly veered hard into the wall coming off turn four on lap 83. The Carleton, Mich. driver wasn't quite sure whether the tire blew before he hit the wall. The car suffered major suspension damage. Strickland, the defending Toledo Speedway champion, was uninjured in the crash.

Chuck Roumell was running seventh when he became involved in a wreck on lap 67. After losing the decklid and spoiler from his Monte Carlo he dropped out. Roumell finished 16th in the 99th career Iceman start. The Glass City qualifier race went a lot better for the Brooklyn, Mich. driver where he finished second.

Jerry Cook's night was good and bad. A broken trailing arm bracket ended his Iceman race after 12 laps. The outlaw race made up for it when Cook started on the pole and led entire 100 laps. "The outlaw car was really good on the bottom. I have a Ford Mustang body on the outlaw car. Wonder when the last time a Mustang won at Toledo on the half mile?" said the driver sponsored by Marco Pizza and Urbines Bros. "The Iceman car had been handling well in practice and I really thought I had a shot to win that one too."

Rookie Jeff Carnacchi spun during his qualifying lap and backed the car into the wall severely damaging the rear clip.

-Debi Domby

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