Gash $1,OOO Richer in Street Stock Special

by Rocky Ragusa

Twenty UMP Street Stock competitors lined up for their 20 lap, $1,000 to win special. Brandon Kessinger took the lead at the start, with Luke Gash, Lon Franks, Rick Thomas, and Jordan Smith following. In the early stages, the top four ran single file, while Smith had to contend with Jason Maier and Andrew Funk. On the seventh lap, Gash went to the outside and overtook Kessinger for the lead. Gash was able to use the slower cars to his advantage and extend his lead to five car lengths over Kessinger past the halfway mark of the race. Thomas got under Franks, looking to move up in the running order, but Franks was able to hold Thomas off. After the lone caution on lap 16, Gash raced to a five car length lead, as Kessinger, Franks, and Thomas traded sheet metal looking to run down Gash. Gash was able to hold on for his third win of the year. “I knew I would have to do it early if I wanted to run the middle. We chose soft tires and it worked out,” commented Gash. Following Gash to the stripe was Kessinger, Franks, Thomas, Jason Maier, A.J. Meiferdt, Smith, Matt Maier, Nick Clubb, and Joe Dynek. Kessinger was fast qualifier at a 15.771. Kessinger and Gash won the heat races.

In the 15 lap UMP Sportsman race, Jeffrey Ledford and Richie Rich led the 12 car field to the green flag. Rich got into Ledford and took the lead. Rod Rusher moved by Ledford on the third lap for second, with Richard Craven and Dustin Mounce running fourth and fifth. Rusher showed Rich his bumper several times in the early portion but Rich turned up the wick and extended his lead. Rich drove a smooth line around the track and opened up a 10 car length lead over the competition. At the checkers Rich ended a season of frustration by claiming his first win of the year. “I got into Ledford at the start. I’m not sure what happened. It’s been a tough road this year and I want to thank my crew for all the hard work,” said Rich.

Making his first appearance of the year, Rusher took second, with Ledford, Craven, Mounce, Paul Graf, Matt Mills, Eric Legner, Amber Crouch, and Bryant Frechette completing the top ten. Jeffrey Ledford was the fast qualifier at a 14.533 and took a heat race win, along with Rich.

Outside front row starter Jay Ledford took command of the 20 lap UMP Modified feature with Lance Dehm, Jimmy Dehm, Dave Porth, and Jim Farris in tow. After a caution on lap three, Jimmy Dehm moved into second. Another caution came out on the eighth circuit and when the green flag waved, Lance Dehm moved back to second, with Porth and Jimmy Dehm in a tight pack. The top four cars ran nose to tail, with Porth being the lone car running the middle of the track. With seven laps to go, Lance Dehm jumped the berm in turn two and fell back to fifth. Porth got by Jimmy Dehm to move into second position and set his sights on Ledford. With five laps to go, Porth showed his nose to Ledford, but Ledford hung on for the lead. With three laps remaining, Porth tried again and was able to wrestle the lead away. Porth was able to open a little breathing room up and claim his first FALS win since September 5, 2009. It was a popular win for Porth as fans, drivers, crews, and officials lined up to congratulate the former three time track champion. A jubilant Porth spoke in victory lane, “It’s been a long dry spell. The car was good in the heat race and I wanted to continue in the feature. It paid off. I have to thank Bob Pierce Race Cars and Shop Werks for allowing me to race.” Jay Ledford, Jimmy Dehm, Farris, Lance Dehm, Jared Cagley, Jeff Curl, Cory Schwengel, Tommy Duncan, and Jeffrey Ledford rounded out the top ten. Jimmy Dehm took fast time honors at a 13.944. Jay Ledford and Lance Dehm won heat races.

Third starting Scott Bull wasted little time taking the lead at the start of the 30 lap UMP Late Model race, with Jay Morris, Kevin Weaver, Joe Harlan, McKay Wenger, and Daren Friedman in close quarters. On the second lap, Weaver jumped the berm in turn two, dropping back to the ninth position. Bull set a fast pace, opening up a ten car length lead as Harlan and Wenger raced for the second position. Weaver inched his way back into contention joining Morris, Friedman, and Dan Flessner in a race for fourth. Harlan overtook Wenger for second as a caution came out on lap nine. The restart had Bull safely in command, as Wenger took second from Harlan with Friedman on his bumper. Five car lengths back, Flessner had his hands full with Morris and Weaver offering a challenge. Bull drove a smooth, steady race, keeping his car on the bottom and held a ten car length lead as Wenger and Harlan diced for second. Weaver was on the move, slipping by Flessner and soon was on Friedman’s bumper. Weaver was able to get by and take third as a caution fell on lap 22. On the restart, Weaver jumped to the top taking second, and was racing side by side with Bull. Weaver led laps 24 and 25 before jumping the berm allowing Bull to move back into the lead. Bull was able to hang on at the finish and pick up his fourth win of the year. “The top side was the fastest way to go in turns one and two, while the bottom worked best in three and four. When Weaver pulled alongside of me with eight to go it got my blood pumping a bit,” said Bull. Weaver, Harlan, Friedman, Flessner, Steve Thorsten, Wenger, Morris, Torin Mettille, and Mike Mullvain took the top ten positions. Morris was the fast qualifier at a 12.645. Morris and Weaver took heat wins.