By: Spartan correspondent, Michelle Sprague
Eight retired school busses took to the Figure 8 track on Dodge Night, sponsored by Beacon Sales. Spartan Speedway has hosted many Figure 8 events in the years that it has been in operation, but very few compare to the big ol’ busses lumbering down through the X. The Beacon Sales Military Transport, driven by Perry Davenport, won the “Best Looking Bus” award with a camo paint job and flags representing each branch of the military. The best looking part could not be said following the 25-lap feature, but Davenport did put his bus into the Corrigan Oil Winner’s Circle by getting around the Wisner Electric bus with one and three-quarters of a lap to go in the feature. “Hey Culligan Man”, Chris Hoffman, driver of the Culligan Soft Water bus, drove his bus to a second place finish behind Davenport, simply by keeping himself out of trouble and keeping the leader in sight. The Wisner Electric bus, driven by Steve Utley sported headers and a spoiler, was dubbed, for the second year in a row, the “Bus of Tomorrow”, finished third after a collision with an overturned bus effectively destroyed his radiator. The wounded bus soldiered on, finally giving up with less than two laps to go. The Kitsmiller RV bus was manned by the “Disturbed One”, Dane Long. He comes by his name naturally, as his was the first bus to come out of turn two, get sideways, catch the wheels in the dirt, and flip onto its side. Once on its side, Utley and Mason mayor, Leon Clark, piled into the undercarriage of the Long’s bus, putting an abrupt end to his evening (and Clark’s as well). Edson Rowley III drove an un-sponsored bus and proved that he can drive most any vehicle to the front and keep it there, until mechanical difficulties side lined him, almost taking Davenport out with him. Ron Parish drove the “church” bus, but didn’t have a prayer, as keeping the bus running was an issue for him. The Valvoline Instant Oil Change bus sported a neat paint job, with Jacob “The Hulkster” Newman behind the wheel. Newman kept his bus running and on all fours to come home unscathed at the checker. The busses return to action before the end of the 2008 season.
Brian Beckner, of Lansing made it two Figure 8 wins in a row in the Boss Snow Equipment Pony Stock Figure 8’s. Coincidentally, Beckner is sponsored by Beacon Sales. As the dust settled, Charlotte’s Todd Metz Jr. came home second, followed by Lansing’s Jim Harbenski, Mason’s Ken Dollarhite, and Randy Kretzinger, of Holt.
Another Beacon Sales sponsored car took the Boss Snow Equipment Pony Stock feature win, as Wayne Beckner Jr. earned a trip to the Corrigan Oil Winner’s Circle, holding off Dan Gokee, of Lansing, Charlotte’s Todd Metz Jr., Eaton Rapids’ Patrick Denison, and Haslett’s Scott Rogers. Point leader, Edson Rowley III, of Jackson, had a meeting with the turn one wall, after Jackson’s George Wyers got turned sideways on the frontstretch, shot up the track and into Rowley. Fast qualifier, Lex Jarecki, of Lansing, retired to the pits early in the feature. Jarecki and B. Beckner scored heat wins, while Gokee took the Australian Pursuit win.
It looked as if another Beacon Sales sponsored driver, Dan Loughan of Charlotte, was going to show just how dominant his Valvoline Instant Oil Change Modified was, but a last lap pass by Lansing’s Chris Ozanich, put a damper on the festivities. Loughan took the lead at the drop of the green, with Vermontville’s Nyle Weiler in hot pursuit. Leroy Ellis, of Vermontville, jumped up into his familiar outside groove to run lap after lap, side by side, with Weiler. Something had to give, as Ellis went hurtling into the turn one wall, ending both his and Weiler’s night. Okemos’ Ron Parish, sitting in third on the restart, watched the battle between Loughan and Ozanich unfold, waiting for one or the other to make a mistake. As laps wound down, Ozanich looked high and low for a way around Loughan, found that opening, and drove to the win after 35 laps. Corunna’s Larry Wallace and Holt’s Gary Sherman rounded out the top five behind Ozanich, Loughan, and Parish. Loughan and Mason’s Rob Newman won their heats, while Charlotte’s Wayne Haughton won the Australian Pursuit.
Please join us each and every Friday night, as our 2008 season winds down, for exciting racing action. Friday, August 8th, will feature all five regular divisions, the Andrews Chevrolet Super Late Models, Valvoline Instant Oil Change Modifieds, Performance Automotive NW Sportsmans, Pure Stocks, and Boss Snow Equipment Pony Stocks. August 15th is Motorcycle Night, sponsored by Scotts Lawn Care of Holt. Those spectators riding a motorcycle to the races that evening will receive half-off the general admission price. A full show will be on tap. For more info, check us out at www.spartanspeedway.com. As always, we’ll see you at the races!