By: Spartan correspondent, Michelle Sprague
On Fun Night, at the Spartan Speedway, it was all about finding more down force for the Valvoline Instant Oil Change Modified division. Many of the drivers were sporting sideboards (some the size of a billboard). Others tried a winged approach, whether it be a mod wing or a borrowed sprint car wing. Add in a spoiler or two and some late model racing slicks and the drivers came up with their perfect formula for additional speed. Three of the drivers ran qualifying times that were just a tick from being in the 12 second bracket- Okemos’s Ron Parish, Vermontville’s Nyle Weiler, and Charlotte’s Perry Davenport.
Rob Newman, of Mason, took the early lead in the 35-lap feature, with Okemos’s Harry Parish knocking on the door by lap eleven. Davenport had been working his way up through the pack to sit in fourth behind Hanover’s Earl Miles, when caution waved. Davenport wasted no time in getting around Miles, as H. Parish took the lead away from Newman on lap 13. Davenport ducked under H. Parish for the lead on lap 15, as Okemos’s John Mamula, Weiler, and R. Parish moved up through the pack. Caution for an altercation opened the door for Miles and R. Parish as Mamula and Weiler got together, sending both to the tail of the field. Miles made the right-hand turn into the pits during that caution, moving R. Parish up onto his son’s bumper. The Parish’s got together on the restart, ending R. Parish’s run for the win. Davenport had opened up a huge lead over H. Parish and once again ran away from the field on the second restart. After 35 laps, it was Davenport to the Corrigan Oil Winner’s Circle followed by H. Parish, Mason’s Dick LaPratt, Newman, and Mamula. Davenport took the Four Car Four Lap Dash win, with Newman winning his heat. Powderpuff drivers Jessica Haughton and Rhiannon Schindewolf got behind the wheel, with Haughton taking the win.
Leslie’s Nate Moon was shown as the early leader, as the green flag waved, signaling the start of the Performance Automotive NW Sportsmans division 25-lap feature. Williamston’s Jordan Harvey took the lead away four laps later, with Portage’s Kyle Ballard and Charlotte’s Marc Long making their way to the front on the high side. Lap 14 saw Harvey and Long battle side by side with Long in the high groove. Harvey prevailed until Long dropped back behind Harvey and made a run at him from the low side. Long made the move stick and took the lead away, as Leslie’s Damon Place had worked his way into the top three. At the stripe, it was Long, Harvey, Place, Ballard, and Moon. Long made his second trip to the Corrigan Oil Winner’s Circle, as he also took the heat win. Tressa Carter and Cindy Feguer hit the track as powderpuff participants for the division, with Feguer taking the win.
Lansing’s Ian Schafer pulled off the surprise win of the evening in the Pure Stock division. Joe O’Leary, of the Flint area, took the lead away from Mason’s Joe Sharp on lap four, with Charlotte’s Marc Childers and Concord’s Chuck Ewing in hot pursuit. O’Leary continued to lead as Childers and Ewing swapped the second position a number of times. The trio made it three-wide coming out of turn four on lap fourteen, with Childers getting under O’Leary coming out of turn two, shoving him up the track, clearing the way for Childers to take the lead. Ewing and Childers got together on lap 15, sending Ewing to the rear and Childers to the pit on the hook. Schafer motored around O’Leary on lap 17 to take the win on lap 20. O’Leary, Sharp, Ewing, and Holt’s Bryan Jenks rounded out the top five. O’Leary tallied the heat win for the division.
Todd Metz Sr., of Charlotte, took the commanding win in the Boss Snow Equipment Pony Stock division by as much as a half of a lap, leaving Gregory’s Jeremy LaFontaine, Lansing’s Wayne Beckner Jr., and Somerset Center’s Bill McBride to decide the second position. Beckner looked high and low for a way around LaFontaine, as McBride made a last lap rally to duck under Beckner for the third position. Eaton Rapids’ Patrick Denison came across the line for a top five finish. Beckner scored the heat win for the evening. Marissa Jones smoked the field as she drove a Powderpuff Pony Stock for the win over Courtney Hall.
The Culligan Man, Chris Hoffman, really delivered as the School Bus Figure 8’s saw only three busses remaining at the end of the 20 (or so) lap feature. The fans were treated to some additional laps as the lap counter mysteriously got stuck with five lap to go. The action at the intersection got close, but Hoffman, in the Culligan bus, was cautious, protecting his lead every step of the way to come home the eventual winner. Dan Loughan drove the Beacon Sales sponsored bus, finishing third behind the Valvoline Instant Oil Change sponsored bus, driven by Gary Hollis. The “Racing Hippie”, Matt Schindewolf was behind the wheel of the Magic Bus, while Ron Parish drove a retired church bus. Scott Sigman jumped behind the wheel, while Dane Long drove under the sponsorship of Kitsmiller RV. The JD Wisner sponsored bus was driven by Steve Utley. Punctured radiators, flat tires, and broken front suspension parts made the infield look like a bus boneyard by the end of the 20+ laps. This event is truly a fan favorite for young and old alike.
Please join us for the 2009 season that will make its debut in April. We hope that you enjoyed your visit to the Spartan Speedway, and if you’ve never visited the track, please plan to do so in 2009. We have many opportunities available to the community which include fundraisers, group ticket sales, and private parties. Please contact the speedway office for more information at (517) 244-1042, or check out the website at www.spartanspeedway.com and click on the info link. On behalf of the staff and management of the Spartan Speedway, thank you for a great 2008 season and as always, we’ll see you at the races in 2009!