Spartan Speedway Honors Memory of Chargin' Charlie Ryan
by Michelle Sprague
Twenty-seven Andrews Chevrolet Super Late Models were in attendance Friday, August 18th, to honor one of their own, who passed away two years ago. A 50-lap feature was run, with a complete invert, which would have been much to Chargin' Charlie Ryan's liking. The event had to be re-scheduled from a prior date, due to a rain-out, and though the clouds were threatening, Jeff Hackworth was able to hold off the advances of Doug Finley, to claim the first ever Chargin' Charlie Ryan Memorial Trophy, on B & L Truck Cap night. Caution marred the feature however, with every competitor wanting to claim the distinction of driving into the Winner's Circle for this special event. Caution flew at least eleven times during the 50-laps.
It was fitting that Charlie's brother, Tim Ryan, found himself on the outside pole, and Ryan led the first 16 laps, with Jeff Hackworth, Dale Lewis, Harry Foote, and Doug Finley knocking on the door. Ryan and Hackworth ran side by side on lap 15, with Hackworth taking over the top spot, as Finley and Lewis ran side by side for position. Jimmy Gallagher was sitting just outside the top five, waiting to pounce. Hackworth and Ryan continued to battle, with Ryan looking high and low for a way around Hackworth. Finley shoved Lewis up the race track on lap 26, clearing the way for Finley to take a shot at Ryan for second. Jack Landis and Gallagher were running side by side for fifth, and they both went around, and found themselves at the tail of the field on the restart. Ryan got a run on Hackworth on the lap 28 restart, and one lap later, they were running side by side for the lead. Two laps later, caution flew for fast qualifier, Jack Landis, just as Finley took over the second spot from Ryan. Ryan and Foote were running nose to tail for third and fourth, with Foote taking a look under Ryan for third. Hackworth proceeded to open up some daylight between Finley and himself, while caution flags kept him from running away from the field. Finley stuck a nose under Hackworth on lap 46, but Hackworth was able to hold him off, and drove to victory on lap 50. Finley, Foote, Tom Fedewa, and Tim Ryan rounded out the top five. Heat winners were Ed Haag, Dennis Craft, and Doug Finley. Dennis Craft won the consi.
The thirty-five lap WMMQ Classic Rock 94.9 MI Modified feature had 15-year old, John Beach, out front for 19 laps until Bud Perry took away the top spot. Brian Heeney, Trei Deubel, Chris Ozanich, and Perry Davenport gave chase after the drop of the green, but Beach was able to fight off Heeney, until Perry took over the second spot on lap fifteen. Dan Loughan and Larry Wallace made their way into the top five as well, with Perry setting his sights on the youngster in first. Caution waved on lap 18, setting up a run for the first position on the restart. Perry capitalized and took over first, then stretched out a considerable lead over the field. Loughan made his way around Beach, with Wallace in tow. Loughan and Wallace battled, as Beach tried to fight off Nyle Weiler. At the line, it was Perry, Loughan, Wallace, Beach, and Wyler. Dick Maurer, Tim Easey, Chris Ozanich scored heat wins, with Maurer also winning the consi.
Jack Koone Jr. flexed his rookie muscle, and took his first-ever feature win in the Performance Automotive NW Street Stock division. Ashley Crawford and Jeremy Lutz made up the front row, for the start of the 25-lap feature. J.L. Smith charged his way to the front, to lead lap one ahead of Lutz, Al Williams, Dave Thorburn, and Chuck Ammerman. Koone made his way up from his fourteenth start position to sit in seventh, by the completion of lap one. Koone broke into the top five, behind Thorburn, working his way into second by lap four. Koone drove into first around Smith, as Scott Sigman and Nate Moon filed in behind Thorburn to make up the top five. Koone began to run away from the lead pack by lap 10, as Smith and Thorburn tried to keep him in their sights. Damon Place made his way around Smith and Thorburn into second, as Dane Long broke into the top five. Caution came out on lap 16, and eradicated Koone's eight-second lead over the field. On the restart, Long made his way around Smith for third and zeroed in on Place for second. The battle for position was further back in the field, with Thorburn, Moon, and Rob Patrick going at it for the fifth position. Time constraints called for an early checker to be thrown, and at lap 22, it was Koone, Place, Long, Moon, and Thorburn making up the top five. Kenny Clark and Bubber Patrick tallied heat wins.
Bo Smith showed the way in the Holiday Powersports Pony Stock division for eleven laps of the twenty-lap feature. Mark Garland galloped from the rear of the field, overcoming engine woes, to take over the lead on lap twelve, as Jimmy Scavarda and John Conroy made their bid as well. Garland opened up a commanding lead though, and Scavarda and Conroy had to be content with second and third, respectively. John Ward and Smith rounded out the top five. Heat wins went to Joe Bates, Steve Allen, and John Conroy.
As an added bonus, Donna Fedewa arranged a "Hot Dog" race. Some of our pony stock drivers volunteered to entertain the crowd with their driving skill, eating habits, and singing ability. Drivers were told to drive a lap around the track, pull into the infield, un-strap and take off the helmet, get out of the car, eat a hotdog, then sing the "William Fisher Hotdog Song", get back in the car, re-strap themselves in, put on the helmet, and drive two more laps. Jacob Newman proved to be the champ at all three!
Fans were treated to some very special guests, as Spartan's own, Tim Fedewa, brought Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, and David Stremme to "the track the stars call home." Tony and company sat in the pit stands and enjoyed the racing action, then made their way to the front stretch for a Q & A period. Tony and Tim made a very special entrance, much to the pleasure of all the fans. We thank them for making an already special evening, even more so by their attendance.
As the 2006 season winds down, please join us as we crown our season champions, in each division, on Friday, September 1st, followed by the Harvest 250, on Sunday, Sept. 3rd. School Bus Figure 8's and a no rules fun night will be on the docket for Friday, Sept. 8th. We'll see you at the races!