|Date: 10/11/2018 3:18:09 PM|
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Friday & Saturday, October 26-27 - Bill Thomas Memorial Weekend - Friday, Bill Thomas Qualifier for 270 & 600 Micro Sprints, racing at 8pm, Saturday, Poker Series with 270 & 600 Micro Sprints, Slingshots and Xcel 600 Modifieds, 4 & 8 Cylinder Enduros, racing at 5pm
Saturday, December 1st - Bridgeport/Spirit Speedway 2018 Night of Champions Banquet, Bridgeport Fire Company
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF IN SECOND ANNUAL SKYSCRAPER EVENT AT SPIRIT SPEEDWAY
The second annual Skyscraper event at the Spirit Speedway is history and after more than sixty 600 Micro Sprints and more than forty 270 Micro Sprints spent the better part of three days determining the starting line-up for this year's event, Matt Smith (600s) and Jacob Hendershot (270s) managed to capture back-to-back victories in this premier event.
Matt Smith has not been having the kind of season that he would have liked. Three early season victories were followed by a myriad of mechanical issues and disappointments. But with the help of Kenny Vincent, owner of the No. 97 raced by Luke Thomas, another powerplant was offered and it made all the difference in the world.
Smith picked up his fourth win of the season just two weeks before the 2018 Skyscraper - winning on Spirit's Championship night and earning a guaranteed starting spot in Sunday's forty lap Skyscraper event. After setting fast time in Friday night's timed practice sessions, Smith was guaranteed a starting position in the top six and could spend Saturday spectating while more than sixty of his fellow competitors raced in dual heat races for passing points.
And even though Smith drew the worst of the spots available to him, he made it look easy as he drove from sixth to second following a lap two restart. With five laps on the books, Smith raced side by side with leader, Kyle Lick before racing ahead just one lap later. Lick took several looks to the inside of Smith on subsequent restarts but that was as close as anyone was able to come during the forty lap distance.
At half way, Smith led Lick, Eric Bodine who traveled from Boulder, Co to compete, Brian Carber and PJ Williams. Carber and Williams raced into third and fourth by lap twenty-five. One lap later, Carber took over second and began to execute a plan to take the lead.
But Carber found that challenge to be a little more than he bargained for. "I tried to run his (Smith's) line," Carber explained, "but I couldn't run his line." Carber and others talked about Smith's ability to pull away off the corners. "I finally just had to run my line and settle for second," Carber added.
Several late race cautions closed up the field but Smith raced to the checkered flag without a serious challenge. Carber finished second with Williams taking third. Tim Buckwalter bested Lick for fourth after a side by side battle for position in the final laps of the race. Lee Nardelli finished sixth. Bobby Butler raced from eighteenth to finish seventh.
Alex Bright jumped into Scott Rupp's No. 53 and used a provisional to start the main event after being sidelined with mechanical issues with Greg Stevens No. 20. When the checkered waved, Bright had advanced from his thirtieth place start to finish eighth and collect the race's Hard Charger Award. Gary Bozowski had a strong run to finish ninth with Wayne Scott rounding out the top ten.
The win earned Smith a $4,000 Skyscraper check along with the very unique trophy built by Andreas Precision Machine of "recycled" 600 Micro Sprint Parts.
Twenty-seven of the thirty-one starters finished the forty lap event.
Jacob Hendershot made what many considered a bold move on Saturday. After setting the fastest time in the second group of runs on Friday night, Hendershot elected to race for his starting spot on Saturday and forego his guaranteed starting spot from eighth to thirteenth. He finished the day, second in passing points - behind Nick Skias, driving the Jim Widdoss No. 28 - the car that Hendershot won with in last year's Skyscraper. "Not even my dad was sure that I should do it but I felt like I had nothing to lose and better starting spot to gain," Hendershot explained. And then he drew the outside pole for the start of the 30 lap main event for the 270 Micro Sprints.
Kyle Weiss led the field to the wave of the green flag but it was Hendershot who raced on the outside of Weiss as they ran down the backstretch and into turn three. Hendershot was the race leader as the first lap was completed.
Nick Skias quickly wheeled the No. 28 into second as Ross Perchak and Pat Bealer battled for third. Bealer took over third and then second following a restart with seven laps completed. Hendershot led Bealer, Perchak, Skias and Brandon Edgar to the crossed flags.
Starting up front, Hendershot felt vulnerable on the number of restarts since he had no idea where his competition was racing. "I didn't know know where anyone was running, " Hendershot explained. "I kept waiting for Pat (Bealer) to come up on the outside." Hendershot need not have been concerned. The young driver broke the one lap record for 270 Micros several times during the thirty lap race - even while running through lapped traffic. He just kept getting faster. The record now stands at 12.527 seconds.
Hendershot raced to his second Spirit Speedway victory of the season and back-to-back Skyscraper victories. Bealer finished second with Perchak taking third. Edgar crossed the line in fourth with Mike Rutherford rounding out the top five. Lee Reinhardt, Kyle Spence (who was doing double duty in the 600s and 270s), Mason Peters, Johnny Trendler and Luke Fogg completed the top ten in the running order. Jen Avery's run from thirtieth to twelfth earned her the race's Hard Charger Award.
Hendershot collected the Skyscraper check for $3,000 along with the Andreas Precision Machine trophy - designed with recycled 270 Micro Sprint parts.
No one went home empty handed. Each non-qualifier went home with a minimum of $100 in value in gift cards or actual product.
ACE OVERHEAD DOORS 600CC MICRO SPRINT FEATURE (40 laps):
Matt Smith, 2. Brian Carber, 3. P.J. Williams, 4. Tim Buckwalter, 5.
Kyle Lick, 6. Lee Nardelli, 7. Bobby Butler, 8. Alex Bright, 9. Gary
Bozowski, 10. Wayne Scott, 11. Eric Bodine, 12. Damon Paul, 13. Luke
Thomas, 14. Kenny Miller, 15. Chad Sandt, 16. Tommy Kunsman, 17. Mike
Rutherford, 18. Danny Buccafusca, 19. Kyle Spence, 20. Christian Bruno,
21. Colin White, 22. Mike Butler, 23. Jon Keller, 24. Mike Linderman,
25. Duane White, 26. Mike Thompson, 27. Fred Heinly, 28. Austin Quick,
29. Jermain Godshall, 30. Travis Hill, 31. Whitey Kidd, III.
ACE OVERHEAD DOORS 270CC MICRO SPRINT FEATURE (30 laps):
Jacob Hendershot, 2. Pat Bealer, 3. Ross Perchak, 4. Brandon Edgar, 5.
Mike Rutherford, 6. Lee Reinhardt, 7. Kyle Spence, 8. Mason Peters, 9.
Johnny Trendler, 10. Luke Fogg, 11. Alex Swift, 12. Jenn Avery, 13. Dan
Lane, 14. Buddy Schweibinz, 15. Larry George, 16. Steve Coslop, 17. Tom
Landwher, 18. Cody West, 19. Sean Huesser, 20. Nick Skias, 21. Brian
Marriott, 22. Pete Skias, 23. Logan Diehl, 24. Ben Stoltz, 25. Andrew
Locuson, 26. Ed Tyres, 27. Kyle Weiss, 28. Toby Blumenshine, 29. Tommy
Kunsman, 30. Glenn Macomber,
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