By CAREY FOX
PUTNAMVILLE, IN — The 31st edition of the Putnamville Clash for sprint cars was a thriller at Lincoln Park Speedway on Saturday night. With $3,100 on the line for the victor, AJ Hopkins outdueled Brent Beauchamp and Shane Cockrum to claim the title after holding off the duo after a restart with two laps to go.
James Walters was able to break the two-race win streak of Derek Groomer to win his first UMP Modified feature at LPS. Wes McClara was not to be denied a three-peat however in the UMP Super Stock division with a win over Larry Raines. Cody Wright was able to halt a two-race win streak by Josh Litton in the bomber division as he topped AJ Smith. Barry Hicks won the second bomber feature.
Hopkins appeared to be well on his way to a dominating victory in the sprint car main event. He won his heat race and started outside the front row with Stevie Sussex III with Justin Peck and Tim Creech in the second row. From the outset of the first lap it was Hopkins setting a rapid early pace, rocking the rim of the Putnamville speed plant. With Hopkins setting a torrid pace, he had opened up a half straightaway lead by lap 10 as Creech, Peck and Cockrum were in tow.
A caution on lap 14 slowed the field and bunched them back together with Hopkins, who would have his hands full the rest of the way.
Hopkins was able to hold off Peck over several restarts up until lap 22 when the Monrovia native made an ill fated slide job attempt off a restart in turn one. Peck made solid contact underneath Hopkins, which opened the door for Cockrum, who shot to a two-car length lead out of turn two.
Cockrum would hold the lead off of one restart, but on the second yellow flag with three laps remaining, it was Hopkins that made his pass stick to return to the top spot. A final caution came out with two laps to go, but Hopkins was able to hold off Beauchamp, who shot past Cockrum in the closing circuit for the runner-up spot. Cockrum took third ahead of the rocketing Jordan Kinser, who passed 14 cars to take fourth ahead of Creech.
There would be no such close call for Walters, who set forth on a mission over the final laps of the UMP Modified main event. He would pull away to a comfortable win over Groomer, who was looking for win number three of the season. Walters first modified win at LPS came after starting fourth and edging past Kenny Carmichael Jr. after a brief side-by-side battle. Once Walters took the top spot at the halfway mark, he pulled away as Groomer battled through a three-way challenge with Tim Prince and Carmichael Jr. Prince would cross the finish line third ahead of Carmichael and Rob Brickert.
Bryce Shidler led the UMP Super Stock field early on as Doug McCullough gave chase over the first five circuits. McCullough would get past Shidler on lap seven and briefly held the lead after his turn four pass. McClara however was stalking the top spot after starting fourth. The pair ran door-to-door for a lap before McClara edged into the lead and built a lead. Behind him, Raines got past Shidler and McCullough to take over second, but was unable to track down McClara. McCullough took home third ahead of Shidler and Jonny Newgent in the top-five.
In the bomber feature, Wright got to the lead past Megan Cavaness several laps in and was on cruise control around the top side of the LPS oval. Wright would pull out to a strong lead as AJ Smith managed second after a five-way battle with Jordan Almanza, Josh Litton, Glen Ogden and Ethan Litton. Wright rolled home ahead of Smith at the finish line as Josh Litton settled in at third with Almanza and Ethan Litton rounding out the top-five.
This Saturday will feature sprints, UMP Modifieds, super stocks, bombers and the 305 Race Saver sprints.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint car feature “31st Putnamville Clash”
1. AJ Hopkins, 2. Brent Beauchamp, 3. Shane Cockrum, 4. Jordan Kinser, 5. Tim Creech II, 6. Colten Cottle, 7. Justin Peck, 8. Collin Ambrose, 9. Brandon Mattox, 10. Jeff Bland Jr., 11. Nate McMillin, 12. Kent Christian, 13. Adam Wilfong, 14. Jake Scott, 15. Andrew Prather, 16. Shelby VanGilder, 17. Jadon Rogers, 18. Stevie Sussex, 19. Hunter O’Neal, 20. Matt McDonald
B-main winners: Scott, Kinser
Heat winners: Sussex III, Hopkins, Peck, Creech II
UMP Modified feature
1. James Walters, 2. Derek Groomer, 3. Tim Prince, 4. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 5. Rob Brickert, 6. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 7. Jay Humphrey Jr. 8. RJ Pruitt, 9. Michael Fish, 10. Cole Parker, 11. Jeff Deckard, 12. Tyler Loughmiller, 13. Paul Bumgardner, 14. Jake Leitzman, 15. Brent Hudson, 16. Aaron Pace, 17.Jason Sims, 18. Dan Lewellen, 19. Nate Zimmer, 20. Randy Shuman
B-main winner: Bumgardner
Heat winners: Shuman, Carmichael Jr., Prince
UMP Super Stock feature
1. Wes McClara, 2. Larry Raines, 3. Doug McCullough, 4. Bryce Shidler, 5. Jonny Newgent, 6. Michael Clark, 7. Justin Massie, 8. Paul Wright, 9. Matt Jordan, 10. Carlos Bumgardner, 11. Craig Walker, 12. Jeffery Jessup, 13. Joey Archer, 14. Austin Phelps, 15. Austin Long, 16. Chris Hillman, 17. Cullen Goodman, 18. Hayden Rogers, 19. Scott Ricketts
B-main winner: Phelps
Heat winners: Shidler, McCullough, Hillman
1. Cody Wright, 2. AJ Smith, 3. Josh Litton, 4. Jordan Almanza, 5. Ethan Litton, 6. Mark Dickerson, 7. Jeff Beggs, 8. Corey Anstead, 9. Glen Ogden, 10. Megan Cavaness, 11. Jeremy Tate, 12. Travis Heramb, 13. Jeff Allen, 14. Matt Raber, 15. Ron Smith, 16. David Wallen, 17. Gary Hayden, 18. Joseph Raber, 19. Tom Cox, 20. Bob Farris
B-main winner: Allen
Heat winners: Ethan Litton, Josh Litton, Almanza, Smith
Bomber feature 2
1. Barry Hicks, 2. David Daniels, 3. Chad Steinart, 4. Matthew Grimes, 5. Frank Horvath, 6. Jacob Steinway, 7. Jim Litton Jr.