By CAREY FOX
PUTNAMVILLE, IN – The fifth running of the “Slick Griffin Memorial” race for UMP Super Stocks highlighted Saturday’s jam packed event at Lincoln Park Speedway. Greencastle’s Doug McCullough claimed his first win of the season by edging out current national points leader Jason Hehman of Brownstown. The win had a little extra meaning for McCullough, a long time competitor and friend of Griffin, who passed away in March of 2013.
“This means a lot to me with us being competitors and being friends,” McCullough said in victory lane. “He actually gave me parts to put this car together when I first built it eight years ago. So it means a lot to me.”
There were 130 cars unloaded in the pits with 26 super stocks on hand to contest the $1,000-to-win race to memorialize Griffin, a former Brazil resident that raced for better than 40 years.
Hehman would start on the pole, but it was McCullough that took over the lead on the early laps. He would hold that tentative spot over the first half of the race as Hehman was less than a car length behind McCullough as Jonny Newgent, Larry Raines and Bryce Shidler gave chase.
McCullough and Hehman opened up a small gap over Newgent through 10 laps and by lap 15, McCullough had taken a several car length lead on Hehman with Newgent close behind. Raines and Shidler were side-by-side ahead of Steve Hollars and Ralph Groomer, who was piloting Griffin’s car.
McCullough navigated lapped traffic over the final seven circuits of the A-main and was able to hold off Hehman’s final challenges to the checkered flag. Newgent ran third ahead of Raines and Shidler.
Mother Nature was not kind of most Indiana dirt tracks, which left LPS to reap the spoils as most of the rain stayed away this weekend. The result included a massive 49-car sprint car field with six heat races going to Koby Barksdale, Colten Cottle, AJ Hopkins, Mario Clouser, Carson Short and Shane Cockrum.
Last week’s winner, Carson Short, started on the pole and made that position stick as he masterfully worked the bottom of the track to claim his third win in two weeks. Short ripped out to a strong lead through the 10th lap as Hopkins and Cottle battled side-by-side for the second spot. Shane Cockrum and Brandon Mattox ran top-five ahead of Barksdale and Jeff Bland Jr.
After a caution flag re-set the field on lap 11, Short blasted away after a good restart and didn’t look back, leaving runner-up as the only thing in doubt. As Short had the top spot locked down, Hopkins got past Cottle on lap 16 as Mattox and Cottle fought for third over the final five laps. Short would roll to the victory ahead of Hopkins as Mattox claimed the third spot followed by Cottle and Cockrum. Chad Boespflug was the big mover after starting 20th and taking home a ninth-place finish.
Twenty-nine UMP Modifieds unloaded in pursuit of a victory this weekend, but it was a familiar face in victory lane as Bloomington’s Derek Groomer scored his fourth feature win of the season ahead of the hard charging James Walters, who started eighth. Carlos Bumgardner came home with the third-place finish ahead of Dan Lewellen and Jake Leitzman.
The final main event of the evening was a battle to the finish as Josh Litton roared from a 10th-place starting spot to hold off Jordan Almanza at the finish line.
Joseph Raber started on the pole, but was involved in an early crash that sent him to the pits. Litton blasted through the field and took over the lead from Jim Litton Jr., by the fifth lap as Cody Wright fought wheel-to-wheel with Litton Jr. Tyler Neal and Almanza were also side-by-side ahead of Josh Foxworthy, Travis Heramb and Glen Ogden.
Once Josh Litton had taken over the lead, he rocketed around the top side as Almanza began to pick off cars and eventually made his way to second as Litton worked through lapped traffic over the final seven laps. Litton handled the pressure perfectly and did not allow Almanza an opening down the stretch as he scored his fifth feature win of the season. Almanza ran second ahead of Wright, Litton Jr. and Neal.
This weekend will feature fireworks as well as topless modifieds with $2,500 going to the winner. Sprint cars, bombers and super stocks are also on the docket.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint car feature
1. Carson Short, 2. AJ Hopkins, 3. Brandon Mattox, 4. Colten Cottle, 5. Shane Cockrum, 6. Jeff Bland Jr., 7. Josh Hodges, 8. Garrett Aitken, 9. Chad Boespflug, 10. Koby Barksdale, 11. Jadon Rogers, 12. Brandon Morin, 13. Mario Clouser, 14. JJ Hughes, 15. Pat Giddens, 16. Tim Creech II, 17. Tony DiMattia, 18. Shelby VanGilder, 19. Dakota Jackson, 20. Landon Simon, 21. Thomas Meseraull
B-main winners: Jackson, Hughes, Morin
Heat winners: Barksdale, Cottle, Hopkins, Clouser, Short, Cockrum
UMP Modified feature
1. Derek Groomer, 2. James Walters, 3. Carlos Bumgardner, 4. Dan Lewellen, 5. Jake Leitzman, 6. Travis Shoulders, 7. David Baldwin, 8. Tyler Loughmiller, 9. Roy Bruce Jr., 10. Lee Hobbs, 11. Sydney Landes, 12. Jeff Deckard, 13. Rob Brickert, 14. Brent Hudson, 15. Jay Humphrey Jr., 16. Casey Davis, 17. Jimmy Hayden, 18. Randy Shuman, 19. Jordan Wever, 20. Tim Prince
B-main winner: Hobbs
Heat winners: Walters, Prince, Wever, Loughmiller
UMP Super Stock feature – “Slick Griffin Memorial”
1. Doug McCullough, 2. Jason Hehman, 3. Jonny Newgent, 4. Larry Raines, 5. Bryce Shidler, 6. Ralph Groomer, 7. Steve Hollars, 8. Michael Clark, 9. David Wallen, 10. Paul Wright, 11. Kris Starks, 12. Matt Jordan, 13. Josh Litton, 14. Austin Phelps, 15. Scott Ricketts, 16. Shelburn Meeks Jr., 17. Hayden Rogers, 18. Jack Campbell, 19. Michael Fish, 20. Wes McClara DNS
B-main winner: McClara
Heat winners: Newgent, Wallen, Raines
1. Josh Litton, 2. Jordan Almanza, 3. Cody Wright, 4. Jim Litton Jr., 5. Tyler Neal, 6. Josh Foxworthy, 7. Travis Heramb, 8. Glen Ogden, 9. Megan Cavaness, 10. David Bumgardner, 11. Corey Anstead, 12. Barry Hicks, 13. Tom Cox, 14. Matt Raber, 15. Devin Wallen, 16. David Wallen, 17. Chad Steinert, 18. Larry Cowan, 19. Bob Farris, 20. Chad Casassa, 21. Jeff Allen, 22. Joseph Raber, 23. Gary Hayden
Heat winners: Foxworthy, Wright, Allen