GAS CITY, IN — After a long winter and a rainout last week, Gas City I-69 Speedway drivers and fans got some relief for their spring fever as the track opened its 2019 season Friday night. Despite a persistent mist in the air, a large crowd of race-hungry fans was on hand for the six-class program at the quarter-mile dirt oval and saw defending track champion Clinton Boyles win a torrid 25-lap, non-stop, non-wing sprint car feature.
Derek Losh came out on top of a battle with Ryan Sutter to win the 20-lap UMP modified feature. Brad Strunk dominated the 15-lap American Mini Sprint Association (AMSA)’s 1,000 cc winged mini sprint feature in the first of five events that group is scheduled to present at Gas City in 2019. Joey Spiewak was triumphant in the 10-lap street stock feature, and Bill Lewis led all 10 laps of the super street main event. James Headley won the 10-lap hornets feature. The jam-packed program featured 116 race cars (including 35 sprint cars) and challenging weather, but was still over by 11:47 p.m.
Boyles started eighth in the 20-car sprint car feature but was third by lap two, took the lead from Chad Boespflug on lap four, and was lapping cars before the halfway point. Justin Grant passed Boespflug on lap 11 for second place and finished in the runner-up position. Kevin Thomas Jr., Brady Bacon and Tyler Hewitt rounded out the top five in a field of heavy hitters, but Boyles was not to be denied. He drove the same car that took him to the 2018 track championship — Paul Hazen’s red No. 57 DRC that is sponsored by Physical Medicine Consultants and KECO Coatings and powered by a Kercher-prepared Chevy engine.
The sprint action only paused once all night, when Shane O’Banion flipped between Turns 1 and 2 in warm-ups. Mini sprint driver Keith Arvin also flipped between Turns 3 and 4 at the start of that feature. Luckily both escaped injury.
Nathan Loney started second in the UMP modified feature and led the first four laps before Zeke McKenzie charged under him in Turn 2. Loney regained the lead in the same turn on lap nine before McKenzie got him back with a move to the outside in Turn 4 on the following lap. Two laps later they banged together on the backstretch, and Loney pulled off into the infield due to the contact.
McKenzie continued to show the way as the cars jerked their way around the track until something broke on his car too, which put Ryan Sutter into the lead on lap 16. Losh came on strong at the end and dipped under Sutter in Turn 4 on the white-flag lap for the victory with his Superior Sales and Service No. 21. Sutter, Scott Orr, polesitter Bill Griffith and Tony Anderson, who started 17th, rounded out the top five.
After the red for Arvin’s flip at the start of the mini sprint feature, polesitter Brad Strunk dominated that race with his Parsons Construction Group No. 23S. He had more than a half-track lead over runner-up Jack Nickles at the checkered. Howard McCormick started 15th and last but finished third. Ethan Rutherford and Chuck White were next across the line.
Bill Lewis led all 10 laps of the super street feature in the R & R Transmission/Thompson Trucking No. 14. Jeff Matheny ran in second place until Shawn Valenti got under him at the beginning of the backstretch working lap four, but by the time they reached Turns 1 and 2 Matheny slid to a stop to bring out a yellow. Jeffery Jessup ended up third behind Lewis and Valenti. Matheny rebounded for fourth and Tony Anderson rounded out the top five.
Polesitter Joey Spiewak led the whole way in the street stock feature for his first Gas City feature victory. Andy Bishop passed Mike Fincher for second on lap three to secure the runner-up honors. Fincher held on for third followed by D.J. Holt and Austin Jones.
The Headleys were the stars of the hornet feature. James Headley Jr. started second and led the first lap before his father got the lead with a move to the inside coming out of Turn 4. Headley Jr. regained the lead at the start-finish line on lap five. Eric Solms passed Headley for second on the next lap in the same spot, but Headley got second back on lap seven. His son pulled off the track and headed to the pits with two laps to go due to mechanical difficulties, which gave the lead and eventual victory back to his father in the All Star Performance No. 81. Solms held on for second followed by Logan Easerday, Stevie Clark and Frankie White.
The show was streamed live on Speed Shift TV.
All six feature winners won their respective heat races.
Next Friday night is the track’s “Salute to Moms” show in honor of Mothers Day. Sprint cars, UMP modifieds, street stocks, super streets, hornets and a spectator car race where all the drivers must be mothers are on tap for that program. The latter pays $200 to win.
Fans can see the 2019 schedule and get additional information on the track’s website at GasCityI69Speedway.com. Fans can also follow it on Facebook (@GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas), Twitter (@GasCitySpeedway) and Instagram (@GasCitySpeedway).
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps; 4 transferred): 1. Isaac Chapple, 2. Kevin Thomas Jr., 3. Matt Westfall, 4. Tim Creech, 5. Thomas Meseraull, 6. Koby Barksdale, 7. Tyler Kendall, 8. Dustin Smith, 9. Luke Harbison.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps; 4 transferred): 1. Justin Grant, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Paul Dues, 4. Tyler Hewitt, 5. Braden Clark, 6. Cody White, 7. Bryar Schroeter, 8. Parker Fredrickson, 9. Shane O’Banion.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps; 4 transferred): 1. Clinton Boyles, 2. Chad Boespflug, 3. Jarett Andretti, 4. Ben Knight, 5. Scotty Weir, 6. Dallas Hewitt, 7. Adam Byrkett, 8. Dave Gross, 9. Matt Cooley.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 4 (8 laps; 4 transferred): 1. Anthony Dalessio, 2. Dave Darland, 3. Cole Ketcham, 4. Rex Norris III, 5. Garrett Abrams, 6. Travis Hery, 7. Zane Hendricks, 8. Matt Goodnight.
Non-Wing Sprint B Main 1 (10 laps, 2 transferred): 1. Thomas Meseraull, 2. Scotty Weir, 3. Dallas Hewitt, 4. Adam Byrkett, 5. Matt Cooley, 6. Tyler Kendall, 7. Luke Harbison, 8. Dave Gross, 9. Dustin Smith, 10. Koby Barksdale.
Non-Wing Sprint B Main 2 (10 laps, 2 transferred): 1. Garrett Abrams, 2. Travis Hery, 3. Zane Hendricks, 4. Braden Clark, 5. Cody White, 6. Bryar Schroeter, 7. Parker Fredrickson, 8. Matt Goodnight (DNS), 9. Shane O’Banion (DNS).
Non-Wing Sprint Feature (25 laps): 1. Clinton Boyles, 2. Justin Grant, 3. Kevin Thomas Jr., 4. Brady Bacon, 5. Tyler Hewitt, 6. Dave Darland, 7. Jarett Andretti, 8. Matt Westfall, 9. Scotty Weir, 10. Paul Dues, 11. Ben Knight, 12. Garrett Abrams, 13. Cole Ketcham, 14. Isaac Chappel, 15. Travis Hery, 16. Rex Norris III, 17. Anthony Dalessio, 18. Chad Boespflug, 19. Tim Creech, 20. Thomas Meseraull.
UMP Modified Heat 1 (8 laps; 4 transferred): 1. Daniel Russell, 2. Todd Sherman, 3. Ryan Sutter, 4. Adam Stricker, 5. Tony Anderson, 6. Cameron Head, 7. Garrett Rons, 8. Dillon Nusbaum (DNS).
UMP Modified Heat 2 (8 laps; 4 transferred): 1. Zeke McKenzie, 2. Bill Griffith, 3. Andy Bishop, 4. Terry Sroufe, 5. Jessica Sroufe, 6. Drew Smith, 7. Jerry Bland Jr.
UMP Modified Heat 3 (8 laps; 4 transferred): 1. Derek Losh, 2. Josh Morton, 3. Dylan Woodling, 4. Jason Jones, 5. Percy Gendreau, 6. Chris Hicks, 7. Darren Mallery.
UMP Modified Heat 4 (8 laps; 4 transferred): 1. Nathan Loney, 2. Scott Orr, 3. James Grider, 4. Jesse Strange, 5. Alex Morehouse, 6. Brandon Dailey, 7. Braxton Strait (DNS), 8. John Raney (DNS).
UMP Modified B Main 1 (8 laps; 4 transferred): 1. Tony Anderson, 2. Percy Gendreau, 3. Drew Smith, 4. Jessica Sroufe, 5. Chris Hicks, 6. Darren Mallery, 7. Garrett Rons, 8. Tyler Morehouse, 9. Jerry Bland Jr., 10. Dillon Nusbaum (DNS), 11. John Raney (DNS), 12. Cameron Head (DNS), 13. Braxton Strait (DNS), 14. Brandon Dailey (DNS).
UMP Modified Feature (20 laps): 1. Derek Losh, 2. Ryan Sutter, 3. Scott Orr, 4. Bill Griffith, 5. Tony Anderson, 6. Terry Sroufe, 7. Percy Gendreau, 8. Drew Smith, 9. Jessica Sroufe, 10. James Grider, 11. Zeke McKenzie, 12. Nathan Loney, 13. Jack Jones, 14. Todd Sherman, 15. Daniel Russell, 16. Josh Morton, 17. Adam Stricker, 18. Dylan Woodling, 19. Andy Bishop, 20. Jesse Strange.
AMSA Mini Sprints Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Brad Strunk, 2. Keith Arvin, 3. Jac Nickles, 4. Chris Bounds, 5. Ethan Rutherford, 6. Alex Cogley, 7. Ryan Barr, 8. Howard McCormick.
AMSA Mini Sprints Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Eddie Mehl, 2. Bill Dunham, 3. Anthony Haas, 4. Chuck White, 5. Adam Schmenk, 6. Bryce Dues, 7. Matt Cogley.
AMSA Mini Sprints Feature (15 laps): 1. Brad Strunk, 2. Jac Nickles, 3. Howard McCormick, 4. Ethan Rutherford, 5. Chuck White, 6. Anthony Haas, 7. Adam Schmenk, 8. Alex Cogley, 9. Matt Cogley, 10. Bryce Dues, 11. Bill Dunham, 12. Chris Bounds, 13. Ryan Barr, 14. Eddie Mehl, 15. Keith Arvin.
Street Stock Heat 1 (6 laps): 1. Joey Spiewak, 2. Glenn Bradley, 3. Jeff Hinkley Jr., 4. Austin Jones, 5. Josh Neal, 6. Greg Long.
Street Stock Heat 2 (6 laps): 1. Mike Fincher, 2. D.J. Holt, 3. Andy Bishop, 4. Shane Hillman, 5. David Norman, 6. Cody Devlin.
Street Stock Feature (10 laps): 1. Joey Spiewak, 2. Andy Bishop, 3. Mike Fincher, 4. D.J. Holt, 5. Austin Jones, 6. Jeff Hinkley Jr., 7. David Norman, 8. Cody Devlin, 9. Greg Long, 10. Glenn Bradley (DNS), 11. Shane Richardson (DNS), 12. Josh Neal (DNS), 13. Shane Hillman (DNS).
Super Street Heat (6 laps): 1. Bill Lewis, 2. Jeff Matheny, 3. Jeffery Jessup, 4. Shawn Valenti, 5. Rusty Smith, 6. Tony Anderson.
Super Street Feature (10 laps): 1. Bill Lewis, 2. Shawn Valenti, 3. Jeffery Jessup, 4. Jeff Matheny, 5. Tony Anderson, 6. Rusty Smith (DNS).
Hornets Heat 1 (6 laps): 1. James Headley, 2. Frankie White, 3. Alyssa Clark, 4. Stevie Clark, 5. Jacob Beard, 6. Donnie Huddleston, 7. Dustin Franks, 8. Kaleb Hinkley, 9. Jordan Hicks.
Hornets Heat 2 (6 laps): 1. James Headley Jr., 2. Eric Solms, 3. Logan Easerday, 4. Gage Allen, 5. Jason Spencer, 6. Jesse Arenas, 7. Randy Bromer, 8. Josh Gamblin, 9. Robbie White.
Hornets Feature (10 laps): 1. James Headley, 2. Eric Solms, 3. Logan Easerday, 4. Stevie Clark, 5. Frankie White, 6. Alyssa Clark, 7. Jacob Beard, 8. Jason Spencer, 9. Donnie Huddleston, 10. Jordan Hicks, 11. James Headley Jr., 12. Jesse Arenas, 13. Dustin Franks, 14. Alyssa Clark, 15. Robbie White, 16. Gage Allen, 17. Randy Brommer, 18. Josh Gamblin (DNS).