By CAREY FOX
PUTNAMVILLE, IN – The weekend got off to a rather ignominious start for Lincoln, Ind. native Dave Darland. However, it ended with a sweet result on Saturday night with a victory in the 30th running of the Putnamville Clash at Lincoln Park Speedway.
Darland fought off an intense challenge from both Jeff Bland Jr. and Thomas Meseraull after a couple of late re-starts in the 30-lap A-main to claim the $3,000 payday in the Michael Dutcher No. 17.
In the UMP Modified feature, Richie Lex pulled away from the field over the last 15 laps to pick up the win. Steve Peeden added another UMP Super Stock feature victory in his pursuit of a national points championship and Jordan Almanza won his fourth bomber feature of the season at LPS.
Darland’s victory proved to be a very popular one as the “Peoples Champ” withstood repeated challenges from Bland over the last 20 laps. A night after he led early on at Route 44 Speedway in a Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series (BOSS) event in the Hery No. 40 before mechanical issue sidelined him, Darland was dialed in from his opening laps for the Dutcher squad.
Brent Beauchamp won the first heat race and Bland claimed the second ahead of Darland in a precursor to their A-main theatrics. Dakota Jackson topped Meseraull in the third heat race to set up the feature lineup.
Darland started on the pole and set the early pace despite the fact that Bland had dialed in the bottom line as Darland chose the top side. Meseraull stalked the leaders and held third after five circuits as Jackson and Beauchamp ran wheel-to-wheel for the fourth spot ahead of Shane Cockrum.
By the seventh lap the leaders were already into lapped traffic as a slicked off track made each pass a technical foray. Darland masterfully worked through the first lapped cars, but Bland was equal to the task and sought out a passing line.
Darland maintained the lead and settled back into an outright first-place position by lap nine, but Bland began to get a huge run off the bottom of the final two corners. On lap 10, Bland ripped off turn four and pulled ahead, before Darland tracked him down and re-took the lead into turn one. Through laps 15-20, Bland and Darland swapped the advantage by several feet coming out of turn four each lap. Darland took away the bottom from Bland for several laps before a caution came out on lap 21.
Darland got a strong re-start and ripped past the start-finish line with a small advantage over Bland on lap 25 as Meseraull continued to close on the lead duo. Beauchamp and Jackson continued to hold down top-five spots as Kyle Robbins held sixth and of Garrett Aitken.
A final caution came out to re-set the field with three laps remaining and set up a final dash for the top prize.
As the green flag flew, Darland hammered through the first two laps up front, Meseraull closed the gap between himself and Bland heading into the final two corners. “T-Mez” threw his Chase Briscoe-owned No. 5 deep into turn four in a final shot at the lead, but checked up as his momentum took him to Darland’s left rear tire. Darland caught his momentum out of turn four to pick up the victory as Meseraull snagged second ahead of Bland, Beauchamp and Jackson.
There was no such drama in the UMP Modified and super stock features as Lex managed to stay out of a seven-car pileup on the first lap that took out a couple of potential contenders early.
Lex and McDaniel started on the front row and duked it out over the first seven laps side-by-side before Lex’s No. 7 machine began to hook up with the slick track and gain some ground.
By lap eight, Lex had opened up a several car length lead over McDaniel and he would never look back. Derek Groomer sat back in third position as Kenny Carmichael Jr. and Kenny Carmichael Sr. fought for the fourth spot.
At the midway point of the race, Lex had fully seized control and would roll on to a solid victory as McDaniel held down the second spot ahead of Groomer as Carmichael Sr. and Carmichael Jr. wrapped up the top-five.
Peeden started outside of the front row alongside Larry Raines in the UMP Super Stock main event. The pair ran tight with each other for several early laps before Peeden began to open up some space by the sixth lap. Peeden would go on to a sizable win as Raines remained in second ahead of Jonny Newgent and Doug McCullough with Wes McClara wrapping the top-five.
In the final feature of the evening, Almanza fended off serious challenges from CJ Bryan, Josh Litton and Megan Cavaness to get the victory.
Almanza started on the pole and would stay there despite running through traffic as Bryan roared along on his bumper as Litton held down third after battling past Cavaness and Cody Wright. A late caution set up a last dash to the checkered flag, but Almanza proved up to the task.
Litton squeezed past Bryan over the final laps for the second spot as Randall Caldwell advanced to fourth ahead of Cavaness.
This weekend will feature a regular card of sprints, modifieds, super stocks and bombers as well as make-up features from the July 22 rain out.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint Car feature
“30th Annual Putnamville Clash”
1. Dave Darland, 2. Thomas Meseraull, 3. Jeff Bland Jr., 4. Brent Beauchamp, 5. Dakota Jackson, 6. Kyle Robbins, 7. Garrett Aitken, 8. Brandon Mattox, 9. Nate McMillin, 10. Lee Underwood, 11. Matt McDonald, 12. Koby Barksdale, 13. Tim Creech II, 14. Chad Davenport, 15. Harley Burns, 16. Alec Sipes, 17. John Nicosin, 18. Max McGhee, 19. Brady Ottinger, 20. Shane Cockrum, 21. Carson Short, 22. Brady Short
Heat winners: Beauchamp, Bland Jr., Jackson
UMP Modified feature
1. Richie Lex, 2. Josh McDaniel, 3. Derek Groomer, 4. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 5. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 6. Tyler Loughmiller, 7. Michael Fish, 8. Paul Bumgardner, 9. Rob Brickert, 10. Sydney Landes, 11. Brent Hudson, 12. Josh Boller, 13. RJ Pruitt, 14. Aaron Zellers, 15. Boomer Houk, 16. Dan Lewellen, 17. Michael Beatty, 18. Cole Parker, 19. JR Watkins, 20. Dave Popielarz
B-main winner: Landes
Heat winners: McDaniel, Lex, Boller
UMP Super Stock feature
1. Steve Peeden, 2. Larry Raines, 3. Jonny Newgent, 4. Doug McCullough, 5. Wes McClara, 6. Kris Starks, 7. Paul Wright, 8. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 9. Ray Walters, 10. Kenny Fields, 11. Brandon Morin, 12. Chucky Walden, 13. Terry Leitzman, 14. Jack Campbell, 15. Cullen Goodman, 16. Edward Freeman
Heat winners: Peeden, Raines
1. Jordan Almanza, 2. Josh Litton, 3. CJ Bryan, 4. Randall Caldwell, 5. Megan Cavaness, 6. Cody
Wright, 7. David Wallen, 8. Gary Hayden, 9. Tom Cox, 10. Travis Heramb, 11. Jerry Hutto, 12. David Bumgardner, 13. Ron Smith, 14. Matt Raber, 15. Bob Farris, 16. Keivan Clodfelter, 17. Tyler Rodgers, 18. Sean Yakel, 19. Glen Ogden, 20. Chad Casassa, 21. Alex Beach, 22. Seth Powell, 23. Devin Wallen, 24. Curt Leonard
Heat winners: Bryan, Cavaness, Hutto