GAS CITY, IN — Forty non-wing sprint car drivers signed in at Gas City I-69 Speedway Friday night to try to win the $2,000 top prize awarded to the winner of the second annual Jerry Gappens Sr. Memorial. At the end of 25 laps, however, the winner was the same driver who has won three other sprint car features at the Grant County quarter-mile clay track so far this year, Thomas Meseraull of Waveland, Ind.
This time “T-Mez” started second in the race named in honor of the current promoter’s late father. He drove the Don Whitney Racing No. 00, which is a Hawk chassis sponsored by Ultracell and Physical Medicine Consultants. He led every lap, surviving three restarts and weaving through lapped traffic for a commanding victory over Robert Ballou of Tipton, Ind., who drove his family’s No. 12 sponsored in part by Dickinson Farms, Lucas Oil Products and Abreu Vineyards.
“I’ve been racing open-wheel cars for 20 years; sometimes you have to wait your turn, but my turn is here!” the 38-year-old native Californian said jubilantly in victory lane.
Meseraull out-dragged polesitter Matt McDonald of Pittsboro, Ind. into Turn 1 for the lead on the first lap. Kevin Thomas Jr., a native of Cullman, Ala. who won here on June 5, started third and immediately jumped into second before the race was red-flagged with two laps down when Isaac Chapple of Willow Branch, Ind. flipped hard between Turns 1 and 2. He climbed out under his own power and the track crew worked quickly to cover some spilled fuel.
Thomas spun in Turn 2 on the restart and was collected by A.J. Hopkins, who had nowhere to go, which prematurely ended the night of the drivers who were running second and fourth. Paul Dues of Minster, Ohio spun to miss them, but he was able to continue.
That put McDonald in second, but Ballou got around him working lap five and chased Meseraull the rest of the way. Ballou got especially close using the low side in Turn 2 working lap 11 after a restart following Scotty Weir’s spin in Turn 3, but he couldn’t make a pass stick. One lap later Brady Bacon got around Matt Westfall of Pleasant Hill, Ohio for third. Ballou and Bacon had a heated battle for second on laps 16 and 17 and again on laps 23 and 24, but Ballou held Bacon’s Longworth Equipment Special off. Westfall had a strong run to finish fourth, while Jarett Andretti of Indianapolis came out on top of a torrid multi-car battle for fifth. The latter started 15th in the 21-car field.
Derek Losh of Renssalaer, Ind. started second and led all 20 laps of the non-stop UMP modified feature in the Superior Sales & Service/Rensselaer Iron & Metal Co. No. 21 Rocket. He worked lapped traffic masterfully and had a straightaway lead over Scott Orr at the checkered. Josh Morton finished third, Todd Sherman was fourth and Weasel Phlipot of Covington, Ohio turned a tenth-place starting spot into a top-five finish.
The 15-lap American Mini-Sprint Association (AMSA) feature went to Jac Nickles of Harrod, Ohio. Polesitter Austin Powell led the first nine laps before Matt Freeman brought out a yellow when he stopped low in Turn 4. Nickles passed Powell for the lead at the start/finish line as the field put lap 10 in the books, and led the remaining five laps to secure the victory in the CTK Motorsports No. 31 sponsored in part by T&D Interiors, NWO, RCS Construction and NBC Steering and Pumps.
Ryan Barr of Piqua, Ohio nipped Powell at the line on the last lap for the runner-up honors. Powell, of Wilmington, Ohio, said he got a little loose in the closing laps so he was pleased to finish third. Anthony Hass of Sabina, Ohio and Brandon Watson of Daleville, Ind. rounded out the top five.
Fifteen-year-old James Headley Jr. of Wabash, Ind. started next to last in the 15-lap hornet feature, dipped under Alyssa Clark of Columbia City, Ind. for the lead in Turn 2 working lap six, and had a half-straightaway lead over runner-up Gage Allen of Warren, Ind. to post his second victory in a row at Gas City. Headley, a sophomore at Southwood Junior-Senior High School, is sponsored by Dudding’s Heating and Cooling, Garrett Electric, Edwards Automotive and TJR Trucking.
Allen passed Clark for second working lap nine with a move to the inside as they were going through Turn 2. She held on to third until the last lap, when Randy Brommer, also of Columbia City, got by to relegate her to fourth. Stevie Clark of Galveston, Ind. rounded out the top five.
David Short of Winamac, Ind. works at Good Oil Company and has “Good to Go” on the side of his No. 15 street stock. It certainly was on Friday night, as he started on the pole and led all 15 laps of that feature despite being a late arrival. Andy Bishop of Gas City and Tim Wilbur threw everything they had at him but they finished second and third, respectively. Chris Tippet and Mike Fincher rounded out the top five.
The intermission entertainment was Dale “Candyman” Korporal’s Kids’ Coin and Candy Scramble.
A total of 111 race cars were on hand for the five-division program. Despite the threat of rain in the area and the large car count, the well-run program went off without a hitch and was over by 11:04 p.m.
Next Friday, June 28, is another big show at Gas City. The track management hopes the rain will keep away again so there is “Summer Thunder” on the track instead of over it with a five-division card featuring sprint cars, UMP modifieds, street stocks, hornets and A-class winged micro-sprints.
Over the Fourth of July weekend Gas City will switch to a Saturday night format instead of Friday with its Star-Spangled Spectacular on July 6. Sprint cars, UMP modifieds, street stocks, hornets, tough trucks and MMSA mini-sprints are on the card, as is a big fireworks show.
The track will also be in action on Friday, July 12 prior to its Thursday night, July 18 date that is part of USAC Sprint Week.
Fans can download the complete 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): 1. Tyler Hewitt, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Cody White, 4. Brian Karraker, 5. Steve Little, 6. Evan Mosley, 7. Brayden Fox, 8. Brayden Clark.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 2. A.J. Hopkins, 3. Matt Goodnight, 4. Anthony D’Alessio, 5. Koby Barksdale, 6. Dallas Hewitt, 7. Zane Hendricks, 8. Brain VanMeveren (DNS).
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Robert Ballou, 2. Dustin Ingle, 3. Scotty Weir, 4. Luke Hall, 5. Shane Cockrum, 6. Clinton Boyles, 7. Adam Byrkett, 8. Austin Nigh.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 4 (8 laps): 1. Matt McDonald, 2. Matt Westfall, 3. Paul Dues, 4. Mike Miller, 5. Brady Ottinger, 6. Cole Ketcham, 7. Korbyn Hayslett, 8. Tyler Kendall.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 5 (8 laps): 1. Thomas Meseraull, 2. Josh Hodges, 3. Jarett Andretti, 4. Gary Rooke, 5. Isaac Chapple, 6. Max Adams, 7. Corey Smith, 7. Tim Creech.
Non-Wing Sprint First B Main (10 laps): 1. Luke Hall, 2. Max Adams, 3. Koby Barksdale, 4. Gary Rooke, 5. Clinton Boyles, 6. Brian Karraker, 7. Evan Mosley, 8. Korbyn Hayslett, 9. Zane Hendricks, 10. Tim Creech, 11. Austin Nigh, 12. Brayden Clark, 13. Brady Ottinger.
Non-Wing Sprint Second B Main (10 laps): 1. Isaac Chapple, 2. Shane Cockrum, 3. Mike Miller, 4. Anthony D’Alessio, 5. Dallas Hewitt, 6. Cole Ketcham, 7. Brayden Fox, 8. Corey Smith, 9. Adam Byrkett, 10. Steve Little, 11. Tyler Kendall, 12. Brian VanMeveren (DNS).
Jerry Gappens Sr. Non-Wing Sprint Feature (25 laps): 1. Thomas Meseraull, 2. Robert Ballou, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Matt Westfall, 5. Jarett Andretti, 6. Tyler Hewitt, 7. Scotty Weir, 8. Josh Hodges, 9. Matt Goodnight, 10. Paul Dues, 11. Luke Hall, 12. Max Adams, 13. Shane Cockrum, 14. Dustin Ingle, 15. Koby Barksdale, 16. Matt McDonald, 17. Cody White, 18. Mike Miller, 19. A.J. Hopkins, 20. Kevin Thomas Jr., 21. Isaac Chapple.
UMP Modified Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Derek Losh, 2. Todd Sherman, 3. Bill Griffith, 4. Weasel Phlipot, 5. Andy Sherly, 6. Clayton Bryant, 7. Jerry Bland Jr., 8. Joshua Hotsinpiller, 9. Tim McCafferty.
UMP Modified Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Ryan Sutter, 2. Andy Bishop, 3. Josh Betts, 4. Aaron Orr, 5. Tony Anderson, 6. Garrett Rons, 7. Jessica Sroufe, 8. Luke Timmerman.
UMP Modified Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Josh Morton, 2. Scott Orr, 3. Shane O’Connor, 4. Bub Roberts, 5. Dillon Nusbaum, 6. Michael Tarlton, 7. Nick Rosselit, 8. Daniel Russell.
UMP Modified B Main (10 laps): 1. Michael Tarlton, 2. Clayton Bryant, 3. Garrett Rons, 4. Joshua Hotsinpiller, 5. Nick Rosselit, 6. Jerry Bland Jr., 7. Luke Timmerman, 8. Jessica Sroufe, 9. Tim McCafferty, 10. Daniel Russell (DNS).
UMP Modified Feature (20 laps): 1.Derek Losh, 2. Scott Orr, 3. Josh Morton, 4. Todd Sherman, 5. Weasel Phlipot, 6. Ryan Sutter, 7. Bub Roberts, 8. Bill Griffith, 9. Shane O’Connor, 10. Michael Tarlton, 11. Aaron Orr, 12. Tony Anderson, 13. Dillon Nusbaum, 14. Andy Sherly, 15. Garrett Rons, 16. Clayton Bryant, 17. Nick Rosselit, 18. Joshua Hotsinpiller, 19. Josh Betts, 20. Andy Bishop.
Street Stock Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. David Short, 2. Mike Fincher, 3. Chris Tippet, 4. J.J. Nordman, 5. James Watters, 6. Larry Persinger, 7. D.J. Holt, 8. Ervin Turner.
Street Stock Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Andy Bishop, 2. Tim Wilbur, 3. Travis Wolford, 4. Ron Flaugh, 5. Mason Bevard, 6. Greg Marlow, 7. Jason Fritz.
Street Stock Feature (15 laps): 1. David Short, 2. Andy Bishop, 3. Tim Wilbur, 4. Chris Tippet, 5. Mike Fincher, 6. Travis Wolford, 7. James Watters, 8. Jason Fritz, 9. Ron Flaugh, 10. Greg Marlow, 11. D.J. Holt, 12. Larry Persinger, 13. J.J. Nordman, 14. Ervin Turner, 15. Mason Bevard.
Hornet Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Alyssa Clark, 2. Jacob Beard, 3. Dustin Franks, 4. Brad Evans, 5. Aaron Dennis, 6. Joey Eastes.
Hornet Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Stevie Clark, 2. Randy Brommer, 3. Kolton Sollars, 4. Robbie White, 5. Jason Spencer, 6. James Headley Jr., 7. Gage Allen.
Hornet Feature (15 laps): 1. James Headley Jr., 2. Gage Allen, 3. Randy Brommer, 4. Alyssa Clark, 5. Stevie Clark, 6. Jacob Beard, 7. Dustin Franks, 8. Joey Eastes, 9. Robbie White, 10. Brad Evans, 11. Kolton Sollars, 12. Jason Spencer, 13. Aaron Dennis (DNS).
AMSA Mini-Sprints Heat 1 (6 laps): 1. Austin Powell, 2. Brandon Watson, 3. Ryan Barr, 4. Alex Cogley, 5. Chris Miller, 6. Matt Freeman, 7. Eddie Mehl, 8. James Moore, 9. Cory Douhan (DNS).
AMSA Mini-Sprints Heat 2 (6 laps): Anthony Haas, 2. Jac Nickles, 3. Ryan Moran, 4. Howard McCormick, 5. Bill Dunham, 6. Jerry Inbody, 7. Chuck Wright, 8. Adam Schmenk, 9. Matt Cogley.
AMSA Mini-Sprints Feature (15 laps): Jac Nickles, 2. Ryan Barr, 3. Austin Powell, 4. Anthony Haas, 5. Brandon Watson, 6. Howard McCormick, 7. Adam Schmenk, 8. Bill Dunham, 9. Chris Miller, 10. Alex Cogley, 11. Jerry Inbody, 12. Eddie Mehl, 13. Matt Cogley, 14. Chuck Wright, 15. Ryan Moran, 16. Matt Freeman, 17. James Moore (DNS), 18. Cory Douhan (DNS).