GAS CITY, IN – Todd Sherman of Churubusco, Ind. spurned superstitions and won the 30-lap “Mod Madness” feature for the American Ethanol Modified Tour Presented by Allstar Performance at Gas City I-69 Speedway on Friday the 13th under a full moon. “The Shermanator” earned $1,500 in topping 30 entries, which was the largest winner’s check in modified competition ever at the quarter-mile dirt oval.
The versatile Matt Westfall of Pleasant Hill, Ohio became the seventh different non-wing sprint car winner at Gas City this year by using the low line to win that 25-lap feature, which also attracted 30 entries.
Twenty-three USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 midget drivers signed in, and Stratton Briggs of Anna, Ohio put an end to Chett Gehrke’s domination of that division at Gas City this season. Briggs won the 20-lap midget feature after Gehrke, of Louisville, Ky., won three similar races earlier this year but finished fifth during the final Friday night show of the year.
James Headley Jr. of Wabash, Ind. was forced to start at the rear for the hornet feature since he won the last three hornet main events at Gas City, but it didn’t matter as he made it four in a row in that 15-lapper to close the show. It was his seventh feature victory of the year at Gas City.
Charlie Riley, senior pastor of Abundant Life Church in Oakford, Ind., led wire to wire to win the special “Faster Pastor” school bus race. Mark Atkinson, senior pastor of Eastview Wesleyan Church in Gas City, finished a close second. Steve Hood, the nextgen pastor at New Hope Baptist Church in Gas City, came on strong in the late going to place third, while Jared Webb, pastor of Lakeview Wesleyan Church in Marion, Ind., rounded out the field.
The $500 prize money was given to the minister who brought the most fans, which turned out to be Pastor Riley anyway. After climbing down from the hood of his school bus after his jubilant victory lane celebration he told the large crowd on hand that he’d donate the money to a veterans’ charity.
The modified feature got off to a slow start due to numerous yellows and reds, but in the end it was an extravaganza of “door handle to door handle” racing despite the fact none of the cars actually have doors or door handles. Andy Bishop of Gas City led the first three laps before Zeke McKenzie of Claypool, Ind. passed him on the outside in Turn 4 on a restart. Bishop used the inside to take the lead back on lap five, McKenzie got him back to the inside on the frontstretch on lap six, and then Bishop regained the lead with a move to the inside in Turn 3 working lap seven before another yellow waved.
Bishop led through lap 11 while “The Shermanator” was working his way towards him. Nathon Loney of Danville, Ohio, who is also a basketball coach, was also on the move, and he passed both Bishop and Sherman working lap 12 to nab the lead before Bishop got it back on the backstretch working lap 14, right before McKenzie dropped out. Two laps later the raging battle got even hotter, and Sherman passed Bishop for the lead working lap 18 with a move to the outside in Turn 4.
Sherman led the rest of the way in the Ferris Racing No. 65, which is sponsored in part by Pro Strip Powder Coating, TeamSE.com, Sherman Enterprises, Zamp Helmets, All Star Performance, Ztech and All Pro Towing.
Loney dropped out with 21 laps complete, and Derek Losh of Rennselaer, Ind., who has six modified feature victories this year at Gas City, passed Bishop for second on lap 22. Despite another caution that set up a five-lap shootout at the end, Sherman had a 1.023-second lead over Losh at the checkered. Dylan Woodling of Warsaw, Ind. finished third despite getting airborne on lap 16. Behind him was a four-car battle for fourth at the line. Bishop ended up in that position, while Dillon Nusbaum of Warsaw, Ind., the track’s defending modified champion, rounded out the top five.
Scotty Weir of Marion, Ind. started second in the 20-car sprint car feature, passed polesitter Shane Cottle of Kansas, Ill. for the lead in Turn 2 on the first lap, and led the first 17 laps of that 25-lapper. By lap 12 the top four drivers — Weir, Cottle, Scott Hampton and Garrett Abrams —were running in a pack just inches apart.
Cottle dipped under Weir for the lead on lap 18, but two laps later Westfall passed both Cottle and Weir by going low in Turn 4. Westfall had to survive two restarts, including one after a red with one lap remaining when the car of Sterling Cling of Tempe, Ariz. got on its side in a Turn 4 tangle that also involved Adam Byrkett of Burnettsville, Ind. and Anthony D’Alessio of Gas City. Luckily no one was hurt.
Westfall stuck to the low side and took the checkered with Cottle, Hampton, Weir and Dallas Hewitt of Fletcher, Ohio following right behind him.
The winning car is fielded by Ray Marshall Motorsports of Forest, Ohio. It’s a Maxim chassis powered by a Hampshire-prepped engine. The team is sponsored in part by Buckeye Machine, DPI Ink and Leary Shock Technology. Phil Westfall is the winning chief mechanic.
Thomas Meseraull of Waveland, Ind., who has seven feature victories so far this year at Gas City, had to qualify through the B main, which he won. He finished ninth in the feature.
Polesitter Aaron Leffel of Springfield, Ohio, who is leading the USAC Midwest Thunder point standings, led the first nine laps of the SpeeD2 midget feature until Briggs, who started right behind him in third, got on top of Leffel’s car’s side in Turn 4. Brigg’s No. 71, which is sponsored by SBM Racing Suspension Specialist and Armor Coat Ceramic Header Coatings, led the rest of the way. Leffel finished second, taking the checkered flag 3.493 seconds after Briggs did.
In the second half of the race the best battle was for third. It went to Nate Foster of Greenwood, Ind. followed by Gunnar Lucius of Delphos, Ohio and Gehrke.
Charlie Teegarden of Marion, Ind. led the first lap of the hornet feature before Jacob Beard of Columbia City, Ind. passed him and led the next seven laps. Although Headley Jr. started in the last row, he was in the top five by lap two, the top three by lap six, and second by lap seven. Headley Jr. took the lead from Beard with a move to the outside as they were entering Turn 3 working lap eight, and went on to a comfortable victory in his No. 00, which is sponsored by Dudding’s Heating and Cooling, Garriott Electric, Edwards Automotive and TJR Trucking.
Dalton Bishop of Gas City drove James Headley’s “outlaw” car to a second-place finish after starting tenth. Randy Brommer finished third and Teegarden placed fourth. Beard took fifth minus a right-rear wheel, which had flown off his car a lap earlier in Turn 2.
Friday’s races marked the track’s final Friday night show of the year, but three more special dates remain in 2019 that fans won’t want to miss.
On Thursday, Sept. 26 the track will present the second annual James Dean Classic featuring the USAC AMSOIL national sprint cars, UMP modifieds and mini-sprints. A special event T-shirt similar to last year’s that sold out will be available. Shane Cottle took the lead on the last lap and won by inches over C.J. Leary in the USAC AMSOIL sprint car race at Gas City during Indiana Sprint Week in July. Kevin Thomas Jr. won the inaugural running of the James Dean Classic last year over Leary by only 0.586 of a second.
The first annual Fall Festival of Speed will close the season on Saturday, Oct. 5 and Sunday, Oct. 6. The Saturday program will pay $2,000 to the winner of the non-wing sprint car feature, and will also include AVSCA sprints, open midgets, 305 winged sprints, MMSA/AMSA mini-sprints and tough trucks. Sunday’s season finale will pay $1,000 to the winner of the UMP modified feature and will also include late models, street stocks, hornets and winged micro-sprints.
Fans can get additional information on the track’s website at GasCityI69Speedway.com. Fans can also follow it on Facebook (@GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas), Twitter (@GasCitySpeedway) and Instagram (@GasCitySpeedway).
American Ethanol Modified Group 1 Qualifying: 1. Dylan Woodling, 14.044; 2. Todd Sherman, 14.157; 3. Andy Sherley, 14.251; 4. Jerry Bowersock, 14.287; 5. Bill Griffith, 14.299; 6. Aaron Orr, 14.602; 7. Nathon Loney, 14.657; 8. Garrett Rons, 14.887.
American Ethanol Modified Group 2 Qualifying: 1. Derek Losh, 13.465; 2. Zeke McKenzie, 13.920; 3. Tony Anderson, 14.318; 4. Clayton Bryant, 14.338; 5. Daniel Russell, 14.476; 6. Scott Orr, 14.770; 7. Terry Sroufe, 15.694.
American Ethanol Modified Group 3 Qualifying: 1. Luke Hubbell, 14.584; 2. Drew Smith, 14.604; 3. Ryan Sutter, 14.736; 4. Terry Grilliot, 14.920; 5. David Boening, 14.992; 6. Dan Hubbell, 15.046; 7. Jason Jones, 15.313; 8. Jason Brennan, 15.368.
American Ethanol Modified Group 4 Qualifying: 1. Andy Bishop, 13.946; 2. Rick Swartout, 14.559; 3. Braxton Strait, 14.676; 4. Josh Betts, 14.741; 5. Ryan Ramseyer, 14.838; 6. Dillon Nusbaum, 14.876; 7. Chad Bauer, 15.244.
American Ethanol Modified Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Dylan Woodling, 2. Todd Sherman, 3. Jerry Bowersock, 4. Nathon Loney, 5. Bill Griffith, 6. Aaron Orr, 7. Garrett Rons, 8. Andy Sherley.
American Ethanol Modified Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Tony Anderson, 2. Zeke McKenzie, 3. Derek Losh, 4. Clayton Bryant, 5. Daniel Russell, 6. Scott Orr, 7. Terry Sroufe.
American Ethanol Modified Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Ryan Sutter, 2. Luke Hubbell, 3. Drew Smith, 4. Terry Grilliot, 5. Jason Brennan, 6. Dan Hubbell, 7. David Boening, 8. Jason Jones.
American Ethanol Modified Heat 4 (8 laps): 1. Andy Bishop, 2. Braxton Strait, 3. Chad Bauer, 4. Ryan Ramseyer, 5. Dillon Nusbaum, 6. Rick Swartout, 7. Josh Betts.
American Ethanol Modified B Main 1 (8 laps): 1. Bill Griffith, 2. Dan Hubbell, 3. Aaron Orr, 4. Garrett Rons, 5. Andy Sherley, 6. David Boening, 7. Jason Jones.
American Ethanol Modified B Main 2 (8 laps): 1. Daniel Russell, 2. Dillon Nusbaum, 3. Scott Orr, 4. Terry Sroufe, 5. Josh Betts, 6. Rick Swartout.
American Ethanol Modified Feature (30 laps): 1. Todd Sherman, 2. Derek Losh, 3. Dylan Woodling, 4. Andy Bishop, 5. Dillon Nusbaum, 6. Ryan Sutter, 7. Chad Bauer, 8. Clayton Bryant, 9. Garrett Rons, 10. Bill Griffith, 11. Ryan Ramseyer, 12. Daniel Russell, 13. Scott Orr, 14. Nathon Loney, 15. Zeke McKenzie, 16. Drew Smith, 17. Jason Brennan, 18. Luke Hubbell, 19. Tony Anderson, 20. Braxton Strait, 21. Jerry Bowersock, 22. Dan Hubbell.
Non-Wing Sprint Car Group 1 Qualifying: 1. Scott Hampton, 13.164; 2. Adam Byrkett, 13.253; 3. Brayden Clark, 13.346; 4. Matt Goodnight, 13.420; 5. Dustin Ingle, 13.426; 6. Cody White, 13.475; 7. Jacob Gordon, 14.169; 8. Shane Obanion, 14.589.
Non-Wing Sprint Car Group 2 Qualifying: 1. Mike Miller, 12.827; 2. Tyler Hewitt, 12.837; 3. Dallas Hewitt, 12.944; 4. Shane Cottle, 13.007; 5. Tyler Kendall, 13.054; 6. Travis Hery, 13.163; 7. Cooper Welch, 14.262; 8. Luke Hall, no time.
Non-Wing Sprint Car Group 3 Qualifying: 1. Thomas Meseraull, 12.742; 2. Anthony D’Alessio, 12.877; 3. Matt Westfall, 12.931; 4. Garrett Abrams, 13.031; 5. Landon Simon, 13.178; 6. J.J. Hughes, 13.358; 7. Brian Vaughn, 14.222.
Non-Wing Sprint Car Group 4 Qualifying: 1. Tim Creech, 12.711; 2. Sterling Cling, 12.817; 3. Cole Ketcham, 12.909; 4. Scotty Weir, 12.958; 5. Matt Cooley, 13.548; 6. Joe Liguori, 13.586; 7. Jack James, 14.080.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Scott Hampton, 2. Adam Byrkett, 3. Matt Goodnight, 4. Brayden Clark, 5. Dustin Ingle, 6. Jacob Gordon, 7. Shane O’Banion, 8. Cody White.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Shane Cottle, 2. Dallas Hewitt, 3. Tyler Hewitt, 4. Tyler Kendall, 5. Mike Miller, 6. Travis Hery, 7. Cooper Welch, 8. Luke Hall (DNS).
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps, 4 transferred: 1. Matt Westfall, 2. Garrett Abrams, 3. Anthony D’Alessio, 4. Landon Simon, 5. J.J. Hughes, 6. Thomas Meseraull, 7. Brian Vaughn.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 4 (8 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Scotty Weir, 2. Tim Creech, 3. Cole Ketcham, 4. Sterling Cling, 5. Matt Cooley, 6. Joe Liguori, 7. Jack James.
Non-Wing Sprint B Main 1 (10 laps; 4 transferred ): 1. Thomas Meseraull, 2. Dustin Ingle, 3. J.J. Hughes, 4. Jacob Gordon, 5. Travis Hery, 6. Shane O’Banion, 7. Matt Cooley, 8. Joe Liguori, 9. Cody White, 10. Jack James, 11. Cooper Welch, 12. Brian Vaughn, 13. Mike Miller, 14. Luke Hall (DNS).
Non-Wing Sprint Feature (25 laps): 1. Matt Westfall, 2. Shane Cottle, 3. Scott Hampton, 4. Scotty Weir, 5. Dallas Hewitt, 6. Garrett Abrams, 7. Matt Goodnight, 8. Tyler Hewitt, 9. Thomas Meseraull, 10. Cole Ketcham, 11. J.J. Hughes, 12. Dustin Ingle, 13. Brayden Clark, 14. Jacob Gordon, 15. Tyler Kendall, 16. Tim Creech, 17. Anthony D’Alessio, 18. Sterling Cling, 19. Adam Byrkett, 20. Landon Simon.
USAC SpeeD2 Midget Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Stratton Briggs, 2. Cory Gingrich, 3. Gunnar Lucius, 4. Zach Gingrich, 5. Bryce Dues, 6. Mike Hessel, 7. Thomas Bigelow, 8. Leonard Foster.
USAC SpeeD2 Midget Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Aaron Leffel, 2. Cory Bedwell, 3. Chett Gehrke, 4. Ian Creagel, 5. Marc Neft Jr., 6. Bryce Messingill, 7. Don Bigelow, 8. Mike Magic.
USAC SpeeD2 Midget Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Zane Briggs, 2. Nathan Foster, 3. Nick Bowers, 4. Michael Magic, 5. Brandon Dailey, 6. Josh Chess, 7. Kyle Kriegbaum.
USAC SpeeD2 Midget Feature (20 laps): 1. Stratton Briggs, 2. Aaron Leffel, 3. Nathan Foster, 4. Gunnar Lucius, 5. Chett Gehrke. 6. Cory Guingrich, 7. Zane Briggs, 8. Zach Guingrich, 9. Kyle Kreigbaum, 10. Nick Bowers, 11. Corey Bedwell, 12. Bryce Massingill, 13. Ian Creager, 14. Josh Chess, 15. Michael Magic, 16. Mark Neft Jr., 17. Don Bigelow, 18. Thomas Bigelow, 19. Leonard Foster, 20. Bryce Dues, 21. Mike Hessel, 22. Brandon Dailey.
Hornet Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Bryce Lainglois, 2. Donnie Huddleson, 3. Charlie Teegarden, 4. Jesse Arenas, 5. Brad Evans, 6. James Headley Jr. (DNF).
Hornet Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Jacob Beard, 2. Randy Brommer, 3. Joey Eastes, 4. Dustin Franks, 5. Dalton Bishop, 6. Billy Beard.
Hornet Feature (15 laps): 1. James Headley Jr., 2. Dalton Bishop, 3. Randy Brommer, 4. Charlie Teegarden, 5. Jacob Beard, 6. Joey Eastes, 7. Brad Evans, 8. Jesse Arenas, 9. Donnie Huddleson, 10. Bryce Langlois, 11. Dustin Franks, 12. Billy Beard.