Blonde Wins SOD Winged Sprint Feature at Gas-City

GAS CITY, IN – Chad Blonde of Litchfield, Mich. won the 25-lap Lane Automotive Sprints on Dirt (SOD) winged sprint car feature to highlight the second annual “Jack and Jiggs Classic” Friday night at Gas City I-69 Speedway. The event honors track owner Jack Himelick and former promoter Jiggs Thomason.

Derek Losh of Rennselaer, Ind. took the checkered flag first for the second time this year at the quarter-mile clay oval in the 20-lap UMP modified main event. Chett Gehrke of Louisville, Ky. was victorious in the 20-lap USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 midget feature. Andy Bishop of Gas City won his third 15-lap street stock feature of the year at the Grant County track. James Headley Jr. of Wabash, Ind. earned $400 for winning the 15-lap hornet feature, and Bill Lewis of Fountain City, Ind. topped the six-lap super street trophy dash in the action-packed program.

James Headley of Marion, Ind., the winningest driver in Gas City I-69 Speedway history, and Chuck Landis of the Chronicle-Tribune of Marion, Ind. were honored as the 2019 inductees into the track’s Wall of Fame behind the grandstands. They join the inaugural recipients of this honor, Himelick and Thomason.

Blonde, the 2018 SOD champion, won his heat, the dash and the sprint car feature in the NEFCO Metal Sales & Fabrication Maxim with Krieger Racing Engines power. It was the series’ first visit to Gas City in 20 years and four of the series’ first five races were rained out this year, which may have accounted for the rough-and-tumble feature that saw three yellows and three red flags.

Blonde started on the pole but his fellow front-row starter, Zane DeVault of Plymouth, Ind., led the first nine laps. Blonde used lapped traffic to help him pass DeVault on the outside in Turn 4 working lap 10 right before Ryan Ruhl of Coldwater, Mich., who won the season opener, spun in Turn 2 to bring out the race’s third yellow.

Blonde went on to post a 5.649-second victory over DeVault, but not before the race was halted three times. The first red was for Dan McCarron of Dundee, Mich., who flipped hard on the backstretch with 10 laps down while he was running fourth. Jay Steinebach of Hudsonville, Mich. also flipped on the backstretch four laps later to bring out the second red. The third red flew a few minutes later when Josh Turner of Osseo, Mich. and Jason Blonde of Litchfield, Mich. got together on the backstretch. They didn’t flip, but their crash was hard enough to also require a red flag. Luckily none of the drivers were hurt.

Tyler Gunn of Napoleon, Ohio passed DeVault for second on the backstretch following a restart on lap 11, but he got too high on the backstretch on lap 15 and allowed DeVault, Boston Mead of Onstead, Mich. and Kody Kinser of Bloomington, Ind. to get by. Kinser and Gunn passed Mead working lap 18, so at the checkered the top five were Blonde, DeVault, Kinser, Gunn and Mead.

Losh started on the pole of the modified feature and led all 20 laps. His Superior Sales and Service No. 21 was more than a straightaway ahead of the runner-up, Bishop, at the checkered. Bill Griffith started second and ran in that position for the first six laps before Bishop got ahead of him with a move to the inside as they were going through Turn 4. Josh Lolmaugh passed Griffith for third on lap 11 and went on to finish in that spot. Griffith held on for fourth. Jimmy Haager started 16th and last but charged up to fifth at the finish.

Polesitter Alex Watson looked strong in the first half of the midget feature before Gehrke and Aaron Leffel got by him after a yellow for Anton Hernandez. Gehrke had a half straightaway lead over Leffel at the end, while Watson hung on for third. Cory Guingrich and Stratton Briggs rounded out the top five.

Bishop started on the pole and cruised to his third street stock feature victory, while Chris Tippit ran second for all 15 laps. The real fight was for third, which went to Mike Fincher followed by Ron Flaugh and Ervin Turner.

Headley led the first four laps of the 15-lap hornet feature before he dropped out, which gave the lead and eventual victory to his son, James Headley Jr. Alyssa Clark had worked her way up to second by lap five but she stopped at the start-finish line with 11 laps down and her car left the track via a wrecker. Gage Allen inherited second due to her misfortune and he finished in that position followed by Josh Gamblin, Stevie Clark and Jacob Beard.

Jesse Arenas of Marion, Ind. required medical attention after crashing in Turn 4 on the white-flag lap near where the cars enter the track from the pits, and the yellow and the checkered were thrown simultaneously. He was taken to Marion General Hospital and discharged at 4 a.m. Saturday, just in time to celebrate his birthday. “I’ll be back next week!” he said.

The Midwest Oldtimers Vintage Race Car Club was on hand and presented an exhibition of race cars from the past.

Next Friday, June 21, marks the first day of summer and the second annual Jerry Gappens Sr. Memorial. The non-wing 410 sprint car feature will pay $2,000 to win. Last year this race generated one of the most exciting finishes in track history, as C.J. Leary passed Matt Westfall in the fourth turn on the last lap to take the top honors. UMP modifieds, street stocks, super streets, hornets and AMSA mini-sprints will also be part of this huge show.

Fans can see the 2019 schedule and get additional information on the track’s website at Fans can also follow it on Facebook (@GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas), Twitter (@GasCitySpeedway) and Instagram (@GasCitySpeedway).

The results:

SOD Sprint Fastest Qualifier: Boston Mead.

SOD Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Chad Blonde, 2. Tyler Gunn, 3. Dan McCarron, 4. Kody Kinser, 5. Frank Neill, 6. Ricky Ferkel, 7. Eli Lakin, 8. Eric Smith, 9. Zac Broughman, 10. Dusty Schriver (DNS).

SOD Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Zane DeVault, 2. Boston Mead, 3. Josh Turner, 4. Quentin Blonde, 5. Tom Schinderle, 6. Jay Steinebach, 7. Mark Aldrich, 8. Michael Schumacher, 9. Ryan Ruhl, 10. Jason Blonde.

SOD Dash (6 laps): 1. Chad Blonde, 2. Zane DeVault, 3. Boston Mead, 4. Tyler Gunn, 5. Dan McCarron, 6. Josh Turner.

SOD Sprint Feature (25 laps): 1. Chad Blonde, 2. Zane DeVault, 3. Kody Kinser, 4. Tyler Gunn, 5. Boston Mead, 6. Quentin Blonde, 7. Ryan Ruhl, 8. Frank Neill, 9. Ricky Ferkel, 10. Eli Lakin, 11. Mike Schumacher, 12. Thomas Schinderle, 13. Eric Smith, 14. Zac Broughman, 15. Jason Blonde, 16. Josh Turner, 17. Jay Steinebach, 18. Mark Aldrich, 19. Dan McCarron.

UMP Modified Group 1 Qualifying: 1. Dillon Nusbaum, 14.304; 2. Corey Bevard, 14.367; 3. Andy Bishop, 14.421; 4. Josh Lolmaugh, 14.444; 5. Bub Roberts, 14.510; 6. Clayton Bryant, 14.827; 7. Jessica Sroufe, 15.064; 8. Josh Hotsinpiller, 15.248.

UMP Modified Group 2 Qualifying: 1. Derek Losh, 13.607; 2. Scott Orr, 14.350; 3. Aaron Orr, 14.418; 4. Bill Griffith, 14.438; 5. Josh Betts, 14.454; 6. Travis Nichols, 15.365; 7. Brandon Dailey, 15.621.

UMP Modified Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Josh Lolmaugh, 2. Dillon Nusbaum, 3. Corey Bevard, 4. Andy Bishop, 5. Clayton Bryant, 6. Jessica Sroufe, 7. Bub Roberts, 8. Josh Hotsinpiller.

UMP Modified Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Derek Losh, 2. Bill Griffith, 3. Scott Orr, 4. Aaron Orr, 5. Brandon Dailey, 6. Josh Betts, 7. Travis Nichols, 8. Jimmy Haager (DNS).

UMP Modified Feature (20 laps): 1. Derek Losh, 2. Andy Bishop, 3. Josh Lolmaugh, 4. Bill Griffith, 5. Jimmy Haager, 6. Clayton Bryan, 7. Aaron Orr, 8. Scott Orr, 9. Bub Roberts, 10. Cory Bevard, 11. Josh Hotsinpiller, 12. Travis Nichols, 13. Josh Betts, 14. Jessica Sroufe, 15. Brandon Dailey, 16. Dillon Nusbaum.

USAC SpeeD2 Midget Heat 1 (6 laps): 1. Chett Gehrke, 2. Stratton Briggs, 3. Cory Guingrich, 4. Gunnar Lucius, 5. Thomas Bigelow, 6. Jacob Denney, 7. Ian Creager.

USAC SpeeD2 Midget Heat 2 (6 laps): 1. Alex Watson, 2. Anton Hernandez, 3. Mark Neift Jr., 4. Adam Schmenk, 5. Zane Briggs, 6. Tyler Kalb, 7. Don Bigelow.

USAC SpeeD2 Midget Heat 3 (6 laps): 1. Jon Steed, 2. Aaron Leffel, 3. Chris Bounds, 4. Kyle Kriegbaum, 5. Ryan Moran, 6. Braden Watson.

USAC SpeeD2 Midget Feature (20 laps): 1. Chett Gehrke, 2. Aaron Leffel, 3. Alex Watson, 4. Cory Guingrich, 5. Stratton Briggs, 6. Chris Bounds, 7. Gunnar Lucius, 8. Kyle Kriegbaum, 9. Thomas Bigelow, 10. Jacob Denney, 11. Tyler Kalb, 12. Zane Briggs, 13. Ryan Moran, 14. Jon Steed, 15. Mark Neift Jr., 16. Don Bigelow, 17. Anton Hernandez, 18. Adam Schmenk, 19. Ian Creager, 20. Braden Watson.

Street Stock Heat 1 (7 laps): 1. Andy Bishop, 2. Travis Nichols, 3. Ron Flaugh, 4. Eric Sandlin, 5. James Watters, 6. David Norman, 7. Shane Hillman (DNS).

Street Stock Heat 2 (7 laps): 1. Chris Tippit, 2. Ervin Turner, 3. Mike Fincher, 4. Jacob Owens, 5. Larry Persinger, 6. Glenn Bradley.

Street Stock Feature (15 laps): 1. Andy Bishop, 2. Chris Tippit, 3. Mike Fincher, 4. Ron Flaugh, 5. Ervin Turner, 6. Travis Nichols, 7. James Watters, 8. Eric Sandlin, 9. Jacob Owens, 10. Larry Persinger, 11. David Norman (DNS), 12. Glenn Bradley (DNS).

Hornet Heat 1 (6 laps): 1. Alyssa Clark, 2. Stevie Clark, 3. Josh Gamblin, 4. Donnie Huddleston, 5. Joey Eastes, 6. Brad Evans, 7. Charlie Teegarden (DNS).

Hornet Heat 2 (6 laps): 1. James Headley, 2. Josh Owens, 3. Josh Atkins, 4. Gage Allen, 5. Randy Brommer, 6. Scott Orr, 7. Aaron Dennis.

Hornet Heat 3 (6 laps): 1. James Headley Jr., 2. Jacob Beard, 3. Dustin Franks, 4. Robbie White, 5. Jesse Arenas, 6. Seth Trissle, 7. Jaime Razo (DNS).

Hornet Feature (15 laps): 1. James Headley Jr., 2. Gage Allen, 3. Josh Gamblin, 4. Stevie Clark, 5. Jacob Beard, 6. Josh Owens, 7. Randy Brommer, 8. Dustin Franks, 9. Scott Orr, 10. Josh Atkins, 11. Brad Evans, 12. Robbie White, 13. Charlie Teegarden, 14. Joey Eastes, 15. Aaron Dennis, 16. Jesse Arenas, 17. Alyssa Clark, 18. Jaime Razo, 19. Donnie Huddleston, 20. James Headley, 21. Seth Trissle.

Super Street Dash (6 laps): 1. Bill Lewis, 2. Jeremy Creech, 3. Terry Sroufe, 4. Shane Hillman.