Drivers Battle Heat, Competitors for Top Finishes Saturday Night at Plymouth Speedway
By: Anita Goodan
Drivers turned up the heat Saturday night on an already hot night at the Playground of Power.
Sheldon Oberle (Battleground, Indiana) is no stranger to winning at Plymouth Speedway. He started on the pole in the Thunder Stocks feature and finished in the top spot as he watched the action unfold in his rearview mirror. Lee Hall (Oxford, Indiana) was sitting in the second position until Gregg Tarr (Star City, Indiana) started making this way through the field of competitors. Tarr, who started eighth, was working on Jacob Kolwyck for third position on lap 13 and then he set his sights on Hall. On lap 14, Tarr was able to make the pass and stayed there until the checkered flag. Hall came charging at Tarr on the last lap for the second position, but ended up third on the night.
“It was a handful, but I was able to keep the car underneath us the best we could,” said Oberle. “There are many people to thank who got me here. The car looks a little beat up, but it looks good on the track.”
Zeke McKenzie (Claypool, Indiana) was quick to jump out in front of the UMP Modifieds feature, but soon got company from Frank Marshall (Valparaiso, Indiana) by lap four. McKenzie got into some trouble in turns three and four where he met the inside berm and turned into the infield. Other cars had issues or left the track which found Kurt Allison (Valparaiso, Indiana), who was the pole sitter for the feature, in the second position on lap 17. Allison and Marshall were the last two cars on the track to finish the race. Marshall won the race with Allison in second. Since the other cars had issues and had either left the track or pulled in the infield, McKenzie was scored third.
“That was an interesting race,” said Marshall. “Thank you to my awesome crew and sponsors. Without all of these people and the fans, we can’t do what we love.”
It was the first race of the season for Garrett Saunders (Lakeville, Indiana) who found himself at the top of the Non-Wing 600 Sprints podium. He held the top position for the whole race while others struggled through many cautions. Kyle Gunkel who had been running in the third position tried to miss an incident between two drivers ahead of him on lap six and his Sprint tipped on its side. The red flag came out and track crews found he was ok. He rejoined the field after the incident. That shook up the order where Nick Schaefer (Granger, Indiana) entered the top three along with Josh Shantz (St. Agatha, Ontario, Canada). Schaefer and Shantz were trading places through the latter half of the race. Schaefer found Shantz fighting for his spot on the track on the last lap of the 20-lap feature and Shantz was able to take second right before the checkered flag flew which left Schaefer in third.
Saunders said in his post-race interview, “This was the first time I’ve been out this year. We just got a new motor and we had rebuilt the body over the winter. The track was a little difficult, but it takes a lot of work and a lot of people don’t know that. I’d like to thank everybody who helped me with the car tonight.”
Brady Hines (Peru, Indiana) had to work around Josh Lank in the Front Wheel Drives Feature for about three laps before he took the lead and won the race. Lank followed Hines for a few laps before Josh Lank, Jr. (Delphi, Indiana) got by competitors like Phillip McCord and Aaron Tatman for track position. Lap 15 found Hines get out of sorts coming out of turn four and met the inside berm. It closed a lengthy gap between Hines and Lank, but Hines was able to keep the lead. Lank, Jr. made the pass into the second position in the closing laps of the race while Heisman Skeens (Gas City, Indiana) was able to battle through the field to sneak into the fourth position by lap 16 and take third place by the end of the race. Skeens started 13th on the night.
Hines, a first-time winner, stated, “Thank you to everyone! This is for my Grandpa who is ready to have surgery. My Dad was a mini stock racer in the day and I’m taking after him I guess!”
Modifieds, Super Streets, Thunder Stocks, and Front Wheel Drives will be back on the track Saturday, May 29 where hot laps begin at 5:30 p.m. and racing begins at 6:30 p.m. Additional information can be found at www.plymouthspeedway.net.