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Nichols Wins Midwest Street Stock Championship Thriller

Season Opener Filled With Close Racing

                (Lincoln, IL) – The Logan County Fairgrounds came back to life this past Friday night, as Lincoln Speedway opened up for the 2017-season.  Five action-packed divisions were led by the first ever event for the Midwest Street Stock Championship series.  Pro Late Models, Modifieds, POWRi DII Midgets, and Hornets were also on the card.

                20 of the toughest UMP Street Stock competitors in the Midwest were on hand for the first race ever for the Midwest Street Stock Championship Series.  The “Railsplitter 40” turned out to be a thriller, with three and four wide racing throughout.  Modified star Dave Crawley, Jr., top qualifier Luke Gash, 2016 Midwest Big 10 champion Jeremy Nichols, veteran Darrell Dick, former UMP champion Jerrad Krick, and talented Street Stock driver Nick Macklin all mixed it up at the front of the field.  At one point during the event, the top three were racing for the lead in a three wide battle, all while working lapped traffic.  In the late stages of the event, Crawley and Nichols made it a two-car race out front, dicing back and forth for the top prize.  Eventually, Nichols raced by with Crawley in pursuit.  Over the last five laps, Crawley gave it a few more shots to the highside, with sparks flying as he used up the right rear of his car against the Lincoln Speedway wall.  At the checkered, Nichols, of Lovington, IL, claimed the first event in series’ history, while Crawley, Gash, Dick, and Macklin completed the top five.

                The resurgence of the Pro Late Model class at central Illinois tracks this season is very evident.  After low counts at Macon and Lincoln early last season, this year has seen solid counts at both facilities for the openers and very competitive racing.  When the green dropped on the 20 lap feature, 2016 Midwest Big Ten Pro Late champion, Matt Taylor and fellow Springfield, IL driver, Jake Little, raced out front to pace the field.  While Taylor held the point nearly every lap, Little was hounding him, waiting for a mistake.  As the laps wound down, top qualifier, Ryan Little joined the battle.  In the end, Taylor’s #24 proved to be too strong as he claimed the win over Jake and Ryan Little.  Hometown favorite Myles Moos came home fourth, while Brandon Eskew took fifth. 

                Many fans would argue that the UMP Modified division is the top class at Lincoln, as many of the top national point guys frequent the 1/4-mile.  Friday night’s 20-lapper featured another who’s-who field of top-notch drivers racing for the trophy.  Ashland, IL driver Brandon Roberts, who made some stops at Lincoln a season ago, was strong from the get-go, taking the lead early in the race.  Behind him, track hotshoe Ray Bollinger was on the move.  Bollinger moved from fourth to third on lap two.  Seven laps later, Bollinger moved into the runner-up spot.  Meanwhile, Austin Lynn, Ken Schrader, Donovan Lodge, and Brian Lynn were putting on a show, racing for top five spots.  As starter Andrew Ingram’s checkered flag waved, Roberts claimed the victory with Bollinger, Austin Lynn, Schrader, and Lodge completing the top five. 

                Friday night was the first event of the season for the POWRi Lucas Oil Division II Midgets presented by Nutech Seed.  Tyler Vantoll, a frontrunner in the class a season ago, held the point early but it was to be short-lived.  Gedd Ross, who started fifth in the event was a man on a mission, taking fourth on lap two, moved up two more spots on lap three, and shot into the lead on lap four.  At the race’s end, it was Havana, IL’s Gedd Ross taking the impressive win.  Mitchell Davis raced to a strong second, while Vantoll, Christopher Baue, and Dave Baugh were top five finishers.

                Rounding out the program were the UMP Hornets.  A petite sized field of cars were on hand for opening night.  Unfortunately in heat race action, a grinding crash eliminated half of the field, including 2015 track champion, Cook Crawford.  The evening’s Hornet winner was Shane Kelley of Hopedale, IL.

                Without question, the season opener at Lincoln Speedway was a huge success.  Despite chilly conditions, the crowd was solid and they got to see a great show, thanks to some really great racing.  The new concession area, inside the main building was a step in the right direction for speediness but some continued improvements are still in the works.

                The next event for Lincoln Speedway is on Friday, May 5 with Five Buck night.  On that evening, grandstand admission prices will be just $5 for adults and free for kids 11 and under.  What’s great about it, is fans will be taking in a full price type show with the Midwest Big 10 Pro Late Models, Modifieds, POWRi Lucas Oil DII Midgets, and Hornets.  Also on tap for the first time in a couple years are the 305 Sprint cars. 

                Pit gates on May 5 will open at 4:00, grandstands at 5:00, pill draw will end when the driver’s meeting begins at 6:00, hotlaps will start at 6:15, and racing will start at 7:00.

About Lincoln Speedway:

                For more information on the track, follow Lincoln Speedway online at www.lincolnspeedwayil.com, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/LincolnILSpeedway), and Twitter (@LincolnILSpdwy).  Updates are also available by calling the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200.

                Lincoln Speedway is located at the Logan County Fairgrounds, in Lincoln, IL.  The physical address is 1408 Short 11th St., Lincoln, IL 62656.  Lincoln Speedway races a number of UMP classes as well as specials on a near bi-weekly schedule of Friday and Sunday evenings.

Results For Lincoln Speedway

Midwest Street Stock Championship Series – 1. J24-Jeremy Nichols[Lovington]; 2. 22C-Dave Crawley Jr[Decatur]; 3. 13-Luke Gash[Chebanse]; 4. 22-Darrell Dick[Monticello]; 5. 16-Nick Macklin[Argenta]; 6. 23-Dennis Wernle[New Douglas]; 7. 99K-Jerrad Krick[Earl Park, IN]; 8. 711-Justin Layne[Alsey]; 9. G1-Tyler Gilmour[Peoria]; 10. 2-Chad Rockefeller[Monee]; 11. 14-Charles Biesenthal[Athens]; 12. 67R-Rudy Zaragoza[Jacksonville]; 13. 14E-Edward White Jr[Peoria]; 14. 24-Justin Crowell[Lincoln]; 15. 31K-Ken Gresham Jr[Peoria Heights]; 16. 09-Dane Arvin[Danvers]; 17. 711W-Walt Layne[Alsey]; 18. (DNF) 83K-Nolan Kaufman[Marquette Heights, IN]; 19. (DNF) 7-Sean Leatherman[Peoria]; 20. (DNF) 97-Josh Griffith[Charleston]

UMP Pro Late Models – 1. 24-Matt Taylor[Springfield]; 2. 38J-Jake Little[Springfield]; 3. 38L-Ryan Little[Springfield]; 4. 84-Myles Moos[Lincoln]; 5. 11E-Brandon Eskew[Ashland]; 6. 84R-Jeff Ray[Springfield]; 7. 33H-Roben Huffman[Midland City]; 8. 67R-Rudy Zaragoza[Jacksonville]; 9. 32M-Cody Maguire[Carlinville]; 10. 20-Dustin Ingram[Lincoln]; 11. 77-Guy Taylor[Springfield]; 12. A10-Bob Sinder[Springfield]; 13. (DNF) 1M-Andy Minett[New Berlin]; 14. (DNF) 2K-Kyle Van Dorn[Unknown]; (DNS) 11-Patrick Younger[Decatur]; (DNS) 47-Dan Lamar[Maroa]; (DNS) 10A-Shawn Vaughn[Loami]

UMP Modifieds – 1. 35-Brandon Roberts[Ashland]; 2. 77-Ray Bollinger[Kewanee]; 3. 72A-Austin Lynn[Mason City]; 4. 9-Ken Schrader[Fenton, MO]; 5. 32L-Donovan Lodge[Andover]; 6. 14-Brian Lynn[Mason City]; 7. 37-Derrick Carlson[Murrayville]; 8. 10-Curt Rhodes[Taylorville]; 9. 97-Charles Hess[Peoria]; 10. 9C-Russ Coultas[Bluffs]; 11. 98C-Cole Hussong[Mattoon]; 12. 14C-Alan Crowder[Elwin]; 13. 3-Mike Brooks[Peoria]; 14. 99-Tim Luttrell[Riverton]; 15. (DNF) 11-Zach Rhodes[Taylorville]; (DNS) 32-Tommy Duncan[Metaro]

POWRi Lucas Oil DII Midgets – 1. 51R-Gedd Ross[Havana]; 2. 8-Mitchell Davis[Auburn]; 3. 30T-Tyler Vantoll[Belleville]; 4. 2-Christopher Baue[Brownsburg, IN]; 5. 7-Dave Baugh[Bloomington]; 6. 15M-Shane Morgan[Creve Coeur]; 7. 11-Brandon Smith[Mason City]; 8. 14-Jack Routson[Waterman]; 9. 87-Wyatt Teare[Rankin]; 10. 15S-Jim Parcardi[Mapleton]; 11. (DNF) 19E-Daltyn England[Unknown]; 12. (DNF) 43T-Josh Thomas[Edinburg]; 13. (DNF) 37-Andy Baugh[Mason City]; (DNS) 01-Lucas Eastin[Oakland]

UMP Hornets – 1. 14K-Shane Kelley[Hopedale]; 2. 21-Mike Eskew[Springfield]; 3. 64CK-Cook Crawford[Lincoln]; 4. 89-Vernon Carlow[Springfield]

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