After a cold and dreary day last weekend cancelled Opening Night, it was the reverse this past Saturday as fans and drivers were treated to beautiful weather. It was the start of a new season for everyone, but for a few it was as if last season never ended.
It was the first night of racing for the newly named and sponsored Spee-D-Metals Limited Late Model division, known in years prior as the Sportsman division. However, Keith Platz was someone familar and he was right back where he left off from his 2011 championship season. Setting fast time for the night was Duane ‘Buzz’ Bates. In the preliminary races it was Platz taking victories in the dash, heat, pursuit. Platz continued the streak in the future, leading every lap en route to hist first win of 2012. Bates tailed close behind for the majority of the race, but could not get around Platz and would settle for the runner-up spot in the feature. Billy Roberts would take third with Rodney Saunders and Charles Durst rounding out the top five.
In the Way’s Custom Welding Street Stock division, known previously as the Trophy Stock division, Joe Coursen was also in his 2011 Championship form, starting the night with a new track record. Josh Way would take the first Street Stock win of the night in the dash race. Mike Kieran and Coursen took heat victories and Johnny Canter III took his first win in the division by winning the pursuit race. Canter and longtime Lake County Speedway driver Fred McCord started on the front row of the feature. McCord would lead the first two laps of the affair before Coursen found his way from the back of the pack to take the lead. Earl Goldy followed the 2011 champion and at times pressured for the lead, but could not find his way to the front. Way, Joe Tillery, and Jake Shipman would rounded out the top five.
The Figure Eight division saw a different winner for each race throughout the evening. Fast time was set my Mike Reed. Randy Lette took the checkered flag in the dash, Chuck Sadar was the winner in a crash filled heat race, and Mike Reed charged his way to a pursuit victory. In the feature it was Sadar leading the field to the green flag. After leading lap one Sadar was overtaken by Jason Simak, who had missed qualifying due to a rule infraction, and he never looked back. It was a dominating performance for Simak, who lead almost the entire race, and at one point had half of a track lead on the field. Finishing in the top five for the feature was Reed, Kevin Malek, Sadar, and Walt Wood.
Only one driver found victory lane twice in the Sam & Tommy’s Sports Bar and Grille Factory Four division. Kelly Horst was the fast qualifier for the night. Matt Weigand took a win in the dash race. Heat race winners were Ben Call, Matt McCord, Mike Liddy, and Gary Drake Jr. Drake was also the winner of the pursuit race. Ray Farmer would stay up front in the B feature, after Call broke out of his qualifying time. After Call was sent to the back Farmer had to hold off Joe Combs for the first feature win of his career. In the A feature rookie driver BJ Wollerman started on the pole for the second time in his career, that last time was his first race as a driver at last year’s Cavalcade. Wollerman lead from lap one to seventeen when he brought the caution out after contact with Mike Reed Jr. Wollerman was sent to the tail, giving Reed the lead and eventually his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series win. The win was the second of his career, coincidentally his first was also at Cavalcade in which he had to pass Wollerman for the victory.
The name ‘Reed’ was said more this past Saturday than maybe any night in year’s past. After his son’s win in the Factory four feature, Mike Reed hurried back to the pits and geared up for the Renegade Eight feature. After winning the heat and pursuit, he was looking for a ‘sweep’ for points races on the night. Reed started third in the feature and wasted no time getting to the front, where he lead the last eleven laps and took home the feature win. Ryan Brenner, Allen Filkins Jr, and CW Dunham made up the field behind Reed. Allen Filkins was the winner in the dash race earlier in the evening.
The last time the Legends division raced at Lake County Speedway on a regular race night was in 2010, this does not include last year’s Cavalcade weekend. Five drivers came out for the first of seven outings for the Legends this summer. Youngster Tyler Turner set fast time for the night. In preliminary racing action it was Tyler Turner with the win in the dash and Jeff Erhart took a win in the heat race. Erhart would lead the field to the green in the start of the feature, however, it was not long until Turner made his way from the back of the pack to take the lead. He would lead the final thirteen laps with pressure from Jake Francis, but Francis ran out of time and Turner would take the first Legend feature win of 2012 at Lake County Speedway.
It was a great Opening Night this past Saturday and the staff and management at Lake County Speedway would like to thank the fans and drivers that came out. Join us next weekend for Mascot Night as mascots from around the area come out to LCS for a night of fun! It is also our first night of Skid Plate racing. Don’t miss the action as drivers try to control their cars without rear wheels! Watch the sparks fly this Saturday!
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