It had been two weeks, although it felt like forever, since Lake County Speedway had hosted NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing. Drivers were back in action and starting the second half of their season. Fans were coming back not only for the return of racing to the smallest track in NASCAR, but the fan favorite Figure Eight Trailer race and fireworks! It was a great night, full of action, and overall nice to be back racing again.
Keith Platz was also back, in his Reasonable Auto Repair Chevrolet Impala, and was the fast qualifier for the Spee-D-Metals Limited Late Models. Platz would take the dash win, holding off points leader Duane Bates. Bates came back to win the heat race and would also take the win in the pursuit. Bill Welch and Jerry Delfoose, who was making his first start, lead the field to the green flag. Platz made his moves early and took over the lead from Welch on lap two. He would go on to lead all twenty laps to take his second win of 2012. Bates challenged Platz for the final 15 laps, but had to settle for second place. He was also crowned the first half season champion for the division and started his campaign for season champion off with a great race night and a lead in the second half standings.
In the Way’s Custom Welding Street Stock, it was Josh Way setting the fast time for the night. Joe Tillery was back for the first time since his accident on May 28th, when his car was totaled in the Shootout by the Shore 150. With his return, he would snag a win in the dash race to start the night. Points leader, and first half season champion, Jake Shipman beat Johnny Canter for the first heat win. In the second heat, Mike Towne was the winner, making his first appearance of the season. Canter took the checkered flag in the pursuit, holding off Rodney Reynolds for the win. Leading the field to the green in the feature were the youngest drivers in the division, Shipman and Canter. Canter jumped into the lead to start the race and took off with it. Reynolds made quick work of Shipman to take over second and worked his way to pressure Canter for the lead. Canter held off Reynolds for a majority of the race until he broke out of his qualifying time on lap 20. With Canter going to the tail, the lead was handed to Reynolds. Way made his way around Shipman to challenge Reynolds for the lead on the ensuing restart, but was unable to take it over. Reynolds would go on to lead the final 10 laps and capture his first win of the season. Way was second, Shipman third, Tillery fourth, and Bill Johnson was fifth. Shipman used a third in the feature and a heat win to his lead over Way in the points standings.
On Saturday, Mike Reed was crowned the mid-season champion, but it was veteran driver, Joe March, who has been the hot topic. Going into the races on Saturday he had won three features in only six starts. Nothing better than a .500 win percentage and winning three of the last four races entering the break. Charles Herrmann set the fast time for the night. His night was short lived after his motor let go during the dash race. Mike Reed would go on to win the dash and also the heat. Mike Davis was the winner of the pursuit, his fourth on the year and the most of any driver. Mike Davis led the field to the green to start the feature. He would hold the lead for quite a while, retaining both March and Reed behind him during the beginning laps of the affair. However, March found his way around him and left the field behind to take his fourth win of the season. Points leader Reed would come in second, Mike Davis third, Chuck Sadar was fourth, and Joe Malek rounded out the top five.
In the Sam and Tommy’s Factory Four division, Matt Weigand set the fast time. Jim Harkins won the dash race, his second of the season. Jack Hribar won the first of four heat races. Mike Liddy took the second, Bill Kinder won the third heat in his first start, and Gary Drake Jr. took the win in the final heat race. Greg McCord took the pursuit race, holding off Bill McLendon for the win. Over 30 cars were on hand Saturday in the Sam and Tommy’s Factory Four division. This meant that there were three features, the second time this season. In the first feature, it was Josh Bee coming from the middle of the pack to snag the win. Bee and Liddy were battling back and forth over the last five laps of the race, with Bee leading the final lap. Liddy took second and Jimmy Bee took third. In the second feature, Bobby Combs and Dylan Atwell were fighting for the lead in the early stages. Bobby Combs would take command of the race on lap 9 and was seemingly on his way to a feature win. However, a caution on lap 10 would bring the field back together and that gave TJ Schinke the opportunity to challenge for the lead. Schinke had started in the rear of the field and was third when the caution flew. It only took three laps for Schinke to take over the lead. Once there, it was smooth sailing as he took home his second feature win of the season. Tim Cloutman was second and BJ Wollerman was third. After two exciting features, only the fast car feature remained. Greg McCord and McLendon led the field to the green. McCord was able to take the lead and held McLendon and Ray Castelluccio behind him. In the back of the pack, points leader Matt Weigand was struggling to find his way to the front. A caution on lap 7 helped him out, as it re-stacked the field. After the restart, he was able to start maneuvering through the field and closed in on McCord up front. Weigand caught McCord on lap 13 and within a few more laps he had passed him and set sail to take his third win of the season. Ben Call would get around McCord as well to take second, with McCord coming home third. The win helped extend his points lead and also gave him the lead in the second half standings.
It has been many years since a driver has taken two championships in one year. The last person to win two in one year was James ‘Bo’ Hayes in 2007, when he won the Factory Four and Street Stock Figure Eight titles. Mike Reed is certainly on his way to being the second driver in track history to complete the feat. CW Dunham started the evening off for the Renegade Division by winning the dash race. Allen Filkins Jr. held off Ryan Brenner to win the heat race. He was back in victory lane again for the pursuit after holding off Mike Reed. Allen Filkins lead the field to the green to start the feature. He was quickly overtaken by Chris Morgan, who shortly checked out from the field after taking the lead. Allen Filkins would hold on for second, Brenner would take home third, Filkins Jr. was fourth and Dunham was fifth. Points leader Reed had a rough end to the feature, coming home in seventh. Filkins Jr. was able to cut into the overall points lead of Reed’s and also take the advantage in the second half points standings.
To conclude the night of racing, it was the Trailer Figure Eight race. Many familiar faces were in the field for the first of two to be held this year. While it was not the biggest field of racers for the event, it had to have been one of the most exciting in recent years! If you missed it, then you missed a lot. Be sure to come back September 29th to see race number two of the year.
The staff and management at Lake County Speedway would like to thank the fans and drivers that came out to the races this past weekend. We would like to welcome everyone back this coming weekend for Christmas in July, Kid’s 2-Wheel bike races, and the USAC Ignite Midgets. Come see the first open wheel cars to race at Lake County Speedway since the early years of the track. Also, bring your child’s bike to race on the track during intermission. Grandstands will open at 4:00pm and racing starts at 6:00pm. Be sure to visit us Wednesday night for public go-kart rentals from 4:00-9:00pm at the track, click here for more details.
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