Stapleton claims first title at Brownstown

Chad Stapleton of Edinburgh captured his first Brownstown Speedway Late Model track championship this season. In the 63-year history of the race track, Stapleton is the first driver from Edinburgh to ever win the Late Model championship.

Steve Barnett of Franklin, a four-time track champion, finished second. Matt Bex of Avoca had his best season in a late model, taking third in the final points. He was followed by Alan Magner of North Vernon and Jeremy Hines of Seymour.

The Super Late Model division had 11 different feature winners this year. Columbus’ Devin Gilpin led the way with five wins. The only other driver to win more than one feature was Cody Mahoney of Madison. Other winners this year included Earl Pearson Jr., Dennis Erb Jr., Dustin Linville, Jeremy Hines, Justin Rattliff, Matt Bex, Jonathan Davenport, Marty O’Neal and the track champion, Stapleton.

Marty O’Neal of Spencer took his second career Indiana Late Model Series championship. O’Neal drives for car owner Larry Hartwell of North Vernon. North Vernon’s Alan Magner was second, followed by Dustin Shoulders of Danville, Raymond Humphrey of Bloomington and Skyller Lewis of Brownstown. Shoulders was named Rookie of the Year in the division.

Joe Godsey of Edinburgh, who races for Tony Stewart Racing, notched his second consecutive Open Wheel Modified title at Brownstown. Jared Bailey of Bedford finished behind Godsey, followed by Dennis Boknecht of Seymour, Webb Lee of Brownstown and Jarod Fleetwood of Seymour. Brad Thompson of Charlestown was the Rookie of the Year in the class.

Gilpin and Godsey dominated the division this year, with Gilpin winning nine times and Godsey capturing six checkered flags. Jared Bailey and Jeremy Owens of North Vernon were the only other drivers to take victories in the class in 2015.

Tyler Cain of Seymour made it two in a row, claiming his third career title in the Super Stock division. Matt Boknecht of Seymour was second in points, trailed by David Brewer of Seymour, Tom Ault of Freetown and Danny Hupp of Scipio. Craig Markel of Westport took the division’s Rookie of the Year award.

Cain and Boknecht combined to win 17 of the 18 Super Stock features this season. Cain won 10 times, and Boknecht took seven trips to victory lane. Jason Hehman was the only other driver to win in the class.

Chris Workman of Clarksville won the Pure Stock track title for the first time in his career. Jim Ruddick of Seymour, the defending champion in the division, was second. A.J. Warren of Paoli, Daniel Hupp of Scipio and Jeremy Huebner of Loogootee completed the top five this year. Hupp was the Rookie of the Year.

The Pure Stock division proved to be a very competitive division, with Workman, Ruddick and Jason Combs each winning three feature events during the season. Dusten Carr had two victories; and Donnie Wilson of North Vernon, Rick Gumm, Tim Rivers, and Houston Roark each won one main event.

Brian Mitchell of Bedford claimed his first career track title by winning the Hornet division title. He was followed by Austin Burton of Edinburgh, J.J. Pendygraft of Salem, Dale Grote of Bloomington and Brian Moore of Clarksville. Pendygraft won Rookie of the Year accolades.

Burton was the top dog in the Hornet division, claiming eight feature wins. Greg Garrison had two wins. Trent Wyzard and champion Brian Mitchell each had one win.

Columbus teen wins title

Brayton Brownfield of Columbus, racing a 1981 Camaro, won the Sportsman Class points championship this year at Brown County Dragway in Bean Blossom. The 18-year-old, a 2015 graduate of Columbus East High School, had seven wins, three runner-ups, and made the semifinals several times during the season.

Other champions this year included Eric Bowling of Bloomington in the Pro Class and Ben Wilkerson of Nashville in the Jr. Dragster division.

Sandy Fields, track owner at Brown County Dragway, noted that Brownfield is the first driver in the history of the drag strip to win Rookie of the Year one year and a championship the next. He was named Rookie of the Year in 2014, when he finished fourth in points.

Brownfield started his racing career at age 6 racing go-karts. He has won three karting championships. Those came in 2006 at Whiteland Raceway Park, in 2007 for the Columbus Kart Club and in 2008 at Brown County Dragway.

He is currently enrolled at Vincennes University, where he is studying criminal justice.

Indoor racing tonight in Indy

History will be made as the first indoor Dirt Midget and Outlaw Kart races in Indianapolis will take place tonight in Bankers Life Fieldhouse during the Bad Boy Indy Invitational, part of a massive motorsports weekend downtown. Tickets will be on sale at the door.

After the Indiana Pacers closed out their home game against the Miami Heat on Friday night, a dirt-oval race track will be formed inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse overnight using 50 loads of premium dirt and 800 feet of steel barrier and fencing.

Forty of the biggest names in Dirt Midget Racing will compete for a $10,000 prize and an opportunity to etch their name in the record books. In addition, an Outlaw Kart race, also featuring 40 of the most elite racers in the country, will take place, with $5,000 awarded to the winner. Competitors were invited via social media over the past several weeks. For more information, go to indyindoors.com.

James Essex is the motorsports columnist for The Republic. He can be reached at sports@therepublic.com.