By James Essex
Brownstown Speedway opened its 2017 racing season last weekend. On the race docket was the No-Way Out 40 for non-winged sprints, UMRA midgets and modifieds.
There were 31 sprint cars on hand for the $7,500-to-win event, one of the largest paying shows of the year for the non-wing racers. Brady Short of Bedford set the fastest overall time in group, qualifying with a lap of 13.392 seconds around the quarter-mile oval.
In the first heat of the night, defending Bloomington Speedway track champion Jeff Bland Jr. of Bedford held off Tyler Courtney of Indianapolis for the win. Also, transferring to the feature were Matt Goodnight of Winchester and veteran Jon Stanbrough of Brownsburg, who is retiring at season’s end.
The second heat race saw Brady Short take the win over Kyle Robbins of New Castle. Ethan Barrow of Bloomington came home third, followed by Jordan Kinser of Bedford.
Justin Grant of Ione, California, battled with non-wing track record holder C.J. Leary of Greenfield for most of the 10-lap third heat race, coming out on top by a car-length at the finish. Ryan Bernal of Hollister, California, was third, and Max McGee of Camby gained the last transfer.
The fourth and final heat was taken by Chad Boespflug. Boespflug, in his first year driving for the Hoffman Racing Team, won over A.J. Hopkins of Brownsburg, Dave Darland of Lincoln and Kyle Cummins of Princeton.
The 12-lap consolation race would see four drivers transfer to the 40-lap feature event. Tyler Thomas of Collinsville, Oklahoma, won the race in the Burton Racing Team entry. Nate McMillan of Brazil was second, followed by Aaron Pierce of Fishers and Hunter O’Neal of Bloomington.
The 40-lap feature race got underway with threatening rain closing in. Bland and Short made up the front row for the event. At the start of the race, Short slid over the embankment in Turn No. 1, bringing out the first caution of the race. Short had to restart the race from the tail spot.
Bland quickly jumped to the lead on the second try to start the race, building a four-car length lead.
Bland would lead the first six laps of the race until Boespflug took over the top spot after using the high- groove to track down Bland, who was running the very bottom of the track.
Then on Lap 8, rain started to fall on the racing surface, creating slick conditions. The caution flag came out, and the cars made several laps around the track to keep it raceable, but then heavier rain began to fall, forcing track officials to postpone the feature race to June 24.
The entire 40-lap feature will be started over from the beginning with the 20 cars already locked into the main event. The event will be run in conjunction with the MSCS Sprint Cars Series, which already was scheduled the same night. Since the program was more than halfway completed, rain checks cannot be used again.
There were 29 modifieds on hand at Brownstown on March 25 as track officials could complete the three heat races scheduled and the consolation race before the feature was washed out.
Defending track champion Jacoby Hines of Nineveh won the first heat race over Dylan Woodling of Warsaw, Jay Humphrey Jr. of Bloomington and Lee Hobbs of Mitchell.
The second heat race was taken by Steven Brooks of New Lenox, Illinois. Bradley Sterrett of Bloomington came from sixth to finish second. Zach Fair of Petersburg was third, with Dillon Nusbaum of Columbia City completing the top four.
The third and final heat for the Modifieds was taken by Brandon Reed of Edinburgh. Matt Boknecht of Seymour came from his sixth starting spot to place second. Derek Groomer of Bloomington was third, with John Clippinger of Evansville claiming fourth place at the finish.
Brownstown Speedway will be back in action tonight with the Ultimate Battle of the Bluegrass Late Model Series, plus the Indiana Pro Late Models, modifieds, super stocks and pure stocks. For more information, visit brownstownspeedway.com.
Jameson takes Florence opener
Jason Jameson of Lawrenceburg won his first career Spring 50 race for late models April 25 at Florence Speedway in Union, Kentucky. Jameson took the lead from Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Illinois, with two laps to go to take the $5,000 victory. Pierce was second, followed by Steve Casebolt of Richmond, Kent Robinson of Bloomington and Columbus’ Devin Gilpin.
Gilpin, debuting a Sweet-Bloomquist late model, charged from the 13th starting spot to run as high as second in the event before settling for fifth. Completing the top 10 were Steve Francis, Nick Latham, Andrew Reaume, Eddie Carrier Jr. and Jesse Lay.
Low wins feature event
Trent Low of North Vernon won the rain-shortened crate late model feature on March 25 at Daugherty Speedway in Boswell. Keegan Cox of Franklin finished second. Mike Staggs, Cameron Shidler and Chris Osborne completed the top five drivers.
Low’s car is sponsored by Royal Purple, SuperHeat, T&S Farms, Cutty’s Healthy Vending, APR Web Services, Right Auto Parts, Zimmerman’s Brothers Speed Shop, LED Foot Products, Accu-force and BSB Manufacturing.
Lawrenceburg opener tonight
Lawrenceburg Speedway begins its 2017 racing season tonight. On the schedule will be the AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series, plus modifieds and hornets. For more info, visit lawrenceburgspeedway.com.
Bloomington opener Friday
The Bloomington Speedway in Bloomington will kick off its season Friday night with a full program of 410 non-wing sprints, modifieds and super stocks. For more info, visit bloomingtonspeedway.com.
Terre Haute hosts Sumar Classic
Terre Haute Action track will open the USAC Silver Crown season on Sunday.
The largest field of cars in nearly two decades for the Sumar Classic is expected to be on hand, including Joss Moffatt of Columbus and Dakota Jackson of Elizabethtown. Pit gates open at 1 p.m., while the grandstands open at 2 p.m., with hot laps at 3 p.m. For more info, visit usacracing.com.
James Essex writes a motorsports notebook for The Republic. Send comments to email@example.com.