Columbus racer gets first Brownstown late models title

By James Essex

Brownstown Speedway closed out a successful 2017 racing season last month.

The track champions have been named in the six divisions of racing the track conducted during the season. The annual awards banquet will be Jan. 20 at the Pewter Hall in Brownstown.

Devin Gilpin of Columbus captured his first career super late models points championship at Brownstown. Gilpin drove this season a Sweet-Bloomquist Chassis for his grandfather, Don Fleetwood of Brownstown and a MasterSbilt Race Car Chassis for Jim Beeman of North Vernon.

Gilpin won three super late models main events during the season to tie Tanner English of Benton, Kentucky, for the most in the division. Gilpin, a three-time modified champion at Brownstown, won the title over Chad Stapleton of Edinburgh, Jared Bailey of Bedford, Jeff Wilson of Butlerville and Matt Bex of Avoca. John Baker Jr. of French Lick was named the Rookie of the Year in super late models.

The 27-year-old Gilpin has sponsorship from Vallery Motorsports, MasterSbilt Race Cars, Jay Dickens Racing Engines, Dasco Racing Supply, Bane Logging, Brown’s Oil Service, Valley and T.J. Hancock Core Supply, KBC Graphix, Scott Sales and Service, IndSolTech, Blondie’s Pizzeria, Penske Racing Shocks and Tom Cat.

This season, the third-generation racer made 59 starts between the super late models and modifieds, and ended the season with 16 total feature wins. He recorded 28 top-five finishes and 37 top-10 finishes during the season. His pit crew members were Rick Cherry, Chandler and Colton Fleetwood, Matt Harmon, Curt Jarrell Johnny Smith and Dalton Stevens.

Marty O’Neal of Spencer won his third Indiana Pro late model series championship driving for car owner Larry Hartwell of North Vernon. Tyler Cain of Seymour finished second to O’Neal in the final points standings, followed by Austin Burns of Morgantown, Tyler Neal of Paragon and Tyler Collins of North Vernon. Collins was the top rookie in the class.

The O’Neal and Hartwell No. 19 car is sponsored by MLR Fabricating, Sub Surface of Indiana, P3 Graphics, K&G Sports, Wilson Concrete, MasterSbilt Race Cars and Mo and Jo Investments. Their pit crew consists of Joe Hartwell and Tony Thomas.

Matt Boknecht of Seymour won his seventh modifieds track championship of his career at Brownstown on the strength of five feature wins during the season. Brandon Reed of Edinburgh had his best career season by placing second in points to Boknecht. Veteran 75-year-old racer Dennis Boknecht of Seymour finished third in points, with Lucas Wehmiller of Brownstown taking fourth and Jacoby Hines of Nineveh fifth.

Wehmiller was the top rookie in the division.

The 44-year-old Boknecht, a second-generation driver, has sponsorship from Boknecht Trucking, J&M Construction, Blondie’s Pizzeria, G&G Oil, Diamond Race Cars and Travis Kern Racing Engines. His pit crew consists of Phil Boknecht, Scott Altemeyer, Mike King, Scott McCormick and Tyler Wetzel.

Jamey Wilson of Seymour won his second straight super stocks track title at Brownstown, scoring nine feature wins during the season. Jason Hehman of Brownstown was second, with Colton Sullivan of Columbus finishing third in the final points rundown. Aubrey Eagan of Bedford was fourth, with David Brewer of Seymour finishing fifth. Jaden Mayhan of Elizabethtown was the top rookie.

The 34-year-old Wilson is the grandson of Brownstown Speedway’s all-time winningest driver, Jim Curry, who also is a pit crew member. His car is sponsored by Jason Ayers Trucking, Hanner’s Barbershop, Therese Graves, Kendall Farms, Beck’s Hybrids, Wilson Tree Services, J.C. Cattle Company, Dave’s Body Shop, Ace’s Emergency Roadside Service, Happy Herman’s Package Store, Fly-B- U-Chassis, Collings Brothers Excavating, Advanced Racing Suspensions and Ault Signs and Graphics. His crew includes his father Kevin Wilson, Doug Asbury and Tyler Collings.

Tim Rivers of Salem won his first pure stocks track championship. Rivers recorded seven feature wins during the season, taking the crown over Zachary Stalker of Heltonville, Jeremy Huebner of Loogootee, Donnie Wilson of North Vernon and Jason Combs from Seymour. Jim Walter Jr. of Jeffersonville was the top rookie in the pure stock class.

Rivers had sponsorship this year from Rhyne Racing Engines, Stewart’s Automotive, Eddie Gilstrap Motors, Frank Kimmel Racing, Print Worx and Schaeffer’s Racing Oil.

Seymour’s Donnie Modesty won five out of the six hornets events contested clinching the division crown. The 39-year-old racer took the championship over top rookie Daniel Hobbs of Avoca, Brian Moore of Bedford, Nathan Reed of Ogilville and Joe Murdock of Milltown.

Modesty’s car is sponsored by Tynan Equipment, M&M Recycling, Fleetwood Concrete Raising, Bob Poynter Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep Hyundai of Columbus, Rain Storm Car Wash, Howler’s Inc. and Jack’s Transportation. His pit crew consisted of his wife Mary and their daughters, Jacalynn and Haley.

The track already has announced two of their major super late models events for 2018. The 21st Annual Indiana Icebreaker will be March 17, paying $12,000 to win. The 39th Annual Jackson 100 is scheduled for Sept. 21 and 22, paying $20,000 to win. Both events will be sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.

James Essex writes a motorsports notebook for The Republic. Send comments to