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Clark Just Misses First Mt. Lawn Win; Tempers Flare During Racing Action
July 2, 2008 - It wasn’t championship wrestling night at Mt. Lawn Speedway, and it also wasn’t a special taping of the Jerry Springer show. It was, however, a night of more than just racing at the speedway located north of Greensboro.
During the Collins Auto Service Hornets race, the fans in the short turn were treated to some extra-curricular activities after New Castle’s Lenny Tungate got into a skirmish with track crew members and track photographer Debi Ware. On lap 12, for some unknown reason, Tungate pulled his car directly into the path of oncoming traffic in the short turn and made contact with Greenfield’s Joyce Dyer. After the smoke cleared, the badly-damaged Tungate machine and the Dyer mount were sitting in the infield just off the short turn.
As track crew members came to check on the driver’s condition, a confrontation involving Tungate, crew members and track officials ensued. Fan let out a roar as track security personnel loaded Tungate into a squad car for a trip to the pit area and a cooling-off period.
As for the race, Scott Petry took the lead on lap one and led the first four laps. Greensboro’s Jason Clark took over on lap five and looked to be on his way to his first Hornet victory of the season, leading the next 20 laps. However, on the last lap Chris Jennings of Richmond, driving a Tungate car, got around Clark for the win.
Clark did finish second, followed by Nick Warner, Keith Morris of Mt. Summit, Kim Lawrence of Greenfield, Jerry Small of Arcadia, Rus Humes of Middletown, Lee Lowe of New Castle, Mike Alley of Greenfield and John Massengale. Dyer set fast time at 19.645, with Warner winning the Collin Dash for Cash. Heat winners were Clark, Lowe and 14-year-old Courtney Hannah of West Chester, Oh.
Hannah also won the Central Indiana Mini Cup feature and the heat. In the feature, Hannah broke the strangle hold Geoff Gerline of Shelbyville had on the Mini Cup action, as he had won twenty-two features in a row.
Gerline finished second, followed by Carl Colbert of Noblesville, Charles Colbert of Noblesville, Patrick Morris of Arcadia and Troy Morris of Arcadia.
Greenfield’s Eric Evans became the first repeat winner of the Motion Motors Late Model series in 2008, making him one of the favorites to win the 38th annual Raintree 100 scheduled for Saturday.
Evans started 17th in the 21-car field and quickly moved to the front. Kevin Sellers had started on the pole, along side Tom Nixon of Daleville. Nixon took the lead on lap one, as he out-gunned Sellers into the first turn on lap and would hold that lead for the next 10 laps.
Evans started his move to the front by getting around Jeff Marcum on lap two, moving into the 11th position.
Knightstown’s Scott Knepley was Evan’s next victim on lap five. He then to moved to eighth after disposing of Mark Fesmire and Chad White on lap four. On the next two laps, Evans got Dunreith’s LJ Lines, Miles Sexton, David Fox II and Sellers.
After one more lap, Scott Runion fell to the hard-charging Evans, and on lap ten, Eddie Claborn gave up second place. Evans took the lead for good from Nixon on lap 11.
On a double-file restart on lap 14, Eddie Claborn pulled Evans down the front stretch, but Evans had too much down the back stretch and pulled away from Claborn. One additional restart on lap 23 gave Marcum a chance from the outside front row to overtake Evans. But he couldn’t make his car stick well enough in the first turn to gain the top spot.
Evans went on to the win, followed by Marcum, Eddie Claborn, Knepley, Fox, Runion, Sellers, Terry Cater, Kevin Claborn and Sexton. Cater accepted the Tail Gunner Challenge and started on the pole in an attempt to claim the jackpot prize of $550. Cater did make a run to the front, as he made it all the way to fifth on lap 12. But he was involved in an accident with Runion in the short turn and had to restart on the back. Cater worked his way back to fourth on lap 27, but spun again in the first turn and was sent to the rear of the field again.
Only eight of the starting 21 cars were around at the finish. Tom Latham of Anderson dropped out on lap one, Brandon Mefford of Knightstown on lap seven, William Mefford of Knightstown on lap eight, while Dean Morris of New Castle, Randy Anderson of Knightstown, Fesmire, Nixon, and Lines all went to the pits on lap 13. White’s night ended on lap 20, Anthony Davis of New Castle quit on lap 21 and Johnny Fugate of Cambridge City ended up against the backstretch wall on lap 23 when he was involved in an accident with Sexton and Kevin Claborn.
Evans set fast time at 16.682; Cater won the Razzles Dash for Cash while the heat winners were Knepley, Eddie Claborn and Fugate.
The Dependable Drywall Thunder Car feature was a hotly-contested affair all the way through the race until the last lap. Rushville’s Chris Bolyard took control of the race at the beginning and led the first three laps. At that point, Matt Nelson took over, but had plenty of competition to contend with over the final 27 laps.
Nick Warner of Anderson posed the most serious threat to Nelson, as he move to second on lap seven and dogged him the next 24 laps. Warner actually led for one lap. Nelson and Warner ran many laps side-by-side during the event.
Others in the mix at the front during the entire race were Ed Knott of Muncie, David McConnell of Shirley, Kevin Claborn, Pam McConnell of Shirley, Bill Clark of Rushville, Jameson Owens of Cambridge City and Mike Vaccaro of Middletown.
The top nine where never separated by more than a few car lengths the entire race. On the last lap of the race, Warner and Knott made contact in the first turn causing the rest of the field to scramble for an opening, which allowed Nelson to cruise the final lap victory.
In the end, current points leader Pam McConnell finished second, followed by Bill Clark of Rushville. Clark’s car was disqualified in the post-race inspection, giving third to Owens. They were followed by Claborn, Vaccaro, Paul Starks of Fortville, Knott, Warner and Bolyard. New Castle’s Ryan Amonett finished four laps before going to the pits. Michael Starks ended the race on lap nine, Jerry Chesher dropped out with six laps to go and David McConnell called it quits on lap 26.
Claborn set fast time at 18.512; David McConnell won the Dependable Drywall Dash for Cash as a result of the Clark disqualification, with Warner and Straughn’s Tony Stewart winning the heats.
This week’s action will feature the 38th running of the annual Raintree 100, with well over 20 Motion Motor Late Models expected to vie for the top prize of $2,000. A large, professionally presented fireworks display will also be on the program, along with the Dependable Drywall Thunder Cars and Collin Auto Service Hornets.
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