Birch Run Speedway
Leeck Wins Dixie Classic While Winners and Champions Crowned on Championship Night
An absolutely perfect late-summer night was enjoyed by all present at the Birch Run Event Center as the facility hosted the final race of the inaugural season for the Reveal The Hammer Outlaw Super Late Models. A capacity crowd was on hand for the final oval racing show of the year at The Dixie, and they were treated to some fast paced action from start to finish on this evening,
Conditions were right for racing and new track records as Kyle Callahan (Pure Stocks 17.378), Josh DeLong (Trucks 18.422) and Tyler Roahrig (Outlaw Supers 14.385) all set fast time and broke the track record for their respective classes. David McManus (Modifieds 16.073) and Blake Gokee (Front Wheel Drives 17.829) were fast qualifiers in their classes while the Outlaw Street Stocks/Sportsman and Street Stocks drew for their starting spots.
It was all features all night and it got started with the Pure Stocks 25 lapper. Tim Kirby and Coty Montrull lead the field to green. Randy Clayton jumped ahead of the #81 and the 222 as Jake Pearson, Jordan Lechota and Andrew Shelters followed behind. The caution waved on lap two after contact between the J1 of Lechota and Pearson pushed the #11 into the #54 of Clayton. Andrew Burton had moved into third and brought point leader Hunter Doutre with him. By lap five, fast qualifier Callahan had worked his way from the back up to fourth. On lap 6 Doutre and Callahan would both get by Pearson while Lonnie Saumier had moved up to challenge Andrew Shelters for a top five spot. Callahan would use every inch of the surface of the third mile oval to try and get around the #73 of Doutre,but would only get as close as his back bumper as Doutre,in his Don Bero Motors ride, would claim the checkers as well as cinch up the 2021 Pure Stock title. Saumier would climb to third place while Andrew Burton and Andrew Shelters completed the top five.
The Outlaw Street Stocks/Sportsman were up next and Matt Mueller and Brandon Tregembo led the way. Mueller grabbed the lead by the first turn and brought Rob Sullivan with him. Duane Damon started a charge to the front very early on. Mueller started to break away from the field while Damon gave chase to Sullivan. Damon made a bold move to the inside of Rob Westergard to try to get around Sullivan, who had gone to the outside, to no avail. This battle allowed Kevin Harder to get to the back of Sullivan. Things got interesting after a caution for Westergard and Dave Damon. On the ensuing restart Mueller got the lead at the stripe but contact with the #20 of Sullivan resulted in the #5 spinning and getting hit by the #77 of Damon. Mueller and Damon were both done for the night. That incident gave the lead to second place in points Kevin Harder. Harder would take full advantage and go on to take the win in his Be Cool Radiators #44. Duane Damon would finish second ahead of Sullivan,who clinched the Championship, and Brandon Tregembo.
The “Hurricane”, Scott Hantz, made a rare appearance these days to a traveling circuit and sat on the pole alongside Lennon, MI’s, Alex Hagon for the Dixie Classic 100. At the start, Hagon got the jump and took the early lead, while the field behind him was trading positions frequently through the first few laps. On lap 3, Hagon was leading with Hantz, Steve Needles, Shawn Amor, and Tyler Roahrig right behind. The jostling wasn’t finished as Needles made quick work of Hantz, and was by Hagon on lap 6. Roahrig moved into third on lap 9, as the field settled down some as they started clicking off the laps. But things started getting a little weird on lap 16 when Roahrig's #24 slowed on the track and headed to the pit area, with what was learned to be power steering problems. Needles is really putting distance on the field at this point, Hagon and Hantz try to keep pace, and try keeping a charging Trevor Berry behind them. On lap 27, Kyle Krump takes his Crosstown Ford to the pits, and then on lap 28, Needles, with a giant lead over second place, pulls his car to the top of turn #2 and heads into the pit area. Needles came into the night with a 26 point lead over Amor, and with his early exit, series officials were crunching the numbers to calculate possible championship scenarios. This hands the lead back to Hagon, with Hantz a few car lengths behind. Berry, Amor, Harold Fair Jr, and Dan Leeck are strung together trying to chase the leaders down. Berry is the first to get there and moves into second on lap 46. Leeck moves into third on lap 49. By lap 55, the three cars are running nose to tail with each looking for a way around. Fair drops out on lap 59 as the battle up front heats up even more. On lap 70, the one and only caution flag of this race comes out as Berry and Hagon make contact going into turn one. It appeared at the time that Berry was the only one to suffer damage as the right front tire was pushed up into the wheel well, and Hagon was able to continue, and he got his spot back. On the restart, it seemed Hagon may have spun his tires, as Leeck jumped into the lead from the outside front row. But the very next lap, Hagon pulled into the pits with problems stemming from the incident with Berry. Leeck never looked back and was never challenged over the last 30 laps and went on for his first ever Reveal The Hammer OSLM victory. Amor did all he could to try and grab the championship, but with Needles 12th place finish and Amor second, Shawn fell 12 points short of the goal. Hantz held steady for a third place finish, followed by the hard charger of the race, Claude Plante Jr, from twelfth to fourth. Mike Root was fifth, with Scott Pemberton, Josh Hahn,Hagon. Berry, and Fair completing the top ten.
Ten Trucks came out for their feature and third generation driver Dan Shamel grabbed the early lead. Former feature winner Paul Rigda got up to third early while DeLong and Josh Shaw battled for position. Shamel continued to lead but soon had Gregory Long and Rigda on his tailgate. DeLong got to Rigda and passed the #43 on the inside before jumping to the outside of the #38 of Long. The two would run side by side for two laps before Delong would get by using an inside pass in turn one. DeLong then challenged Shamel and would pass the #47 and go on to score another feature in his General towing truck, and put an exclamation point on his Championship season. Shamel, Long, Rigda and Shaw rounded out the top five.
David McManus was going for his sixth straight feature at Birch Run Speedway, but a seven car invert put Terry Trost and Larry Plamondon on the front row. Plamondon got the jump at the start with Nick Clemens moving into third. Lap six would see Clemens get to the inside of Plamondon and complete the pass the following lap. Meanwhile Berry and McManus were on the move as Berry would get by Trost and McManus passed Alex Donnert. By lap 10, Berry was to the bumper of Evan Foster and McManus had gotten around Trost. Berry was a man on a mission and cleared Foster on lap 12, bringing McManus with him. Three laps later, Berry had caught and passed Plamondon for second spot. McManus dropped the 81 back to fourth a lap later. Berry chased the #116 of Clemens down and got to his back bumper, but the pilot of the FastLane Auto Exchange car held on to pull into victory lane. Berry settled for second ahead of McManus, Foster and Plamondon. McManus clinched the 2021 championship.
The Front Wheel Drive class had 19 cars take the green. Jeffrey Asmus took the early lead with Eric James and Jason Jones in tow. Jones would get by James on lap six while Jordan Gustin, Randy Moore, Mike Schmidt and Corbin Kelley would battle farther back. Asmus continued to hold the lead until lap 10 when he developed a push off turn four that allowed Jones to get to the inside and take the lead. Craig Cummings would try to get by as well but contact slowed the two and allowed Pat Dent, Sam Eppling and Eric James to get by. Jones would put his Performance Auto #86 on cruise control and speed away to the win and the track championship! Cummings and Dent crossed the line in a near dead heat, with Cummings scored in seond ahead of Dent. Eppling, and Mike Schmidt rounded out the top five.
Jesse Collinge was the point leader coming into the night and utilized his outside front row starting spot to jump out to the lead. While Collinge pulled away, Adam Rowe would make moves to get to second. Rowe, the winner of the Harvest for Street Stocks the week before had nothing for Collinge as the driver of the Woolworth Racing #25 claimed victory and stamped his name as a champion at Birch Run Speedway. Rowe finished second ahead of Lonnie Saumier Jr, Kevin Harder, and Matt Mosier the top five.
The Birch Run Speedway and Event Center has one more event and that is the final Eve of Destruction on Saturday October 2nd. This Halloween themed event will see the drivers of the Trailer Figure 8 not only compete on the track, but the best decorated trailer, by vote from the fans in attendance, will receive an extra $200! The usual carnage will also feature the Pull and Push races, Flagpole races, the Back to School Bus race, an Enduro Figure 8 and the School Bus Figure 8. Plus some other surprises are in store for this event as well! Tickets can be bought in advance at www.birchrunevents.com or at the gate the day of the show.
The Birch Run Speedway will also be having a Trucks,Trunks and Treats event on Saturday October 23rd from 12-4 that will feature local companies bringing their vehicles out on the racing surface for children and adults to get a close-up view as well as get some candy in the process!
Stay tuned to www.birchrunracing.com as well as our Facebook page for important announcements during the off season and regarding the 2022 season at the Birch Run Speedway and Event Center
Article Credit: Ed Inloes and Chuck Darling
Photo Credit: Jason Partanen
Submitted By: Charles Darling