After what seemed like the longest offseason for drivers, fans, and promoters Paul and Kay Miller, cars started to pack the pits. 98 cars appeared for nine divisions. Many more drivers were there supporting their colleagues in the stands or as crew members. Pleasant temperatures and sunny skies greeted everyone in attendance. As the teams rolled in, one thing was for sure; there was going to be some fast cars!
As the Magrell’s Pizza Jr. Sprints took to the track, many things carried on from last year. The cars of Ryan Boano, Ayden Cipriano, and Roman Jones were back, along with Chase Metheney. Starting on the pole was newcomer Nate Hoffer. Hoffer did not make it to the line to lead 2015’s first lap. The 31 of Metheney shot to the lead and got to lead until the 82 of Roman Jones briefly took the lead. Metheney retook the lead and led until Jones took over at halfway. Jones went on to win. In victory lane, he thanked his many sponsors and was ecstatic to be 2015’s first winner. FINISHING ORDER: Jones, Metheney, Cipriano, Boano, Hoffer, Braden Tucke, Liam Van Helsen, Chase Nichols.
Up next was the Hoosier Tire Jr. Sportsman. This race was an interesting one. Last season’s champion Vivian Jones and Tyler Purnell headlined the division. Starting on pole was the 14 of Jacob Eakin. He didn’t get to lead the first lap either as Jones took back where she was most of last year: the lead. Jones and Purnell made the five car feature a good show until Purnell took the lead. He brought his new ride to the front and took the checkers in a pretty easy way. As he got to victory lane, his brand new ride was ready for pictures. Purnell thanked everyone that had supported him as he held the checkers and microphone in his hands. FINISHING ORDER: Purnell, Jones, Cody Stillion, Jenna Golden, Eakin.
After intermission, the temperature fell slightly. But all the fans were on hand for a standing ovation as the Majestic Trailer Micro Sprints went out on track. The drivers did a missing man formation for driver DJ Furney. Furney passed away during the offseason and left a rift in the field. As the cars got in line and the green flag fell, the drivers raced hard. During the feature, the 3 of Tim Eakin got sideways and the 19R of Tim Cecil hit the wall and rolled his car several times. Up front, Ryan Fredericks led every lap and got the win. Though the win was memorable, what followed left several soggy eyes. As Fredericks did a burnout in the infield, and got out he had a very well prepared speech to give. “Though my car won, we were a second place car tonight. We lost a great man over the offseason, and we knew he would have won…. DJ, this one is for you.” He then thanked his sponsors. FINISHING ORDER: Fredericks, Brett Brunkenhoefer, Brian Borawiec Jr, Tom Sigley, Brandon Fredericks, Wes Libert, Shane Slattman, John Sampson, Brandon Hawkins, Todd Sampson, Michael Keefe, Eakin, Brian Forester, Dave Stemmerich, Chris Davis, Tim Cecil.
The Dave’s Auto Body 600′s took to the track with a slightly larger field. After the 45 of Todd Reusser could not start, Willie Snippet got to lead the field to green. Unfortunately for the field, but not for Snippet, that was not the first flag he would take in first place. Snippet took the green, white, and checkers and put on a nice show in doing so. The real action was in the middle as Chris Smith, and Barry Racen had a good race long battle that led to Smith taking the advantage. FINISHING ORDER: Snippet, Smith, Racen, Brooke Coggin, Mike Borawiec Jr, Morgan Reusser, Todd Reusser, Trevor Baker.
On hand next was the Smith’s Body Shop Mod Lites. James Good, took the green flag and led until lap three then the all-white number 1 of Doug Stanley took the lead. Stanley took his car the entire distance as Nick Groves, and Todd Rhoads 2014 Hoosier Tire Point Champ gave chase. Rhoads was closest toward the end, but Stanley took the win. Groves came in third. The race was best noted for the two spins by Nick Groves. After the spins, the race went green from then on making the feature a relatively issue free event. FINISHING ORDER: Stanley, Rhoads, Groves, Ted Williams, James Good, Dave Innes, Charlie Armstrong, Wade Minnea, James Gump Jr.
Next on hand was the eight car field of the Summit Racing Chargers. Anthony Gillespie took the green but was quickly passed by Dave Jones. Jones put on a clinic as he easily took the win. The race would also be remembered for running quite fast with no cautions. As Jones took the win, he was quite happy to start 2015 off the right way. FINISHING ORDER: Jones, Steve Mix, Art Williams, Tiffany Williams, Steve Mix jr., Larry Rhoads, Jim Golden, Gillespie The following feature was quite fun. The Summit Racing Classics had a larger field and was hotly contested. Jason Myers, Dad and Maranda Myers, Daughter, raced hard. As several cautions fell, Jason looked to have the race won as he could run the bottom. Maranda decided the high line was the way to go. As she passed Dad, she was able to take the win. As she got out, she smiled because she could say she was the first winner of the 2015 season. FINISHING ORDER: Maranda Myers, Jason Myers, Terry Ohl, Bill Van Fossen, Branden Smith, Ted Williams, Adam Buttermore, Greg Davis, Larry Went, Shaun Loy, Mark Suchan, Bob Boano, Jeff Davis.
It was time for the large cars to take to the tracks. The Linex of Salem E-Mods had 15 starters, but Jeff Mundell and Larry Ingram pulled off before the green flag. Ed Harris started on pole, but after tangling with Derek Dellinger, they were towed off. 2014 champion of the E-mods Craig Humphreys took the lead. And led every lap. But his lead was not clinic worthy. He had to fight off a hard charging Dennis Dellinger. For the final five laps, Dellinger sawed on the back of Humphreys’. Off of turn 4 to get the white flag, Dellinger had to lift to let Craig in front of him. That loss of momentum let Humphreys take the win. FINISHING ORDER: Humphreys, Dellinger, Nicole Hrdlicka, Cameron Nastasi, Ray Gregory, Haley Lapcevich, Mike Smith, Blane Klein, Justin Lapcevich, Melissa Sampsel, Jeff baker, Ed Harris, Derek Dellinger, Ingram, Mundell.
Finally the Mel’s Towing Compacts were on hand. Jason Shaw got to lead the field to green but fell back. Tim Ring, the winner of the first heat, and Jaret Sams looked to be faster than Shaw. Shaw was a substitute driver for Lucinda Jordan and Don Peebles. Several drivers were making their first start. Kenny Lawson and Jeffery Williamson were among the rookie class. Another driver that was looking fast was the 18 of Doug Hensel. As the green fell, Sams and Hensel took to the hardcore racing that headlined the division last year. Sams and Hensel at one point split the 84 of Williamson as they lapped him. Sams took the win and was happy to bring several new sponsors to victory lane. Hensel settled for 2nd. FINISHING ORDER: Sams, Hensel, Johnny Bruce, Ring, David Means, Jason Pavlick, Fred Wilkinson, Lucinda Jordan, Mike Varner, Williamson, Eugene Arkenburgh, Lawson, Peebles, Shaw, Mitch Reicherd.