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Championships close out regular season at Plymouth Speedway


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Championships Close out Regular Season at Plymouth Speedway

 

By: Anita Soltis

 

It was a hot and humid Sunday afternoon but four classes of drivers made it around the Playground of Power after a weather postponement Saturday night.

 

Bryce Shidler was the class of the field as he powered to the front after three cautions at the start of the race. After a slow start, Shidler was able to gain a healthy lead and took the win in the feature. Robert Howard rode in the second position for the feature and finished in that position. Douglas Payton and Jim Henson began a battle for the third spot on lap 12 of the 20-lap event. It ended on lap 15 when Payton got high out of turn four and Henson took advantage of the mistake. Payton couldn’t catch him after that. It was Shidler with the win, Howard with second place and Hansen with third.

 

“I’ve lost a lot of sleep this week thinking about this championship,” laughed Shidler. “I don’t know how many times I checked my car. I just knew if I had a bad heat race or a bad feature I could lose the championship. I think I got about three hours of sleep last night. This car has been wrecked a lot this season, but she still turns left.”

 

It was a rather slow start to the Swan Lake Resorts UMP Modifieds race due to a dry racetrack, but the racing heated up once the green flag was in the air. Derek Losh was in front of the field for the entire feature while the battle was on for the remaining spots on the podium. Nick Allen was giving Losh a run for his money early but had an issue with his car and couldn’t continue with the race. Jamie Lomax was looking at third place but had tire issues shortly after Allen exited the race. A green-white-checkered set up the ending of his long-awaited feature. Todd Sherman drove from the back of the pack and battled several drivers for several laps to get into the top five. All of a sudden, he’s in the second spot and poised to win additional money with his win in the B Feature if he could get a good restart. Losh got a good restart and held Sherman off for the win. Jason Bitterling, who watched the two battle for position, got the last spot on the podium for third place.

 

Losh and Lomax were running for national UMP Modified points as was Devin Gilpin. Gilpin sits atop the national standings and came to Plymouth Speedway to race the pair to increase his lead. He got a flat right front tire halfway through the feature and took it to the pits. Lomax joined him a few laps later.

 

“Starting up front got me a good chance to get the win,” stated Losh. “It was a great race.”

 

Michael Clark started on the pole position and didn’t look back as the Super Streets feature took the green flag. Calvin Peek, Jr. attempted to get around Clark on lap 9 but Clark wouldn’t give up the position. Peek started to slip in the running order but Tony Anderson and David Short were on their way. Short was running in the fourth position for quite a while until he was able to get the second position on the restart after a caution on lap 13. Short looked like he was going to finish second but Tony Anderson, who started 13th, was passing cars in the closing laps and just passed Short coming out of turn four right before the checkered flag. Clark won the feature with Anderson on the second spot on the podium and Clark in third.

 

“It feels awesome winning the championship,” smiled Clark. “It’s been fun racing all year long and I’m glad we came out on top tonight. A feature win in October would be nice too.”

 

The Dickies Restaurant 600 Sprints found two rookies on top of the podium. Justin Bell took an early lead and kept it even with several restarts in the contest. Randy Shilling put pressure on Bell but he spun in a latter part of the race which took him out of contention for a podium spot. Chad Hartzell started moving up the field from seventh and kept driving his way through the crowd to snag the second spot in the lineup. Eric Saunders followed Hartzell through the field and took the final place on the podium. Both Bell and Hartzell were vying for Rookie of the Year in the 600 Sprints field and may need to share that trophy when the points are tallied.

 

This was Bell’s best finish to date.

 

“What a great feeling,” said an out-of-breath Bell. “It’s unbelievable. We’ve worked hard and had a great car. It doesn’t matter one way or another if it comes to down to a tie for Rookie of the Year with Chad (Hartzell). He’s a class act.”

 

Congratulations to our division champions! Billy Cribbs is the Dickies Restaurant 600 Sprints champion, Bryce Shidler is the Thunder Stock champion, Michael Clark is the Super Streets champion, and Jamie Lomax is the Swan Lake Resorts UMP Modified champion.

 

The next big events are the World Series of Dirt on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4 and the Race of Champions on Oct. 10 and Oct. 11. Watch our website at www.plymouthspeedway.net for more information.

 

Thank you to all of the staff, drivers and FANS for such a wonderful season and we’ll see you in October!

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