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Race of Champions Closes out 2014 Season at Plymouth Speedway


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Race of Champions Closes out 2014 Season at Plymouth Speedway


By: Anita Soltis


(Plymouth, IN) The two biggest nights of racing at the Plymouth Speedway produced some of the best racing of the season.


The Lane Automotive 50 Race of Champions, presented by All Star Performance, Cometic Gasket, Inc., and JE Pistons with K1 Technologies started Friday night with the final Thunder Stock race of the year. John Rhoads started on the pole and dominated the race up until the final laps. Rhoads was using the high side of the racetrack and Bryce Shidler was racing for position. They raced side-by-side and Rhoads started to get off the pace. The No. 41 of Chad Bales then got into Rhoads as the race was coming to a close. Bales was running fourth at the time while Rhoads slipped to seventh. Shilder went on to win the race after starting fourth. Paul Minter was able to finish second with Bales in the third and last podium spot.


Tonight was one of the best nights of the year, said the 2014 Thunder Stock Champion, Bryce Shidler. It was good, hard and clean racing. I could feel cars coming up on me and it was an eerie feeling, but it was great racing.


A 15-lap shootout sponsored by Bud Light for the UMP Modifieds was featured with eight drivers going for $500. Rusty Griffaw started on the pole and he and Travis Stemler went side by side for the first two laps. Stemler got the lead and stayed there for the remainder of the shootout. Brian Shaw and Griffaw traded positions for the second spot for several laps and went side-by-side on lap eight for second place. Shaw was able to get the spot on the next lap. While Stemler got a big lead on the field, the rest of the drivers were battling for the podium. Stemler took home the trophy while Shaw claimed second and Griffaw settled for third.


Ive had a great time here at the track. This is going to be a really great track to race for 50 laps, said Stemler.


It was.


Before the Lane Automotive 50 Race of Champions, a 30-lap race for the Dickies Restaurant 600 Sprints found a former champion on the pole. Garrett Saunders and Shane Cottle were on the front row and from the start Saunders dominated the race. Cottle got caught up in an accident with the No. 20 of Patrick Boocher who was a slower car on the track to bring out the first caution in the race. Cottles car was done for the night on lap 12. Brad Nichols moved up to the second spot after Cottles exit while the 2014 600 Sprint Champion Billy Cribbs moved up to the third position. Thats where they stayed for the remainder of the race that only had three cautions. Directly after the race, Saunders jumped into the newly built fountain and pond in the infield.


Thank you to everyone who has helped me. The race was fun and that pond is REALLY cold! said Saunders.


That set up the 50-lap feature for 26 UMP Modified drivers. A redraw found Steve McClees on the pole with Kyle Strickler to his outside. Strickler was quick to get the lead while Brian Shaw slipped into second and McClees dropped to third. 2014 Swan Lake Resorts UMP Modified Champion Jamie Lomax and Michael Thayer got together on lap four which caused damage to both cars. Lomax continued for a few more laps but had to bow out of the race. The race then went green for eight laps with Strickler safe in the lead. NASCAR driver David Stremme caused the second caution when he spun. Later in the race Stremme and Zeke McKenzie had some contact on the track which caused Stremme to spin. While under caution, Stremme ran into the back of McKenzies car in retaliation and both drivers exited the racetrack.


Lapped traffic became an issue for the drivers in the third and fourth place spots as the laps started to wind down. McClees and Griffaw were battling for the last spot on the podium when the gap closed when attempting to pass a lapped car. McClees was able to keep the track position and edged Griffaw out of a podium position.


Kyle Strickler won the feature and $5,000 while Shaw finished second and McClees came in third.


This year has been amazing, he said as he reminisced about his winning season. This was my first race with this new car. We were quick and qualified well and drew a redraw that put us in the second spot for the start. The car just felt right. This is awesome and Im happy that I won. Ive had a lot of support and couldnt be happier with this new car!


This closes out the second full dirt season at the Playground of Power. A banquet to honor the 2014 champions is planned in January and work is already being done to ensure an even better 2015 season. Thank you to all of the supporters and sponsors at the track. Most importantly, thank you to the fans.


To keep up to date on the track in the off season, visit www.plymouthspeedway.net or our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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