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Johnson first time winner at Plymouth Speedway


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Johnson first time winner at Plymouth Speedway
Mods put on quite a show of their own

PLYMOUTH (JULY 15, 2017) – Modified drivers took the first lap four-wide, giving Playground of Power Plymouth Speedway fans lots of excitement Saturday night.

Eighteen cars took the green after an early caution, as Randy Lines pulled away from Brian Post and Devin Wright. As many cautions as laps (three), racing was a go again for awhile, and Lafayette’s Matt Mitchell found himself in solid second. Valparaiso’s Frank Marshall was a man on the move, finishing third.

In the end, it was a dominant performance by Marion’s Lines that earned him the win. “There was pretty much moisture from top to bottom here,” Lines said, of being able to run any line on the track Saturday night. “Wish we could have stayed green, I may have had a shot at Randy,” Mitchell said.

“We had a good run going late,” Marshall explained. “It was just about to get real exciting with lapped traffic and stuff, but those early cautions stopped us.”

Plymouth’s Tom Grall found trouble on the first corner of the first lap, and rode a flat tire until a caution at lap 4 in the Thunder Stock series. Grall hit the pits, and just 16 cars remained of the 21-car field.

Grall got the tire changed while under caution and started from the back when the race went green, with South Bend’s Bryan Banta in the lead. Hobart’s Kevin Kerlin kept inching closer, and on lap 12, another caution came out as “Superman” Sheldon Oberle had worked his way from 10th starting spot to third. Within two laps, Oberle was second, and slid into first with three laps to go, ultimately taking the checkers.

“He gave me a good run for my money,” Oberle said of Banta. “Hard to beat that car,” Banta responded. Oberle said he planned on giving away his first-place trophy, and also passed out Superman shirts to fans.

The Mini Wedge race was won by Jake Rush of Lakeville. Sonja Driesens of Grand Rapids was second and Clinton Hunter of Kokomo was third.

Lakeville’s Garrett Saunders showed early domination of his own in the Pro Sprints race. Plymouth’s Zane DeVault was steady in second and Osceola’s John Gurley was solid in third in the no-caution green to checker race. Nine cars finished the 20-lap feature.

“It’s cool to go caution free,” Saunders said. “The car was really good. I knew Zane was right there on me. When we were all out there and we got into lapped traffic, we weren’t even turning any RPMs.”

DeVault said of his run, “It was a good car; the cushion devolved more than we thought.”

Gurley said, “It’s like homecoming for the Gurley family here. I wish we would have had a better showing. We lost a couple cylinders about halfway through. This is just a team effort. We’ll keep working on it, and I promise you boys, one of these days we’re going to be in the top spot.”

The night’s finale of the 600 Open went five laps before a caution came out, with Granger’s Chad Hartzell in the lead. At lap 7, Doug Nichols ended up upside down while running in the eighth position. Another caution at lap 10 was an unlucky one for Hartzell, as he was involved and went to the back, then lost power for good and had to leave the race. Warsaw’s Trey Johnson took the lead at green, and easily led the rest of the field. Fowler’s Andy Hall was second and Kevin Hapner of Nappanee was third.

First-time winner Johnson said “It feels awesome; we’ve been working on this for two years and finally got one.” Regarding Hartzell’s bad luck, Johnson said, “He’s hard to beat.”

Visit www.plymouthspeedway.net for more. Also visit Plymouth Speedway on Facebook for the latest event information, updates and photos.

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