Oct 25th - Banquet
UMP Modified tire rule - No D's.
HIGHLAND IL (April 21, 2012) The hottest ticket this year to any area race track has to be one for the Highland Speedway. While the temperature this past Saturday night was cool, it didn’t stop the racing loyalist from packing the Speedway’s Grandstand, and they weren’t disappointed, as the amount of race cars in attendance required the use of the overflow pit area located off of turn one and the racers provided exciting side by side racing with some unexpected winners. The night’s activities were sponsored by The Huddle House in Highland and Greenville.
With having a week off due to rain, plus a week of cool weather, add in a nightlong rain the evening before, the condition of the Speedway’s racing surface had many wondering what to expect. Promoter Scott Kuhn’s crew did a masterful job in prepping the surface as the racing was exciting from the drop of the first green flag.
Becker Jewelers Late Models
Being a member of the United Midwest Promoters (UMP) family of race tracks you’ll never know on a given Saturday night who might come to do battle with the Highland Speedway regulars.
As the Becker Jewelers Late Model division rolled out for their Heat races, it brought with it some interesting scenarios. There was a driver looking to extend his winning streak, some of the drivers were hoping to avenge a string of DNQ’s, and some hoping to be a first time winner this season earn a visit to the Casey’s General Stores Victory Lane
The heat races determine the line ups for the feature. The winners and runner ups in the heat races advanced to the Quick Six Dash. The dash qualifiers lineup is determined by a pill draw. Advancing to the Dash, from heat one, winner, in the 30V, Mark Voigt, and runner up Dan Jacober in the 22, winner and runner up from heat two, UMP traveler, Kevin Cole in the 81C, and Matt Weidner in the Circle 7 and from the third heat, winner and runner up, Michael Kloos in the 6K and Brett “The Silver Fox” Helmkamp in the 31 respectfully.
The pill draw line up put Helmkamp on the pole and Cole along side, row two was Jacober and Kloos and filling the last two positions were Weidner and Voigt.
Helmkamp looked strong in his heat and he lead the dash for the first three laps until he drove up high into turn two giving the lead to Kloos, who held on for the win and a front row start in the evenings night cap, Cole finished second putting him along Kloos in the front row.
The Highland track crew spent a few minutes during intermission grooming the racing surface and to say it was bad fast would be an understatement.
By winning the dash Kloos, (looking to make it three wins in a row), had the option of starting the 25 lap main event from either the pole (starting in the low groove) or outside pole (the high groove).
Kloos choose the high grove putting Cole, looking for his first Highland win, on the bottom. At the drop of the green flag Kloos jumped to the lead, but it was all for naught as something let loose in the 27E of Mike Schulte causing the first of three quick cautions, the cautions flag again came out on lap 2 and again on lap 4.
Cole wasted no time to get around Kloos and on the third restart the lineup was Cole, Kloos, Weidner, Voigt and the 78 of returning Highland Speedway Champ Chad Zobrist.
As mentioned before the track was fast and it wasn’t long before the racers were stretched out around the ¼ mile Speedway and on lap six the leaders caught the rear of the field. This proved difficult for Cole working the lap traffic. On lap 12 Kloos shot back into the lead. The race pace was fast as Kloos and Cole dealt worked in and around the lap traffic. On lap 19 the caution flag waved after 15 laps of very fast green flag racing. Kloos took the point on the restart with several lap cars positioned between the top five runners. Kloos again jumped to a commanding lead on the restart but it was short lived as after 1 lap something let loose on the 6K and it rolled to a stop on the back straight away and with it the chance of a three pete.
This time the lineup was without the lap cars integrated into the lineup as we were now under 5 laps to go. Cole was put into the number one spot with Voigt looking to avenge his string of DNQ’s but under caution something broke on the 30V and into the infield he sat, and the string of bad luck continued for Voigt.
Now the line up brought some new faces into the top five, Cole was now the leader, Jacober second, then “Fast” Frankie Martin in the 25, Followed by Chad Zobrist and Kerry Gaultney in the 21.
Cole with a clear racetrack jumped out to a multi car lead until the last lap when a caution came out and ended the lead Cole had over the field. What happened on the restart was a bit confusing as on the green white restart Cole slowed coming out of turn 4 bring out yet another caution. Apparently Cole thought a corner working was trying to stop the restart as to why he slowed. Cole was given his position back and this time the race finished under green.
Kevin Cole collected his first win of the season sending him to the Casey’s General Stores Victory Lane. Jacober, Martin, Zobrist and Gaultney were your top five finishers.
Steve Schmitt Modifieds
Two Highland Speedway drivers from two different divisions have found a home in the Steve Schmitt Modifieds. Darrell Hewlett came from the Street Stock ranks and Aaron Kleine moved down from the Late Models. Both have shown incredible improvement and Saturday night was no exception. Hewlett in the number 75 captured his heat win and also claimed the Dash victory. Kleine in the 13 won his heat and ran second to Hewlett in the dash. UMP traveler Brandon Roberts won the other heat.
The feature line up pitted Hewlett and Kleine on the front row and at the drop of the green flag Kleine looked as if he was shot out of a cannon. At one point he had as much as a straight away lead on the second place car.
But what looked like easy sailing on the white flag lap to the checkered flag nearly turned into disaster for Kleine. The 24J of Jacob Steinkoenig spun in front of the number 13 in between turns 3 and 4. Quick thinking from Kleine avoided the spinning racer. The resulting yellow allowed for the rest of the field to catch up to him. On the restart it was Klein, Roberts in the 35, Brett “The Kid” Korvis in the 25, Steve Lach in the 42 and Chad Sellers in the 11.
Kleine still had more than any of the other competitors as he held on for his first trip to the Casey’s General Stores Victory Lane in 2012. The finishing order didn’t change from the restart.
Hewlett who looked so good in the early part of the race fell out about midway with car trouble.
Miller Lite Pro Late Models
The Miller Lite Pro Late Models are in their second season at the Speedway and if this past Saturday night was any indication to their popularity it looks like this class is here to stay. The class utilizes a Late Model chassis and a GM Crate 350 cu. In. motor I an affordable way to learn the inner workings of a late model without the expense of a 750 hp motor.
The heat races were won by DJ Cygan in the 10, Steve Cole in the 37 and in the 14 Jason Suhre. The consolation race was won by Drew Marshall in the 18.
Cygan was the early on favorite taking the lead at the drop of the green flag. A late race caution bunched the field. Cygan was the leader, followed by Casey Montague in the 01 and Rick “The Salty Dog” Salter in the USA 1.
On the restart you could see Salter was on a mission working on the high side Salter passed the 01 and then set his sights on the leader. Driving harder on each turn Salter made a hard charge coming out of turn four and just passed the 01 of Cygan for a trip to the Casey’s Victory Lane. Cygan was second, Montague third followed by Cole, and Jason Suhre in the 4.
Marty Smith Jr spent most of the race in the lead but unfortunately on lap 15 of the 20 lap feature the number 55 broke and Rob Lee who started deep into the field took the point and the eventual win for the second time in the young 2012 season. Tyler Deibert, Rick Johnson, Brett Page, Curt Loddeke rounded out the top five.
Kenny Elliot made it to the Casey’s General Stores Victory Lane for the second time this year; following him to the finish line were Bobby Funderburk, Christian Lee, Zach Schantz and Rob Shaw.
Due to the tremendous total number of cars for the evening the Factory Stock feature will run next Saturday. Heat winners were Jake Hewitt, Justin Leichsenring, and Austin Isaak.
Next Saturday April 28th it’s Truck Centers Night at the races.
For more information about the Highland Speedway visit the tracks web site at highlandspeedway.com or on Facebook. You can also get up to date race information on your phone by texting “highland” to 91011.
(Photos by Photo Billy used by permission)