By: Anita Soltis
(Plymouth, IN) It was a night packed with five features and a great fireworks show – all of which had fans on the edge of their seats.
The first feature up for the night was a Thunder Stocks make-up feature from June 21. It was an action-packed feature that took the leaders three-wide to the finish.
Nate Payton set the pace early and it looked like he had it wrapped up until Bryce Shidler put the heat on him in the closing laps of the feature. Shidler, who started ninth, picked his way through the field and was working on John Rhoads for several laps for the second spot in the running order. The battle began on lap six and it wasn’t until lap 15 when Shidler got by Rhoads for the position. Shidler then set his sights on the strong car piloted by Payton. Shidler was working on Payton on lap 16 but couldn’t quite make his line stick. Payton was coming up on the No. 72 of Eric Brown who was about to go a lap down and held up the leader on lap 18 and closed the gap. As they worked around the last lap, Payton still had the lead with Shidler hot on his tail and a lapped car playing into the scenario. As they rounded turn number four, they were three-wide coming to the checkered flag and Shidler was able to inch out Payton for the win.
The margin of victory? Two-tenths of a second.
“That was a lot of fun,” smiled Shidler in his post-race interview. “I didn’t know if I was going to pass Payton there for a while. He had a strong car but I got the win. That was fun!”
The Dickies Restaurant 600 Sprints feature found a lot of cautions to start the race but once it went green, there was a lot of action. Roger Stealy was the first driver with the lead to start the race but he spun out of turn four which stacked up the field. Two cars rolled onto their side and the red flag came out. All of the drivers were okay, but damage was sustained to a few of the race cars. One of those cars involved points leader Billy Cribbs. With that, Nick Yoder assumed the lead but he spun on the restart lap and had to restart at the rear of the field for causing the caution. After the race went back to green, Garrett Saunders assumed the lead and didn’t look back. Dawson Stealy was able to move through the field from the ninth starting position and battled drivers like Randy Shilling to get second while Aaron Davis was able to stay out of trouble for the third place spot. Billy Cribbs was able to come back from the rear of the field after being involved in that early accident to finish fourth. Saunders had a dominant car in the feature.
“I had a great car and I also won the heat so it was a good night,” said Saunders. “ I had fun and it was a great race. It feels good to win again.”
The Super Streets found David Short’s No. 15 back to the point as he had a two-second lead on the second place finisher in the feature. He had to fight for clean air as he battled the front row of Nathen Jordan and Eric Peek. Peek jumped to the lead to start the feature with Bob McLean hot on his bumper and Jordan slipping back to fourth place. By lap four, Short was side-by-side with McLean for the second running spot. Short soon set his sights on Peek and got the lead on lap five. Short had a giant lead on Peek but a lapped car caused a problem for Short which shortened the gap a little. Short overcame it and continued to dominate. Peek lost the second position after he spun out of turn three. After the caution, Short went back to his leading ways and Michael Clark started toward the front. Clark started seventh and passed Randy Akers for the third spot just before the white flag was shown. It was Short with the win, McLean in second and Clark in third.
“I was looking for a good finish tonight and I’m glad I got the win,” commented Short.
Zeke McKenzie gave Jamie Lomax a run for his money in the Swan Lake Resorts UMP Modifieds feature, but he couldn’t hold him off for long. Lomax had a powerhouse of a car again this week as he started fifth and was battling McKenzie for the lead on lap eight. By lap 10, Lomax was the leader. McKenzie had a chance to get by Lomax on a green-white-checkered finish, but couldn’t get by him. Meanwhile, Tony Elliott had the best night of his career. He used the outside racing groove to get to a third place finish. He worked on Matt Mitchell for the third place spot on lap 18 and Elliott got past him out of turn three. Last year’s champion, Frank Marshall, found trouble early and ran in the back of the field but he was able to salvage a sixth place finish. Lomas extends his substantial points lead in the Swan Lake Resorts UMP Modifieds division.
“The track was black slick and that’s the way I like it. We worked hard on this car until 4 a.m. today to get it good for racing tonight and I’m happy that I was able to get the win,” laughed Lomax.
They started the night of racing and they ended the night of racing – only a different driver found the checkered flag in the Thunder Stocks division. The race went from green to checkers with no cautions and John Rhoads dominated the race. He won from the pole with Shidler picking up the second place finish and Mark Barrett rounding out the top three.
The margin of victory was 9.5 seconds.
“I’ve been working hard and finally I got a good starting position. I’m telling ya Shidler is a good competitor and he was tough tonight. It was a good race,” said Rhoads.
A special thank you goes out to DMark Fence and Huffman Electric for sponsoring Saturday night’s action at the Playground of Power. They helped repair a section of catch fence and lighting on the front stretch after an incident last week. The track crew also worked hard to get everything in working order for the night’s races.
It’s autograph night at Plymouth Speedway on Saturday, July 19. Enjoy the Swan Lake Resorts UMP Modifieds, Super Streets, Thunder Stocks, Dickies Restaurant 600 Sprints, plus the Vores Compact Touring Series. It all starts at 7 p.m.