By Andrew Hayn
Saturday night at the Playground of Power was a little on the chilly side but the racing action added heat to the grounds of the Plymouth Speedway. There were ninety-five cars in the pits between the four divisions to kick off the 2014 season with the Cabin Fever event.
The heat races started strong with the super streets. The first heat went to Nathan Jordan as he held off Travis Cooley for the first checkered flag of 2014. Michael Clark of Gary, Indiana put a brand new power plant under the hood for this season and it paid off quickly in opening night as he won the second and final super street heat by holding off Tommy Beezly in a close battle.
The UMP Modifieds were the strongest class in the pit area on opening night with thirty-eight entries in the pit area. The modified heats were very wild and filled with cautions as the drivers tried to regroup after a long winter. The first heat went to Tom Bell as he crossed the line first while a hard charging Jamie Lomax ran out of laps to gain another position. Lomax gained five positions over the eight lap affair to finish second. The next heat out was a tough heat for competitors as they all were after the top four positions to transfer to the A main. Kevin DeYoung took advantage of his pole position and led the entire way for the race win. The third heat had the top three point finishers from 2013 battling for top honors, but Adam Williams charged to the front by slicing-and-dicing through the competition. Frank Marshall and Beezly finished a close second and third. The final heat had an early caution eliminating Brian McFeeters on a hook when he ran out of race track exiting turn two. JR Hotovy was able to hold off the field and survive the eight lap distance with the checkered flag.
The 600 mini sprints were the division out of the pits for their two heats on the Bull Ring. Brad Nichols began a successful evening by holding off a fierce Randy Shilling for the first heat win of the division in 2014. The second heat went to Dawson Stealy as he held off the defending champ Billy Cribbs at the line.
The final heat of the evening was for the thunder stocks. Bryce Shidler, the defending champion, was able to rebound after a hard hit a week ago in open practice to nab his first heat win of the season.
The B main challenge was the next event out of the pit area for the UMP modifieds to complete the line up for the A main. The sixteen car, sixteen lap affair started slowly but finished wildly with everyone trying to pick up valuable positions in the closing laps. When the checkered flag fell Ryan Flagel was the first across the stripe followed in second by Phil Line. Flagel and Line both opted out at the chance for better money in A main allowing third place finishing Kyle Yocum, Devin Wright in fourth, Lynn Johns in fifth, and Darrell Lowe sixth to transfer into the main event.
The features were very exciting throughout all four of the divisions. The Super Streets were the first feature of the season with Mike Clark making a hard charge around Tommy Beezly at the midway point to take the top spot. Beezly would finish in the pits with an ailing machine eliminating him from the podium. Clark completed the first sweep of the season by holding off second place Travis Cooley and Randy Akers nabbed his first podium with a late race charge on the inside of numerous competitors.
The second feature was the twenty lap main event for the UMP modifieds. Jamie Lomax, second in the country for the UMP National Points coming into Saturday night’s racing action, received an awesome starting spot with the feature pill draw and he took full advantage of it by dominating out front. He took top honors over Michigan’s Mark Hotovy in second and Adam Williams finished in third on the Techworks Trailer Sales podium. Brandon Roundtree finished fifth in his first ever modified main event right behind Kevin DeYoung. The Defending champion Frank Marshall had a tough time going and finished tenth while Tommy Beezly’s tough night continued. Beezly finished pit side in fourteenth.
The 600 sprints were very exciting on the Bull Ring and Muncie’s Billy Cribbs started the season right where he left off in 2013 as champion. He took top honors on the podium followed by Brad Nichols in second. Nichols went to the back in an early caution but fought through the field twice for his finishing position. Tyler Fitzpatrick held on for third holding off rookie hopeful Chad Hartzell in fourth and Blake Lamb rounded out the top five.
The final feature of the night was the fifteen lap main event for the thunder stocks. Chris Joseph and Kevin Kerlin took full advantage of a front row start and duked it out for the top spot; however, Joseph was just to fast out front and held on for the first feature win of the season. Kerlin held on for second while Bryce Schaefer battled through the field for third. In fourth was Randy Lambert and Kieth Crissenger rounded out the top five.
This Saturday night the Plymouth Speedway will host all four divisions again for another hot night of racing action. Visit our page on Facebook or our website at www.plymouthspeedway.net for the latest news, points, and information on our upcoming events.