Jon Henry, Rusty Schlenk win American Late Model Series races


Brian Ruhlman wins second championship

By Scott Hammer - Oakshade Correspondent



After three consecutive rain outs at Oakshade Raceway, the weather finally cooperated with a perfect, bright and sunny Saturday evening for some American Late Model Series (ALMS) presented by Sunoco racing action which included an epic battle for the UMP Late Model track championship that was decided on the final lap by half a car length.

The evening started off with some make up A Mains from July 30, including the first of two ALMS feature events. Jon Henry from Ada, Ohio started at the front and dominated the race. Henry survived a close call just four laps from the finish when the 23 car of Brad Wade got turned around just in front of him which brought out the final caution of the race. Henry held off track championship contender Devin Shiels to pick up the $2,000 win. Shiels’ second place finish moved him two points ahead of Brian Ruhlman going in to the final point event later in the evening. Steve Kester finished third with Casey Noonan and Rob Anderzack the rest of the top five finishers.

Another make up feature from July 30, the Bomber A Main, had quite a bit of action. Dean Taylor took the early lead. Jerry Signor flew up in the air after some contact on the first lap, but continued on and eventually took the lead from Taylor on lap seven. Within that same lap, Signor slammed into the backstretch wall just as the yellow flag came out for a separate incident involving Rick Dixon. Signor limped back to the pits, turning the lead back over to Taylor.

After the restart, Taylor, Gregg DeTray and Jeff Foks had a great battle for the lead even though it appeared Foks had a broken tie rod on his left front that severely hampered the handling of his car. Toward the end of the race, Taylor fell off the pace while trying to hang on to the lead. Foks and DeTray then raced side by side for the lead and had contact which opened the door for Holland, Ohio’s Tim Murphy to pass both drivers and take the lead with only a couple laps to go. Murphy went on to win his first A Main of the year. DeTray finished second followed by Tim Hancock, Ryan Gorey and Curt Dickie.

The Compact A Main was the final make up feature from July 30 to be run at the start of the evening’s racing program. Cory Gumm out of Hillsdale, Michigan started on the pole and led the entire distance to earn his first feature win of the season. Richard Riffe put some pressure on Gumm early in the race, but Brogan Rehklau got by and then pressured Gumm himself. Coming to the white flag, Gumm, Rehklau and a lapped car were three-wide, but then the caution and eventually the red flag flew for an incident involving Carter Murday and Jeff Foks Sr. Gumm was able to fend off Rehklau on the final green flag lap. Riffe settled for a third place finish with Cody Stetten fourth. Rick McDaniel was fifth.

Later in the evening, it was time for more ALMS feature race action, which was also the final UMP Late Model track championship points race. Devin Shiels started 14th with a two point lead over defending champion Brian Ruhlman who started seventh. That meant that whoever finished ahead of the other would be the 2016 UMP Late Model track champion unofficially. Jon Henry, the winner of the evening’s first ALMS race, had problems before the drop of the green flag after losing a wheel on the warm up laps. He was towed back to the pits and came out one lap down and then got caught up in an accident at the back of the field before throwing in the towel early in the race.

ALMS point leader Rusty Schlenk from McClure, Ohio started on the outside of the front row and took the lead from pole sitter Curtis Roberts on the first lap. Quite a few yellow flags kept the field tight with Schlenk and Roberts out front. Roberts was able to get by Schlenk on a restart, but Schlenk quickly regained the top position and went on to pick up the $2,000 victory over Roberts. The drama in the track championship battle was building just a couple positions back as Devin Shiels worked his way in to the fourth position, just behind Brian Ruhlman. Shiels did everything he could and got to the inside of Ruhlman as they approached the checkered flag, but Ruhlman held on to finish third by the length of his hood to unofficially lock up his second consecutive Oakshade Raceway track championship with Shiels’ fourth place finish in the race dropping him three points behind Ruhlman in the final point standings. Craig Vosbergen, all the way from Perth, Australia, finished fifth.

George Lindsey started on the pole and led the entire distance of the caution-free 20-lap UMP Sportsman feature. It was the Adrian, Michigan driver’s third feature win of the year, moving him to within 22 points of UMP Sportsman point leader Mike Jessen with two weeks left in the points chase. Jessen finished third in the race behind Bruce Stuart. Joel Morton ended up fourth with Brian Fisher fifth.

Malinta, Ohio’s Tim Hancock started on the pole of the Bomber A Main and earned his first feature win of the year. Jeff Foks was able to pass Hancock after a lap one restart after a caution for Tim Murphy, the make up A Main winner earlier in the night, and Curt Dickie. Hancock was able to get back by Foks after he slipped up high. Foks later went back to the pits while under yellow on lap six. Ryan Gorey worked his way up to second after starting eighth, but Hancock went on to finish first. Satch Crispen finished third followed by Kyle Perry and Gene Potridge.

Cory Gumm tried to make it two feature wins in a row in the Compact A Main, but stopped during a yellow flag and retired to the pits after leading early. Matt Brazeau came out on top of a three-wide battle to win his first feature of the year. Cody Stetten and Richard Riffe finished a close second and third respectively. Carter Murday was fourth with Nathan Shaffer finishing fifth.

Cody Laney and Jamie Grochowski battled most of the distance of the Bomber B Main with Laney leading at the start. Grochowski took the lead on lap eight, but Hicksville, Ohio’s Cody Laney got the outside of Grochowski on the final lap to win by a nose. Ted Hill was third with Rick Dixon and Scott Hammer rounding out the rest of the top five finishers.

Rick McDaniel from Toledo took the lead of the Compact B Main after Jason Deshler and Cameron Tusing got together. McDaniel held off Brandon Paskan to pick up the victory. Josh Proffit Sr. finished third followed by Deshler and Hailey Hottenstein.

The final race of a jam-packed racing program was the Bomber C Main. Dan Shaffer started deep in the field and worked his way to the lead by lap three. Unfortunately for Shaffer, mechanical issues caused him to give up the lead on a restart to Holland, Ohio’s Gabe Mueller. Mueller held off Matt Lane to win the C Main. Shane Estes posted a third place finish with John Reichow and Brian Miller the rest of the top five finishers.

The Michigan Dirt Cup Modifieds wrap up their season this Saturday, Sept. 10 at Oakshade Raceway. UMP Sportsman, Bombers and Compacts will also be back in action. Gates open at 4 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m.

Brian Ruhlman wins second championship

By Scott Hammer

Oakshade Correspondent