On a chilly opening night at Peoria Speedway, the action on track was red-hot for the 6th Annual “Don Bohlander Tribute” race.
Kyle Logue and Jason Jaggers comprised the front row of the $3,000 to-win Budweiser American Late Model Series-sanctioned 50 lap feature and put on a show for the chilly Peoria race fans the entire race. As the green flew, Logue settled into the far bottom groove of the track, with Jaggers running the middle and the duo immediately began a side-by-side fight which would thrill the Peoria fans.
Logue and Jaggers ran side-by-side the first 5 laps before Logue would nudge ahead. Behind the leaders, a 3-way fight for 3rd between Ryan Unzicker, Billy Drake and Kevin Weaver was underway. Drake finally pulled away for 3rd on lap 6 and pressured Jaggers, making the pass stick on lap 7.
A caution on lap 13 re-set the field, and the battle for 2nd continued, with Jaggers finally getting back by Drake on lap 19 using the top side. Jaggers stalked Logue, using the middle of the track, with Logue encountering lapped traffic on lap 23. It was a classic high-low battle over the next 9 laps as the leaders would go 3 wide with lapped traffic on 3 different occasions until Jaggers took the lead again on lap 32 coming out of turn 2. Weaver nearly took 2nd from Logue the next corner, but a caution for Todd Bennett halted the action.
Back under green, Jaggers and Logue ran side-by-side for the next 5 laps, until Jaggers finally made the pass stick on lap 37. Jaggers reached more lapped traffic on lap 43 with Logue on his back bumper, but worked traffic masterfully and prevailed for the win. Logue finished 2nd, with Weaver, Drake and Unzicker the top 5. Tim Isenberg, Richie Bell, Tim Lance, Russ Sheffler and Scott Schmitt completed the top 10.
“That was a great race there”, Jaggers said in victory lane. “Hats off to Kyle, he drove a helluva race. The car was awesome, I could run anywhere I wanted. Considering its’ only the 3rd night out in this car, I’m real happy with the way its performing. It’s an honor to win such a big race.”
26 ALMS Late Models signed in to race, with Jay Morris setting fast time of 12.3. Heats were won by Logue, Jaggers and Drake, with Jeremy Reed winning the B Main.
Donovan Lodge warmed up for Sunday’s “Mug Root Beer 40” Dupont Pioneer UMP Modified special with a flag-to-flag win. Lodge started on the pole, with Matt Werner on the outside. Werner slipped out of the top groove on the first lap, giving Lodge the distance he needed as he survived 2 caution periods for the win. Werner, Allen Weisser, Jamie Lomax, Joel Funk, Steven Brooks, Jeff Curl, Butch Weisser, 16th-starting Erik Bruce and Riche Dawson rounded out the top 10.
“It’s always good to start up front, and even though I prefer the middle, the car worked well on the bottom tonight”, said Lodge.
The scariest moment of the night happened during the UMP Street Stock feature as Greg Sauder barrel rolled down the front stretch after contact with Wally Zander coming out of turn 4 on the first lap. Sauder’s final flip ended up with a hard hit and him resting upside down. Luckily, Sauder was uninjured but his car was a complete loss. When the race resumed, Randy Cusack took the lead, with brother Mike in tow. The brothers battled for the first 5 laps until Mike finally made the pass down the front stretch. Randy made several attempts to pass Mike, but could never get by, with Mike taking the win. Randy Cusack, Todd Smith, Greg Osman, Terry Miller, Jim Bolen, Chuck Barnes, Jr., David Weaver III, Kenny Butterfield, and Zander completed the top 10.
“That was a blast there”, said Mike Cusack after the race. “I can’t believe I finally beat my brother!”
In the Illinois Lightning Sprint feature event, Jake Sollenberger led the first 3 laps until Josh Brienen took over using the middle of the track. Brienen held the lead untl 14th-starting Austin Archdale, who flipped in his heat, ran him down for the lead. Archdale was then passed by 13th-starting Andy Baugh on lap 15 for the lead. Baugh was racing with a damaged front wing, but held on for the win. Archdale, Gedd Ross, Brent Burrows, AJ Hill, Brienen, Andrew Funk, Brad Funk, Matthew Kavanaugh, and John Springer rounded out the top 10.
“Wow! We finally got a win here!”, Baugh said in victory lane. “Austin is awful tough here, so this is a big win for us.”
In the UMP Hornet feature, Jeremy Reed led flag-to-flag, topping Matt Musgrave, Brent Terry, Zack Bollinger, Dustin Forbes, Charles McDaniel and Donald Grant, who were the only cars to finish the race.
“We are going for the UMP National Championship, so this is a good way to get going”, said Reed in victory lane.
Action resumes at Peoria Speedway on Sunday, April 14 with the running of the “Mug Root Beer Bug Dawg 40” for Dupot Pioneer UMP Modifieds, paying $2,000 to-win. UMP Late Models, Steel Block Late Models, and UMP Hornets will also be racing. Pit gates open at 2, with grandstands at 3 and hot laps at 4.