Stapleton, Schoener, Balensiefen, Sauder, Brickley and Etherton get wins
(Peoria, IL) After floods devastated the track in mid-April, Peoria Speedway roared back to life in a big way on Saturday night with 123 cars in the pits and a packed grandstand. Fans were not disappointed in the action.
The ending of the night happened in the Steel Block Late Model divison. Jason Wagner started on the outside of the first row and led the first 8 laps until Scott Schoener passed him down the front stretch. After a caution flag the next lap, Steve Shannon shuffled past Wagner into 2nd and started stalking Schoener. The white flag flew, and Shannon pulled even with Schoener coming out of turn 4.
With Schoener high and Shannon low, the 2 made contact before the finish line, launching Schoeners car into the air as Shannon also got sideways. Schoener nipped Shannon at the line for the win in a near photo finish. “That sure was exciting wasn’t it”, Schoener told the crowd. “I guess I would have done the same thing (as Shannon) as we were both going for the same piece of real estate.” Shannon finished 2nd, followed by Wagner, Carl Feger and Kenny Egan.
Chad Stapleton of Edinburgh, IN led flag-to-flag for his first ever win at Peoria. Stapleton worked lapped traffic masterfully as the battle raged between Jason Jaggers, Brian Diveley, Steve Lance and Todd Bennett for the duration of the race for the 2nd spot. Jaggers drove by Lance with 3 to go but could never get close to Stapleton and settled for 2nd. Lance, Diveley and Bennett completed the top 5.
“We are friends with the Garnders, and all the races in our area were rained out so we ran Farmer City last night and decided to come here tonight”, Stapleton said in victory lane. “I want to thank all the fans for coming out tonight and supporting this track. It was fun to race on this track, the top was a little rough but it worked out.”
The UMP Modified feature was a classic battle between Nathan Balensiefen and Billy Tuckwell, slowed only by a caution on lap 3. The duo ran side-by-side the entire race, with Tuckwell taking the lead on lap 16, only to be passed back the next lap by Balensiefen. Balensiefen held on for the win, followed by Tuckwell, Erik Bruce, Austin May and Milo Veloz in race which saw the top 5 run in pack the entire race.
“That was a lot of fun, racing with Billy the whole race”, Balensiefen said. “We ran clean the whole time and never touched each other. Glad we could put on a great show for all these fans.”
Barry Sauder won his first-ever Street Stock win in a dominating flag-to-flag performance. Randy Cusack, Don Cole, Jim Carter and Mike Blunk completed the top 5. “I want to thank my dad for all the help with this car, it’s been a long time coming”, Sauder told the crowd.
Billy Brickley passed Brent Burrows midway through the Speedway Motors Illinois Lightning Sprint Series feature and held off 22nd starting Andy Baugh for the win, Burrows, Tim Brannam and Brad Funk rounded out the top 5.
“I had to be patient as we got to lapped traffic pretty quick”, Brickley said. “I saw my chance and had to take it and it all worked out well.”
The UMP Hornet feature was a demo derby which was shortened due to time constraints after several caution flags slowed the action to a crawl. Drivers were informed that the next yellow would end the race on lap 4 as Tyler Etherton and Shane Kelley ran side-by-side, with Kelley taking the yellow and checkered as an accident on the back stretch ended the race. Because the lap was not complete, scoring went back to the last completed lap, giving the win to Etherton. The rest of the top 5 were Kelley, Tyler Benson, Junior Brown and Nolan Kauffman.
Action resumes at Peoria Speedway this Friday, July 12 with the AMA All-Star Series “Summer Sizzler”. A full UMP racing program will be held next Saturday, July 13 and the UMP Summernationals return on Monday, July 15.