(Peoria, IL) Todd Bennett worked lapped traffic masterfully, and returned to victory lane for the first time this year at Peoria Speedway Saturday night in the UMP Late Models.
Bennett had a terrific start, out-gunning Justin Springer to the first corner to take the early lead. Two cautions early at laps 3 and 8 slowed the action, but the next 22 would go green. Bennett first encountered lapped traffic on lap 16 but a multi-grooved racing surface allowed Bennett to dart in and out. Roger Rebholtz and Bob Gardner chased Bennett, but neither could catch the Peoria veteran as Bennett led all 30 laps. Rebholtz and Garnder collided with a lapped car at the judges’ stand, casing a dramatic 3 car pileup at the finish line. Rebhotlz was scored in 2nd, followed by Gardner, John Garnder, Jr., and Cody Spirling.
“This is way overdue”, Bennett told the crowd. “We got a good jump there and the work you guys did on the track made it easy to pass. I’ve gotta thank my dad and step mom, and all my crew, along with my wife.”
Erik Bruce led the UMP Modified feature flag-to-flag, jumping to the lead from his outside front row starting spot over Brock Bauman. The defending track champion was terrific in lapped traffic as well, holding off Bauman, Derrick Doerr, Noah Faw and Dale Munson for the win. Ironically, Bruce had borrowed parts from Bauman before the feature.
“I want to thank the track crew for doing such a good job on the track at intermission, the track was great”, said Bruce. “We got a really good start there and we want to thank the Bauman boys for putting some of their parts on our race car.”
Steve Shannon won the Steel Block Late Model feature, fending off last weeks’ winner Jason Wagner, Brian Crebo, Rob Bauman Sr., and Carl Feger. “It sure feels good to beat that 00 car there, Jason has been running real strong. We are starting to get this card dialed in.”
Barry Sauder and UMP National Street Stock points leader Terry Miller put on a great show, running side-by-side over the first 4 laps. Sauder finally got out front on lap 5, but Miller kept charging and was on Sauders’ bumper as the checkered flew. Bob Simpson, Randy Cusack and Wally Zander rounded out the top 5.
“Wow!”, an excied Suader told the crowd. “That was a great race there with Terry, thanks to the track crew as the track was awesome. Pretty cool to beat the UMP National Points leader.”
Austin Archdale returned to victory lane for the first time this year at the track, jumping from 4th to 1st in the first lap and never looking back. Billy Brickley, Josh Brienen, Brad Funk and Andrew Funk completed the top 5. “We have had brake problems with this car and did again tonight. I knew one of those guys was behind me and it was a challenge without brakes”, Archdale said.
The UMP Hornets raced for $250, and Tyler Etherton had a terrific battle with Tyler Benson to collect the top prize. Derrick Deford, John Oliver and Jimmy Grant rounded out the top 5. “Tyler is one of the best drivers out there so to beat him is doing something. I’ve gotta thank my dad for all his help,’ Etherton told the crowd.
Action resumes at Peoria Speedway this Thursday, July 25 with a full UMP racing program. The track will not be in action next Saturday, July 27.