PUTNAMVILLE -- For three weeks, sprint car drivers had attempted to find a winning combination to end Dickie Gaines' domination at Lincoln Park Speedway.
On Saturday night, Billy Puterbaugh finally came across the right formula, adding equal parts lead foot with a lack of brakes to edge Gaines for a victory.
The win extends his points' lead to 48 over Shane Hollingsworth, who was not at LPS on Saturday night.
One driver who did have the fans buzzing with his arrival was Cory 'the Kruser' Kruseman, who brought his team with him to the Putnamville oval. The Ventura, California native and multiple Indiana Sprint Week champion was making his first 2008 trip to Lincoln Park Speedway.
It did not begin well.
Gaines and Tyler Reddick won the first two heat races setting up the final nine-car heat race, which included Kruseman.
Just one lap into the race Kruseman was collected in a crash with Derek Williams and flipped his No. 71k machine.
Luckily Kruseman was able to get his car prepared for the B-Main, where he blasted through the field to take the runner-up spot behind Bret Tripplett.
Twenty-nine sprinters were whittled down to the final 20 for the A-Main with Blake Fitzpatrick holding the pole alongside Jesse Cramer.
As the green flag waved, Cramer pulled a huge wheelstand that nearly put him on his head down the frontstretch, though he was able to save the car in traffic.
Gaines assumed his familiar spot at the front of the field with Puterbaugh in hot pursuit. The two grabbed a comfortable lead, leaving an exciting fight for the third spot between Fitzpatrick, Mark Perry, Kenny Carmichael Sr., Henry Clarke and Stephanie Tuttle.
The group put on a side-by-side show for the fans, hungry to gain that third spot and a good look at the leaders.
Up front, Gaines and Puterbaugh were taking advantage of a nice cushion that had formed at the top. The pair entered traffic and Puterbaugh got the opening he needed, slipping past a slower car that held up Gaines.
Puterbaugh nabbed the point after several laps of side-by-side action. Behind them, Carmichael Sr. made the pass of Fitzpatrick to take the third spot where he would stay.
As the white flag flew, Puterbaugh had the Creative Design Embroidery sponsored sprinter on top, but with no brakes remaining and Gaines just behind him. Coming off turn four, Puterbaugh was a little too hot for the corner and jumped the cushion. However, he had just enough of a lead to hop back over the berm and blast to the finish line and the victory. Gaines was followed by Carmichael and Fitzpatrick with Beauchamp, Mark Perry III, Kenny Carmichael Jr., Kruseman, Henry Clarke and Tuttle in the top 10.
The points chase in the UMP Modified division is just as hot as the A-Main action was on Saturday night.
Only eight points separate leader Paul Bumgardner and Saturday's winner, Kenny Carmichael Jr.
Carmichael and Travis Shoulders were never more than a couple of car lengths apart for the entire feature and spent much of the final laps leaning heavily on each other in a dogfight to the checkered flag.
Carmichael led early and Shoulders led late before a caution with three laps remaining set the stage for the final charge.
On the restart, Carmichael got a good jump off turn four and would pull even with Shoulders, sponsored by Ottawa Trailer Parks, Cardinal Contracting, Durabuilt Racing, Eubank & Sons, Pizza Den and Still Here Liquors. The last two circuits weren't kind to either car's sheet metal with plenty of contact, but Carmichael was able to edge ahead with one lap left and held on for the win.
Bumgardner battled Brad Robinson during the early stages of the event before a spin sent Robinson to the tail and an eventual 13th place. Bumgardner stayed close to the leaders and managed to beat Shoulders to the line by a hair for second-place. Mark Auler took fourth ahead of Chris Brewer, Dan Lewellen, Wayne Cooper, Phil VanSant, Carlos Bumgardner and Doug Bryant Jr.
Carmichael's win came in the Carmichael's Exhaust, Wellum Chiropractic and Bud & Sons Auto car.
Slick Griffin was able to top the field in the UMP Super Stock A-Main, besting Kris Starks and David Bumgardner to the line.
Terry Arthur had the early lead upon the start, but Griffin and Chris Hillman were in the thick of the battle along with Greg Amick and Starks.
Hillman challenged Griffin early in the race and stayed alongside him for several laps before a spin by Joe Whisler brought out a caution. Hillman's fight for another LPS victory was derailed on the restart by mechanical problems.
That left the Griffin Auto Salvage, Hoosier Towing, GT Collision and Joe's Tire machine to cruise to the win ahead of Starks, who couldn't quite reel the Brazil native in down the stretch.
David Bumgardner stayed in third place ahead of Tami Lawson and Greencastle's Curt Leonard, sponsored by Theresa Cunningham, State Farm Insurance, Black Diamond Contracting and Don's Garage. Kenny Carmichael Jr. was followed in seventh by Doug McCullough, Tony Erdly, Mike Wright Jr. and Joe Whisler.
In the bomber main event, Terre Haute's C.J. Bryan claimed his third feature of the season, holding off Dustin Shoulders for the feature win that pushes his points' lead to 32 over Lloyd Walls, who ran third on Saturday night. Bob Farris came home fourth ahead of last week's winner, Ben Williams. Chad Nolte was sixth ahead of Kevin Kemp, Ron Smith, Arvis Shepherd and Michael Thompson.
Bryan is sponsored by Perfection Auto Glass, Pott's Tax Service, Joe's Hobby Barn, Red Hot Vending and Durabuilt Racing.
Next week will be a regular schedule with sprints, UMP Modifieds, UMP Super Stocks bombers as well as the Heartland Automotive school bus race.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint car feature
1. Billy Puterbaugh, 2. Dickie Gaines, 3. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 4. Blake Fitzpatrick, 5. Brent Beauchamp, 6. Mark Perry III, 7. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 8. Cory Kruseman, 9. Henry Clarke, 10. Stephanie Tuttle, 11. Todd Kimmell, 12. Bret Triplett, 13. Michael Bridges, 14. Alex Schutte, 15. Lance Hayden, 16. Jerry Ruble, 17. J.T. Stapp, 18. Aaron Mosley, 19. Jesse Cramer, 20. Tyler Reddick
B-Main winner: Bret Triplett
Heat winners: Tyler Reddick, Dickie Gaines, Jesse Cramer
UMP Modified Feature
1.Kenny Carmichael Sr., 2. Paul Bumgardner, 3. Travis Shoulders, 4. Mark Auler, 5. Chris Brewer, 6. Dan Lewellen, 7. Wayne Cooper, 8. Phil VanSant, 9. Carlos Bumgardner Sr., 10. Doug Bryant Jr. 11. Brian Kempf, 12. Gary Hall, 13. Brad Robinson, 14. Daryl Herbert, 15. Tom Black, 16. Chris Kerl, 17. Scott Ricketts, 18. Jared HIx, 19. James Tumey, 20. Kenny Weaver
B-Main winner: Carlos Bumgardner Sr.
Heat winners: Daryl Herbert, Paul Bumgardner, Kenny Weaver
Super Stock Feature
1.Slick Griffin, 2. Kris Starks, 3. David Bumgardner, 4. Tami Lawson, 5. Curt Leonard, 6. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 7. Doug McCullough, 8. Tony Erdly, 9. Mike Wright Jr., 10. Joe Whisler, 11. Mark Blalock, 12. Elijah Himinger, 13. Mark Dickerson, 14. Travis Heramb, 15. Josh Fagg, 16. Michael Conner, 17. Greg Amick, 18. Terry Arthur, 19. Chris Hillman, 20. Scott Carrington
B-Main winner: Doug McCullough
Heat winners: Terry Arthur, Tami Lawson, Kris Starks
1.C.J. Bryan, 2. Dustin Shoulders, 3. Lloyd Walls, 4. Bob Farris, 5. Ben Williams, 6. Chad Nolte, 7. Kevin Kemp, 8. Ron Smith, 9. Arvis Shepherd, 10. Michael Thompson, 11. David Bumgardner, 12. Justin Clodfelter, 13. Ron Wallen Sr., 14. Jake Hodge, 15. David Wallen, 16. Daylan Chambers, 17. Ron Wallen Sr., 18. Dallas King, 19. Sean Yakel, 20. Scott Dillion
B-Main winner: David Bumgardner II
Heat winners: Lloyd Walls, Ben Williams, CJ Bryan