Hayden, Bumgardner win opener at LPS

Monday, May 2, 2011

PUTNAMVILLE -- The skies finally cleared, mostly, and the water receded at Lincoln Park Speedway as racing conquered Mother Nature for the first time in three weeks with Saturday's slate of full throttle action in Putnamville.

With the USAC sprint car schedule on a break for the night due to the flooding in southern Indiana, several drivers chose to get in some extra track time at LPS before USAC's date at the track this coming weekend.

Dave Darland was one of those drivers and he already boasted an opening night win at LPS back on April 9. However, he was going to have plenty of top competition on the evening.

Darland barely nosed out Kent Christian for a heat race win and earned the pole for the A-Main alongside Casey Shuman, who had won heat race number two ahead of Bryan Clauson. Fifteen-year old Braylon Fitzpatrick won the third heat and started inside row two alongside Christian.

Dakota Jackson picked up the B-Main win and earned himself a spot in the evening's main event.

Darland would take the early lead of the feature, taking the bottom line ahead of Fitzpatrick and Shuman. However, Fitzpatrick slipped the cushion in turn two and tangled with Brett Burdette. Fitzpatrick narrowly missed a flip, but made a nice save to keep his sprinter on four wheels. However, it spelled the end of his quest for the victory. Burdette and Seth Parker also pulled to the pits before the re-start on lap five.

Once the racing resumed, Shuman and Darland dazzled the fans with a back-and-forth race for the top spot. The sprint veterans battled tooth-and-nail for the lead before Shuman edged past Darland, who caught a rough spot and checked up.

With Shuman taking the lead, Clauson took the opening caused by Darland's slowed car and grabbed second briefly.

Darland wouldn't stay there long as he quickly resumed his chase of Shuman following a re-start. Behind those three, Ethan Barrow, Christian and Mike Spencer were locking horns in pursuit of fourth-place and a shot at the leaders.

Up front, Shuman and Darland were able to separate themselves in some lapped traffic and pulled away in front of Clauson and Barrow.

Over the final laps, Darland gave it everything in his chase for a repeat win.

However, on this night, it was Shuman, who claimed the victory by a half car length in the Oles Engineering Corp., Indy Race Parts, Lucas Oil-sponsored No. 4, owned by Jerry Cook. Clauson placed third ahead of Barrow, Christian and Spencer.

In the UMP Modified feature, a classic battle developed early as Paul Bumgardner held the lead over Brian Hayden during the early laps. Rob Fuqua and Wes McClara were bunched in a battle for third with C.J. Bryan.

An early red flag came out as John Hipps' No. 00 rolled over in turn two, but he was not seriously injured in the accident. On the re-start, Bumgardner maintained the lead and began to put some space between himself and Hayden, who was the opening night victor at LPS. The two pulled steadily away from the field and it became quickly apparent that this would be a two-person battle for the win. The action was still exciting for third as McClara held the spot ahead of Bryan and a door-to-door battle for fifth was going on between Josh Boller, Schuyler Nahre and Chris Brewer.

Unfortunately for Nahre however, he would lose his spot after checking up in turn two before a late caution settled the field.

On the re-start, Bumgardner had the lead heading into turn one, but a big slidejob by Hayden enabled him to edge into the top spot. Bumgardner would give chase for another lap before pulling to the infield with mechanical problems that left the race to Hayden.

Hayden went on to pick up his second feature win of the season at LPS in the IndianaOpenwheel.com, Cyclone Custom Products sponsored No. 2H.

The UMP Super Stock feature went green and from the opening lap it looked as if Chris Hillman might just walk away from the field. He opened up a several car length advantage over Matt Smedley with Kenny Carmichael Jr. and Sr. going door-to-door for third spot.

An early yellow re-set the field and on the re-start, a big pileup gathered up Carmichael Sr., Doug McCullough and Kris Starks. Once racing resumed, Hillman held the top spot again, but one lap later, pulled to the pits with problems. That left the door open for Smedley to lead the way ahead of Carmichael Jr. and Phil VanSant. Carmichael Jr. dove under Smedley for the lead as both VanSant and Smedley made contact, allowing Carmichael to cruise to the victory during the final laps.

In the final feature of the evening, David Bumgardner jumped out to the lead early in the bomber main event. He held off challenges from Bob Farris, David Wallen and Corey Gregory during the opening circuits before establishing the lead.

Bumgardner built a big lead as he worked through lapped traffic and wouldn't be seriously challenged over the final half of the feature.Bumgardner's win came in the Wood Trucking, Bumgardner's Auto and Truck Repair, Pizza King-sponsored No. 5.

Next weekend will be the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car Series headlining the bill with the UMP Modifieds, UMP Super Stocks and bombers highlighting an exciting evening at Lincoln Park Speedway.