By Greg Soukup
Tracy Hines set the fast time for the Amsoil USAC National Sprint Cars with a 13.642 as the Rumble in the Bullring was run at Eagle Raceway Friday evening. 19 of the non-winged 410 cubic inch cars showed up to put on their annual contest on the high banks of America’s Home Track.
Rocky Klabunde’s 28 had a soft, slow roll-over into turn 1 during the Nebraska 360 sprint car’s first heat and Jason Martin flipped the 5X in turn 1 during their second heat. Both drivers were able to walk away from the incidents, but only Martin was able to make repairs and come back out for the B Feature.
Bryan Clauson in the 20 took the lead from the 97 of Bret Mellenberndt to lead the first lap of the USAC feature. Mellenberndt lost second to the 71P of Dave Darland and relinquished third to Justin Grant’s 40 on lap 2. Grant passed Darland the next time around and took over the lead a couple of circuits later. Brandon Stevenson stopped in turn 2 on lap 9 for the first caution of the race. At that time the top 4 were Grant, Clauson, Darland and the 4 of Tracy Hines. Darland got past Clauson on lap 10. Brady Bacon cracked the top 4 the next lap in his #69, then moved up to third on lap 13. Shane Cockrum flipped coming out of turn 1 on lap 15. Darland used the restart to take over first. From there to the finish Darland held off the challengers for the win with Grant taking second, Bacon remaining in third and Hines fourth.
“That was a great race on a great fast track. There were a couple of bumps up high in turn 1, but I stayed low after the first couple of laps and just kept going. I really like this track, and just wish it was closer. I had to drive 11 hours to get here, but it was worth it” said Darland. Darland’s sponsors include the Racer’s Advantage Store, Ealey Transportation, Phillips Motorsports, DRL Chassis, Foxco Engines and Super Shox.
Jordan Boston’s 1B, the 82H of Cap Henry, Jack Dover in the 53 and the 12 of Tyler Drueke led the field at the end of the first lap of the Eldon Rhoten Memorial race for the Nebraska 360 Sprints. On lap 11 Henry put a slide job on Boston in turns 1 and 2 but did not clear him. The contact caused Boston to flip in turn 2. That made the running order Henry, Dover, Drueke and the 6 of Terry McCarl. Dover took the lead on the restart, but McCarl had problems and ended up flipping in turn 2. That put the 21 of Ryan Kitchen into fourth. Dover took over first for good 1 lap after the restart. Jay Russell put the 76 into fourth the next time around. With 4 to go Billy Alley’s #3 stopped in turns 1 & 2 for the final caution of the night. At the finish it was Dover taking the win over Drueke.
“The track was really great tonight, and the car was great all night” related Dover. Jack’s sponsors include Homepride Companies, Certified Transmissions, Langfeldt, Overhead Doors, Moss Racing Engines, Eagle Chassis and the Oil Medics.
Saturday evening will be the Sweet Dirt Dash, presented by Sam’s Club. There will be a candy dash for the kids during intermission. Front gates open at 5:30 and hot laps start at the same time. Racing begins at 6:30, featuring the Mud In America IMCA Racesaver Sprints, Kaplan University Modifieds, NAPA IMCA Sport Modifieds, Valentino’s IMCA Hobby Stocks and Sam’s Club IMCA Sport Compacts. Front gate admission is $10 for adults, $5 for youths 6-12 and those 5 and under are free. Pit gates open at 4 P.M. with pit passes costing $25.