Harker, Armstrong, Richards, Zoubek, & Cronin win Student Burnout Night!eagle
By Greg Soukup
The second largest crowd of the season took their seats at Eagle Raceway last night for Student Burn Out Night, presented by Budweiser. Under mostly sunny skies on a muggy evening, the racing action ran on a smooth track with at least 2 grooves which led to 3-wide action in all classes most of the night.
The only serious incident in the preliminary racing happened in the first Valentino’s IMCA Hobby Stock heat. Jade Blythe’s 97J went rolling side over side just past the pit entrance. She was not seriously injured.
Robbie Thome’s 1T, the 44D of Derek Hall, Nick Beckman’s 22 and the 7K of Kyle Flodman were out front on lap 1 of the Hoosier Tire IMCA Sport Modified A Feature. Lap 2 saw Gunnar Pike put the 25 into fourth. 1 more lap saw Hall take over the lead and Shawn Harker vault all of the way up to second with Beckman and Pike rounding out the top 4. Flodman regained fourth after another lap but gave the spot up to the 96 of Gary Saathoff on lap 7. 3 laps later Saathoff moved up to third. Harker passed Hall the next lap. Trent Roth moved into fourth in his 14T with 6 to go. Joe Schidler’s K00 and the 35 of Kevin Kloke spun in turn 2 with 1 to go, setting up a green/white/checker run to the finish. The top 4 remained unchanged however with Harker, Hall, Saathoff and Roth the top 4.
This was Harker’s 3rd Eagle Raceway win of the 2017 season, and second in a row; coming from the 10th spot on the starting grid. Harker said “The track was awesome; I love racing here! I’ll take it any way I can as long as I can race here. I need to give a big thanks to my wife. Tomorrow is our 12 year anniversary. I should have been home doing something with her tonight, but I will make it up to her tomorrow. This one was for her. I also need to thank my dad Alan Harker, Zach Woods at Speedway Motors, Kyle Vanouver at Speedway Shocks, Cole with Lakeside Landscape, Tex Cattle, Patriot Crane, Jet Racing and of course everyone who helps out on the car.
The Valentino’s IMCA Hobby Stock A Main saw Albert Kiihne lead lap 1 in the 04 followed by Dave Carter in the 2C, Sidney Yost’s 20 and the 01 of Allyn Shiveley. Yost made contact with another racer on lap 4, causing her car to climb the wall just before the pit entrance and end up rolling. She was not seriously injured. The restart saw Shiveley first, Kiihne second, Carter third and the 9R of Charlie Bartels fourth. 2 laps later Roy Armstrong put the 6R into fourth. 1 more lap was in the
books when Tyler Saathoff jumped the 16T all of the way up to third with Armstrong holding fourth. 2 laps later Armstrong passed Saathoff for third and then moved to second the next time around. With 9 laps left Cody Leifeld’s 24X stopped in turns 3 & 4. Shiveley spun a lap after the restart moving Armstrong and Carter up to first and second with Jeff Ware putting the 83 into third and Saathoff holding fourth. Ware moved up to second with 4 to go making the final top 4 Armstrong, Ware, Carter and Saathoff.
Armstrong’s win stopped a long streak of bad luck in 2017. “We had a couple of bad nights, but we’re back on track now. Thanks to Hummer Contracting, NEAPCO and Schmidt Machine for being our sponsors. Also, thanks to my sister Bonnie, my girlfriend Jo, all of the guys in the pits and Roger Hadan. He’s trying to get this track in shape, but with all of the rain it’s been tough. Tonight we had a great track, so I think he did a great job!” Armstrong stated.
Next up was the finale for the Kaplan University IMCA Modifieds. Dustin Andersen in the 8A, Tracy Harr’s 5T, the 5S of Bob Zoubek and Rik Gropp in the V45 were the top 4 after the first circuit. Gropp jumped to second on lap 2 with Roger “Chevy” Hadan grabbing third and Zoubek holding on for fourth. Peter Shoup looped the #79 in turns 3 and 4 the next lap. Gropp used the restart to snag the lead with Zoubek passing Hadan for third. The 19XX of Brandon Spanjer looped it on the front stretch with 12 to go. Zoubek moved to second on the restart, only to be put back because of a caution. 1 lap after the restart Shane Hiatt cracked the top 4 in his 21H. Zoubek passed Gropp the next lap with Hiatt moving up to third, putting Andersen fourth. Justin Wulf’s 86 stopped on the front stretch with 9 to go. Jordy Nelson vaulted the 4J to third with 4 laps left with Hiatt temporarily taking the lead. Zoubek repassed Hiatt on the last lap as Anthony Roth moved the 60IV to fourth. The top 4 were Zoubek, Hiatt, Nelson and Roth.
This was Zoubek’s first 2017 win at America’s Home Track after starting 7th. He related “We had to miss a night to attend my daughter’s graduation, so this is only the third points night this year. I kind of figured that the track would be on the bottom tonight, so I stayed there the whole race. I never thought about going to the top because I was so good on the bottom. Shane was coming through the middle and on the top and the bottom was going away quick. I’m just glad that it ended the way that it did. I want to thank my crew guys Roger Klein and Ron Dake
and Gary West. It’s great to win with an open motor. The crate guys have been kind of beating up on us open guys”. Zoubek’s sponsors include Kramer Storage and Investment Properties, Klein Construction, Complete Ag, Kohmetscher Roofing and Pracheil Farms.
The Mountain Dew Kick Start IMCA Sport Compact Feature saw Sarah Cronin’s 8, the 23 of Tyler Masek, Larry Cronin in the 70SS and Shawn Hein’s 5H out front after the first lap. Larry Cronin moved to second on lap 2 with Masek and Hein behind. Hein moved to second the next time around with Erica Krichau putting the 30 into third and Sarah Cronin falling to fourth. Danny Morris’ 22B stopped in turn 4 the next time around. The restart saw Larry Cronin first, Hein second, Cole Krichau third in the 30K and Erica Cronin holding fourth. Cole Krichau moved to second the next lap. The last change in the top 4 came when Kyle Owen moved the 10KB to fourth with 6 to go. Cole and Larry waged a terrific battle to the end with Krichau making attempt after attempt to get the lead. The final results showed Larry Cronin taking the win by 2 thousandths of a second. The top 4 were Larry Cronin, Cole Krichau, Hein and Owen.
This was 2 in a row for Cronin. “Cole had the better run on the bottom, but I didn’t know that or else I would have been down there. The last lap on the last turn I kind of went high so that I could come shooting down and try to pull it off. Cole said he was in front of me, but my transponder was just in a little better location. Cole’s bumper is just a tad bit longer, so he can’t get his transponder where mine is. I need to thank all of my family who helps me out with the cars” he stated. Cronin’s sponsors include Larry’s Auto Recycler and Moonlight Ranch.
Zach Blurton led lap #1 of the Racesaver IMCA Sprint Car A Feature in his 2J with Matt Richards in the 1R, the 18 of Terry Phillips and Shon Pointer in the 20P close behind. Pointer passed Phillips on lap 2. Lap 5 Chris Roseland’s 84 and another car came to a halt in 3 & 4 to bring out the caution flag. Pointer passed Richards on the restart and Clint Benson put the 100 into fourth. Richards again moved up to second the next time around. Tyler Drueke passed Benson on lap 10 to put the 12 into fourth. Richards grabbed the lead from Burton with 12 to go and began pulling away, running lap times over a second faster than the first circuits of the feature. 3 laps later Pointer grabbed second. The last change in the top 4 came with 5 laps left as Toby Chapman moved the 7KX to fourth. The checkered flag
saw Richards first by a straightaway, Pointer second, Blurton third and Chapman fourth.
This was Richards’ very first win in a sprint car after many years in A Modifieds and Late Models. Richards, like many others, moved to the Racesaver class when Eagle Raceway began the class. When asked his thoughts on the victory, Richards said “I’m just excited! I probably had 2 shots before to get a win, but I kind of squandered them. There may be lots more, but that first one is really, REALLY hard to get in this class. Every time you race it seems to get harder and harder. Last year we didn’t bend anything or tear anything up, but this year we’ve got old parts and they’re kind of worn out, and it’s kind of biting us. I’m running a 1997 chassis, and about the only thing new on this car is the motor and the wings. In fact, the last lap I was riding the brakes to keep it hooked up. Going into turn 1 the brake pedal went all of the way down, and one of the brake rotors cracked in half! I got pretty lucky. There’s been a few driver errors but we’re working on it. It’s really a big deal for me to get this win. I’ve had wins in the different modified series, and I ran Late Models for a couple of years and won there. But this sprint car win is truly a big deal and means a lot to me. There are so many people that I need to thank. First of all, my wife Jessica and my son Cade. Ken Stefonik has really helped me out a lot with this whole sprint car deal. My crew chief Doug Pascoe of course. Skip Smith who really was the one who got me started in the Racesaver deal. Richards Machine Racing Engines; I think we’ve probably got the most horsepower out here”. Richards’ sponsors include Husker Car Wash, Hoppy’s Hauling, Piedmont Auto Care, Extreme Graphics and CSI Shocks.
Next weekend Accelerated Graphx presents the Cracklin’ Classic. Twinky the Clown will be there from 5:30 to 7:30. Accelerated Graphx will sponsor a Kids Color Run at intermission. Age Groups: 5-7, 8-10 and 11-12. All kids are welcome to participate (parents will not be allowed to be with their kids during the color run) There will be Color Run Packets available for $5 to any kids that would like to wear a tutu(girls) or t-shirt(boys) at the Photo Booth/Clean up Station in the courtyard. You can take your picture after the Color Run. There will also be other goodies in the packet including a free kid’s ticket to be used on any remaining regular event race night, etc. This money will go towards the Bike Giveaway Fund. The colored powder is non-toxic, but we recommend bringing a pair of goggles or sunglasses to protect your eyes. Top 3 in each age group will get a
trophy. Bring an extra pair of clothes if you think you will be uncomfortable in your new colored outfit!
Front gates will open at 5:15, hot laps begin at 5:30 with racing at 6:30. Adult front gate admission is $10, youths 6-12 are just $5 and children 5 and under are free.
Pit gates open at 4 P.M. with pit admission being $25.
Don’t forget that on June 13th the World of Outlaws 410 winged sprint cars make their long-anticipated return to America’s Home Track. The Precise Racing Sprint Series of Nebraska will be the support class. For ticket information go to www.slspromotions.com or call SLS Promotions at 815-344-2023.