Back in 2008 the Edison Motorsports team was looking for a part-time driver to fill in for then-driver Shane Cottle while Cottle was chasing the USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series full time aboard the Contos Racing No. 4.
Those nights that Cottle had his USAC commitments, the Edison team had a young, hard-charging shoe behind the wheel of the always potent Crume-Evans Insurance/Allen’s Body Shop/Chalk Chassis in the form of Fairmount’s Scotty Weir.
This year, after the Edison team and Cottle went their separate ways midway through the 2011 campaign, it looks like the reigns of the car will be handed to Weir. In his first and only season with the team back in 2008 he impressively scored the track title at the Kokomo Speedway.
I recall talking to Weir after he sewed up his lone Kokomo title to date and he spoke highly of the Edison team, noting the attention to detail and the way the team welcomed him to the fold.
Now with the ride all his, he could well be a force to be reckoned with all season at both Kokomo and the Gas City I-69 Speedway as he charged from outside the third row to claim the feature win in the season-opener at Gas City Friday night.
With a stacked group of many of the top sprint car drivers in the Midwest littering the pits, Weir held off second-row starter Jon Siscoe, who will pair again with legendary car owner Paul Hazen aboard the famed No. 57, to snare the 25-lap main event in a race that saw passes hard to come by.
Coleman Gullick, who scored his first career Gas City win July 3 of last season, was third while Matt Goodnight and veteran Tracy Hines completed the top five. Chris Windom, the 2011 USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series 2011 Indiana Sprint Week champion, finished just outside the top five in sixth. Ted Hines was next, followed by former track champion Billy Puterbaugh Jr., Bobby East and Thomas Meseraull completed the top 10.
With a USAC National Sprint Car Series date on tap for this Friday, a lot of the series’ regulars were on hand in an attempt to figure out some things heading into Friday’s show. Damion Gardner, one of around a dozen drivers who are expected to be in the thick of things in the national points battle all season was on hand, taking 11th. Justin Grant, who was virtually untouchable at the 1/4-mile bullring the final two months of the 2011 campaign, was 18th and Taylor High School senior Logan Jarrett 19th.
Two other drivers who are expected to challenge Levi Jones for national champion honors, Dave Darland and Jon Stanbrough, got together in a B-main that would rival any feature event anywhere, effectively ending both drivers’ bid to advance to the feature event.
Wes McIntire, Joe Liguori, East and Siscoe all scored heat wins while Travis Welpott was victorious in the B-main.
Kokomo’s Kaleb Nutter kicked the new season off on the right foot in the Thunder Car feature event, holding off the always-tough Jason Shrout for the win.
Nutter, a former Rookie of the Year who continues to impress each time out, dueled with Shrout. While the front two were taking the checkered flag, Rick Frasure came home third. Kevin Mullin was fourth and Dean Baker fifth.
Lee Hobbs rebounded from his second-place showing behind Craig Walker at Lincoln Park Speedway last Saturday to score the win in the Street Stock finale.
Hobbs, aboard the H0 entry that has seen him rack up over 20 feature wins at Kokomo the last two seasons, was chased to the checkered flag by Landon Miller, Walker, former track champion Ervin Turner and Marlin Burns in the top five. Local drivers Andrew Clark (sixth), Steve Clark (seventh) and Bobby Burton (eighth) all scored top-10 finishes.
Derek Losh, a winner at both Kokomo and Gas City a year ago, used his pole position starting slot to his advantage, holding off fellow front-row starter Todd Sherman to claim the U.M.P. Modified feature event.
Following the front two to the finish line was Zeke McKenzie, Jake Ruefer and Randy Woodling as 32 cars were on hand.
As noted earlier, the USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series will make its first visit of the new season Friday night in the first leg of the annual running of the Border Wars. Following Friday night’s race, the teams will head east to visit the Eldora Speedway.
‘Lil Shu’ takes Bloomington opener
While many of the bigger names were on hand at Gas City Friday night, most of the top southern Indiana sprint car pilots converged on the Bloomington Speedway for the season-opener there.
When the dust settled on the 25-lap A-main, second generation driver Casey Shuman nipped young Kyle Larson in a photo finish on the red clay at the 1/4-mile track.
Chase Briscoe, whose father Kevin still ranks among the most successful drivers ever at the track, was third with Danny Holtsclaw right behind in fourth. Josh Burton, driving the car that Dave Darland took to Victory Lane in last year’s Kokomo Klash, rounded out the top five. Other familiar names to area fans making the feature included Dickie Gaines (sixth), Brian Karraker (ninth) and Brady Short, another former Kokomo Klash winner (11th).
Bradley Sterrett won the U.M.P. Modified feature, Brad Cummings the U.M.P. Super Stock feature and Justin Patterson scored the win in the Hornet division main event.
Weather wins out Saturday
Mother Nature scored the wins pretty much all over on Saturday as the USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series event at the Lawrenceburg fell victim to rain as did the Lincoln Park Speedway. The World of Outlaws postponed its scheduled event in Missouri at the I-55 Speedway as weather forecasters were predicting severe weather with the probability of tornados throughout the day.