Behind the Wheel
Kings Without Wings
Earl Gaerte Classic One to Remember at Plymouth Speedway
(Plymouth, IN) There was plenty of action with the Sprints on Dirt (SOD), USAC 600 Sprints and the Modified car races at Plymouth Speedway Saturday night.
After a lengthy delay in getting the inaugural Earl Gaerte Classic underway as crews attempted to get the track primed for optimal, and safe, racing conditions, the feature races did not disappoint.
It was Darren Long, a SOD racer from Ohio, who took home the feature win for that series. It was a hard fought 25-lap feature that saw only a handful of cautions that included spins and debris. Dustin Daggett finished in the second spot while Brandon Wimmer took home the third place trophy.
"This is the biggest win I've had," said Long. "I'm proud to represent the Gaerte family, especially on a night like tonight. It was a great race - just awesome."
The SOD series will be back at Plymouth Speedway on Saturday, August 17 for the Bob Newton Memorial race.
Garrett Saunders found the checkered flag in the first position in the USAC 600 Restrictor feature. The caution flag flew once as Bud McCune spun in turn four on lap 14 in the 20-lap feature. Tyler Fitzpatrick had a switch problem in his machine on lap 16 which caused him to lose quite a few positions from the third spot. Nick Katrakis came across the finish line second and Nicholas Schaefer was third - his best finish of the season.
"The car has been really good and I'd like to thank my team, sponsors and my family for all their help," said Saunders.
A crash that collected Keith Ousley and USAC 600 Restrictor winner Garrett Saunders on lap 13 and a few more cautions due to spins after that incident littered the USAC 600 Open 25-lap feature. In the end, it was Craig Ronk on top of the podium with Randy Shilling rolling in second and Billy Cribbs with the third place finish.
"It was a great race," stated Ronk on his feature win. "I was racing hard!"
With 21 cars in the Modified feature, there were bound to be some cautions - and there were several before one lap of racing could be completed. Six cars were caught up in a crash coming out of turn two on a restart lap and another three found close-knit racing and got into each other in turns one and two on a second restart lap. Last week's winner, Frank Marshall, spun in turns three and four on lap 7 and Austin Smith couldn't avoid a collision. Marshall had been running third at the time. After a few more cautions and two crashes, Zeke McKenzie raced to the checkered flag and happily took home the first place trophy.
"It feels really good to win and I couldn't have done it without the help of my sponsors, friends and family. The track crew worked hard to get the conditions right for racing and they did a great job," stated McKenzie.
Adam Williams completed the final lap in the second spot and Dylan Woodling was the third place finisher.
It was a long night, but it was a great night of racing at Plymouth Speedway. Thank you to the spectators and the teams and drivers for their patience as the staff continues to work in this brand new dirt track.
More great racing is on tap for next week! Visit www.plymouthspeedway.net for more information and follow Plymouth Speedway on Facebook and Twitter.
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