Monday, August 13th, 2012
Winks wins inaugural MMSA race at Eldora
By Mike Ernst
ROSSBURG - Rob Winks etched his name into the Eldora Speedway record books on Saturday night, while Joey Kremer and Barney Craig returned to victory lane with exciting victories during Family Fun Night.
Winks, from Piqua, led flag-to-flag to win the first Midwest Mini Sprint Association (MMSA) feature event ever held at the high-banked, one-half mile oval. Winks jumped to the lead from the outside front row starting position and was never seriously challenged in the 15-lap event that ran caution-free.
Aaron Farney methodically worked his way from the sixth starting spot to the runner-up position on the final lap, while Brandon Whited, Nick Roberts and Kevin Roberts, Jr. completed the top five.
"I am one of the few guys that has some laps around here," Winks said referring to the several seasons he ran a stock car at Eldora. "But when the car runs good, it is a lot of fun and it was like driving down the interstate tonight; which is good for me because that is what I do for a living."
Lee Underwood, who finished sixth in the main event, joined Farney and Winks as heat race winners.
Kremer started the 18-lap UMP DirtCar Modified main event on the front row beside Ben Adkins, and the veteran duo went at it tooth-and-nail through the first five laps of the caution-filled main event.
Twice Adkins was able to power around the outside of Kremer and into the lead on restarts following caution periods. On a lap-six restart, Adkins again chose the outside lane and attempted to power around Kremer. Only this time Kremer slipped up the track just a bit forcing Adkins into the outside wall. Kremer also slowed briefly from the contact, allowing Jerry Bowersock to shoot by both of them and into the lead.
"My car was pushing like a dump truck and that was all my fault when I got up into Adkins," Kremer said. Adkins dropped to fifth but was able to continue.
Bowersock held the lead for the next five laps, before his brother Scott brought out the caution flag with a spin in turn two. On the restart, Kremer tried the same move he had done earlier and this time was able to make it stick without any contact to take over the race lead.
Despite another restart following a Nick Katterhenry spin on the front stretch, Kremer was able to hold off Jerry Bowersock the remainder of the 18-lap chase and picked up his fourth win of the season and fifth of his career at Eldora.
"I'm tired, I had to work for that one," Kremer said. "There's nothing better in dirt track racing than standing on this stage … after you win a feature at Eldora Speedway."
Rob Williams, who entered the event tied atop the track point standings, finished third ahead of Matt Westfall, who was driving the car owned by St. Marys' Eric Brock. Jeremy Rayburn edged Fort Recovery's Ryan Sutter, who started 23rd, for the fifth position.
Kremer entered the event tied with Westfall, one-point behind co-leaders Williams and Sutter in the track's championship battle. Following Saturday's event, Kremer now leads Williams by two points, Westfall by four points and Sutter by five points.
Local drivers Katterhenry (St. Marys) finished 15th, Jason Kinney (Mendon) came home 20th and Jeff Babcock, driving a second car for Brock, finished 24th.
Defending track champion Rob Trent appeared to be on his way to a win in the Eldora Stock Car main event before something broke on the front of his car causing him to, first slam the wall on the backstretch and then again in turn three.
Trent's bad luck handed the lead to this brother-in-law Craig, who pulled away to what looked like was going to be an easy win. As Craig was coming off turn four on the final lap, his car slowed dramatically but his lead was big enough that he could coast to his fifth win of the season.
"When it started letting go, all I could think of was a drive shaft (coming) inside the car - I had one do that five years ago," Craig said. "Things are just going our way this year. It's an unbelievable year."
Jeremy Creech finished in second place, ahead of Shawn Phillipi, Andy King and Adam Schaeff.
Eldora returns to action on Labor Day weekend with the annual salute to track founders Earl and Berneice Baltes, with the American Late Model Series Baltes Classic. The UMP Modifieds and the Eldora Stock Cars complete the tripleheader program, which serves as a final tune-up to the prestigious World 100 the following weekend.