Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
Polyak, Ball highlighted Eldora's weekend of racing
By Mike Ernst
ROSSBURG - Eldora Speedway's 2012 racing season came to an end on Sunday afternoon with the completion of the first Blue Collar Bash.
While 16 different feature events were contested over the weekend, two drivers etched their respective names into Eldora's history books.
Tiffin's Paige Polyak became the first female to win a main event at The Big E when she made a late pass around Jess Stiger to capture the 15-lap, 305-Sprint Car main event.
"It is unbelievable that my first time here I win the race," Polyak said. "So many greats have won here and to know I am standing in victory lane here is an unbelievable feeling."
Art Ball, a 74-year old, returned to Eldora for the first time since 1993 and picked up his first Eldora win by leading flag-to-flag in the Attica/Fremont Truck 15-lap feature race.
"This is the 299th win of my career but my first one at Eldora and it really feels good," Ball said.
Shane Stewart competed in the prestigious 360 Sprint Car Short Track Nationals in Little Rock, Ark. on Saturday night and then drove all night to make his first start in the Indy Racing Parts #71 410-winged sprint car. Stewart started the main event seventh, but quickly worked his way to the front and moved around Kyle Sauder on lap five and was never threatened in the 25-lap feature event.
"We wanted to get some laps in this car before we head to Charlotte next weekend for the World of Outlaws World Finals, so we drove all night to get here and this thing was pretty good," Stewart said.
Jimmy Stinson moved around Sauder late in the race for a runner-up finish, while Sauder, Danny Smith and Ronnie Blair completed the top five.
2012 Eldora Track Champion Barney Craig won the Eldora Stock Car feature event and then wrapped up the day by winning the Hometown Stock Car feature. The other multiple feature winner over the weekend was Jason Hehman, who won the UMP Sportsman feature and the Oakshade Sportsman feature.
Brian Ruhlman picked up the 27th UMP Modified win of his career when he held off a late charge by Jeff Babcock to win the 18-lap main event. Babcock, driving one of the two cars owned by Eric Brock of St. Marys, settled for a runner-up finish ahead of Todd Sherman, Brent Hole and Justin Matson.
Sunday's other winners were Rod Henning in the Mini Sprints, Rusty Yarger in the Chevettes, Dale Puckett in the Compacts and Mike Sawmiller in the Waynesfield Truck feature event.
On Saturday at Eldora, Duane Chamberlain survived a mid-race run-in with Brian Ruhlman in lapped traffic to capture the 20-lap UMP Late Model main event. Chamberlain led a one-two sweep of the top two positions for the Brock-owned Late Models with Jerry Bowersock finishing in second place.
"I hate to win them like that," Chamberlain said of his mid-race run-in with Ruhlman. "We came up on the lapped car really fast and he got on the brakes a little more than I expected and I got into him. We were having a great battle up until then."
Babcock finished in third place while Ruhlman rallied back to finish in fourth place ahead of Rob Starkey.
Veteran Luke Hall chased second-generation driver Sheldon Haudenschild for nearly 19 laps before making the winning pass for his first Eldora win in the Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series (BOSS) 25-lap feature event.
Haudenschild held off Dallas Hewitt to finish in second place while Matt Westfall finished in fourth place ahead of Tony Baeber.
Other winners from Saturday were Mason Covey in the Crate Late Model main event and Bryan Nuckles in the Legend car feature event.
Although the 2012 season is over, the speedway has announced the dates for 2013's major events. The $100,000 to-win Dirt Late Model Dream, now a three-day event, will be held June 6th, 7th and 8th. The $50,000 to-win Kings Royal for World of Outlaw Sprint Cars will be held July 12th and 13th. The prestigious World 100 will also be expanded to three days on Sept. 5th, 6th and 7th.
The track also announced that the charity event, The Prelude To The Dream, will not be held in 2013 because of the changes made in the Dream format.