Monday, April 29th, 2013
By Mike Ernst
Post, Craig and Yelton win at Eldora
ROSSBURG - Brian Post has been one of the most consistent UMP Modified drivers at Eldora Speedway over the past five years, but he has never been able to park his car in victory lane.
That all changed Saturday night when Post led all 18 laps of the Modified race to win the headline event at the 60th season opener at the high-banked, one-half mile oval.
Defending Eldora Stock Car champion Barney Craig picked up where he left off in 2012 by capturing the 15-lap Eldora Stock Car main event and Logan Yelton won a thrilling four-way battle to capture the Tuff Truck feature event.
Despite leading all 18 laps, it was anything but easy for Post. Former track champion Jerry Bowersock pressured Post for the opening eight laps and Jeff Babcock, who started ninth, then moved into the runner-up spot and battled Post.
"As fast as the track was tonight, I knew if I stayed up on that cushion and didn't make a mistake it was going to be tough for them to pass me," said Post.
Despite four different opportunities on restarts, Babcock was never able to make the inside groove work and find a way around Post. Each time Babcock found himself fighting off Bowersock to hold onto the runner-up spot.
The fifth and final caution flag, which turned to a red flag, waved on lap 15 for a vicious crash in turn four by Skylar Nahre. Nahre was battling for a spot in the top 10 but ran over a front wheel of a fellow competitor, launching his car into the air and into a series of flips. He escaped uninjured and allowed Babcock one final opportunity to make a move on Post.
Post was up to the challenge and was never seriously challenged as Babcock, driving a car owned by St. Marys' Eric Brock, held on for second place ahead of Bowersock, Matt Westfall, a teammate of Babcock, and pole-sitter Aaron Orr.
"This is our first time in this new car so this is awesome to come out here and beat the best Modified drivers in the country," said Post "I want to thank the fans for coming out and my dad for believing we could win, especially here."
St. Marys' Nick Katterhenry finished eighth, Coldwater's Ryan Sutter was 11th, John "Weasel" Phlipot, in a car owned by Burkettsville's Mike Garke, finished 12th and New Knoxville's Brent Hole came across in 13th.
Craig started sixth in the Stock Car main event but wasted little time working his way to the front. As early leader Chris Douglas worked the middle groove of the speedway, Craig rode around Douglas at the top and into the lead on lap three and was never challenged.
Jordan Conover, who started 17th, worked his way up to the runner-up spot at the finish, while Douglas settled for third place ahead of Shawn Phillipi and Casey Barr.
"The track was heavy, it was hammer down and I did what I had to get it to the front," said Craig.
The Tuff Trucks wrapped up the Saturday Night Speedfest with an exciting feature event. Yelton, Roy Miller and the St. Marys' father/son duo of Jerry and Mike Sawmiller raced nose-to-tail and side-by-side the entire race. Yelton led at the white flag before Jerry Sawmiller made a last lap dive for the lead in turns three and four. As Sawmiller slid up into the lead, Yelton turned his truck under Sawmiller and then won the drag race off the final corner to pick up his first Eldora win.
"Man, I thought he had me. I took a chance and just dove," said Yelton of that winning slide job. "That's good racing by Jerry, by everybody. … We just got the truck put together this morning. I couldn't have asked for a better night."
Jerry Sawmiller finished as the runner-up while Miller was third and Mike Sawmiller and Daniel Crowder completed the top five.
Eldora Speedway returns to action this weekend featuring the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars and the Eldora Stock Cars join the Outlaws on Friday night and the UMP DIRTcar Modifieds on Saturday.
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