Monday, August 12th, 2013
Kremer, Pitts earn tight wins at The Big E
By Mike Ernst
ROSSBURG - More than 60 race teams and a large Family Fun Night crowd arrived at Eldora Speedway on Saturday evening, expecting to see close, fender-rubbing action.
Those in attendance didn't leave disappointed after Joey Kremer and Dean Pitts stood in Eldora's victory lane.
Kremer, the track's defending Modified champion, wrestled the lead away from early leader Dwight Niehoff on lap six. Kremer then powered away to over a two-second lead and appeared set to cruise to a relatively easy victory before a caution flag flew on lap 13.
Kremer, from Hanover, Ind., again pulled away to a big lead on the ensuing restart before bouncing off the wall in turn two on lap 16. Kody Wiesner, a teammate to Niehoff on the UNOH racing team, had worked himself into the runner-up position and suddenly found himself battling side-by-side with Kremer through turns three and four.
"I hooked a rut and it turned into the wall," said Kremer. "All I knew was to turn left off the wall and floor it because they were right on me. That boy in second place drove a heck of a race. He ran me clean down in the corner. That was a heck of a race. You know that concrete doesn't move."
Kremer righted himself after the contact with the wall and held off Wiesner over the final couple of laps for his seventh career Eldora win. Wiesner held off Matt Westfall, driving for St. Marys' Eric Brock, Jonathan Taylor and Aaron Orr to finish second.
"There's no words to explain standing on this stage at Eldora Speedway," said Kremer. "All these kids in the audience, I don't know how many of you are here for your first race, but I hope we made it a good one for you."
"That was probably one of the most fun races I've ran in a long time," said Wiesner. "The track was awesome."
Joel Ortberg, driving a third UNOH car; Evan Taylor; Niehoff; Zach Schroeder; and track points leader Jerry Bowersock completed the top 10.
New Knoxville's Brent Hole won the B-main and finished 15th in the main event while St. Marys' Nick Katterhenry was 16th and Celina's Jason Kinney was 17th in his 2013 Eldora debut. John "Weasel" Phlipot, Jr., driving a car owned by Burkettsville's Mike Garke, was involved in an opening lap crash and finished 24th.
Coldwater's Ryan Sutter suffered through a tough night, putting a dent in his championship hopes. Sutter, who entered the event third in the track's point standings, was involved in a heat race crash but rallied to qualify for the feature event through the B-main. Sutter was also involved in the opening lap mishap, but was able to run most of the main event at a reduced speed and finished a disappointing 20th.
Female driver Emily Gade jumped to the lead in the Eldora Stock Car feature event and appeared on her way to etching her name in Eldora history. Gade's night came to an end when she crashed in turn four at the half-way point of the 15-lap event.
Adam Schaeff inherited the lead and had his sights set on his first career Big E win. Pitts hounded Schaeff for several laps with Schaeff holding off every move until Pitts dove low in turns one and two on lap 13 and drove around Schaeff and into the lead.
Schaeff held on for second place in a terrific four-car battle that saw Barney Craig edge Earnie Woodard for third place while Rob Trent completed the top five.
"Once I got underneath him a couple times he raced me clean. I've got all the hats off in the world to him. He did a nice job," said Pitts of racing Schaeff. "I hated for the No. 6 car (Gade) 'cause I don't know if we would have caught her. When I saw she had trouble I thought, 'Oh shoot, this might be mine.'"
"I'll tell you what, that's what it's all about right there," said Schaeff. "That was a blast. That was the most fun I had racing."
Anthony Flannery, Shawn Phillippi, Eric Sandlin, Anthony Goode and Casey Barr completed the top 10.
Eldora will now sit idle until Labor Day weekend, when the track will host the WIX Filters Baltes Classic featuring the American Late Model Series, UMP Modifieds and the Eldora Stocks on Sunday Sept. 1.