ELIDA – It was an evening that featured the Budweiser Thunderstocks division at Limaland Motorsports Park and for spectators of the heat races earlier in the night, it came as little surprise that Tony Anderson and Lima’s Jeff Koz took top honors in the ‘money’ races to cap off the program.
The defending division champion Tony Anderson moved to the front through the early stages of the 10-lap Fricke Memorial and held off challenges from both Koz and fellow frontrunner Tim Cole. Anderson piloted his number 22T machine flawlessly around the high-banked ¼-mile oval, as he has done many times previously, and rolled to the coveted checkered flag. “This was a good field of stock cars out here tonight,” noted Anderson afterward. “The top of the track isn’t my usual domain, but the car was working well up there so you do what you have to in order to compete and win. I’m really grateful for my crew, sponsors and family.”
Earlier in the race program, it was Jeff Koz that dominated in winning the Thunderstocks regular 15-lap feature. A pair of mid-race caution flags didn’t slow his progress as he led the field from flag to flag after starting from the front row. “It a fast race track again tonight and this car loves fast tacky tracks,” said Koz. “This win goes to Dean Miracle. I drive his modified and his mom is in the hospital so we’re thinking of them.” The win marked the third of the 2014 season for Koz and the 16th of his career at Limaland Motorsports Park.
The Elwer Fence sprint car 25-lap feature field was stacked with speed at the front and the Hammons Motorsports entries ultimately scored a rare 1-2 finish. It wasn’t as easy as the result might appear as Hammons drivers Max Stambaugh and JR Stewart had to battle with a pair of veterans from nearby Putnam County, Jared Horstman and Butch Schroeder, to eventually triumph.
Horstman revealed earlier that his team was racing with heavy hearts as he dedicated a Dash for Cash win to open the night of racing to his neighbor and friend Andrew Altenburger, who lost his life tragically that morning in an ATV accident. Horstman carried that emotion through the opening laps of the feature and produced some thrilling early race action with both Stambaugh and Stewart.
As Jared Horstman roared around the high side of the track surface, Stambaugh was being successful working a middle line and the two drivers made the event their own playground for most of the feature. A two car mishap in turn number four involving Jimmy Snead and Ryan Kirkendall brought out a red flag race stoppage, but also set up the field for a five lap dash to the checkered flag. Stambaugh never surrendered the lead and on the white flag lap Jared Horstman made contact with the front straight wall ending his hopes.
While Stambaugh and his teammate JR Stewart rolled to glory, Horstman settled for a 13th place finish with his orange colored number 17 stalled in turn one. “It got a little nervy a few times when I got behind slow cars and with the 17 always coming,” noted a relieved Stambaugh of Elida. “Ron (Hammons) gave me a great opportunity this year so I come out here and do what I can. When it gets hectic you just have to keep going.” It was Stambaugh’s second feature win of 2014.
The 20-lap Reineke Modifieds feature was being touted as a rematch of Todd Sherman and Matt Westfall as the two leading points drivers in the division literally raced to a razor thin margin at the finish the previous week with Westfall edging Sherman. On this night Sherman was fortunate to start the race from the outside of the front row with Westfall just behind on the inside of row number two.
It was too much for the rest of the field, with the notable exception of Tony Anderson and Terry Hull, to effectively challenge at the front of the field. Todd Sherman chose to lead the field primarily racing on the high side of the track and Westfall followed him nose-to-tail through the entire event. At one point in the action, Westfall produced a difficult slide job maneuver through turn number four, but even that failed to give him race leadership.
A late race caution set up a white flag duel to decide the eventual winner. It was eerily similar to the previous week when Matt Westfall somehow got around Sherman to record the win. On this occasion, Sherman stayed at the top of the track for maximum traction and held off West fall to post the win. “I’m a catfish, I like the bottom,” joked Sherman. “The top was sort of treacherous, but my son is my signal guy and he said take it to the top. I was just holding him (Westfall) off and it was a heckuva drive.
It was Todd Sherman’s third win of 2014 and the 39th of his Modified career at Limaland Motorsport Park. He retains his point’s lead with three weeks of action remaining.
Limaland Motorsports Park returns to action on Friday, August 1, with Meet the Drivers Night and the Run for the Rabbit with the K & L Ready Mix NRA Sprint Invaders. Also the Reineke Modifieds and Budweiser Thunderstocks will compete. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 p.m. Racing begins promptly at 7:30 p.m.
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