ELIDA – When weather conditions have been slightly cooler and overcast, it usually serves to create a gripping fast racing surface on a high-banked quarter mile dirt track like Limaland Motorsports Park. Often with a faster track the racing action itself can produce very close competition and on this night it allowed Matt Westfall to edge Todd Sherman at the finish line by a nose. It was a race that saw Westfall trail Sherman by a car length or more with just half a lap remaining in the 20-lap Reineke Modified feature.
Pole starter Brandon Vaughan of Spencerville, Ohio, led the opening couple of laps including a restart on lap number three following an early race caution period. Wapakoneta, Ohio, driver Jerry Bowersock took the lead from Vaughan by lap number four and he held the front running position until a hard charging Todd Sherman stormed past Bowersock for the lead at the event midpoint.
Sherman, the point’s leader and defending track champion, was on a tear and decided to take a high line around the track through most of the race. Although unusual for Sherman, he appeared comfortable riding the cushion at the top and was cruising to an apparent third win of the season until a yellow flag came out on lap number sixteen.
Matt Westfall, second in the Modififed point’s chase behind Sherman, was in the runner-up position when the green flag came out for the final four circuits. Sherman quickly expanded his margin over Westfall and seemed a certain winner. As the white flag was unfurled for the final lap, Sherman moved to bottom of the track in what seemed like a cautionary move to protect the lead and cruise to the checkers.
Westfall stayed heavy on the gas while storming around the top of the track and coming from the outside off of turn number four, dove to the inside with momentum and somehow edged Sherman at the finish line for the dramatic conquest. “Early in the race I was stuck on the bottom and I was too tight,” said Westfall of Pleasant Hill, Ohio. “I went up top, got a little bit of an opening, thought I could maybe slide across and get him (Sherman) and I guess I did. It was darn close!” It was Matt Westfall’s second win of the 2014 season.
The K & L Ready Mix NRA Sprint Invaders 25-lap feature was dominated by Benton Ridge, Ohio veteran Greg Wilson. He has won four NRA main events this summer and on this night put on a masterful performance. Wilson was adept at maneuvering around slower cars as he sliced and diced using all off the race track to complete a flag-to-flag caution free journey.
“We got a little lucky with the inversion (outside front row starting position),” admitted Wilson in the winner’s circle. “We weren’t all that stout, but were good enough to win. I felt Kody (Swanson) in the #12 getting after me a little bit.”
The Budweiser Thunderstock 15-lap feature turned quickly into a battle between Tim Cole and Tony Anderson. Cole of Findlay, Ohio, and the veteran Anderson were engaged in a thrilling side-by-side encounter. Cole held the lead until lap number nine and although Anderson moved to the front, at that point Lima’s Jeff Koz had joined the fray to make it a spectacular three-car tussle at the front of the field.
Anderson, the point’s leader and defending track champion, did not surrender the lead through the final five laps and held off the two challengers to capture the win. It was his second of the season and 32nd of his career at Limaland Motorsports Park. “This track tonight is hammer down fast,” exclaimed an excited Anderson. “I’m a little old to be on a track like this. I like it better when it’s dry and slick and you slow down a bit. Tonight was my 201st feature win in six different classes through my racing career. I’ve been blessed to be able to do this for 21 years.”
Limaland Motorsports Park returns to action on Friday, July 25, for the Fricke Memorial Thunderstock Select with the Budweiser Thunderstocks. The Elwer Fence Sprints and Reineke Modifieds will also battle on the famed ¼ mile oval. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. with hot laps beginning at 6:30 p.m. Racing begins promptly at 7:30 p.m.
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