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Friday, June 15 - It was another sunny day in the 90’s with low humidity so that would make another beautiful day for racing. We ate lunch at one of Pat’s favorite places, Steak ‘n Shake (great burgers, hot dogs and fries along with great milkshakes) before making our way south on country roads as we had time to take in the sights of the Indiana countryside before pulling into the parking lot of the Bloomington Speedway, a 1/4 mile red clay high banked oval with no walls and bleachers on the homestretch with plenty of space above on the natural hill to place your lawn chair if you choose to do so. According to a report given to us by Keith Barto he had spoke with the track prep guy who said he had been watering the track since Wednesday!! With no rain in the state in six weeks it was needed and it payed off. The track held up well on the evening which produced the kind of side by side back and forth racing we had come to see. It was interesting as turns one and two blackened up some but turns three and four looked the same as when we first arrived. It made for a challenge for the drivers to adjust to the different track conditions.
The time trial session got underway at 7:20 and was completed 23 minutes later with Chris Windom driving the famous Wilke Pak white #11 setting fast time of 12.088 seconds on the quarter mile bullring. Four exciting heat races for the 38 midgets would follow with wins going to Rico Abreu, a dwarf from the Golden state of California who can really wheel a race car around a track, Darren Hagen, the current USAC National Midget Series point leader and Indiana Midget Week point leader, Chase Barber, another young California driver and Chris Bell in from the state of Oklahoma who is holding his own. Next up were the regular wingless sprints at Bloomington which came in at 36 strong with Damion Gardner, Brady Short, Chad Boespflug and Josh Barton nailing down the wins. There was two B mains for the sprints won by Thomas Meseraull and Chase Briscoe and one midget semi starting 21 and won by Bobby East with Steve Buckwalter second but all eyes were on young Collegeville,PA’s Alex Bright who had engine problems in time trials and did not record a lap. Therefore he had to start last (21st) in the semi and came all the way up to 4th at the finish!
It was not until 10:41 that the 30 lap USAC midget main took the green flag. Levi Jones driving the Shane Hmiel #56 took the lead from the first starting spot and took off. He left the racing to everyone behind him and race they did. Jerry Coons Jr. advanced from 11th to make a late run at Jones but came up short. Shane “The Throttle” Cottle brought the Keith Kunz owned #71 home third with Darren Hagen taking fourth and fast timer, Chris Windom, rounding out the top five. Positions six through ten were filled by Brad Kuhn, Bobby East, Tracy Hines, Rico Abreu who started in the back after suffering a flat tire early and racing from 24th to garner 9th with Steve Buckwalter rounding out the top ten. Mario Clouser who entered the feature on a provisional came from 23rd to finish 11th and Alex Bright started 21st and claimed 12th after throwing it up on the high side and using the cushion until the high groove went away after the halfway mark. It was a good feature with plenty of action to keep your attention.
The wingless sprints still had their 25 lap feature to run and it was only interrupted once with a caution and completed in just eight minutes!! Jon Sciscoe came out of the sixth hole to take the lead early passing Damion Gardner and Brady Short to do so. Sciscoe used the low groove and pulled away from the field but once again the racing was in the pack from positions two to ten. Short who ran third early slipped off turn three and reentered the track in turn four losing numerous positions fading back to 9th but threw it back up on the outside and moved forward in quick manner. He made it back to second after a several lap battle with Gardner but did not have enough time to close enough on Sciscoe. Josh Barton ran a strong race coming from 7th to take 3rd with Rattlesnake Arizona’s own Casey Shuman advancing from 10th to 4th and Danny Holtsclaw, the local Indiana Farm Insurance agent, charging from 14th to nail down the 5th position at the finish at 11:31.
It was an exciting night of wingless racing in two premier classes and this was what we came to see and hope the next two nights provide more of the same.
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