Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kirkpatrick, Mather, Robinson among winners at Bloomfield Speedway

I visited my 11th different track of 2010 on Friday night and crossed Bloomfield Speedway off my list of tracks I'd never visited. A wildly entertaining night unfolded on a great night of racing at the Davis County Fairgrounds.

The first event of the evening was the make-up B Mod feature from last week's show that was cut short due to rain. Tyler Groenendyk started from the pole and quickly pulled away from his pursuers as Paul Underwood settled into second.

Having built up nearly a straightaway advantage by the time the race hit the fifth lap, Groenendyk entered lapped traffic while Mike Shelton used the low groove to work past Underwood. Groenendyk navigated the backmarkers with ease as he drove to the win by half of a straightaway ahead of a charging Shelton. Jason McDaniel used the high line around Underwood midway through the race to come home third.

In regular action, Devin Stills took the early lead in the Mini Stock 4-Cylinder feature. From the pole position, Stills led the field as second row starter Cassidy Kirkpatrick followed him into second. The leaders pulled to a half of a straightaway lead on the field with Kirkpatrick running low and Stills up high.

Midway through the 10 lapper, Kirkpatrick worked below the leader and quickly settled into the top spot, although Stills remained within striking distance. Charging hard on the final lap, Stills slid to the high side of turn four with a flat tire, allowing Kirkpatrick to escape with the win. Stills held on for second. For Kirkpatrick, it was his first career win in just his second night of racing. Last week he reportedly had the feature win in his sights, as well, but mistook the white flag for yellow costing him the win.

After starting in the third row of the Modified feature, Colt Mather quickly worked his way into third by the time the yellow flag waved after just one lap. He then worked past Ron Ver Beek and Bo Taylor when racing resumed to pull away from the field and score the impressive win. Ver Beek came home second, a straightaway behind Mather, while Dennis Elliott and Scott Dickey completed the top four.

A great three-car battle highlighted the early stages of the Stock Car feature as Chris Hawkins, Ben Jones and Mike Robinson made it a three-car breakaway at the drop of the green. Those three cars ran side-by-side and nose-to-tail swapping positions throughout the first handful of laps.

Running the low side, Hawkins held the early advantage while Robinson ran high with Jones right behind them in the middle groove. Robinson motored around Hawkins a few laps in as the three continued to battle until the yellow flag waved on lap seven of the 12-lapper.

When racing resumed, Robinson held onto the top spot as Jones worked the high line around Hawkins for second. Those two drivers battled for position over the final five laps while Robinson drove to victory. Jones nipped Hawkins at the line for runner-up honors.

A scary accident brought the Hobby Stock feature to an early stop. While battling for position on the first lap, veteran Kris Walker got sideways and barrel-rolled down the back straightaway. His car became airborn and never touched the ground during the horrific display until it went up and over the guardrail and into the catch fence before finally coming to a rest with the tail of his car on the track and the front end hung up on the guardrail. Miraculously, not only was Walker okay, his crew went to work on repairing the car while the track crew was working on the fence as he hoped to rejoin the race. Unfortunately for him, after returning for one pace lap, Walker pulled off with a possibly bent axle.

When the green flag came out once again, Derek Kirkland ran the high side and into the lead on lap three from his third row start. With his ride smoking throughout the race, an oil fire ignited under the hood of his #2K with only a few laps to go.

Having built up a lead of over half of a straightaway, Kirkland amazingly kept the hammer down and drove his fireball across the line for the victory. Donovan Nunnikhoven drove from a fourth row start to finish second.

In the regularly scheduled B Mod main, Jason McDaniel made quick work of the field. From his pole position start, McDaniel took charge early and withstood three cautions throughout the first half of the race to take the victory ahead of a charging Eric Fullenkamp and Mike Shelton.

It was a great night of racing at Bloomfield and, as time allows, I hope to make it back down there. I heard many names and saw quite a few drivers I hadn't seen since my days at HRN. It was a nice trip back in time for me.

There were a number of delays throughout the evening that were out of anyone's control, including Walker's handiwork on the back stretch fence and an unexpected blown fuse on the Musco lights, but the track crew worked diligently to work through them as the final checkered flag waved at 10:45. Thanks to Ron and Jerry Potts, along with scorer Norm Gegner, for their hospitality; also to track announcer Tony Paris who did a great job of entertaining the crowd during the "down" times. Thanks for the plug, Tony!

As I write this, I'm sitting in Middletown since 34 Raceway Facilities Director Jason Goble made the trip to Bloomfield with me last night. Word from up north is that the rains are heavy, leaving much doubt to tonight's program at Independence. The skies just opened up here a few minutes ago so the folks at 34 may also be in jeopardy. Be sure to check out those track web sites before leaving the house today if you plan to attend races at either of those facilities tonight, or any track in the region for that matter. Mother Nature has been a fickle, bitter gal this spring...

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