PEORIA, IL (July 15, 2012) - After 2.5 inches of rain washed away the racing program scheduled for Saturday night at Peoria Speedway, a hot and humid night greeted racers and fans on Sunday night at the quarter-mile oval.
In a borrowed car, Erik Bruce fought off repeated charges from defending track champ Ray Bollinger and extended his track points lead in the UMP Modified division. Bruce blew the engine in his car the night before, and borrowed the car normally driven by Mike Chasteen, Jr for the nights’ races.
Bruce started on the outside of row 1, but Steve Turner took the lead from the pole after an aborted start. The second of 9 cautions few on lap 2, and Bruce shuffled by Turner on the re-start. Bollinger got by Turner on lap 4 and started a classic high-low battle with Bruce up top and Bollinger on the bottom which would last nearly the entire race.
A chess match developed after re-starts as both drivers switched lines repeatedly, but Bruce prevailed for the win. Bruce and Bollinger switched lines on multiple re-starts trying to force the other to change lines, but Bruce made the top work after a lap 18 caution and held on for the win. Bollinger ended up 2nd, followed by Brock Bauman, Jason Wagner and Chasteen, Jr, who was piloting his fathers’ car.
“I want to thank Mikey for letting me use his car, ours broke last night at Spoon River”, Bruce said in victory lane. “The track was good, and that was some good racing there with Ray. There was something left on the bottom so I dropped down there a few times to block Ray until I got going and then I could get back to the top.”
Brian Crebo started outside row 2, but passed race-long leader Carl Feger on lap 6 and survived 3 caution periods for an emotional win in the Limited Late Model class. Feger, Steve Shannon, Robbie Bauman, Jr. and Jim Carmody completed the top 5.
Crebo held his one month old son in victory lane and dedicated the win to his stepmother Lynn, who passed away earlier this month. “This was a much-needed win after what our family has been through. This is dedicated to my stepmother, who was here cheering me on every week.”
The most exciting finish of the night was in the Street Stock feature, where Jim Bolen spent the first 10 laps trying to fend off current points leader John Farris. On lap 10, Farris made his move on Bolen, ducking underneath him in turn 2 on the low side of the track. As the duo raced side-by-side down the backstretch, Jeff Semmens decided to make it a 3 car race and drove to the middle of the track entering turn 3 as Farris and Bolen hugged the bottom. Semmens gained momentum and nudged ahead as the white flag flew. Semmens shut the door down the back chute and held on for a memorable win, followed by Farris, Bolen, Wally Zander and Rudy Olberg.
“I love this track”, Semmens told the crowd in victory lane. “I just gave it shot in the middle there and was able to get by those guys who were on the bottom. That was a lot of fun.”
In the Speedway Motors Illinois Lightning Sprint Series, points leader Austin Archdale extended his lead by passing race-long leader Shane Morgan on the top side of the track on lap 6. Archdale dominated the rest of the way, with Morgan, Billy Brickley, Andrew Funk and Brent Burrows following him across the line.
“We changed some shocks and springs, and I think we finally got it dialed in”, said Archdale. “We’ve been running 2nd and 3rd for a few weeks, so it feels good to get finally get a win”.
Zach Bollinger won the Hornet feature, which was shortened to 5 laps due to a track cufew. Shane Kelley, Jeremy Kingsley, Tyler Benson and Kenny Butterfield completed the top 5.
“We sure don’t like to win ‘em like that, but we will take it”, said Bollinger.
Action returns this to Peoria Speedway with the return of the Budweiser Super Late Model Series on Saturday, July 21, paying $2,000 to-win. UMP Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Hornets and Illinois Lightning Sprints will be racing as well.