Oakshade Raceway kicked off the 2008 racing season with an exciting Bill Reckner Memorial UMP Sportsman Feature in which Tim Fisher earned a narrow victory over Ky Harper.
Harper started on the pole of the 25-lap event with Fisher just behind, starting inside row two. The two drivers battled hard for the lead early with Harper eventually prevailing.
Harper began to stretch his advantage until the first caution flag flew for the stopped car of Stephen Britton on lap five.
Oakshade Raceway changed the restart after cautions rule this year by restarting the race at the exit of turn four as opposed to the end of the backstretch as was done in previous years. Veteran driver Tim Fisher caught on quick and had the restarts figured out. He got by Harper for the lead once the green flag waved again, but Harper would battle back and regain the lead just one lap later.
Mike Jessen fought back to second position as Fisher slipped back.
Trevor Buter spun coming off turn two just in front of the leaders to bring out the caution flag again on lap 14. Everyone got by without any contact.
Harper caught a break one lap after the restart as Rusty Smith spun to bring out the yellow just as Harper slipped up high in turn two and was about to lose a couple positions. Harper maintained the lead with the help of the caution and Fisher had worked his way back up to second.
After one more caution for a spin by Randy Frank, the Harper/Fisher show began to heat things up at the front of the pack. Fisher took the lead on lap 18, but Harper would battle back on the high side and the two drivers continued to exchange the lead several times.
Harper appeared to have things in control in the final few laps, but Fisher closed in once more. The two drivers were door to door as they took the white flag with Fisher continuing to hug the inside while Harper stayed up high.
Tim Fisher from Blissfield, Michigan got by Harper to take the first checkered flag of the season in a close finish. Brian Fisher moved up to finish third while Mike Jessen slipped back to fourth ahead of George Lindsey.
Jim Scout, Brad Miller and Brett Miller went three wide for the lead at the start of the Bill Reckner Memorial UMP Bomber A Main. Brad Miller found himself out front once things shook out from that early battle.
Brad Miller continued to lead with Brett Miller in pursuit until the first caution came out on lap 11 after Jeff Foks Jr. lost a wheel.
After the ensuing restart, Brett Miller gave up second and drove to the pits. Chris Henry then took over the runner-up position behind Brad until another caution three laps later in which the leader would suffer a flat tire.
Brad Miller limped back to the pits under yellow and made it back out for the restart, but had to start at the tail of the field.
Chris Henry then set sail as the leader with Jim Scout and Craig Dippman trying to catch him in the closing laps.
Henry went on to pick up the victory with Jim Scout, Craig Dippman, B.J. Gregory and Kyle Light rounding out the rest of the top five finishers.
Wade Rick took command of the UMP Bomber B Main early on and never looked back.
Dustin Sautter started tenth and looked to be one of the few cars that might be able to challenge Rick if he could catch him. Sautter worked his way up to third by lap five, but went to the pits after a spin for Joe Heffner brought out the yellow.
After the caution, John Rentchler appeared to be the man on the move, gaining the second position very briefly. As soon as he took over the second spot, Rentchler spun and came to a stop in turn four to bring out the second caution of the race. Rentchler’s car didn’t suffer any damage until Joe Heffner plowed into the rear of his stopped automobile ending both drivers’ night.
Wade Rick soldiered on to the checkered flag and the win with Marty Bloomer finishing a strong second. Matt Rose held on to third with Brad Kuszmaul and Josh Montague finishing fourth and fifth.
The UMP Late Model season at Oakshade Raceway was not scheduled to begin until next weekend, but several cars were in the pits to do some testing/practice after the night’s events were complete. Instead, the fans got a special treat with a little preview of what to expect from the UMP Late Models this season. John Yoder put up $200 for the winner of a 10-lap race for the five cars that were on hand. Country Charm Cafe then added a $100 for second and another $100 for the third place finisher. Raceway Energy’s and Montague Motorsports threw in a little extra cash for the rest of the field.
Most fans stuck around for the exhibition race and they were rewarded with a great show. The only caution came out on lap two after a spin by Dan Wallace. After that it was Chuck Hummer showing the way with Chris Keller putting on the pressure.
Casey Noonan pulled out of competition in the middle of the race leaving the four remaining cars to battle in a tight pack.
Keller took the lead away from Hummer but Hummer made one last valiant attempt for the win diving to the inside of Keller on the final lap coming off of turn four, but he could not make it stick and had to settle for second with Chris Keller earning the hard fought victory.
Steve Kester finished third followed by Dan Wallace.
The excitement continues next weekend at Oakshade Raceway with the first official appearance of the year for the UMP Late Models along with the UMP Sportsmen and UMP Bombers. Gates open at 4pm with racing at 7pm. Check out the new www.oakshaderaceway.com for more details.