Kris Patterson edged out Rusty Schlenk to win the late model feature Saturday night at Oakshade Raceway.
For the first time in a very long time, the late model car count exceeded that of the bombers. Nearly 70 late models were on hand for their first night of competition in 2004 at Oakshade.
The win did not come easy for Patterson even though he took the lead from Bill Hahn on the second lap of the 25-lap late model feature.
A lap three incident took out some top contenders when Dan Wallace, last week’s sportsman feature winner, spun on the back stretch and collected Shane Yoder, Rick Delong and George Lindsey. Lindsey was the only driver able to continue.
The second caution came out after Todd Schroyer and Skeet Reckner made contact and Reckner ended up spinning on the backstretch. Both continued on.
Rusty Schlenk moved up to second by lap 10 with Patterson still in command. Schlenk caught Patterson a couple laps later and the two battled side by side for a few laps with Schlenk taking a very small lead on lap 15.
The two drivers continued trading the lead back and forth until a caution on lap 21 that took out Steve Rowe and Tracy Grimes slowed the race down and set up an extremely exciting four-lap dash to the finish.
Patterson led the field back to the green flag with Schlenk just behind. Schlenk got to the inside of Patterson and the two drivers ran the final three laps door to door.
They entered the final corner locked in a dead heat, but Patterson had just a bit more momentum using the higher line coming off of turn four. Patterson used that momentum to carry him to the first late model feature victory of the year with Schlenk settling for a very close second. Brian Ruhlman and Brian McCabe ran much of the race in the top five and finished third and fourth respectively with Zach Olger rounding out the top five.
A pile up on the first lap of the sportsman feature slowed things down before it could even getting started. Brad Kendall and Tim Bernard got together in turn three and Randy Franks had nowhere to go but in to and on top of the cars of Kendall and Bernard.
Jeremy Grover led the first couple laps once things got going, but Ray Klawitter quickly took control and pulled away with the lead after taking it on lap three.
A late caution for Dale Cole set up a two-lap shoot out to the finish and eliminated the large lead Klawitter had built up over the rest of the field.
In the end, Klawitter proved to be too strong and went on to the easy win with Jeremy Grover holding off Mike Jessen for second. Ron Miller driving for Ron Schultz finished fourth with Brian Fisher taking fifth.
Bob Gregory and Jake Rendel put on one of the most exciting bomber heat races in recent memory trading the lead a couple time each lap for the entire race. The two made contact in the final corner and Gregory held on to win that race.
After the excitement of that heat, Gregory once again found himself out front, this time in the bomber A Main. A few cautions kept things tightened up, the third of which came out for Jake Rendel on lap seven.
After another late caution, Dan Dippman took the lead as Gregory began to fade back through the top five in the final few laps.
Dippman went on to an impressive bomber A Main win. Gary Domoe took second with Dan Bliekamp third. Bob Gregory settled for a fourth place finish.
Rob Anderzack started on the pole of the bomber B Main and led every single lap to take the checkered flag.
Bill Toedter looked to be one of the few who could get up and compete with Anderzack, but on a restart after a caution, Toedter had problems coming up to speed and was run over from behind.
Finishing second behind Anderzach was Kyle Light, who rebounded well after restarting at the tail of the field because he was the cause of an early caution. Jeff Foks Sr. finished third ahead of Roger Davenport and Kevin Cole.
More great racing returns to “The ‘Shade” Saturday, May 15 with UMP Late Models, sportsman and bombers all back in action.