Oakshade Raceway hosted the Eight Annual Birthday Race on Saturday night, which also was the finale of the UMP Late Model Summer Nationals. For the sixth straight year, Oakshade drew the highest car count of any track that hosts a Summer Nationals event with seven different states being represented.
Fifty-seven Late Models were checked in but only 21 would start the 60-lap Birthday Race Late Model Feature that would pay the winner $10,000.
Jeep Van Wormer started on the pole of the Birthday Race and quickly grabbed the lead over Brian Shirley and Aaron Scott.
The first caution flag flew on lap four after Scott Fisk spun in turn four while running near the back of the field.
Shirley put some pressure on Van Wormer on the restart, but could not take the lead until Van Wormer got caught up behind slower traffic on lap 16. Shirley then ducked to the inside to get by as the slower traffic ran the high groove in front of Van Wormer.
Three laps later the second caution came out after Mike Marler’s car came to a stop in turn two.
Once back under the green flag, Shirley began to pull away with the lead from Van Wormer while once again negotiating through slower traffic at the back of the field.
Rusty Schlenk brought out the third caution on lap 41after he had troubles in turn two forcing him to restart at the back of the pack.
Van Wormer, who had been running second most of the race, brought out the final yellow flag of the race on lap 53 after experiencing mechanical problems and coming to a stop in turn one. That gave second place to Aaron Scott with just seven laps to go.
Scott could not mount a charge on race leader Brian Shirley in those final laps, but did find himself battling three wide with Jimmie Mars and Dennis Erb to try to hang on to second.
Shirley went on to win the final UMP Late Model Summer Nationals Feature also known as the Birthday Race at Oakshade Raceway and he received the check for $10,000. Aaron Scott, a regular weekly competitor at Oakshade, held on to finish second. Jimmie Mars was third and Dennis Erb, who had to take a provisional just to make the starting lineup and started at the very back of the field, ended up fourth.
Finishing in the fifth position was UMP Summer Nationals Champion Shannon Babb. Babb dominated this year’s Summer Nationals with 15 wins. Babb was also presented with a check for $30,000 for the winning the series points race.
Most of the huge crowd of spectators that had gathered at Oakshade Raceway, stuck around to watch the Bombers put on some exciting racing action in their feature races.
With Bob Gregory leading the Bomber A Main, Rob Anderzack was running second and spun coming off turn four and created a pile up that included Jeff Foks, Tom Ordway and Matt Shipley.
Joe Smith began to turn up the heat on race leader Bob Gregory after Anderzack’s caution. Another caution for Craig Dippman’s spin would cool that battle down on lap three.
After racing side by side a few laps, Smith finally took over the lead on lap six and went on to make it a clean sweep for the 71 car, winning both his heat race and the feature. Gregory settled for second with Kevin Hanford, Brett Miller and Dan Dippman as the rest of the top five finishers.
Rich Risner assumed the lead in the Bomber B Main and never looked back.
A few caution flags kept the field tight with Brad Blonde mounting a slight charge for the lead after the last caution, but Risner held him off and then pulled away to an easy win. Josh Montague got by Blonde to finish second. Billy Ruff finished fourth and Ron Leonard was fifth.
Shane Stuckey led the entire distance of the Bomber C Main, although it wasn’t an easy win. Dan Bleikamp worked his way up to second by lap four after starting in the middle of the field to challenge for the lead.
Jeff Potridge was running third and spun out on the front stretch on a restart, but did not get hit and ended up doing a 360 and continuing on. Although he did slip back a few positions.
Shane Stuckey, meanwhile, held off Dan Bleikamp in the closing laps to pick up the feature win. Richard Patton took a third place finish and Drew Shindler was fourth. Jeff Potridge recovered to a fifth place finish after his spin.
Saturday, July 30, Oakshade Raceway will give you even more bang for your buck with double features for the Late Model and Sportsman division. In addition, the Bombers will be running a regular program so there will be plenty of racing action. Gates open at 4pm with racing at 7pm and as always, adult tickets are just $10.