Rusty Schlenk carried a 34 point advantage over Aaron Scott entering the Oakshade Raceway Late Model Season Championship Night on Saturday.
On the line for the points champion was a Rayburn chassis, a Bert transmission, $500 worth of vinyls and $10,500 in cash.
The drama for the championship increased early on in Late Model Heat One. Both Schlenk and Scott were in the event. Schlenk was running well but slid up high in turns one and two and fell back which cost him a transfer position to make it into the feature. Schlenk went on to win the Late Model Consolation to earn the 17th starting spot in the feature.
Aaron Scott meanwhile, won the heat event and drew the pole position for the 30-lap Season Championship Late Model Feature.
Schlenk needed to finish sixth or better in the feature to solidify the championship and Scott needed a decent finish and a little bit of luck.
Scott grabbed the lead at the start and was hounded by Kris Patterson early on.
Multiple cautions kept the field tight which benefited Rusty Schlenk’s cause. Schlenk had worked his way up to eighth by the midway point in the race. Three laps later, Schlenk had the fifth position.
The final caution flag flew on lap 27 and wiped out the lead Aaron Scott had built over Kris Patterson and Rusty Schlenk who was now third.
Scott went on to win his fourth Late Model Feature of the year, capping off a dominant performance on evening. Nineteen year old Rusty Schlenk got by Patterson to finish second and unofficially claimed the Oakshade Raceway Late Model Track Championship. Tony Marks and Hillard Miller rounded out the rest of the top five finishers.
Things heated up early in the Sportsman Feature with some three wide racing for the lead on the first lap. Bruce Stuart came out on top of that battle with Ray Klawitter continuing to put the pressure on in second.
Josh Steinacker lost a wheel on lap three to bring out the first caution. Steinacker was second in Sportsman points behind Klawitter when the night began and took a hit in the points with his early retirement from the race.
Klawitter assumed the lead by lap four shuffling Stuart back to second.
Rusty Schlenk, on an emotional high after clinching the Late Model Championship, started 16th and worked his way up to second by lap eight. Two laps later, Schlenk took command and went on to an impressive win over Ray Klawitter who held off hard charging Tim Fisher and Bruce Stuart for second. Mike Jessen finished fifth.
Billy Ruff took control of the Bomber A Main with Kevin Hanford in close pursuit early on.
Chris Howard got crossed up coming off turn four on lap five and ended up collecting Ron Leonard, Roger Davenport and Randy Roseman to bring out the yellow flag.
Billy Ruff led Bob Gregory on the restart with Hanford third and Craig Dippman fourth. Two laps later, Dippman drove to the lead using the inside groove just as Bob Gregory tapped the back of Billy Ruff resulting in both drivers having to check up just enough for Dippman to get by both drivers.
Kevin Hanford spun with one lap to go to set up a one lap dash to the finish much to the chagrin of Dippman who had opened up a substantial lead.
Craig Dippman held off Bob Gregory to win his second Bomber A Main of the year. Chuck Leininger took third with Billy Ruff falling back to finish fourth. Jake Rendel was fifth.
Matt Shipley and Curt Lancaster pulled away with the top two positions in the Bomber B Main at the start.
A caution for an accident involving Joe Heffner and Josh Kehle allowed Jeff Foks to tighten back up behind the two front runners for the restart.
Shipley and Lancaster once again pulled away once the green flag flew again.
Shipley held off Lancaster to pick up the victory. Karl Spoores finished a distant third followed by Jeff Foks and Ted Goetz.
Wade Rick battled with Scott Mills for the lead in the first part of the Bomber C Main until Mills got involved in an accident that also collected Rob Anderzack and Terry Dempewolf.
Nick Fenner and Andy Borton made it a three wide battle for the lead with Wade Rick on the restart. Both Borton and Fenner got by Rick and battled side by side to the checkered flag with Fenner managing to edge out his first feature win of the year.
Rich Noonan III finished fourth behind Rick and Steve Dempewolf was fifth.
The great racing action continues at Oakshade Raceway on Saturday, September 3 with the final visit from the Sunoco American Late Model Series that will pay $2000 to the feature winner. The Sportsman and Bomber divisions will also be back in action. Check out www.oakshaderaceway.com for more details.