The American Late Model Series rolled into Oakshade Raceway on Saturday night attracting over 40 UMP Late Model competitors. Topping the competition for the second week in a row was Brian Ruhlman from Clark Lake, Michigan with an exciting feature win.
Ruhlman started on the outside of the front row and disposed of pole-sitter Ryan Missler on the first lap to gain the lead. Rusty Schlenk began to reel in Ruhlman after starting fifth and took the lead as Ruhlman get held up by slower traffic halfway through the 30 lap race. The first caution flag came out on lap 19 that tightened the field for the double-file restart in which Schlenk elected to start on the inside. Two laps later, Ruhlman, running on soft tires, regained the lead and began to put some distance on Schlenk. As the finish grew near and with Jeep Van Wormer hot on his tail, Schlenk began to close in again on Ruhlman. A spin by Ryan Missler with just two laps to go set up an exciting finish with Ruhlman leading Schlenk and Van Wormer. Ruhlman held on to win the $2,000 American Late Model Series feature and increased his point lead slightly over Schlenk in that series. Schlenk’s second place finish moves him one step closer to securing his third Oakshade Raceway track championship. Van Wormer started seventh and could not get by Schlenk at the end to finish third. Jon Henry started 11th and capped off a decent run to finish fourth with Curtis Roberts ending up fifth which will keep him in third in the American Late Model Series point standings.
Joe Derbeck took the early lead in a caution-plagued UMP Sportsman feature event with Brett Miller pressuring early. Rich Ruff got into Brice Luttrell and turned him around in turn four on the fourth lap to bring out the second caution of the race. Ruff went to the pits under the yellow and came back out before the race resumed to join Luttrell at the tail of the field. Both drivers were running in the top five at the time of the incident.
After a few more caution periods, Bruce Stuart from Adrian, Michigan moved by the inside of Derbeck to take the lead with two laps remaining on his way to his first feature win of the year. Derbeck finished second followed by Brett Miller, B.J. Gregory and point leader Mike Jessen who started deep in the pack after making it into the feature by winning the UMP Sportsman consolation race.
Dan Dippman had a great start in the UMP Bomber A Main and lead the field into turn one, but Curt Lancaster took command by the end of the first lap and then began to pull away. Jeff Foks spun on lap four to bring out the yellow flag which eliminated Lancaster’s advantage. Chris Henry snatched the lead away on lap five and never looked back as he went on to capture his first feature win of the year over Lancaster and UMP Bomber point leader Jim Scout. Jeff Foks recovered after his earlier spin to post a fourth place finish with Terry Rushlow fifth.
Billy Brown earned the Extreme Chassis Hard Charger award for gaining the most positions in the race. He started 19th and picked up 13 positions to end up sixth.
Fifteen-year-old Derek Morris earned his third consecutive Hornet feature win and the fifth of the year. Morris got by Josh Froelich at the start for the lead and set sail. Froelich’s night was cut short after his car lost power and slowly rolled to a stop at the end of the backstretch on lap six. Drew Smith maintains a slim six point advantage in the Hornet point standings over Morris with another second place finish. Logan Hough celebrated his fifteenth birthday with a third place finish followed by Regan Ford and Drew Greene.
Danny Hogrefe rocketed to the lead on the first lap of the UMP Bomber B Main and caught a couple of lucky breaks during the race to maintain the top spot all the way to the finish. While working lap two, Hogrefe slipped up a bit coming off turn two. Jim Plotts took advantage and appeared to take the lead, but Josh Curtis backed into the wall coming off turn two which resulted in a caution flag and put Hogrefe back at the point for the restart. A few laps later, Dan Plath was fighting Hogrefe for the lead and got to his inside, but another caution for Terry Rump’s spin put an end to that battle. Next in line to try to take the lead from Hogrefe was Jeff Geis who worked his way up to second with two laps remaining. Hogrefe held him off on the way to pick up the checkered flag. Geis settled for second followed by Dan Plath, Jim Plotts and Ron Bloomfield Jr. who started 15th.
The UMP Bomber C Main capped off another great night of racing with a high attrition rate amongst leaders. It started off with pole-sitter Skyler Plotts getting turned sideways and collecting Donovan Paskan in turn four on the first lap. Kevin Cole then took the early lead in the race with Dean Taylor pressuring. The two drivers got together coming off turn two as they raced side by side. Taylor took the lead on lap three but would not finish the race. Taylor retired to the pits under a lap seven caution period turning the lead back over to Cole. Chris Sands then took a shot at Cole for the lead and again there was contact. Sands fell off the pace and shortly thereafter, Keven Cole slowed with two laps to go and headed to the pits. That turned the lead over to Steve Reeves who survived to pick up the feature win after starting 18th. Ron Todd started even deeper in the field and ended up second followed by Shaun Sharp, Nathan Goodman and Kenny Fiig.
The UMP Late Model Push Trucks Dual Features are back on Saturday, August 14, featuring two complete Late Model feature events in addition to a full program of UMP Sportsmen, UMP Bombers and Hornets. Gates open at 4pm with racing at 7pm.