Working toward an unprecedented fifth UMP Late Model track championship at Oakshade Raceway, Rusty Schlenk fought hard to earn his 100th career feature win on Saturday night.
The first features of the night came under daylight with a couple of UMP Bomber features rescheduled from August 4th due to the rain-shortened program. Jeff Foks, Dave “Gumby” Golembiewski Jr. and Curt Lancaster went three abreast for the lead on the first lap of the UMP Bomber A Main with Foks gaining the lead by lap two. Numerous yellow flags kept the drivers from getting into any kind of rhythm and kept things tight. Lancaster mounted another challenge for the lead about halfway through the race, but Foks stayed in front. A late charge from Jeff Geis made for an exciting finish. Geis got to the inside of Foks in the final corner but ended up just short in a side by side finish. It was the 10th feature win of the year for Foks. Geis started 11th and had to settle for a second place finish followed by Terry Rushlow, Dave “Gumby” Golembiewski Jr. and Amy Bernard.
Next up was the rescheduled UMP Bomber B Main. Joe Heffner and Russel Nickloy had a heated battle early on for the race lead. Gregg Detray started 11th and climbed to the lead by lap four. A few laps later, Heffner and Nickloy tangled which brought out the yellow flag. That put Teri-Lynn Murphy up to second for the restart after starting last in the field. She was able to pressure Detray, but could not make the pass. Detray took the checkered flag with Murphy ending up second. Curt Dickie posted a third place finish with Mike Plotts and Duane Fletcher the rest of the top five.
Later in the night, the UMP Late Model feature took to the track. Dusty Moore ran strong at the drop of the green flag and took the initial lead. A caution flag flew on lap two for an incident involving Curtis Deisenroth, Duane Chamberlain and Casey Noonan, who is involved in the points battle with Rusty Schlenk. Noonan was able to continue, but Deisenroth and Chamberlain were both done for the night. Moore opened up his lead once again after the restart. Brian Ruhlman and Rusty Schlenk battled for second with Ruhlman winning that battle by lap 14. Ruhlman then closed up the distance on Moore and took command of the race with five laps remaining. Schlenk and Moore remained tight behind Ruhlman while working through lapped traffic. Schlenk made a move to take the lead with just two laps left on his way to his fourth feature win of the year which was career win 100 after picking up his very first feature win at Oakshade just over 10 years ago. The win also increased his point lead over Noonan who had closed within 34 points last week. The point lead is now 78 for Schlenk going into next week’s Season Championship/American Late Model Series double features.
Ruhlman stayed ahead of Moore to finish second. Devin Shiels finished fourth with Chris Keller coming home fifth. After a feature win each of the last two weeks, Casey Noonan finished a disappointing 12th.
The tightest point race at Oakshade Raceway going into the final stretch of the season is in the UMP Sportsman class. Bob Gregory held a slim three point advantage over Mike Jessen when the night began. At the start of the feature event, Tim Line took the lead after starting on the outside of the front row. Line would lead the entire distance, but it wasn’t an easy win for Line. Mike Jessen challenged Line for the lead and appeared to finally have the lead on lap 10, but a caution for Kyle Turley’s spin would revert the field back to the lap nine line up with Line back in the lead. Jessen began to fade back the second half of the race as Bruce Stuart and Bob Gregory moved into second and third. Stuart was able to get to the inside of Line on the final lap to set up another exciting finish, but Line held on to win his fourth feature of the year. Finishing fourth behind Stuart and Gregory was John Gamber. Pole-sitter Tim Fisher slipped back to finish fifth. With his third place finish, Gregory opened up his point advantage to 13 over Jessen who finished sixth with four more point racing nights left for the UMP Sportsman division.
Things got ugly in the second UMP Bomber A Main of the night with caution after caution chewing up the 15 minute time limit on the race. Jeff Geis took the lead early. The first caution came out just after the completion of the first lap for an incident involving Russel Nickloy and Chris Howard. Another caution came out for a wreck involving Richard Riffe, Joe Heffner, Russel Nickloy, Chris Sands and Chris Howard before another lap could be completed. Adam Noonan, Jeff Foks and Geis raced three-wide for the lead after the restart, but another yellow flag for Scott Robertson’s spin slowed things down. Geis maintained the lead position through a few more cautions. After at least eight caution periods in the first seven laps, the time limit had all but expired. Geis was able to hold off Foks to pick up his second feature win of the last three weeks. Tim Line, fresh off his UMP Sportsman win, was able to finish third in his UMP Bomber behind Jeff Foks. Amy Bernard and Terry Rushlow were the rest of the top five finishers.
The youngsters in the Hornet division put on one of the most exciting features of the night. Taylor Dippman took the lead at the completion of the first lap after some contact with Maverick Wright. That wasn’t the end of the contact between those two drivers. Wright battled back to the inside. While those two battled each other, William Cundick drove by both drivers to take the lead. A caution for a hard crash by Cara Robinette brought out the caution a lap later. Cundick, Dippman and Wright raced three-wide for the lead immediately after the restart. Dippman came out on top and won her first feature of the year over Cundick and Wright. Brandon Myers was fourth with Drew Smith fifth.
“Sparky Marky” Gillingham led the early laps of the UMP Sport Compact feature. Derek Morris and Trent Delong both got alongside Gillingham for some more three-wide racing for the lead. Delong came out on top of the battle and pulled away with the lead on his way to feature win number eight. Morris overtook Gillingham for a second place finish. Gillingham settled for third followed by Austin Casteneda and Stephanie Miller.
The final race of the night was the UMP Bomber B Main. Kyle Light darted quickly to the lead after the start. Derek Zuver got turned sideways at the end of the front stretch just after completing the first lap to bring out the first of many caution flags. Light survived the caution-riddled B Main to earn the feature win over Gary Cole Jr., Terry Rump, Mike Plotts and Steve Morris.
Oakshade Raceway will host its final American Late Model Series (ALMS) program of the season this Labor Day weekend on Saturday, September 1 with two full $2,000 to win ALMS 30-lap features. The extra feature is the rescheduled event from the rain-shortened August 4th date. It will also be UMP Late Model Season Championship night. Casey Noonan will have his work cut out for him if he is to keep Rusty Schlenk from winning this fifth Oakshade Raceway track championship. Also in action will be UMP Sportsmen, UMP Bombers, Hornets and UMP Sport Compacts. Gates open at 4pm with racing at 7pm.