Racing in Saturday night’s Dual Push Truck Challenge was intense as the UMP Late Model points race at Oakshade Raceway draws to a close. Defending Track Champion Rusty Schlenk hoped to make up a lot of ground on Dona Marcoullier’s heading into next Saturday’s Season Championship Night with a chance to rack up extra points in two 25-lap UMP Late Model features that make up the Dual Push Truck Challenge.
Schlenk entered the night’s competition 90 points behind Marcoullier and took the lead at the drop of the green flag in the first feature event. He pulled away from last week’s feature winner, Brian Ruhlman, early in the race. Schlenk survived a close call on lap 11 when Mark Pifer spun just in front of the leaders to bring out the yellow flag. Schlenk again opened up his lead after the restart with Marcoullier and Ruhlman battling for second. Marcoullier eventually got by Ruhlman and began to close in on Schlenk while working through slower traffic. Schlenk was able to pick up the victory, but only gained five points on Marcoullier. Jeff Babcock finished third ahead of Ruhlman and Steve Kester.
Schlenk’s championship hopes seemed to light back up slightly after a massive pile up on the first lap of the second 25-lap feature left Marcoullier’s car resting on top of Matt Lindsey’s. Also involved in the melee were Devin Shiels, Brian Ruhlman, Dusty Moore, Ron Miller, Herb Reich and Curtis Diesenroth. After all cars were finally separated, most were able to continue despite some mangled sheet metal. Drivers who did not pit were allowed to restart in their original starting position. One of those drivers was Dona Marcoullier.
Once the green flag finally flew again, pole-sitter Chris Keller snatched the early lead with Marcoullier following in second. Marcoullier took command on lap eight and started to pull away as Keller and Schlenk battled for second behind him. Once Schlenk got by Keller, he began to close back in on the race leader. Schlenk had just about caught Marcoullier with a couple laps remaining when disaster struck. Schlenk tried to squeeze under the lapped car of Mark Pifer coming off the second turn. The two drivers made contact that broke the right rear shock on Schlenk’s car and that would pretty much end his chances for an unprecedented 6th championship.
The yellow flag came out for debris on the track from that contact setting up a two lap shootout to the finish. Schlenk remained on the track in second behind Marcoullier as the field came back to the green flag, but peeled off to the pits on the backstretch just before taking the white flag. Marcoullier was able to take his damaged race car to victory lane for the fourth time this season and increased his point lead to an insurmountable 131 points leading into Season Championship Night. Chris Keller finished second with Casey Noonan third and Dusty Moore ending up fourth after getting a piece of that first lap wreck. Brian Ruhlman also had some pretty heavy damage in the first lap incident, but drove to a fifth place finish and moved up to third in points.
Tim Line wanted to continue his Sportsman feature win streak and extend it to five, but Mike Jessen had other plans. Line took over the race lead from Rich Ruff on the second lap and by lap eight, Jessen had caught Line. The two drivers raced side by side for many laps and swapped the lead back and forth. Jessen held the lead late in the race, but Line dove back to the inside of Jessen with two laps to go. They were side by side again at the white flag, but Jessen made a move back to the inside on the final lap to secure his fourth feature win of the year. Line had to settle for a second place finish followed by Bob Gregory, Rich Ruff and Joe Derbeck.
A wild Bomber A Main followed the Sportsman feature with some great racing action at the front of the field. Terry Rump took the lead at the start with Craig Dippman pressuring. Dippman took the lead by a nose on lap four, but got sideways the following lap and collected Satch Crispen who came to a stop which brought out the caution flag. Rump, Dippman and Adam Noonan fanned out three-wide for the lead on the ensuing restart. Multiple caution flags kept the field tight behind race leader Terry Rump. Jeff Foks worked his way into the lead battle with Rump, Dippman and Noonan. Both Dippman and Foks were sent to the tail after contact between the two drivers resulted in Dippman spinning out. Terry Rushlow carried a slim two point advantage over Noonan in Bomber points at the beginning of the night and charged into the lead by lap 11. The final caution period after Perry Cox slammed hard into Amy Clair’s slowing car on the backstretch caused the allotted time limited to expire and resulted in a single lap race to the finish. Rushlow was able to hang on for the win with Rump edging out Noonan and Dave “Gumby” Golembiewski Jr who were battling three-wide for second. Garry Domoe started 15th and wound up gaining ten positions to finish fifth.
Cody Laney and John Anderson Jr. got hooked together on the first lap in the combined Hornet/Sport Compact feature event and nearly went head on into the wall coming off turn two. Nick Jenema started on the outside of the front row and shot out to a huge lead. He opened up more than a half lap advantage over his nearest competitor on his way to pick up his first Sport Compact feature win at Oakshade Raceway. Austin Casteneda finished a distant second followed by Matt Brazeau, “Sparky Marky” Gillingham Jr. and Cory Gumm. Laney recovered after his early race miscues to pick up his eighth feature win of the year. Brandon Leighton was second with Breanna Franks third. John Anderson Jr. wound up fourth.
Teri-Lynn Murphy started on the pole of the Bomber B Main and opened a big lead early. Richard Riffe’s spin on lap three brought out the caution and wiped out Murphy’s advantage. After the restart, Chris Sands and Roscoe Stetten battled three-wide with Murphy for the lead. The three ran out of race track coming off turn four with Sands on the inside. He pushed up causing Murphy to get into Stetten who then got into the front stretch wall. The contact with Stetten cut down a tire on Murphy’s car which put an end to her good run. Rick Dixon made his presence known late in the race when he pressured Sands for the lead, but Sands managed to drive to the victory over Dixon. Dan Plath, Roscoe Stetten and Jim Remley were the rest of the top five finishers.
Jesse Burgett, Stephanie Miller and Eddie Goins wrecked on the backstretch on the first lap of the Bomber C Main just as a few others wrecked coming off turn four coming to the yellow flag. Joe Nickloy drove out to the lead at the once things finally got going with Zach Tipton in second. Tipton took the lead on lap seven and went on to victory over Bill Reeves Sr., Joe Nickloy, Brandon Clark and Derek Zuver.
The 2013 Oakshade Raceway UMP Late Model Champion will be determined after Season Championship Night for UMP Late Models this coming Saturday. The Sportsman, Bomber, Hornet and Sport Compact classes will also be in action. Gates open at 4pm with racing beginning at 7pm.