Rusty Schlenk proved he will be a force to be reckoned with this year in the UMP Late Model division at Oakshade Raceway by leading every lap of first Late Model feature of the year.
Approximately 150 racecars showed up for the first Saturday night of competition at Oakshade, 47 of which were Late Models. This meant less than half of the drivers would not make it into the feature in this highly competitive division.
Eighteen year old Rusty Schlenk drew the pole position for the feature and never looked back once the green flag flew.
The first yellow flag flew for the 04 of Tracy Grimes who had trouble while running in the third position.
Kris Patterson, the defending Late Model track champion, ran in the second spot most of the race and could not reel in Schlenk.
Rusty Schlenk takes the win and the Oakshade points lead worth well over $10,000 at the end of the year. Patterson finished second followed by Aaron Scott, Scott Fisk and Tony Marks.
The 2004 Bomber Track Champion Josh Steinacker made the move up to try his hand in the Sportsman division this year and had a very successful opening night.
Ray Klawitter led early on in the event with Tim Fisher, Chris Keller and Steinacker following. Things got real heated for the lead after a handful of cautions in the first half of the race as Klawitter and Fisher weaved through lapped traffic. The two swapped the lead a couple times while navigating four wide at times by the slower traffic.
Fisher then lost it in turn three and brought out the yellow flag ending his chances at a victory.
Steinacker jumped from third to the lead just before the caution for Fisher came out and went on to lead the remaining laps to win the first Sportsman feature he has ever competed in. Klawitter settled for a second place finish with Joe Derbeck, Brian Roop and Brian Fisher rounding out the top five.
Chuck Leininger, Curt Lancaster and Jim Scout battled three wide early in the Bomber A Main. Scout would drop out of that battle and head to the pits after some contact with the 51 of Lancaster.
With Leininger leading, Joe Smith was closing in and was up to third after starting 14th. Then Smith spun in turn three bringing out the yellow and resulting in a finish outside the top 15.
After a huge crash on the front stretch on lap 10, Leininger eventually went on to win the first Bomber A of the year with Troy Wickman ending up in second after coming from the 13th starting spot. Wickman was followed by Jeff Foks Jr., Curt Lancaster and Jarrett Rendel.
Shane Stuckey held off multiple challenges for the lead to take the checkered flag in the Bomber B Main. Brad Blonde was first to mount a challenge but then slipped back.
Next came Karl Spores to put the pressure on and then finally, Craig Dippman mounted a charge after starting way back.
Stuckey managed to hold off the late challenge from Dippman to pick of the victory. Josh Caudill was third with Spores finishing fourth.
The Bomber C Main turned out to be one of the more exciting races of the night with Matt Shipley leading most of the event.
Shipley started on the pole and was well in control until the 17D of Dan Dippman closed in and put the pressure on. The two ran side by side for several laps.
A late caution brought out by Josh Kehle’s spin would set up a two lap shoot out to the finish. Shortly after the restart, Dippman went to the high side and passed Shipley who fell off the pace due to a flat right rear.
Dippman went on to win the race with Chris Joy second. Shipley held on to limp his car to a third place finish on that flat tire followed by Jake Rendel and Dave Sibberson.
The great racing action continues at Oakshade Raceway this coming Saturday with UMP Late Models, Sportsman and Bombers.