Story by Randy Roberts
WAUSEON, OH – A late-race caution set up a fantastic finish as Devin Moran outdueled Oakshade regular and six-time track champion Rusty Schlenk to bag $10,000 at the 24th annual Birthday Race Saturday night at Oakshade Raceway in the annual stop for the Dirtcar Late Models and Modified Summer Nationals.
The final caution in a late model feature filled with incidents came with nine laps to go. While Moran and Schlenk were trading slide jobs, Joe Godsey came to a stop in turn four with a flat tire. After the restart, the Dresden, Ohio native was able to hold off Schlenk to earn the win and join his father, Donnie, as the second father and son winners of the Oakshade birthday race.
Colin Shipley started on the pole and led the first five laps before being overtaken by Moran, who charged forward from the third spot.
Moran held off the field for multiple restarts, with the worst incident coming near the halfway mark of the 40-lap event. The car of Brad Eitniear went over the nose of Rob Anderzack and ended upside down, which brought out the red flag.
Schlenk was able to move to second once the race restarted. Current Summer Nationals point leader Bobby Pierce had an outstanding move to shoot the gap between Payton Freeman and Devin Shiels to move to third on the restart. Pierce ended third, with Freeman and Shiels rounding out the top five.
In the 25-lap Summer National modified feature, Chad Bauer and Brian Ruhlman put on a show over the final five laps with Bauer besting the former Oakshade late model track champion for the win.
Very early in the race, Bauer took the lead from polesitter Dylan Woodling. Like the late model feature, Bauer needed to hold off the field through multiple restarts.
One person moving forward was Ruhlman, who started ninth in the 23-car feature. He took second from Woodling and set his sights on the lead, even nosing forward in the final laps. Bauer was able to get back to the inside late and hold off Ruhlman to snag the win.
Woodling pulled off while running third with six laps to go. Dalton Lane ended third, with Andrew Smith and Bill Griffith rounding out the top five.
The Dominator Super Stocks ended the night with three feature events. In the A Main, Adam Lantz had to take the lead on multiple restarts before finally getting to the point for good. He lost a huge lead on a late restart, but was able to stay in front of David Ellis for the win. Kolin Schilt, Scott Hammer and Shane Estes scored top-five finishes.
In the B-Main, Dan Dippman, who started deep in the field, shot to the front after Burt Sharp rolled his car over, to win. Dippman was in control from that point and took the checkered flag in front of Jason Drummond, Gary Domoe, Scott Barnhart and Sam Estes.
In the C-Main, Brian Barber battled for the lead early, but had to pull into the infield. It opened the door for Jayden Bleikamp, who had a great finish with Dean Taylor to earn the feature win. Taylor settled for second, with Josh Heinemann, Bradley Goad and Brandon Goad rounding out the top five.
Oakshade Raceway returns to action Saturday, July 23, with another full night of racing action with Late Models, Sportsman, Dominator Super Stocks and Compacts. Gates open at 4 p.m., with hot laps at 6 and racing at 7.