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Jeff Babcock & NBC 24’s Norm Van Ness Among Weekend Winners

Oakshade Raceway hosted another full weekend of racing action that included the final UMP Late Model event of the year won by Jeff Babcock and the Celebrity Charity Race won by NBC 24’s Norm Van Ness on Saturday night. Then, Ronnie Bloomfield Jr. took over the Enduro points lead with an Enduro race win on Sunday afternoon.

The Celebrity Charity Race led off Saturday night’s main events with local “celebrities” representing various charities competing with borrowed rides from some very generous Bomber owners. Oakshade Raceway’s Dan “Links” Rice who was representing F.I.S.H. (Friends in Service to Humanity) led the first lap. Oakshade Raceway announcer Scott Hammer, representing the American Diabetes Association, dropped to the inside of Rice entering turn one and the two drivers got together which stacked up more than half the field. All drivers were able to continue. Eldora Speedway announcer Dustin Jarrett, representing the Alzheimer’s Association Research Center, inherited the lead by avoiding the melee. Hammer closed back in and took the lead on lap five of the ten lap event with Van Ness close behind. Van Ness made a move underneath Hammer to take the lead on lap eight. Hammer tried to battle back to the inside and the the two drivers traded some paint with Van Ness going on to earn his third Celebrity Charity Race win at Oakshade Raceway. With his win, The Village House of Fremont will receive the majority of the donations raised by the competitors that totaled over $1,000. Hammer maintained a second place finish with Jarrett finishing third. Rice was fourth, Fulton County Sheriff candidate Roy Miller ended up fifth and lead singer of the band The Undeserving, Clay Kirchenbauer, finished sixth. All charities represented will receive a portion of the funds raised.

Next, it was time to get down to business with the final UMP Late Model feature of the year with a twist. All Late Model competitors were topless, or at least their cars were. The roofs were taken off for the final night of Late Model competition at Oakshade. B.J. Gregory took the lead after starting on the pole. A big pile up occurred on lap two that involved Cody Houston, Casey Noonan, Kevin Reeve, Brian Ruhlman and Rob Anderzack with Anderzack ending up on top of Ruhlman’s car. That turned out to be the last caution of the race.

With Gregory leading, Jeff Babcock closed in. The two drivers raced side by side for a couple laps, with Babcock finally taking command on lap 11. Babcock proceeded to open up a sizable lead. Rusty Schlenk got by Gregory and began to chip away ever so slightly into Babcock’s lead late in the race, but Babcock managed to pull away again in lapped traffic to pick up the victory in the final UMP Late Model feature of the season. Unofficial 2012 Track Champion Rusty Schlenk settled for second. Devin Shiels posted a third place finish after starting 11th. Dan Wallace ended up with another top five run to finish in fourth in what may have been his final career start. Casey Noonan recovered to a fifth place finish after getting caught up in the lap two pile up.

The UMP Sportsman division is poised for an exciting showdown in next week’s Season Championship night with only one point separating the top two. Defending Sportsman Track Champion Tim Line entered the night 20 points behind leader Mike Jessen. Line jumped out to the early lead. Newly engaged James Fox brought out the first caution on lap one. He had proposed to his girlfriend on the front stretch only a short while earlier in the night. Once back under green flag conditions, Joe Derbeck and Mike Jessen had some contact which prompted Jessen pull into the pits. At about the same time, Richard Patton spun to bring out another caution. Jessen rejoined the race a half lap behind shortly after the rest of the field took the green flag. With Line out front, it seemed Jessen would take a major hit in the points.

Bruce Stuart was the spoiler for Line. He raced side by side with Line for a few laps and finally took the lead with five laps to go. Stuart went on to pick up his fifth feature win of the year with Line finishing second. Bob Gregory, who is still in the points chase, finished third and closed to within 27 points of Jessen. Matt Lindsey and Tim Fisher were the rest of the top five finishers. Jessen drove back up to finish in eighth position which was just enough to remain atop the points by the slimmest of margins heading into next week’s season championship.

Jeff Geis and Brian Ruhlman raced hard for the lead early in the UMP Bomber A Main. Ruhlman took over the lead on lap six and drove off to the feature win. Jeff Foks opened up his point lead to 54 over Terry Rushlow with a second place finish. Geis slipped back to end up third followed by last week’s A Main winner Adam Noonan. Dave “Gumby” Golembiewski Jr. finished fifth.

Josh Froelich and Maverick Wright battled early for the lead in the Hornet feature event. Last week’s feature winner, Taylor Dippman, fell off the pace and rolled to a stop before making it all the way back to the pits on lap three. Drew Smith suffered the same fate after peaking in the third position a few laps later. Thirteen-year-old Maverick Wright earned his third feature win of the year. Cody Laney got by Froelich to finish in second. Breanna Franks took fourth followed by Danny Williams in fifth.

Jeff Wells started last in the UMP Sport Compact feature and drove around the outside of the competition to take the lead by the completion of lap one. Derek Morris, another top contender with five feature wins this season, retired to the pits just after completing the first lap. Trent Delong, with eight feature wins himself, ran second to Wells and could not reel him in. Wells took the easy win which was his second of the year. Delong was second followed by Austin Casteneda, Regan Ford and Stephanie Miller.

Curt Lancaster was the class of the UMP Bomber B Main and opened up a big lead at the start. Gregg Detray passed Todd Silvey for second on lap two, but was unable to mount a challenge on Lancaster who went on to take the checkered flag. Detray held on to finish second with Steve Morris getting by Silvey for third. Dan Shaffer started 10th and finished fifth.

Joe Foks started on the pole of the final race of Saturday night, the UMP Bomber C Main, and led the first lap. Richard Riffe passed him high on lap two and shortly after Foks spun which knocked him out of the top five. Riffe, who was in Terry Rushlow’s car since Rushlow had borrowed his car earlier for the A Main, went on to pick up the C Main victory over Ramone Ortiz, Robert Meinen, William Sloan and Mike Plotts.

Racing continued on a beautiful late summer Sunday afternoon with a 200 lap Enduro. Mark Henderson held a six point advantage over Ronnie Bloomfield Jr. and Jeremy Grover at the start of the race, but ended up being a non-factor and finished outside the top ten. Colin Walker had things going his way leading the first 75 plus laps, but a visit to the pits shortly before halfway would drop him down in the running order. Ronnie Bloomfield Jr. took over the lead from Walker by the mid point of the race. Walker closed back to second by lap 125, but couldn’t make up the distance lost from his pit stop. Bloomfield survived a couple of close calls to finish all 200 laps and claim the victory as well as the point lead with only one race remaining. Walker finished second, three laps behind Bloomfield. Jeremy Grover ended up third followed by Chris Williams and Shawn Valenti.

The final Enduro race will be on Sunday, September 30 and will be a 250 lap event paying $1,500 to the winner.

Several point championships will be decided next weekend after Saturday night’s Season Championship Night for the UMP Sportsmen, UMP Bombers, Hornets and UMP Sport Compacts. Gates open at 4pm with racing at 7pm on September 22.