WAUSEON, OH – The word of night for the annual birthday race was attrition. From waiting out rain to struggles both with and on the track, it was a battle all night on Saturday at Oakshade Raceway for the yearly stop with the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour.
In the end, Senoia, Georgia driver Ashton Winger took home the $10,000 check after claiming his second Oakshade Birthday Race win in three years.
Winger used the top side of the track to take the lead from Oakshade regular Rusty Schlenk on lap 15 and led the rest of the way in the 50-lap event.
Behind Winger, it again was a battle of attrition on who could stay on the racetrack. On lap 31, Ryan Unzicker, who had led laps early in the race, was running second when his car emitted a puff of smoke and he needed to head into the pits.
With 15 laps to go another Oakshade regular with a solid run, Devin Shiels, had to give up the third spot when he slowed off turn four with a broken car. Before another green flag lap could be scored, both Schlenk, who at the time was running second, had to pull off into the pits. Right behind him was another regular in Dusty Moore, who had a flat left rear tire. During the caution laps, Moore was able to tag the tail of the lead lap cars, which had dwindled down to nine.
Once the racing was able to get going, Winger was never challenged the final 15 laps. Colin Shipley stayed out of trouble to finish second, with Brian Ruhlman taking third. Ryan Markham and Moore rounded out the top five.
The win was the sixth this season on the Summer Nationals tour for Winger, who needed to show up to the final race on Sunday at Wayne County to claim the five-week tour championship.
The Summit Modified Nationals took to the track with Dalton Lane leading all 20 laps to score his first-ever win at Oakshade and his first win with the Summer National tour.
Lane battled Garrett Rons early in the feature before pulling away. After a couple of cautions on Brian Przeporia and one on Zach Hawk when he lost some sheet metal on the track, the Botkins, Ohio driver Lane was able to pull away and score the win.
Kevin Reeve battled throughout the night and settled for the second position. Rons ended third, with Hicksville, Ohio driver Zach Stotz fourth and Wauseon, Ohio driver Jacob Gamber rounding out the top five.
The long night at Oakshade ended with two features for the Dominator Super Stocks. In the A Main, Adam Lantz took the lead from Bubba Cundick when Cundick slowed on the track halfway through the race and appeared to be on the way to victory before he spun while leading in turns one and two. It led to an exciting finish between Clayton, Michigan’s Jarrett Rendel and Toledo, Ohio’s Dylan Burt.
Burt had Rendel set up for a last-lap pass, but Rendel was able to get into the gas in turn four to cross the line just inches in front of Burt for the win.
Adam Noonan took third, with Ronnie Bloomfield and Alex Krall rounding out the top five.
In the final race of the night, Toledo, Ohio’s Chane Stuckey and Fayette, Ohio’s Donovan Paskan started on the front row and battled door to door for the first lap. Stuckey eventually pulled away, but his win was not without attrition.
Late in the race, a fuel cell came out of a car and sat in the entrance of turn one. The cars attempted to run in the spilled fuel on the track, but a spark from a car started a small fire from the leftover fuel on the track. Track officials took just a couple of minutes to allow the fuel to burn off before allowing any racing action on the track.
Once the racing picked up, Chris Bleikamp and Paskan got together in between turns three and four running for second. Paskan got the worst of the deal and spun out.
Stuckey went on to get the win, followed by Joe Nickloy, Bill Reeves, Sr., Derek Zuver and Bradley Goad.
Action returns next week to Oakshade Raceway with a full night of racing on Saturday. It’ll be a night of Late Models, Sportsman, Dominator Super Stocks and Compacts. Gates open at 4 p.m., with hot laps at 6 and racing at 7.