Elliott Leads Wire to Wire at Jack Hewitt Wingless Challenge at Fremont
By TJ Buffenbarger
By TJ Buffenbarger
Tony Elliott was able to take advantage of his front row starting position to win Wednesday night's Jack Hewitt wingless challenge at the Fremont Speedway in Fremont, Ohio. Elliott was able to pull away from Bill Rose during a late race restart, and worked through the lapped traffic masterfully to hold on for the victory.
Elliott and local favorite Byron Reed were on the front row for the big 40-lap main event. Elliott got the jump as Reed and Jon Stanbrough filed into second and third positions. Richard "the Gasman" Griffin in the Ron Chaffin owned machine quickly moved up to challenge Stanbrough when the caution flat appeared on lap two for All Star Circuit of Champions regular Rodney Duncan, who spun in turn two. Duncan restarted at the back of the field.
Elliott once again pulled away at the restart while Stanbrough, Griffin, and Bill Rose battled for the third position. Green flag action only lasted one lap until Rob Chaney and David Harrison hooked up in turn three and came to a halt. The contact resulted in damage that forced Harrison to retire from the event, while Chaney restarted at the back of the field. During the caution Stanbrough was penilized two positions for hitting the cone on the restart, and Tony Jones stopped for service from his crew at the entrance to the pits near turn two. Jones restarted at the tail of the field.
Elliott once again pulled away on the restart while Reed had his hands full battling with Rose and Griffin. Behind them quick qualifier Troy Rutherford battled with Stanbrough for the sixth position. By lap five Rutherford was on the move running in the fifth position.
Lap six saw the Gasman move past Reed for the second position, with Bill Rose following suit. Then Reed was locked into a battle with Rutherford and Dickie Gaines for the fourth position. On lap 13 Elliott began to approach a large group of lapped cars. Then on lap 17 when it looked like the leader would be boxed in behind several lapped cars running side by side, Elliott drove to the bottom to move through the lapped cars three abreast and put plenty of daylight between himself and the rest of the field.
Meanwhile all eyes were on a tremendous battle for the fourth position between Reed, Gains, Rutherford, and Stanbrough. Lap 21 saw Gaines battle hard with Reed for the position as the duo swapped the position back and forth. Lap 223 saw the focus shift to the battle for the second position between Rose and the Griffin, with Rose taking the position. Meanwhile the battle for fourth position grew as Reed, Gaines, and Stanbrough were joined by Chaney, Jack Hewitt, and Greg Wilson to create a gaggle of cars running the low, middle, and high side of the track for position.
Lap 23 saw the caution re-appear for 2000 Gas City I-69 Speedway champion John "Wondering" Wolfe spinning out in turn four. Wolfe restarted at the tail of the field. Troy Rutherford also stopped in the pit entrance with a rapidly deflating tire. Rutherford's crew put more air in the tire, but was eventually forced to retire from the feature before the finish.
Two lapped cars of Mark Hery and Brian Tyler separated Elliott from Rose, and under the caution Rose gave instructions to both drivers on where to go. On the restart Rose successfully maneuvered through the traffic as did Griffin to set sail after the leader Elliott. Meanwhile Gaines, Stanbrough, Reed, and Wilson all continued to battle for the fourth position.
Rose and Griffin caught a break on lap 27 when John "Poison" Ivy spun down in turn four to bring out the caution. This put Rose and Griffin right on the back bumper of the Elliott.
On the restart though Elliott once again pulled away from the field as Rose and Griffin began to battle for the second position. Rose maintained the position, but the man on the move was Stanbrough. Stanbrough found a spot on the high side of turn four and was rocketing off the corners. On lap 36 Stanbrough caught Richard Griffin and was able to blast around the top to take away the third position. As Stanbrough's front wheels danced off the ground going down the backstretch, he then got a run on Bill Rose on the white flag lap, coming through turns three and four, and was able to blast around Rose to take the second position at the checkered flag.
Meanwhile up front though it was all Elliott picking up the first non-wing feature run at the Fremont Speedway in over 20 years. To celebrate Elliott did a polish victory lap around the Fremont Speedway. Stanbrough, Rose, Griffin, and Byron Reed rounded out the top five.
Rutherford set quick time in the Gardner Racing team owned Sled chassis with a new non-wing track record of 14.64 seconds around the 1/3-mile oval. Rutherford, Elliott, Rose, and Scotty Orr won the heat race events, while Harrison won the B-Main.
In the second heat Mike Miller took a nasty looking end over end tumble through turns three and four. Miller was awake and alert when removed from his car on a backboard and taken to a local area hospital for observation. Steve Mackey also tipped over during the fourth heat, but was uninjured.
Quick time: Troy Rutherford, 14.64, NTR.
Heat #1 (10 laps, top 4 transferred to the "A" Feature): Troy Rutherford, John Wolfe, John Ivy, Byron Reed, David Harrison, Brian Tyler, Chris Gurley, Bobby Distal, Cory Seeling.
Heat #2 (10 laps, top 4 transferred to the "A" Feature): Tony Elliott, A.J. Anderson, Tony Jones, Rob Chaney, Richard Griffin, Greg Wilson, Kenny Clark, Duane Mackey, Jim Dues.
Heat #3 (10 laps, top 4 transferred to the "A" Feature): Bill Rose, Dickie Gaines, Rodney Duncan, Dave Darland, Mark Hery, Gary McCollum, Josh Keegan, Chuck Wilson, Mike Miller.
Heat #4 (10 laps, top 4 transferred to the "A" Feature): Scotty Orr, Jon Stanbrough, Todd Kane, Jack Hewitt, Jerry Nemire, John Toth, III, Lee Potter, Steve Mackey
"B" Feature (12 Laps, top 6 transferred to the "A" Feature): David Harrison, Richard Griffin, Greg Wilson, Chris Gurley, Mark Hery, Brian Tyler, Jerry Nemire, Chuck Wilson, Lee Potter, Cory Seeling, Jim Dues, Bobby Distal, Kenny Clark, John Toth, III, Gary McCollum, Josh Keegan, Duane Mackey.
"A" Feature (40 Laps): Tony Elliott, Jon Stanbrough, Bill Rose, Richard Griffin, Byron Reed, Greg Wilson, Dickie Gaines, Jack Hewitt, Todd Kane, Scotty Orr, Rob Chaney, Dave Darland, Chris Gurley, John Ivy, John Wolfe, Mark Hery, Brian Tyler, A.J. Anderson, Troy Rutherford, Tony Jones, Rodney Duncan, David Harrison
Lap Leaders: Elliott 1-40