Driving into the facility at
Montpelier Motor Speedway, one cannot help but being taken back to a
different time in racing. The facility sits in a small picturesque
Indiana town not far from the city center. itís a throwback to small
community centered tracks that a one-time were very prominent though-out
the country. A throw-back to a time when small towns stood behind their
tracks and were proud of what they provided for the community, which was
clearly the case with Montpelier Motor Speedway, as you enter the town
of Montpelier on highway 18 you are greeted by a large sign for the
speedway and as you enter the grounds you will encounter groups of
citizens walking to the track from the surrounding community.
Admittedly it had been awhile since I had witnessed a midget race on
dirt, walking into the pits I was excited of getting back in touch with
this form of racing. A nice field of 25 midgets , 31 modifieds , 14
super street stocks , 14 thundercars and 6 front wheel drives were on
hand along with a large crowd for the midget opener. Several big name
driver were on hand for the night and s the hotlaps for the midgets took
the track Thomas Meseraul hauler pulled in bringing another the midget
field to 26 car. In hot laps it was apparent that Darren Hagen would be
the car to beat as he was on a wire. The 26 car field was divided into 3
heats with the top 5 transferring and the top three getting the redraw.
Heat one saw the 3 of Darren Hagen scorch his way through the field from
a 7th place starting spot, he was flowed to the line by the 5x of Justin
Peck , 56p of Aaron Pierce , 17e of Blake Edwards and 21x of Nick Spidel.
The second heat got off to a rough start as the 4 of Bobby East and 27
of Ross Rankine came together at the line causing Rankine to take a
tumble, he was ok but the 27 machine was on the hook and out for the
heat. The 4 was also sent to the tail for contact, and on the restart
the 85 of shane Hollingsworth jumped out to the lead. The battle was in
the pack as the 16 of Thomas Meseraul and 4 of East knifed there way
through the field to second and third respectively by the 3rd lap. Then
the battle was on between the two East hounding Meseraul on the high
side, On the 5th circuit of the track there battle would come to an
abrupt end as Meseraul would slide high into East, East getting upside
down as a result. East was uninjured but the 4 was done for the heat.
Hollingsworth would go on to take the victory in the heat also making
the transfer in order were 16 of Thomas Meseraul , 10 of Billy Wease ,
3n of Jake Neuman , and the 21 of kurt Mayhew. In the Third Heat The 6p
of Parker Price Miller would take the win followed by the 11c of Chet
Gehrke, 5c of Colton Cottle , 21D of Justin Dickerson , and the 17 of
Michael koontz but the story of the heat at least for me was seeing
Johnny Hydenrich back in a car piloting the 22, He would retire from the
heat on lap 8 due to an ill handling car.
The B main saw the 4 of Bobby East storm through the field and set sail
in the green to checkers race claiming the 16th starting spot in the
feature, also transferring to the a were the 27 of Ross Rankine , 22 of
Johnny Hydenrich , 2 of Stratton Briggs and the 44 of Tyler Ransbottom.
For the feature the redraw gave the 56p of Aaron Peirce the pole , the
5x of Justin peck sitting to his outside and the favorites Shane
Hollingsworth 6th , Darren Hagen 8th and Bobby East way back in 16th
after having to come through the B. From the drop of the green action
was intense , the 5x of Justin peck taking the top spot on the start and
Hagen and East dicing through the field. The pace was slowed on lap 4
when Aaron Pierce running 2 spun coming out of turn 2 collecting the 16
of Thomas Meseraul, both would be done for the night. By lap 4 the 85 of
Shane Hollingsworth had worked his way to 2nd , Hagen to third, and
Bobby East had gained 9 positions in 4 laps restarting in 7 place.
Immediately after the restart the race was red flagged for the 9p of
Parker Price-Miller getting tangled up with another machine and
flipping, he was okay but done for the night. When the action resumed it
was Darren Hagen getting by the 85 of Hollingsworth and then on lap 7
passing the 5x of Peck to take the lead. Shane Hollingsworth would
follow the 3 by on lap 9 the 4 of Bobby East would likewise pass Peck
taking third, for the next 8 laps the battle was between East and
Hollingsworth with East finally taking the spot in traffic on lap 17.
Darren Hagen would go unchallenged and claim the victory in a dominant
performance. Hagen went on to show his class on the track was matched by
his class off handing his racing gloves to a young fan that had suffered
burns in a gas explosion. Bobby East in the 4 machine , Shane
Hollingsworth in the 85 , Colton Cottle in the 5c and 11c of Chet Gehrke
rounded out the top 5 .
The racing in the modified division was wheel to wheel all night with
the 47 of Collin thirlby claiming the feature win. Wins also going to
the 14 of Glenn Bradley in Super Streets , 41 of Ron Faugh in
Thundercars , and 92 of Brandron McDaries in front wheel drives.
I personally really enjoyed my first visit to Montpelier, I was
astounded by the way the track held up all night .In a conversation with
one of Montpelierís track workers he had explained that back when the
track was a half mile Georgia clay had been brought in and they were in
the process of digging it up and adding it to the surface of the present
track. The track conditions all night well maybe not proof of the origin
of the clay were sufficient evidence to edict the skill of Montpelier
staff in track preparation. The track not only stayed good all night it
got better and seemingly heavier throughout the evening. Montpelier is a
great example of an Indiana bullring with excellent racing and great
value for the fans, the tickets prices were only $10.00 for this show.
The staff is exceptionally friendly and the facilities are clean and
well kept, I highly recommend a trip there to anyone.
By Pete Smith