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Pete Smith
       

 

 

Sandusky Speedway fought Mother Nature all week but finally on Sunday the 36th running of the Hy-Miler Nationals was complete.  Despite the show being moved to Sunday not one driver from the ISMA supermodifeds deserted and a full complement of 30 cars were on hand.

The story of the day in the supermodifieds was attrition, hot laps saw two cars sidelined for the evening , the #70 of Dave McKnight after making hard contact with the backstretch wall and the #77 of Matt Marlowe with engine issues.  The first of three heat races started with a big incident with the #37 of Jeff Locke climbing up on the backstretch wall and almost getting upside down bringing out the red flag. Locke would be okay but his heavily damaged machine would be done for the night. Also in heat one the #19 of Trent Stephens would expire an engine in spectacular fashion again bringing out the red flag for cleanup.  Eventually the #79 of Jon McKennedy would claim the heat victory The other two heats would go off far less dramatically with the #17 of Ben Seitz and the #94 of Dave Shullick Jr. picking up the wins in the second heat and third heat respectively.

With rain on the horizon and multiple cars already scratched for the day, the consolation race was scrapped.  Immediately after the Modified heats, the supermodifieds  began rolling on the track for the 100 lap event with  the officials at Sandusky and ISMA doing everything in their power to move the show along. The front row of Jon McKennedy  and  the #21 of Eddie Witkum Jr. would pace the field to the green. On the start the #21 would jump out to the lead. However it would be the #94 of Dave Shullick Jr. that captured everyone’s attention on the first circuits charging from an 8th starting position to third by lap 3. On lap three with close quarters battles all throughout the back of the pack the #22 of Mike McVetta would hop a wheel and skid off the track into the tire barrier before the back stretch  wall , McVetta would walk away from the hard impact but it would mark the end of the day for the #22 team and bring out a red flag.  Immediately on the restart Shullick would pass the #79 of McKennedy for second and begin challenging Eddie Witkum Jr. for the lead while intense racing was occurring behind them. On lap 8 the tight racing would result in a large incident on the front straight where the# 64 of Jim Paller would end up sitting sideways across the track blocking the path of the oncoming traffic and in turn collecting the #3 of Kyle Vanderpool , the #88 of jimmy McCune and the# 07 of Kevin Jaycox Jr. , Jaycox would be able to return but the rest would be done for the day. On the restart, Dave Shullick Jr. would again advance, this time acquiring the top spot from Witkum who would begin to fade, losing the 2nd spot on the next lap to the #8 of Mo Lilje, who had basically followed the #94 forward through the field from his 7th starting position. On lap 18 Mike Lichty, Friday’s fast 40 winner,  would stop on track bringing out the yellow and marking an end to uncharacteristically problematic day for the #84 team.  The yellow would again fly on lap 20 for a 3 car incident involving the #61 of Ray Graham, the #65 of Tim Ice and the #07 of Kevin Jaycox Jr.  Jaycox would again be able to continue but both Ice and Graham would be done for the day.  After the incident, the race would settle into a rhythm of 37 consecutive green flag laps, the longest stretch of green in the race. During that time the #94 of Dave Shullick Jr would lap all the way up to 7th place while being pursued by# 8 of Mo Lilje. Lilje seemed to be able to close the gap to Shullick but never could get in striking distance. On lap 57 a bizarre situation broke the run of green flag racing, when a sign cover fell on to the backstretch, covering the track with debris. On lap 64 the red flag would be back out for the 3rd time, this time for an incident involving the #21 of Eddie Witkum Jr. who would lose control of an ill handling machine going into turn one. Witkum would drive into a puddle on the inside of the track and spin, blocking the track. The officials would use the stoppage as a chance to refuel the cars. When the race would resume the# 94 of Shullick and and #8 Lilje would again set sail, but behind them the #79 of Jon McKennedy , #71 of ISMA points leader Lou Cicconi and #17 of Ben Seitz would stack up behind lapped traffic and begin a battle that lasted several laps. The close racing would come to an abrupt end with the engine detonating on the #79 machine in a ball of fire on lap 74. The fire would again bring out the red flag, the fourth of the event.  On the restart the top 2 cars would jump out to a lead, Lilje still unable to pressure sSullick. The battle would again be behind them as the #7 of Charlie Schultz would work his way by the #17 of Ben Seitz for fourth and begin racing side by side with the #71 of Lou Cicconi, the two mired behind the lapped machine of Bobby Dawson.  On Lap 85 the pace would be slowed for the final time as the #49 machine of Trevor Berry would stop in turn two. At that point the threatening skies began to open up, and Mother Nature determined to be the story of weekend brought about the end to the race,  Giving Dave Shullick Jr his first Hy-Miler win, continuing the family legacy in the event. Mo Lilje, Lou Cicconi, Charlie Schultz and Ben Seitz rounded out the top 5.

In the Top Speed Fabrication Modifieds Craig Phillips would set fast time with Stevie Jones and Craig Phillips picking up heat wins.  However the weather would force postponement of the 50 lap feature, no word yet on a make-up date

By Pete Smith

Staff Writer luvracin.com

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