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Marion's Hewitt picks up first sprint feature win

- From staff reports

The build-up to Friday’s sprint car feature race at Gas City I-69 Speedway pitted track points leader Thomas Meseraull against Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series (BOSS) point leader Matt Westfall. But it was Tyler Hewitt who stole the show.

Hewitt, a 31-year-old driver from Marion, used the low groove to earn his first checkered flag in a crowd-pleaser that highlighted “Beach Night Bash” night. Hewitt used the low groove to win the 25-lap BOSS non-wing 410 sprint car feature by 0.313 of a second over a high-groove-flying Meseraull. Westfall also used the low groove like Hewitt did and was third.

Meseraull, of Waveland, Ind., started on the pole and led the first six laps before Hewitt slipped under him in Turn 2 for the lead. Despite a yellow on lap 11 and a red on lap 14, Hewitt continued to lead with Meseraull in hot pursuit.

Westfall, of Pleasant Hill, Ohio, passed Cole Ketcham on a restart with 14 laps down to move into third, then got under Meseraull for second coming out of Turn 4 on lap 16. The trio duked it out the rest of the way, and on lap 22 they were three abreast with Hewitt leading, Westfall second and Meseraull third. The following lap Meserall passed both Hewitt and Westfall in Turn 4 to lead lap 23, but Hewitt passed him back in Turn 2 on the white-flag lap. The low-groove cars of Hewitt and Westfall took the checkered with Meserall between them in the high lane. 

Defending champion Matt Hederick, Rushville, Ind. started second and led all 20 laps of the United Midget Racing Association (UMRA) three-quarter (TQ) midget feature despite five caution flags that tightened up the field. Tate Martz, also of Rushville, finished second. 

Another new winner at the quarter-mile clay oval was Clayton Bryant of Fort Wayne, Ind., who won the 20-lap United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) modified feature in the Kingsland Motor Company No. 114. He started on the pole and led the whole way despite five yellows. Zeke McKenzie of Claypool, Ind. started sixth but passed Dillon Nusbaum on lap 12 to nail down the runner-up honors. Nusbaum, the defending track champion from Warsaw, Ind., finished third.

The bounty on the Headley family in the hornet division remained unclaimed, as James Headley of Marion, Ind. was victorious in that 15-lap feature. He led the first eight laps until his son, James Headley Jr. of Wabash, Ind., passed him on the outside in Turn 4 on lap nine. Headley Jr.slowed on the frontstretch on lap 13 with mechanical difficulties, however, and Gage Allen of Warren, Ind. ended up taking the runner-up honors. 

Andy Bishop of Gas City powered by polesitter J.J. Nordman of Columbia City, Ind. on the outside in Turn 2 working on the third lap then dominated the rest of the 12-lap street stock feature with the Thompson Trucking No. 14 for his sixth victory of the year. Nordman finished second followed by Mike Fincher of Rochester, Ind. Dalton Bishop, the winner’s son, placed fourth in his first stock car race ever. Larry Persinger of Jonesboro, Ind. was fifth.

Gas City will present another five-division show on Friday, and the “Hot August Night” show will feature non-wing sprint cars, USAC SpeeD2 midgets, UMP modifieds, street stocks and hornets.