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Cockrum wins wild sprint feature at Gas City

FROM STAFF REPORTS - ctreport@indyrr.com

GAS CITY — Shane Cockrum, aka the “Flying Fireman,” won a torrid, non-stop, 25-lap non-wing sprint car feature Friday at Gas City/I-69 Speedway that lived up to its “Friday Night Fury” billing.

Brad Strunk, Mason, Ohio, the “Racing Realtor,” captured the 20-lap American Mini Sprint Association (AMSA) feature after winning a similar main event on opening night in May.

Derek Losh, Rensselaer, won the 20-lap United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) modified feature for his sixth such victory this season at Gas City.

James Headley, Marion, took a crack at the street stock division and won that 15-lap feature by inches in another barnburner. His son, James Headley Jr., Wabash, closed the evening with his sixth 15-lap hornet feature victory of the year.

Cockrum, Benton, Ill., won for the second time at Gas City, the first was July 20, 2018, and he held off Scotty Weir, Marion, by 2.256 seconds. The 25-lap race took only 14 minutes, 13 seconds to complete, even as the leaders had several close calls due to lapped traffic.

Thomas Meseraull, Waveland, the track sprint points leader, was going for his eighth sprint car feature victory of the year. Meseraull got under Cockrum in Turn 4 to take the lead working lap 17, and the two made contact in Turn 2 on the next lap. Cockrum regained the lead on lap 19 and held it until the finish.

Meseraull faded to sixth on the last lap, reportedly due to the earlier contact. He displayed his displeasure to Cockrum afterward, and his car had to be towed from the backstretch after the race.

Lap 21 was amazing, as second and third place changed hands at least twice with sliders between Meseraull and Weir before Weir gained second.

 

Polesitter Dustin Ingle, Lima, Ohio, led the first seven laps of the feature and ended up third. Dallas Hewitt, Fletcher, Ohio, who started 10th, came home fourth and Matt Westfall, Pleasant Hill, Ohio, rounded out the top five.

 

 

Ryan Moran, Ottawa, Ohio, led the first 12 laps of the 20-lap AMSA mini-sprint feature before Strunk dug under him in Turn 2 for the lead. Jac Nickles, Harrod, Ohio, who won two AMSA mini-sprint features at Gas City in June and July, was right on the tail of runner-up Moran’s car at the checkered. Chris Miller, Lafayette, finished fourth and Adam Schmenk, West Mansfield, Ohio, placed fifth.

 

Losh started on the pole of the /20-lap modified feature and led from start to finish. Zeke McKenzie, Claypool, placed second when he took the checkered 5.467 seconds after Losh did. Defending track champion Dillon Nusbaum, Warsaw, finished third. Dylan Woodling, Warsaw, used the high groove to finish fourth, and Tony Anderson, Lima, Ohio, placed fifth.

Lapped traffic in Turn 2 played a role in determining the outcome of the 15-lap street stock feature, which was settled by inches at the line.

Polesitter Tony Anderson led the first lap before Andy Bishop, Gas City, took the lead using the outside groove in Turn 4. After two yellows for spins, Headley passed Anderson for second by slipping under him in Turn 4 working lap six. Using the low groove, Hedley passed Bishop for the lead on lap 10 only for Bishop to regain it on the following lap.

The pair continued to duke it out the rest of the way and lapped traffic played a role. They banged wheels on the white flag lap when Headley took the lead, and they took the checkered side by side, with Headley getting the victory over Bishop by mere inches. Anderson finished third followed by Jeffery Jessup. Dalton Bishop, Montpelier, finished fifth.

Headley Jr. started on the pole of the hornet feature and led the whole distance. His father started second and ran in that position for the first nine laps. At that point Brad Evans, Marion, had mechanical difficulties and stopped in Turn 4, and Headley had to take evasive action through the infield to miss him.

After that maneuver Headley’s right-rear tire started to go flat, most likely due to the incident, and he headed for the pits before the race restarted with nine laps down. Jacob Beard took over second due to Headley’s exit and he went on to finish in the runner-up position.

The best battle near the end of the race was for third, which eventually went to Allison Butler over Dustin Franks, Portland, while Donnie Huddleston finished fifth.