Auto Racing: Ricky Baker scores late-model win at Grundy County Speedway
Being a points leader is pretty neat. But it’s just not complete without a feature win.
Ricky Baker doesn’t have to think about that anymore after scorching the field in Friday night’s late-model feature at Grundy County Speedway.
The Plainfield native spent several laps waiting to make a move on Tracy Schuler, before easing him out of the way on lap 18 between Turns 1 and 2 and scooting by on the bottom.
Baker went on to beat Schuler by 1.455 seconds, becoming the 11th different driver to win a late-model main at Grundy in 2013.
“Relieved … yeah, quite a bit,” Baker said. “I wish we could have raced with more guys (Friday) like Richie and Eddie and that, but we got this thing rolling pretty good.
“I think we found some things after that 100-lapper last week, and the softer tires really showed some stuff. I don’t know — we’ll just keep working and see if we can get it even faster.”
Eddie Hoffman was racing at another track, and Richie Bickle has decided to drop out of the late-model chase at Grundy. Larry Schuler, meanwhile, crashed his No. 30 into the wall during qualifying after breaking a spindle. It could not be repaired for the races.
Early leader Davis Einhaus surrendered to Tracy Schuler on lap 8. Schuler, running a tight inside line, widened his groove a bit when pressed by Baker.
“I didn’t want to rough him up too much, but he wouldn’t even let me try to go to the outside,” Baker said. “I knew I had to force the issue on the bottom.”
Once he got underneath, Schuler gave him plenty of room to complete the pass on the back straightaway. Schuler had no trouble maintaining second, ahead of Chris Cooling, Scott Koerner, James Gregait and Ray Brackett.
Kevin Gentile, meanwhile, also found relief by winning the Mid-American main.
Gentile crossed the finish line first earlier in the season, only to be disqualified after a post-race inspection.
“You couldn’t get much worse (than that),” a smiling Gentile said. “It is a relief. I’m just glad to get back in victory lane and kind of show people that that (illegal) engine didn’t win anything.
“We started in the back, and we certainly didn’t have an easy time going to the front. These guys will rough you up, that’s for sure. There was a lot of beating and banging, the right side’s torn up, but we landed in victory lane, so all’s well that ends well.”
Gentile took the top spot on lap from John Ventrello on lap 15 and went on to score the win over Josh Nelms by 1.192 seconds. Tom Knippenberg was third, followed by Matt Clemens, Ventrello and Jim Kachel.
John Senerchia was the winner once again in the street stock class, with a run that saw him pass Jake Bradley for the lead nine laps from the finish. Tony Scalpelli Jr., came on late to claim second, with Bradley, Matt Sisson, Jeremy Clubb and Pete Odell completing the top six.
Spencer Leake was victorious in the pure stocks feature, taking the top spot from Justin Miano two laps from the end. Second went Zach Sontag, with Emma Wright third.