Auto Racing: Shafer blows past late-model field
By tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org May 24, 2014 10:50PM
Jacob McKown (42) makes the pass for the win in a three-wide battle during turbo stox heat race action Saturday at Illiana Speedway. | Goodaker Photography/For Sun-Times Media
Fast time: Paul Shafer Jr. (19.465). 1st heat: 1. Bobby Gash, 2. D.J. Weltmeyer, 3. Boris Jurkovic. 2nd heat: 1. Keith Tolf, 2. Mark Ross Jr., 3. Don Sabatino. 30-lap feature: 1. Shafer, 2. Jeff Cannon, 3. Eddie Hoffman, 4. Jack Kalwasinski, 5. Gash, 6. D.J. Weltmeyer, 7. Chris King, 8. Tolf, 9. Mark Ross, 10. Ryan Hill.
Fast time: Chris Woodall (17.590). 1st heat: 1. Jacob McKown, 2. Woodall, 3. Eddie Ligue. 2nd heat: 1. Rita Fields, 2. Bill Serviss, 3. Bobby Gash III. 25-lap feature: 1. Woodall, 2. Ryan Moore, 3. Ligue, 4. McKown, 5. Serviss, 6. Fields.
Fast time: 1. Stan Zolodz IV (17.593). Heat: 1. Garrett Harris, 2. Jacob Melvin, 3. Ben Fidone. 12-lap feature: 1. Paul Shafer Sr., 2. Harris, 3. Melvin, 4. Fidone, 5. Zolodz, 6. Brian Tedeschi.
1st heat: 1. Kevin Sisk, 2. Jason Alderden, 3. Jake Straka. 2nd heat: 1. Craig Urban, 2. Mac Hastings, 3. Melissa Keuhs. 3rd heat: 1. Matt Baikie, 2. Ryan Gilliam, 3. Jeff Law. Semi-feature: 1. Shawn Czaszwicz, 2. Sisk, 3. Joe Murphy. 15-lap feature: 1. Hunter Rohweder, 2. Justin Mikel, 3. Michael Moore, 4. Mike Wojcik, 5. Urban, 6. Jim Gross.
Heat: 1. Kenny Myer, 2. Kailyn Coates , 3. Cole Sutton. 6-lap feature: 1. Myer, 2. Coates, 3. Sutton.
Updated: June 26, 2014 6:47AM
The king of Illiana Speedway returned Saturday night.
All of 17 years old, he looked even more dominant than he did in capturing the 2013 track title.
Paul Shafer Jr. of Portage, Ind. scorched the field in the 30-lap late-model feature, beating Jeff Cannon by 1.287 seconds.
“It was a lot of fun tonight,” said Shafer, who is running the traveling series circuit in 2014. “I was happy to come back just because this is my home. I live 20 minutes from here.”
Shafer took the lead from Bobby Gash on lap nine. Before that, he had pretty nasty contact with Eddie Hoffman while passing him between Turns 3 and 4. Hoffman made a nice save, but lost two positions while recovering.
“He just got in there and I didn’t know he was down in there,” Hoffman said. “It was just one of those things. I didn’t hear or see anything. Whether he came in late or was down there I don’t even know. Not a big deal.”
It wasn’t a big deal to Shafer, either.
“I thought I had position on him,” Shafer said. “He might have come down a little bit, but it’s just racing.”
Shafer subsequently ran away from the pack, but yellow flags on laps 16 and 17 allowed Cannon to pull up on the outside for the restart. The first time Cannon was able to clear Shafer and drop down in front of him. The second time, he wasn’t as fortunate.
“That always happens, doesn’t it,” Cannon said with a weary smile. “The kid drove a good race. He had too much motor.”
Cannon eventually had to stave off Hoffman to claim second place. Jack Kalwasinski was fourth, followed by Gash, D.J. Weltmeyer and Chris King.
Chris Woodall passed Jacob McKown on the outside shortly after a lap 14 restart and made it look easy the rest of the way in capturing his second turbo stox feature of the season.
“The car was just great,” Woodall said. “I was surprised that I got by Jake on the outside. Usually that doesn’t happen. I knew I had to get a lead because the guys, Ryan (Moore) and Eddie (Ligue), would be coming. Everything worked out great.”
Woodall crossed the line 1.371 seconds ahead of Moore. Ligue was third, followed by McKown, Bill Serviss and Rita Fields.
Paul Shafer, with Garrett Harris glued to his bumper almost the entire way, scored the win in the Legends feature. Jacob Melvin was third, with Ben Fidone, Paul Zolodz IV and Brian Tedeschi completing the top six.
Hunter Rohweder fought off a late-race challenge from Justin Mikel to win the 15-lap pure stocks feature.