southtownstar
FLAWLESS 
Weather Updates

Auto Racing: Ricky Baker scores third late-model feature win of season at Grundy County Speedway

Jeff Law (05) wins out three-wide battle finish line during 4-cylinder herace Grundy County Speedway. Second went AustBlackwell ahead Mikie

Jeff Law (05) wins out in a three-wide battle at the finish line during a 4-cylinder heat race at Grundy County Speedway. Second went to Austin Blackwell, ahead of Mikie Slabenak. | Brian Nolte/For Sun-Times Media

storyidforme: 67130670
tmspicid: 23937408
fileheaderid: 11762284

Updated: May 31, 2014 4:10PM



Ricky Baker played a little bumper tag in passing both Eddie Hoffman and Brandon Clubb en route to his third late-model feature victory of the season Friday night at Grundy County Speedway.

But the way he figured it ...

“I got the bumper a lot from Clubb in street stocks when I started and I got the bumper a lot from Eddie when I started racing late-models,” Baker said with a smile.

“We’re starting to have a little fun. It’s fun to come from the back like that and get through all of the traffic.”

Indeed, it was a gritty performance by the Plainfield native, who came from as far back as seventh to pick his way to the front. Baker took second place away from Hoffman just seven laps from the finish of the 30-lap event and immediately went to work on Clubb.

“I’d seen (Clubb) holding the bottom against Eddie,” Baker said. “I knew I didn’t have enough to get by him on the outside, so I knew I’d have to use the bumper a little.”

The pass, on lap 26, wasn’t particularly rough, but it did come with some contact. Hoffman also was able to get his No. 8 underneath Clubb, as did Larry Schuler on the last lap.

Hoffman’s second-place finish was negated after he was DQ’d for a tire infraction. Schuler was awarded second ahead of Clubb, Chris Cooling, Scott Koerner and Pat Kelly.

For Clubb, it was his best late-model finish during his four-year career. He likely would have won had not a yellow flag on lap 15 erased a huge lead.

“This was a win for me,” Clubb said. “I outran them there for 5-10 laps, and then here comes Ricky. I figured when he got to the inside off Hoffman he’d be coming. This was awesome.”

Tommy Knippenberg took the lead from Joe Vinachi on lap seven and had checked out on the field in the 25-lap Mid-American feature when a yellow two laps from the finish set up some drama.

Knippenberg wasn’t denied, however, beating Kevin Gentile by 0.829 seconds. Third went to Vinachi, ahead of Matt Clemens, Kevin Murphy and Jim Kachel.

The win was the third of the season for the defending track champion.

Eddie Ligue and Bob Davis twice swapped the lead during the early stages of the 25-lap street stock feature before Ligue took apparent command. A late-race bout with lapped traffic, however, allowed Davis to close back up and nip Ligue at the finish.

“The 77 car (Ligue) was really good,” Davis said. “That lapped car, I don’t know; we almost put him in the fence, both of us did. Great racing with the 77. He races real clean.

“Second one of my career and this one was in memory my mom (Patricia Ann Davis), who passed away right after Christmas.”

Jake Bradley was third, ahead of Rob Scamen, Darrell Gay and Pete Morris.

Dan Schmeissing crossed the line first in the 4-cylinder main, but violated the “breakout” rule on the final lap and was disqualified. The win went to James Gross, ahead of Mikie Slabenak.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.