Auto Racing: Ricky Baker wins Magnabosco Memorial at Grundy County Speedway
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org July 4, 2014 10:48PM
Updated: July 6, 2014 11:12PM
He never lost the points lead, but Ricky Baker did lose a little bit of his swagger during a dry spell at Grundy County Speedway that began after he won his third late-model feature of the season on May 30.
The dry spell officially is over.
Baker put on one of his most powerful shows of the season in the 70-lap Magnabosco Memorial, leading the final 49 laps and beating Eddie Hoffman to the finish line by 1.120 seconds.
“The car has been decent the past few weeks, we just haven’t had the finishes to go with it,” Baker said. “We keep making changes. I don’t know if we’re going slower, there are a lot of cars that have stepped it up.
“I’m just really happy. The bottom went, everybody raced really clean. It was a lot of fun.”
Baker was biding his time behind early leader John Nutley when Nutley’s No. 96 began spewing gasoline after an overflow hose broke. The race was stopped on lap 21 and Nutley went to the pits for repairs.
Inheriting the lead on the restart, Baker had no challenges the rest of the way. Hoffman took second place away from Anthony Danta on lap 37 but spent the rest of his evening looking at Baker’s bumper about five car-lengths in front of him.
“I don’t think there was any catching him,” Hoffman said. “He was just driving out in front, watching the mirror. I think he was pretty much just out there riding. We had a good second-place car.”
Gentile ran a strong race to finish third, ahead of Danta, Brett Sontag and Larry Schuler. Nutley came from the back to finish 11th in the 20-car field.
Tommy Knippenberg claimed his seventh feature of the season in the Mid-American class, working his way through the field and passing racelong leader Luke Baldwin with just seven laps remaining. Baldwin held on for second, while John Ventrello, Kevin Gentile, Joe Vinachi and Matt Clemmons completed the top six.
Jason Kolbe made his first appearance of the season in a street stock a bountiful one, leading nearly wire to wire in the 25-lap feature.
“Unbelievable. I have to dedicate this to my dad,” Kolbe said of his late father, Butch. “He was with me. He got me into racing. This is his number (37) on the car.
“We got no sleep (Thursday night). The only sleep I got was on the trailer. We finished it at 1:30 (Friday afternoon).”
The real battle was for second place between Logan Love and John Senerchia. It went to Senerchia, with Love hanging on for third ahead of points leader Eddie Ligue, Don O’Leary and Billy Rud.
After winning her heat, Danielle Dobczyk prevailed in the pure stocks main in a one-lap shootout at the finish with Austin Blackwell.