Auto Racing: Anthony Danta wins late-model feature at Grundy County Speedway
By Tony Baranek email@example.com August 30, 2014 8:12PM
Anthony Danta (2) slides underneath and by John Nutley to take the lead in Friday night's late-model feature at Grundy County Speedway. | Brian Nolte/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 31, 2014 2:13AM
Anthony Danta got a surprise about a week ago when former track champion John Brolick and co-owner Gregg Craven asked him if he wanted to drive their late-model Friday night at Grundy County Speedway.
Danta eagerly accepted.
Friday night, smiles abounded as the Orland Park native scored his second feature win of the season.
“It feels real good to win that one,” Danta said. “It’s a great car. I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity.”
Danta plans to be back behind the wheel for Sunday’s season finale, the annual Night of Features.
Danta beat defending champion and points leader Ricky Baker by a short margin. It was the capper on a night that saw quick improvement from some early struggles.
Danta’s No. 2 was out of sync in the heat race. After an encounter with John Nutley, he was sent to the back for the restart.
“In the heat we had to run new tires on the left and old tires on the right,” Danta said. “The balance was messed up. So we made some changes and worked hard at it, and it turned out great.”
The early leader in the main event was Nutley, who went in front at the drop of the green and stayed there until lap 12. Danta, who came from the second row, then eased past on the inside.
Behind Danta was Baker, who also went past Nutley and stayed with him the rest of the way. On lap 26, Baker drew alongside Danta, but a caution flag halted his progress.
Danta got a good jump on the restart and held Baker at bay. Third went to Eddie Hoffman, followed by Larry Schuler, Nutley and Andy Jones.
“The car was really good about the first 20 laps,” Danta said. “The last 10 it started getting tight and Ricky got to us there. That yellow saved us. Otherwise, he probably would have got us.
“The car was awesome from the time we got here. Maybe we can make it a little bit better and have a chance on Sunday.”
Friday’s late-model heats went to Billy Knippenberg and Scott Koerner. Baker set fast qualifying time.
The Mid-American feature went to Joe Vinachi, his first of the season. Vinachi took the lead from Matt Clemens on lap 22. Vinachi was challenged at the end by defending champion and points leader Tommy Knippenberg, but held him off.
Third in the Mid-Am main went to Kenny Benson. Cody Clubb, Scott Dunning and Jim Kachel completed the top six. Marty McKinney and Kenny Joosten were heat winners, while fast time was set by Knippenberg.
In street stocks, Tim Stewart was a first-time winner. Stewart passed John Senerchia on lap 3 and never was headed. Points leader Eddie Ligue finished second, ahead of Senerchia, Jake Bradley, Christy Penrod and Billy Rud.
The street stock heats were claimed by Stewart and Bill Serviss. Bradley had fast time.
In the pure stocks main, Zach Sontag took the top spot away from Cirk Lindemuth on lap 12 and went on to claim the win. Second went to Ricky Wilson, followed by James Gross, Dan Schmeissing, Austin Blackwell and Trevor Martin.
Pure stocks heats were won by Sontag and Justin Mikel. Sontag was the quick qualifier.
Contributing: Tom Pankiewicz