UNOH Races at Limaland Family Fun Night
Photo courtesy of the UNOH Motorsports Facebook page.
Photo courtesy of the UNOH Motorsports Facebook page.
Motorsports - Wed, Jun. 7, 2017

By: Jordan Sloss

Another rainless week has gone by and the sun was shining down on Limaland Motorsports Park for Family Fun Night, presented by St. Rita's Health Partners. Fans were able to enjoy a unique lineup of racing, including the Vintage Race Cars, USSA Midgets, Bud Thunderstocks, and K&N UMP Modifieds.

The night began with the K&N UMP Modified heat races. Will Norris piloted the UNOH #71 in Heat 1. Due to the #4 electing to start in the rear of the field, Norris was moved up to the pole position for the start of the 8-lap heat race. As the green flag waved, Norris jumped ahead of the field going into Turn 1. Holding the middle line, the #71 raced flawlessly through the corners. On Lap 3, Norris was challenged by the #22T on the inside. The #71 lost a bit of momentum, putting Norris back to 2nd place, where he then had to fight the #162 for position. Lodged on the outside line, Norris could not keep up the momentum he had a few laps prior, giving up 2nd place to the #162. On Lap 7, the #162 and #22T began to fight each other for the lead, giving Norris the chance to catch up to the leaders. The #5S attempted to grab 3rd from the #71 on the inside but was too late. Norris finished 3rd, transferring him directly to the A-Main.

In Heat 2, the UNOH #1 of Blake Spalding also started in the pole position. Taking the low line through the corners, Spalding jumped far ahead in the first couple of laps. A lack of cautions allowed Spalding to continue his momentum, opening a ½ straightaway lead over the rest of the pack, which was tightening up in their fight for the three other A-Main transfer positions. As the race continued and the white flag waved, the #3 began to close in on the #1 but did not have the speed to pass Spalding, as he took the heat race win and transferred to the A-Main.

Following the USSA Midget and Vintage Race Car heats, it was time for the Bud Thunderstock heat races. Scott Fritz in the #00 and Jacob McConnell in the #1 participated in Heat 1 with Fritz beginning 3rd and McConnell at 4th.  At the green flag, the #1 took the high line up in the cushion of the racetrack, while the #00 held the middle line. However, Fritz got loose and spun the #00 around coming out of Turn 2 on Lap 1. Following the caution, the #1 restarted in 4th and the #00 restarted in 7th. The field started the race again and the #1 shot up to 3rd on the outside. The #18 spun in the same place as the #00 but was able to get the car going quickly to avoid the caution. The green flag did not last long, as Fritz spun out in Turn 4, bringing out his second caution and ending his heat race in the 6th position. The #1 lined up for the restart in 3rd and tried the low line for this green flag run. However, this line did not seem to work well for McConnell, as he spun in Turn 2 on the second lap, bringing out the third caution of the night. Restarting in 5th, McConnell poised himself and handled the car well through the next six laps. He made it up to 4th, despite the appearance of a loose racecar. Since all stock cars would be transferring to the A-Main, both McConnell and Fritz had another chance at a good finish later in the evening.

The #11 of Brenden Rassel started in 4th in the next heat race. Rassel held the outside line for the first lap until he was collected in a fender bender with the #463 and the #17. There was minimal damage, which allowed Rassel to continue in the heat race. With seven laps to go, the #11 restarted in 5th but did not have a smooth restart. The #11 was continuously bumped and pushed by the #17 as Rassel passed the #23 for the 4th position. The #23 then bumped the #11's left rear corner, pushing Rassel to the outside of the track. This made Rassel compete for 4th in a three-wide fight with the #23 and the #463. Rassel decided against risking more damage to the #11 and fell back to 5th behind the #463. The #11 finished 5th in Heat #2.

In the final heat race of the night, James Gokee started the UNOH #2 in the pole position. At the start of the race, Gokee did not get the momentum he wanted and was immediately passed by the #7. The #2 was pushed to the outside, putting Gokee at risk of losing 2nd position to the #27. Continuing to lose momentum, Gokee fell back to 4th place and attempted to regain his positions on the inside. On Lap 3, the #27 got loose on the backstretch, allowing Gokee to move up to 3rd. He did not hold this position for long, as the #7 competed with him for 3rd on the inside. They fought down the front stretch, but Gokee eventually had to give up the position. On Lap 6, Gokee spun out in Turn 2 with the #27 spinning simultaneously right behind him. No damage was done and the #2 was able to continue on with the race. Gokee lined up 5th for the restart and was able to hold that position to the finish.

For the Bud Thunderstock feature, the UNOH drivers started towards the rear of the field. Jacob McConnell started 10th, Brenden Rassel started 14th, James Gokee started 15th, and Scott Fritz started 22nd. All four cars were able to hold their positions through Turn 1 of the first lap. McConnell made it up to 8th and Rassel moved up to 13th coming out of Turn 2. The next couple of laps went by smoothly until the #11 went outside of the #1 and two other cars going into Turn 1 of Lap 5, making the fight for position four-wide. This resulted in heavy front-end damage to the #1, as well as to the #00, which was farther back in the field but got into some trouble in a smaller incident. No caution came out and the #11 moved up to the 9th position. Shortly after, the caution came out for the #18 slowing against the wall of Turn 1. Both the #1 and the #00 stopped in the infield, as both cars had damaged radiators and were overheating due to the heavy front end damage. The #11 restarted 9th and the #2 restarted 13th. The #11 held his position at the restart as the #7 got loose behind him, allowing the #2 to fight for 12th. On Lap 6, the second caution of the night came out for the #27 spinning in Turn 2. The #11 restarted 8th and the #2 restarted 11th. Right after the restart, the #11 was involved in a minor wreck with the #17 and the #87 in Turn 2 but continued on with little damage. Following this wreck, the #2 restarted 8th and the #11 restarted 15th. The #11 was quickly bumped to the outside of the track by the #87 in Turn 1, pushing Rassel back to 16th. Farther up in the field, the #2 competed to keep his position on the inside of the track as the #11D closed in behind him. Meanwhile, Rassel opened a large gap over the last three cars, moving him up to 14th. The #11D was able to get by the #2, but could not hold the position for long, as the #11D spun in Turn 4 on Lap 14. Gokee restarted 9th and held this position through the finish, while Rassel restarted 13th and made it up to 11th by the finish.

The sun was gone from the sky and the air was much cooler than it had been all day as the K&N UMP Modifieds rolled onto the track for their A-Main. Blake Spalding started the #1 in the 3rd position and Will Norris started the #71 in the 9th position. At the restart, Spalding fell back to 4th place, while Norris held 9th. In Turn 2, the #9 spun out, bringing out the first yellow flag of the race. The officials decided to completely restart the field in their original positions, so Spalding was moved back up to 3rd and Norris stayed in 9th for the restart. As the green flag waved for the second time, Spalding fell back again going into Turn 1, putting him in 6th place. Meanwhile, Norris was fighting for 7th right behind Spalding. The #71 was able to gain some momentum on the inside and passed the #1 for 7th. Spalding and Norris both held their lines as the #65 passed both of them on the inside edge of the racetrack. After this, Spalding decided to run the high line, holding the 11th position at the top of the racetrack, while Norris held 15th. On Lap 8, the #4G spun in Turn 4, bringing out the second caution of the race. The #1 restarted 11th and the #71 restarted 14th. Both the #71 and the #1 were passed going into Turn 1 after the restart, moving them back to 14th and 12th, respectively. Spalding moved back up to the high line but ended up spinning out in Turn 3 on Lap 13. The #71 restarted 15th and the #1 restarted 19th after Spalding got the #1 moving again. After this final restart of the night, the #71 tried to gain 14th from the #16 on the inside but backed off after finding that he did not have the speed to pass the #16 at the time. The #11 took this opportunity to pass Norris on the outside, but Norris continued the fight all the way to the checkered flag. Norris finished the #71 in 15th place and Spalding finished the #1 in 19th place.

The UNOH Racers are looking forward to next Friday's 16th Annual Keysor Memorial, presented by Stolly Insurance Group. Come on out and enjoy another exciting night of racing at Limaland Motorsports Park. The lineup includes the B.O.S.S. Wingless Sprints, Bud Thunderstocks, and K&N UMP Modifieds. Free grandstand admission for any current UNOH student with their current student ID or purchase a pit pass for $25.00 and come visit the team!  Regular admission is $12.00, children 10 and under are admitted free to the grandstands. Come out and support the UNOH Racers Motorsports team for another exciting night of racing!