Young Boyles and Veteran Hazen Make a Championship Combination In Gas City I-69 Speedway Sprint Car Actionadmin
GAS CITY, Ind., Jan. 7 — Clinton Boyles, a native of Greenwood, Mo. who currently lives in Lees Summit, Mo., earned the non-wing sprint car track championship at Gas City I-69 Speedway in 2018 over 76 other drivers by posting three consecutive feature victories and two additional top-five finishes in the quarter-mile dirt oval’s nine regular sprint car events. It was a remarkable accomplishment since the 23-year-old Boyles had only driven at Gas City I-69 Speedway twice before the 2018 season opener in April.
Veteran car owner Paul Hazen of Columbia City, Ind. owns and fields the red-and-white DRC chassis No. 57 that Boyles drove to the title. Powered by a Kercher Racing Engines-prepped Chevrolet engine, the car is sponsored by Physical Medicine Consultants of Fort Wayne, Ind.; Kercher Engines of Roann, Ind., and KECO Engineered Coatings of Indianapolis.
Veteran Shane Cottle of Kansas, Ill. won the season opener and finished second in the championship driving Steve and Carla Phillips’ No. 71P DRC powered by a Foxco engine the first part of the year. That car is sponsored by Half Moon Restaurant and Brewery, Frank and Jill Daigh, and PennGrade 1 motor oil. He and Boyles were second and first in the point standings, respectively, when their rivalry became more than a little heated during the feature on July 6, adding to the steamy nature of the “Beach Night/Summer Thunder” show. Cottle finished the season in the famous Goacher Racing No. 5G, and remained second in the championship. That car is a DRC chassis with a Jeff Claxton-prepped engine, and its primary sponsor is Parallax Power Supply.
Veteran Tyler Hewitt of Marion, Ind. stayed out of the controversies and placed third in the year-end standings with his bright yellow No. 97X Maxim sponsored by his engine preparer, McGunegill Engine Performance (MEP). Garrett Abrams of Rushville, Ind. placed fourth in the No. 32 DRC, which is sponsored in part by Bob-O-Link Liquors, TLF Logistics and Torpedo Ventures. Dallas Hewitt of Troy, Ohio was fifth in the No. 18 DRC sponsored by Carts & Parts of Union City, Ind. and King’s Auto Body.
Sixth through tenth were Travis Hery of Piqua, Ohio; Adam Byrkett of Burnettsville, Ind.; Kyle (KRob) Robbins of New Castle, Ind.; Luke Harbison of Fishers, Ind., and the 2010 track champion, Thomas Meseraull of Waveland, Ind.
Gas City I-69 Speedway, which distributed nearly $250,000 in purse money to its five classes of weekly racers during the season, bestowed its non-wing sprint car Rookie of the Year award to two drivers: Harbison and Bryar Schroeter of Kokomo, Ind.
The first co-Rookie of the Year, Harbison, made his first start ever at Gas City at the season opener with his No. 40, which is sponsored by CustomPrintProducts.com and Krueckeberg Auction and Realty. It’s a Mach I chassis powered by a Tranter Chevy engine. The other co-Rookie of the Year, Schroeter, finished 11th in the point standings with his No. 21S, which is a Stealth chassis sponsored by Billy’s Auto Repair, JR New and Used Tires and Taylor Powder Coating, all of Kokomo.
In addition to Boyles and Cottle, other non-wing sprint car feature winners in the hotly contested division were Meseraull with two feature victories and one each for C.J. Leary of Greenfield, Ind.; Steve Irwin of Fenton, Mich., and the “Flying Fireman,” Shane Cockrum of Benton, Ill., so there were six different feature winners in the track’s regular sprint car action in all. The division attracted drivers from as far away as Australia to compete at the Grant County, Ind. track about one hour and 23 minutes north of Indianapolis.
Two spectacular finishes were particularly memorable in the sprint car action at Gas City last year.
The first was when Leary passed the versatile Matt Westfall of Pleasant Hill, Ohio in the fourth turn on the last lap to win the 25-lap Jerry Gappens Sr. Memorial on June 29.
Then 16-year-old Gio Scelzi of Fresno, Calif. passed Caleb Armstrong of New Castle, Ind. to win the BOSS winged sprint car feature in similar fashion on Aug. 31. The latter race was the first winged 410 sprint car event at Gas City in 14 years, and Armstrong set a new track record of 10.653 seconds in time trials.
Kevin Thomas Jr. of Avon, Ind. also made headlines when he won both the MSCS sprint car feature and the track’s biggest race of the year, the “James Dean Classic” USAC AMSOIL national sprint car feature that closed the season.
Other Visiting Series
The track hosted other open-wheel series and classes too, including GLSS winged sprints (Max Stambaugh of Elida, Ohio took the top honors out of 31 360 sprint car drivers); USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 midgets (Stratton Briggs of Anna, Ohio and Chet Gehrke of Louisville, Ky. were the winners); 600cc winged micro sprints (Todd Kirkman of Kokomo, Ind. was the victor); open-competition midgets (Landon Simon of Tipp City, Ohio won the feature); UMRA TQ midgets (Matt Hedrick of Rushville, Ind., a deputy for the Rush County Sheriff’s Department, was the feature winner); and winged outlaw micro sprints (Blane Culp of Columbia City, Ind. was the winner).
Despite evenings that often featured around 100 race cars in the pits, almost all of the shows were finished by 11 p.m., which was a testament to the track officials, their staff, the push-truck drivers and the racers and crews themselves.
Promoter Jerry Gappens added all sorts of special events for the track’s family-friendly crowd. Intermission entertainment included games of knockerball, helmet tosses, a beachball game, coin scrambles, a “Soccer Moms Gone Mad” race, a school bus race and bubble ball competitions. One show featured fireworks, there was an exhibition by the Midwest Oldtimers Vintage Race Club, and drivers threw Frisbees with gift cards attached into the grandstands. Santa Claus showed up one hot summer night bearing gifts, and two James Dean look-alikes graced the James Dean Classic USAC AMSOIL sprint car season finale.
Track sponsors included Marion Tire, Miller’s American Auto Body, Indiana Oxygen, Brandt’s Harley-Davidson and Hoosier Racing Tire.
The top 10 in points in all five weekly divisions (non-wing sprint cars, UMP modifieds, super streets, thunder cars and FWD compacts), the Rookies of the Year, and others will be honored at the track’s awards banquet Saturday, Jan. 12 at Eventfully Yours Event Center in Marion, Ind.
For more information, see the track’s website at GasCityI69Speedway.com and follow it on Facebook at @GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas and on Twitter at @GasCitySpeedway.
The point rundown for the track’s non-wing sprint cars follows:
Non-wing sprint cars: 1. Clinton Boyles, 1,101 points; 2. Shane Cottle, 1,005; 3. Tyler Hewitt, 984; 4. Garrett Abrams, 822; 5. Dallas Hewitt, 723; 6. Travis Hery, 629; 7. Adam Byrkett, 542; 8. Kyle Robbins, 527; 9. Luke Harbison, 504; 10. Thomas Meseraull, 485; 11. Bryar Schroeter, 463; 12. Ted Hines, 454; 13. Parker Fredrickson, 428; 14. Aaron Davis, 420; 15. Isaac Chapple, 405; 16. Jamie Fredrickson, 396; 17. Brandon Mattox, 392; 18. Evan Mosley, 390; 19. Tony Main, 351; 20. Shane Cockrum, 350; 21. Jarett Andretti, 347; 22. Matt Goodnight, 321; 23. Matt McDonald, 276; 24. Jack James, 263; 25. Ty Tilton, 256; 26. Landon Simon, 239; 27. Matt Cooley and Steve Irwin tied with 236; 29. Matt Westfall and Jacob Gordon tied with 227; 31. Braydan Willmington, 225; 32. C.J. Leary, 224; 33. David Gross, 222; 34. Cory Gardner, 218; 35. Kyle Simon, 202; 36. Tony DiMattia, 196; 37. Kayeleb Bolton, 195; 38. Cole Ketcham, 188; 39. Adam Wilfong, 177; 40. Brandon Morin, 173; 41. Paul Dues, 168; 42. Brian VanMeveren, 165; 43. Chad Wilson, 156; 44. Gage Etgen, 132; 45. Kevin Thomas Jr., 130; 46. Brady Bacon and Garrett Aitken tied with 125; 48. Jay Waugh, 123; 49. Dave Darland, 115; 50. Carson Short, 106; 51. Robert Ballou and Scotty Weir tied with 102; 53. Chase Stockon, 90; 54. Tyler Gunn, 87; 55. Aaron Farney, 84; 56. Bob McMillan, 78; 57. Rob Caho Jr. and Chad Davenport tied with 75; 59. Donny Brackett and Zane Hendricks tied with 72; 61. Billy Cribbs, 71; 62. Joe Stornetta and Jeff Wilson tied with 69; 64. Joe Liguori and Daylan Chambers tied with 66; 66. Lee Underwood, Aric Gentry and Brian Karraker tied with 63; 69. Dakota Jackson and Chase Jones tied with 60; 71. Critter Malone, 57; 72. Michael Fischesser, 54; 73. Curtis Mulhenkamp, 41; 74. Tyler Kendall, 35; 75. Kory Crabtree, Tom Davies and Corey Smith tied with 5.