Auto racing

Last updated: June 14. 2014 11:41PM - 146 Views
Special to The Lima News



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LIMA — The 2014 racing season at Limaland Motorsports Park has become more of the same for veteran Thunderstocks driver Jeff Koz. That has come to mean bad news for his fellow competitors. Koz has continued his success in dominating the two contested Memorial races at the track. On May 30, Koz won a third consecutive Steve Brown Memorial and Friday he added the Keysor Memorial checkered flag to his list of accomplishments, also for an unprecedented third straight time.


A field of 22 cars took the green flag for the 15-lap feature and Koz wasted little time moving to the front as he led the opening lap by a nose over Barney Craig. That would turn out to be the closest anyone would get to threatening Koz through the duration of the event. Craig was left to battle with Tony Anderson, Emily Gade and 2014 two-time winner Tim Cole.


While all of those drivers were staying close to Koz during the most of the race, no one seriously threatened him for leadership. With limited traffic in front of him for much of event, Koz cruised with authority using the middle and high sides of the racing surface to comfortably complete the 15-lap distance.


“Winning these Memorial races means a lot to me,” explained Koz. “Gaining points for the championship is nice, but I like to win races the most. My crew, car owner and sponsors deserve so much of the credit for me to park this car here for a third year in a row.” The win marked the 15th in the division for Koz at Limaland in his career.


The sprints have been a playground for former World of Outlaws campaigner Randy Hannagan for the past few seasons and this night would be no different. Starting from inside row number two, it took the California native seven trips around the fast ¼-mile track to complete a sliding pass from the bottom up and around Hud Horton to take the lead. It was a lead he would not surrender and roared to a second 2014 Limaland triumph and 16th of his career.


“The car was downright awesome and fun to drive,” sHannagan said. “I could get right thru the middle of the track with ease. I hope the track will be like this for the Doty Classic and maybe I’ll have something for the Outlaws.”


The evening would not be complete until the modifieds settled their business with the 20-lap feature. Outside front row starter Casey Luedeke held that preferred position ultimately through the opening 18 laps of the event. Luedeke was very fast working the high side of the race track while 2014 winners Jerry Bowersock and Todd Sherman were content to muscle their machines around using the shorter distance at the bottom.


A crowded racetrack of would-be front-runners followed Luedeke including Matt Westfall and UNOH Racer Joel Ortberg, along with Sherman and Bowersock. Quietly working his way among this field of genuine contenders, was a first time 2014 Limaland racer Randy Lines. He waited to make his defining move following a restart on lap number 18. Lines slipped between Luedeke and Todd Sherman in a three-car wide move to take the lead just before the white flag came out. Shortly thereafter, Lines took the prized checkered flag in winning his first-ever feature at the track. The win qualifies Lines for the August 15 King of the Quarter Mile race that matches the season feature winners on the 17th Annual Championship night at the track.


“I was trying to be patient and sort of finesse my way around,” said the Marion, Ind., driver. “It was about just racing cleanly and saving my big move for the right moment. I really like this place, and it seems like every time I come here we get a little faster.”


Limaland Motorsports Park is back in action on Friday with the Run for the Rabbit, a 25-lap feature for the NRA Sprint Invaders. the modifieds and Thunderstocks will also battle on the ¼ mile oval. Gates open at 5 p.m. with hot laps beginning at 6:30 p.m. Racing begins at 7:30 p.m.


For more information go to limaland.com.

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