LIMA – The 18th annual championship night for Limaland Motorsports Park began with a four point margin in the NRA Sprint Invaders standings. Last week’s feature winner Jared Horstman held the slim advantage over Max Stambaugh and also held a possible tie-breaker if needed having won three NRA features on the season with Stambaugh posting a pair of wins. It would prove to be crucial in the final decision with the championship chase.
Max Stambaugh won his heat race while Horstman finished second in his preliminary event. It narrowed the margin to a two points heading into the 25-lap main. Horstman started from the pole with Stambaugh directly behind on the inside of row number two.
Through the opening six laps of action, Horstman led the field around and as expected he chose a high side line around the track. He began to make contact with lapped traffic and that allowed Stambaugh and others to close the distance. Following a restart on lap number nine, Horstman bobbled slightly and it allowed Butch Schroeder, Kyle Sauder, Stambaugh and J.R. Stewart to move ahead and push Horstman back into the fifth running position.
At the race mid-point Sauder had taken the lead with Schroeder and Stambaugh close behind. Horstman was mired back in fifth behind veteran racer Phil Gressman. It was a race within a race for the championship between Stambaugh and Horstman.
As the 25-lapper was drawing to a finish, Sauder seemed to have the win secured with a several car length lead. Both Stambaugh and Horstman frantically drove for the highest possible finish. As the checkered flag was unfurled officials quickly determined that Stambaugh was the race runner-up and Horstman finished third. A further quick determination revealed a virtual tie with points between the two for the championship. Both drivers had a pair of wins at Limaland Motorsports Park during the season so the defining issue became a third win that Horstman had accomplished earlier in the season at another venue with the touring NRA. That proved to be the defining edge as Horstman claimed his first-ever NRA Sprint Invaders championship.
Archbold’s Sauder captured the feature win on the night, his second of the season at the track and he wound up third behind Stambaugh in the Sprints point standings. All three will compete Friday in the Reineke King of the Quarter Mile races for significant additional prize money.
The K & N UMP Modifieds came to the green flag for their 20-lap feature with defending track champion Todd Sherman starting on outside of the front row. Sherman rolled to a flag-to-flag race leading victory, his fifth of the season.
Points leader Jeff Koz, of Lima, finished 12th and that was enough for him to maintain his points advantage and lock down a first-ever Limaland Motorsports Park Modified Track championship. Sherman, the 2014 title holder, finished second in the final points standings.
The Budweiser Thunderstocks was the final championship to be settled and Fostoria’s Shawn Valenti held a 16 point lead over defending track champion Tony Anderson entering the night of points racing. Last week’s feature winner Jordon Conover started from the pole and for the third consecutive week was very powerful at the front of the field.
Conover was true to his recent form and completely in charge of the outcome as he stormed around the top of the track on the way to a third win of season. Anderson ran near the front throughout the 15-lap event and finished fourth, while Valenti moved through traffic and posted a sixth-place finish. It proved more than enough for Valenti to hold the points lead and claim the championship, a second of his career matching the 2012 title.
Limaland Motorsports Park returns to action Friday with the 2015 Awards Night Celebration. The night of racing includes the Reineke Family of Dealerships King of the Quarter Miles Races with feature winners from throughout the season in the respective divisions competing. Also there will be NRA and Limaland Motorsports Park Point Fund Invitational races. The evening will also include a season banquet ceremony and pit party and celebration. Gates open at 5 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 p.m. Racing begins at 7:30 p.m. For more informaton go to limaland.com.