ROSSBURG, OH (July 17) --There’s a new King in town as Jason Sides captured Eldora Speedway’s premier Sprint Car event, the Kings Royal, and $50,0000, Saturday night, in one of the most bizarre main events in the track’s storied 51-year history. Jeff Williams completed the double header with his victory in the National Racing Alliance (NRA) 360 Sprint feature.
As has been customary during recent years, the Kings Royal carried a WoO sanction, and prior to Saturday’s contest, Sides had never recorded a feature win with them. That statistic couldn’t have changed at a more opportune time. As the 40-lap race unfolded under the threat of more rain that had plagued the entire weekend, no one had any idea of what was about to unfold.
Outside pole sitter Chad Kemenah took the early command at the dropping of the green flag, and command was the key word, as he simply dominated the 24-car starting field. Dale Blaney, who surprised everyone with a convincing win just the night before, settled in behind Kemenah, and looking like a duplicate run of that night, Lasoski was right behind Blaney, with the reigning WoO champion and four-time Kings Royal winner settling in fourth. Everyone appeared to biding their time, as the running order remained fairly steady throughout the early going.
The crowd began getting aroused by lap 13 when Kinser moved in behind Lasoski on lap 13 and roared their approval when he completed the pass to take over third on lap 15. It took another eight laps before Kinser could get by Blaney, who was recoding one of his most competitive Eldora weekends in recent history. At this point the focus of the race was on Kinser and his expected drive to the front. However, Kemenah had different thoughts and was in a position to be the spoiler in Kinser’s efforts to rack up Kings Royal win number five. It looked like that was going to play out, but with ten laps to go in the chase, which had gone non-stop up to that point, Kinser’s right rear tire exploded going into turn one and the Bloomington, IN veteran did a quick flip, to bring out the red flag and stop the action. Kinser was uninjured by the damage to his car was enough to retire him for the evening.
It was at this point, that several teams noticed excessive tire wear on their cars and the anxiety level jumped up about five notches. Kemenah resumed his control on the restart, with Blaney back into second, while, at that point, Lasoski was running third, with Mark Kinser up to fourth and Phil Gressman fifth. Four laps later the drama escalated as Kemenah suffered a similar fate as Kinser, with a blown tire, while coming down to completed lap 36 - four laps short of $50,000 and a Kings Royal crown. From that point forward it was a series of blown tires, that changed the running order repeatedly. In fact so many caution flags were displayed for this unusual situation that a red flag was mandated just two laps later, and two laps from the finish, to allow the teams to refuel.
Just after Kemenah dropped to the pits to put on fresh rubber, Blaney inherited the lead, only to lose his right rear tire and hand over the lead to Lasoski. Lasoski’s tire showed the least amount of wear of anyone on the track and appeared to be enroute to his initial Kings Royal win; however, up to six more caution slow downs for blown tires, took its toll on Lasoski. While running under the yellow on lap 38, Lasoski suffered the fate of so many before him - his tire deflated, along with his chances of winning the Kings Royal. All of the teams that suffered the flats, dove into the pit area under the resulting yellow flags, and made tire changes, which created a ‘recycling effect’ on the field. As such, Kemenah, despite dropping from the lead on lap 36, was back up to fifth during the round of cautions on lap 38, despite actually passing any cars on the track.
Meanwhile, Sides was apparently doing the best job of tire management, and observed what was happening before him. He had maintained a high profile run up front throughout the entire race, and that worked to his advantage as he was given the race lead through everyone else’s misfortunes. Sides, aware of the fate suffered by so many before him, took a look at the white flag on lap 39 and drove as straight a line as he could through the turns, to preserve his tires, and when the checkered flag fell on lap 40, he was where he needed to be, out front, for the biggest win of his career. And wouldn’t you know, as he drove down the back stretch, after taking that unbelievable win, his tire, too, went flat and Sides came to victory lane with a flat right rear.
Finishing behind Sides were Rob Chaney in second, with Kemenah moving his way back to third. Brian Paulus was credited with fourth and Blaney crossed the line fifth, but was disqualified by tech officials for failing to meet the minimum weight requirements. That handed the fifth position to Dean Jacobs.
The ‘flat tire syndrome’ carried over the NRA finale, as many of their teams suffered similar fates. But, Jeff Williams was determined to overlook all that, and it was that determination that drove him to victory lane. In fact, his drive was so dominating that he had control of the field the entire 25-lap distance. The previous night’s winner, Mike Brecht, had thoughts of deflating Williams’ dominance, but a deflated tire ended that run. Like, the WoO feature, many yellow flags slowed the pace, but when the checkered did drop, it was Williams taking the win over Sean Robinson, with Mike Dussel, Marty Ling and Cory Seeling completing the top five. --30--
World of Outlaw Sprints
Heat 1: Danny Smith, Danny Lasoski, Erin Crocker, Kraig Kinser, Jimmy Stinson, Greg Wilson, Ben Rutan, Randy Fink, Daryn Pittman
Heat 2: Dale Blaney, Mark Kinser, Jim Nier, Dean Jacobs, Butch Schroeder, Bill Rose, Jamie Fredrickson, Craig Dollansky, Todd Kane
Heat 3: Steve Kinser, Paul McMahan, Jason Sides, Kevin Huntley, Jac Haudenschild, Nick Naber, Sammy Swindell, Ryan Myers
Heat 4: Chad Kemenah, Joey Saldana, Tim Shaffer, Brian Carlson, Brandon Wimmer, Shane Stewart, Jan Howard, Mark Aldrich
Heat 5: Phil Gressman, Donny Schatz, Rob Chaney, Randy Hannagan, Keith Baxter, Jason Meyers, Brock Mayes, Brian Paulus
B Main: Dean Jacobs, Craig Dollansky, Jason Meyers, Kevin Huntley, Brandon Wimmer, Butch Schroeder, Jac Haudenschild, Keith baxter,Daryn Pittman, Kraig Kinser, Randy Hannagan, Brian Carlson, Brock Mayes, Jan Howard, Bill Rose, Jimmy Stinson, Ben Rutan, Mark Aldrich, Nick Nabor, Shan Stewart, Jamie Fredrickson
A Main: Jason Sides, Rob Chaney, Chad Kemenah, Brian Paulus, Dean Jacobs,Tim Shaffer, Mark Kinser, Donny Schatz, Craig Dollansky, Butch Schroeder, Paul McMahan, Jason Myers, Joey Saldana, Danny Smith, Brandon Wimmer, Danny Lasoski, Jac Haudenschild, Phil Gressman, Greg Wilson, Erin Crocker, Kevin Huntley, Steve Kinser, Jim Nier, Dale Blaney
NRA 360 Sprint Invaders
Heat 1: Tim Allison, Dwain Leiber, Jeff Williams, Marty Ling, Ron Blair, Cory Seeling, J.R. Stewart, Mike Dunlap, Dennis Ward
Heat 2: Kevin Huntley, Steve Leiber, Dennis Yoakam, Jan Howard, Mike Brecht, Ryan Myers, Eddie Rhine, Jim Burgoon, Tom Conrad Jr.
Heat 3:Mike Dussell, Sean Robinson, Matt Alloway, Darren Long, Willie Keegan, Scott Cramer, Kent Wolters, Dustin Keegan
B Main: Scott Cramer, Kent Wolters, Ryan Myers, Cory Seeling, Dustin Keegan, Eddie Rhine, J.R. Stewart, Dennis Ward Jr.
A Main: Jeff Williams, Sean Robinson, Mike Dussell, Marty Ling, Cory Seeling, Dwain Leiber, Kent Wolters, Matt Alloway, Ryan Myers, Darren Long, Steve Leiber, Mike Brecht, Jan Howard, Kevin Huntley, Tim Allison, Ron Blair, Willie Keegan, Dennis Yoakam, Scott Cramer, Dustin Keegan