Punchie & the Sprints On Dirt Big Money (Photo courtesy of Todd Smith)
Brian “Punchie” Smith took his 3rd SOD feature win in Saturday’s Engine Pro Sprints on Dirt presented by ARP victory in the MAHLE/Clevite Beyond Limits Challenge 25-lap feature at Muskegon’s Thunderbird Raceway. Before a standing-room only crowd, it didn’t take long for outside front row starter Steve Irwin (Flying Zero) to open a lead on pole starter Mark Aldrich (1a). Irwin set a torrid pace that quickly got him into lapped traffic early in the race that had only caution, on lap 3, when mechanical gremlins brought Jay Steinebach (10s) to a stop in turn 2.
Meanwhile SOD point leader Punchie (2+) worked his way up to 2nd from his 5th place starting position and set sail for Irwin. While traffic helped his pursuit of Irwin, it also created a couple of close calls, and Smith noticeably became more cautious. Lap 13 proved to be unlucky for the leader when he got boxed in and Smith finally made the pass for the lead he would hold until the finish. In spite of searching for quicker line around the almost circular track, Irwin (0) was not able to catch Smith and finished 2nd. Tom Schinderle (41) finished 3rd and Dain Naida (17X) 4th after a nearly race-long spirited battle with 5th place finisher Dan McCarron (22M) in which McCarron thrilled the crowd with an all-out attempt to take over the spot. 19 cars started the feature and 18 finished clearly thrilling the enthusiastic crowd.
Fastest hot lap times were posted by a 305 driven by Dundee, Michigan’s Dan McCarron. He was followed by two 360s, Dain Naida (Tecumseh, MI) and Alex Hill, the Six Nation Sensation, from Wilsonville, Ontario. They were followed by the 410 of feature winner Brian Smith from Fremont, Ohio, and the 360 of 2015 SOD champion Gregg Dalman from Bellevue, Michigan.
The Engler Machine & Tool heat race was won by Dan McCarron (305 cubic inch motor) who was also the fastest car in hot laps. Veteran driver Mark Alrich (410 cubic inch motor) dominated the Lane Automotive heat race showing that the hot, windy weather wasn’t going to slow the speedy SOD competitors. Robert Huiskin (360 cubic inch motor) wasn’t about to be out performed and charged to a decisive COMP Cams heat race win.
The top 3 heat race finishers were paired up with kids for the License 2 Play Feature Draw to determine the first 9 feature start positions.
Racing with SOD at Thunderbird Raceway were lady competitors Lexi Adgate and Alex Hill. Both have had successful mini-sprint careers and are now ready to show the boys they can do the job in full size sprints. Hill passed the most cars in the feature.
MAHLE/Clevite Beyond Limits Challenge
|9||19||Mann, Brett||24||-1 Laps|
|10||10J||Jones, Chris||24||-1 Laps|
|11||77x||Hill, Alex||24||-1 Laps|
|12||49T||Dalman, Gregg||24||-1 Laps|
|13||8||Ward, Justin||24||-1 Laps|
|14||44J||Jacoby, Bill||24||-1 Laps|
|15||58||Bures, Tony||24||-1 Laps|
|16||24||Smith, Eric||23||-2 Laps|
|17||91L||Adgate, Lexi||23||-2 Laps|
|18||6||Bearden, Tyler||23||-2 Laps|
|19||10S||Steinebach, Jay||3||-22 Laps|
Engler Machine & Tool Heat Race: 1 McCarron, 2 Steinebach, 3 B Smith, 4 Jones, 5 E Smith, 6 Bearden
Lane Automotive Heat Race: 1 Mark Aldrich, 2 Gall, 3 Naida, 4 Ward, 5 Bures, 6 Adgate
COMP Cams Heat Race: 1 Robert Huiskin, 2 Irwin, 3 Schinderle, 4 Mann, 5 Dalman, 6 Hill, 7 Jacoby
Engine Pro Lucky Dog Award – Alex Hill
KSE Race Products Hard Charger Award – Bill Jacoby
Kistler Racing Products contingency awards: Jay Steinebach, Steve Irwin
COMP Cams contingency award: John Gall
BR Motorsports contingency award: Brian Smith
Allstar Performance contingency award: Dain Naida
Schoenfeld Headers contingency award: Tom Schinderle
Rod End Supply contingency awards: Brian Smith, Steve Irwin, Tom Schinderle
Racing Optics contingency award: Dain Naida
ATL Fuel Cells contingency award: Dan McCarron
King Racing Products contingency award: Mark Aldrich
Ti22 Performance contingency award: John Gall
DMI contingency award: Justin Ward
For more information about MAHLE/Clevite, go to https://catalog.mahle-aftermarket.com/eu/home/index.xhtml?l=EN. For more information about Engine Pro, go to www.enginepro.com. For more information about ARP, go to www.arp-bolts.com. The full 2016 Sprints on Dirt schedule, rules, current news, and other information are available at www.sprintsondirt.com.
Engine Pro Sprints On Dirt presented by ARP is brought to you by many important sponsor partners including: Engine Pro (Title Sponsor), ARP (Title Sponsor), Hoosier Racing Tire (Official SOD Tire), MAHLE/Clevite (Beyond Limits Challenge Sponsor), Engine Pro (Lucky Dog Sponsor), Lane Automotive (Primary Heat Race Sponsor), Engler Machine & Tool (Primary Heat Race Sponsor), COMP Cams (Primary Heat Race Sponsor), RockAuto.com (SOD Series Rookie of the Year Sponsor & SOD Sprint Car Rookie of the Year Sponsor), XYZ Machining (Sportsman of the Year Sponsor & Crew Chief of the Year Sponsor), KSE Racing Products (Hard Charger Sponsor). In addition, SOD contingency sponsors include: ATL Racing Fuel Cells, Kistler Racing Products, Allstar Performance, Schoenfeld Headers, K2W Precision/Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Ti22 Performance, BR Motorsports, King Racing Products, License 2 Play, Simpson Racing Products, Rod End Supply, Diversified Machine Inc. (DMI), Racing Optics.
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