ERIE, MI (May 5, 2019) – The Lane Automotive Sprints On Dirt powered by King Engine Bearings / MSD Ignition / Motul traditional season opener at Crystal Motor Speedway, rained out a week ago, went off under a sunny day Saturday. Ryan Ruhl was impressive in winning his Engler Machine & Tool heat race and the twenty-five-lap feature.
In the feature, Ruhl took the lead from the pole at the start, but the caution flag came out causing a complete restart. On the second start Ruhl and Joshua Turner (Osseo, MI) battled side by side with Turner using the top of the track to grab the early lead. But Ruhl (Coldwater, MI) had his Smith Motorsports Krieger-powered, Maxim hooked up on the lower groove and quickly moved into the lead. As the race went on, Ruhl got stronger and stronger, turning laps near 98 mph on the Crystal oval.
2018 SOD champion Chad Blonde (Litchfield, MI) used a slight miscue by Turner to take second. Blonde had a couple shots at Ruhl on the high side on restarts, but Ruhl was just too strong and motored away to win by a wide margin. Blonde held on for second while Zane DeVault (Plymouth, IN), last year’s SOD opener winner, was impressive in finishing third in former SOD competitor, now car owner Greg Wheeler’s 360 ride. Turner took fourth and second-generation driver Ricky Ferkel (Mt. Pleasant, MI) had a strong showing to finish fifth. Tyler Gunn (Napoleon, OH), easy winner of the King Engine Bearings heat race, recovered from a spin and charged from last to finish sixth.
Gremlins made the night difficult for some veteran drivers as former SOD champions Brett Mann (Goshen, IN) and Steve Irwin (Fenton, MI) both had engine problems. Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame member Jason Blonde (Litchfield, MI) suffered the same fate.
Garrett Saunders (Lakeville, IN), a standout in Plymouth (IN) Speedway crate Pro Sprints, made his unlimited sprint car debut as team mate to Zane DeVault. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Kent Gardner (Fenton, MI) returned to SOD competition after a twenty-six-year absence!
Crystal owner/promoter Ron Flinn, new SOD owner Dave Muzzillo, and their staffs did a great job to kick off the 2019 season in front of a great crowd.
Qualifying – Benic Enterprises Fast Masters (fast qualifiers)
|Engler Machine & Tool Heat||13.836||16C||Zane DeVault|
|King Engine Bearings Heat||14.334||5b||Chad Blonde|
|Engler Machine & Tool Heat #1|
|2||4||Joshua Turner||Ti22 Performance|
|3||16C||Zane DeVault||Racing Optics|
|King Engine Bearings Heat #2|
|2||5b||Chad Blonde||Ti22 Performance|
|3||1a||Mark Aldrich||Racing Optics|
|1||71H||Ryan Ruhl||Rod End Supply|
|2||5b||Chad Blonde||Rod End Supply|
|3||16C||Zane DeVault||Rod End Supply|
|4||4||Joshua Turner||Schoenfeld Headers|
|5||0||Ricky Ferkel||Saldana Racing Products|
|6||68G||Tyler Gunn||Pyrotect Racing Cells|
|7||10S||Jay Steinebach||King Racing Products|
|8||46||Robert Huisken||Keizer Aluminum Wheels|
MAHLE Aftermarket Hard Charger – 4 drivers (3)
KSE Racing Products Hard Charger – 4 drivers (3)
BR Motorsports Contingency (feature top 10 draw) – TylerGunn
DMI Contingency (feature 12-16 draw) –Tyler Bearden
COMP Cams Lucky Dog – Tyler Bearden
Allstar Performance Better Luck Next Time – Brett Mann
Allstar Performance Better Luck Next Time – Jason Blonde
For more information, check out these websites:
Lane Automotive – www.laneautomotive.com
King Engine Bearings – www.kingbearings.com
MSD Ignition – www.msdperformance.com
Motul – www.motul.com/us/en-US
Sprints On Dirt – www.sprintsondirt.com