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Baker, Prock big winners at Grundy County Speedway

Published: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 9:06 p.m. CST

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MORRIS – Plainfield’s Ricky Baker passed Eddie Hoffman late in the race to win the late-model feature at Friday’s stock-car racing program at Grundy County Speedway.

Hoffman finished second but was disqualified for a tire infraction. Larry Schuler thus finished second, followed by Brandon Clubb, Chris Cooling and Scott Koerner. The sixth through 10th finishers were Pat Kelly, James Gregait, Anthony Scapelli Jr., Jim Weber and Hank Tews.

Cooling won the first heat, ahead of Koerner and Billy Knippenberg, who claimed the second heat, with Clubb taking second. Hoffman set the fastest lap time.

Tom Knippenberg set the fastest lap time and won the Mid-American Sportsman feature. Kevin Gentile was second, Joe Vinachi third, Matt Clemens fourth and Kevin Murphy fifth. The remainder of the top 10 spots went to Jim Kachel, Jeremy Bloomberg, Luke Baldwin, Cody Clubb and John Ventrello.

Vinachi won the first heat, beating Knippenberg to the finish line. Clubb won the second heat, with Baldwin second.

Bob Davis took home the victory in the Street Stock feature. Eddie Ligue finished second, followed by Jake Bradley, Rob Scamen and Darrell Gay. Pet Morris was sixth, Renee Farren seventh, Matt Sisson eighth and Christy Penrod ninth.

Bradley set the fastest lap time. Penrod and Ligue finished 1-2 in the first heat, Craig Matteson and Tim Stewart 1-2 in the second heat.

Jim Gross won the 4-cylinder feature ahead of Mikey Slabenak, Kirk Lindemuth, Chris Woodall, Steve Hespen, Austin Blackwell, Jeff Law, Will Shephard, Ricky Wilson and Blaine Passini. Heat winners were Shepard, Law and Lindemuth.

STARS on Saturday

Sometimes taking the high road isn’t the easiest or most popular thing to do, but Austin Prock made it look spectacular by ripping the high side of the track to climb from starting seventh, to win on the opening night of the Short Track Auto Racing Series National Midget season at Grundy County Speedway.

By the seventh lap of the 30-lap feature, Prock, the 18-year-old Avon, Indiana native, had worked his Tony Stewart Racing Mopar/Beast up to the second spot behind Nick Baran when trouble broke out behind them. Kyle Hamilton lost his brakes entering turn one, spun backward through the infield and back onto the track, collecting his brother, Nick Hamilton, in the mayhem. Kyle Hamilton’s car ended up making contact with the outside wall and fence before the car came to a rest on its side. The accident brought out the red flag, but both drivers were able to walk away uninjured. Nick Hamilton was even able to restart the race.

On the ensuing restart, Prock changed routes by going to the low side in turn three to overtake Nick Baran for the lead, which he never relinquished. With four laps to go, Kyle O’Gara, the brother-in-law of IndyCar Series team owner and former driver, Sarah Fisher, passed Travis Young for second. Prock led the final 22 laps to take the opening night victory in the STARS National Midgets for the second consecutive season. Dating back to last season, Prock has now won four of the past five STARS National Midget features at Grundy County Speedway. Finishing behind Prock at the checkered flag were O’Gara, Young, and Nick Baran, with Brad Greenup rounding out the top five.

In the Illini Racing Series Midget feature, Mike Anderson was able to capitalize on the misfortune of other frontrunners to take the feature victory. In the Classic Modified feature, Tom Schnabel picked up right from where he ended last year’s season at Grundy County Speedway: in victory lane. Andy Jones captured the checkered flag in the INEX Legends feature, while Dallas Frueh took top honors in the CSR Mini Cup feature.

The STARS National Midgets, IRS Midgets, Classic Modifieds, INEX Legends, and CSR Mini Cups will all be back in action on Saturday June 7 at Grundy County Speedway where it is Ladies Night. That means that all ladies general admission tickets are just $6. Adult admission is $12, children 5-12 get in for $2, and children age 4 and under are free. Pit gates open at 2 p.m. The grandstands open at 5 p.m. The first race begins at 6:30 p.m.

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