Bruce Durden leads Wire to Wire to Take Sprint Feature Win
By Tera Gunter
Putnam County Speedway’s 2006 season came to a close with a bang as racers and fans turned out in full force for the last race of the season. Along with the upcoming Champions Banquet scheduled for December 9th, Putnam County’s finest will gather again when the track re-opens in March for the 2007 race season.
Tonight’s featured event was the Sprint Car Shootout sponsored by Durden Surveying and Mapping of Duval County. Twenty-five sprint racers thundered onto the speedway with Bruce Durden and Tommy Denton on the front row. Durden took the lead out of turn two with Denton hot on his heels. Durden led the event wire to wire but Denton didn’t make it easy as he placed multiple challenges on Durden. The field was red-flagged when Rich Alexander flipped his ride in turn 1. Alexander was ok, his ride towed off, and Denton once again set after Durden.
Matt Kurtz, Wes Scrape, and Dakota Stephens dueled for position with Travis Bliemeister waiting for the right opportunity to slip through. Stephens’ chances fell through after he became a victim of the two caution rule. Durden continued to hold Denton off until Denton spun on lap 13. Durden took the lead again and was never seriously challenged. Durden led Kurtz, Scrape, Bliemeister, and Brett Cole under the checkered flag.
Dickie Ferry took the lead in the late model feature with David Crews close behind. Ferry got a break as Jeff Kopp challenged Crews, and Billy Costello placed hard charges on Kopp. Shan Smith roared into the picture and snagged second from Crews, with Crews snagging it back only to see Smith wrest it from him again.
Crews dug his heels in and took second back from Smith, leaving Smith to contend with the 2006 division champion, Billy Costello. With the battles for position raging behind him, Ferry took the win over Crews, Smith, Costello, and Stanton Mills.
Fans were treated to another awesome turnout in the hobby division and David Dowling Sr. took the lead over Bruce Birkett. Mike Tripp wrested third from William Martin and set off after Birkett. Tripp would pass Birkett only to see cautions fly before the laps were completed, placing him back behind Birkett. Dowling held the lead until his ride failed him and Tripp suffered a flat tire.
Birkett took the lead and gained ground over Martin, Andy McKinnon, and Ron Frank. Birkett was never seriously challenged and led Martin, McKinnon, Frank, and Randy Moody under the checkered flag.
Street stocks ran a pretty even keeled feature with Stanton Mills and the 2006 division champion Kevin Mills in the front row. Kevin Mills took the lead as Ricky Land passed Stanton Mills to take up position behind Kevin Mills. Stanton Mills placed several charges on Land before passing Land on the white flag lap. The track champion led Stanton Mills, Land, Martin Johnson, and Rena Hurley to victory lane.
Mini stock division champion Blake Spencer led wire to wire in their feature. Josh Leth, Richard Wells, and Justin Carney turned in strong performances. Leth suffered problems with his ride, exiting for the pit area before rejoining the field. Jennifer Ponce pulled into position and a few laps later, Spencer led Wells, Carney, Ponce, and Leth under the checkered.
Box stocks hit the track minus their champion, Shawn Pawlak, who moved up to the late model division. Bruce Birk and Wayne Pawlak dueled before both suffered problems late in the race. Birk limped to victory lane over John Stacy, Hal Cochran, James Smith, and Matthew Holbrook.
Remain posted to the speedway’s website at www.putnamcountyspeedway.com for upcoming information on the 2007 season.