By: Scott Hammer
WAUSEON, OH – Oakshade Raceway returned to racing action after last weekend’s rain out with Mother Nature providing a beautiful evening for competition in which McClure, Ohio’s Rusty Schlenk was able to find his way back to the Oakshade Raceway Winner’s Circle for the second time this season.
Steve Kester, the 2020 Late Model track champion, darted out to big lead early in the 25-lap Late Model feature event with Rusty Smith and Dusty Moore in pursuit.
The caution flag would fly on lap 10 that would tighten the field up for a restart. That was the opportunity Schlenk needed as he gained two positions to take over the race lead running the high line and passing on the outside.
Another caution flag would fly one lap later for one last restart. Schlenk powered away from the rest of the field on his way to pick up the checkered flag.
Colin Shipley posted a second-place finish with Kester slipping back to third. Mathew Chapman slipped back at the start of the race after starting on the outside of the front row but was able to fight back for a fourth-place finish. Dusty Moore ended up fifth.
Several drivers coming in to the night in the top five in Sportsman points suffered bad luck in the 20-lap Sportsman feature. Carter Murday and Jesse Jones each cut down a tire in the race and Carter Schlenk had motor expire that brought out the red flag due to a fire. Schlenk quickly exited the car and was OK.
Pole-sitter Josh Robertson, out of Defiance, Ohio, stayed out of trouble and led flag to flag to pick up his first feature win of the season which allowed him to take over the Sportsman point lead.
Jeff Robertson, Josh’s father, finished second followed by Joe Smith, Mike Jessen and Karl Spoores.
Defending track champion Gabe Mueller was back at Oakshade Raceway after wrapping up the track championship at Limaland Motorsports Park the night before.
The Holland, Ohio, driver made his visit worthwhile, grabbing the lead of the Dominator Super Stock A Main shortly after the drop of the green flag and driving away from the rest of the field.
It was the only caution-free feature event of the evening allowing Muller to maintain his lead even after catching slower traffic.
Although he could not catch Mueller, Kolin Schilt’s second-place finish was enough to reclaim the Dominator Super Stock point lead from William “Bubba” Cundick who ended up finishing fifth behind Justin Gamber and Scott Hammer.
Wauseon, Ohio’s Eric Carr earned his third Compact A Main feature win in a row (fourth of the season) to close the point battle just a bit between him and Ryan Okuley who managed to just get by Jason Deshler at the finish to take second.
Jason Bailey gained seven positions to finish fourth with Brandon Paskan rounding out the top five.
Brian Barber and Scott Barnhart started on the front row of the Dominator Super Stock B Main and the two came together on the front stretch just before the completion of lap one.
At least half the field was caught up in the ensuing melee that brought out the red flag with the track blocked going into turn one.
Once things got going again, Curt Dickie found himself out in front of the pack with Chris Bleikamp on his back bumper.
Bleikamp would get by Dickie for the top spot to lead lap two, but Dickie fought back to the inside in turns three and four and appeared to take the lead back, however, Bleikamp got into the rear of Dickie coming off turn four and Dickie spun bringing out another yellow flag.
Bleikamp was black flagged for the move which then turned the lead over to Zeke McNew.
The white flag flew a short time later as the 12-minute time limit had expired on the Dominator Super Stock B Main.
Jason Drummond put some pressure on McNew on the final lap and attempted to get to the outside of McNew in the final set of corners, but he overdrove the turns and pushed up high allowing McNew to take the checkered flag.
Drummond was able to hold off Luke Zuver to finish second. Brian Barber was fourth with Curt Dickie recovering to a fifth-place finish.
The final race of the night, the Compact B Main, began with a bit of a wild start. Brandon Proffitt and Todd Drewes Jr. were battling for the lead in turns one and two when Proffitt’s car suddenly shot up the track and into Drewes bringing out the yellow flag and knocking both drivers out of competition.
Maria Wells would take over the race lead but Chris Rutan would take over the lead shortly after the restart.
Megan Elliott had an up and down race. She started on the pole and slipped back to fourth early. She fought back up to second and spun to bring out the yellow on lap three.
Rutan, out of Toledo, Ohio, would go on to pick up the victory over Craig Jones, John Roby, Taj Mitchell and Elliott who was able to come back to finish fifth.
Oakshade Raceway will be back in action with a full racing program that includes DIRTcar UMP Late Models, Sportsman, Dominator Super Stocks and Compacts on Saturday, August 6.
Gates open at 4pm with hot laps/qualifying at 6pm and racing at 7pm.