Kuhn’s Third Overall Finish Secures Late Model Championship
Ryan Lineham did everything he could to hold on to the championship he won last year. And he went as far as possible, winning the championship night Late Model feature in a last lap pass of Mark Hudson, but Ryan Kuhn followed up with a third to preserve his points lead over Lineham and collect the crown. Mark Jenison spun heading to the line from turn four, bounced of Kuhn and lit up his rear tires to power-slide across the line in fourth, while Chase Belcher claimed the fifth spot.
Jenison was involved in drama from start to finish as he and Nick Uhrig co-starred in some wheel-to-wheel racing at the front that ran lap-after-lap with both drivers hacksawing the lead as the crowd held its breath in anticipation. Jenison leapt off the pole and Uhrig ducked under Dan Johnson from the second row and came out on Jenison’s high side. They entered into an aerial dogfight while behind them Johnson, Hudson, Lineham and Tom “The Bomb” Adams could only pester each other and wait for one driver or the other to fade. Neither would give way, however,
Rey Lovelace and Vinnie Arrenegado got together and collected Belcher, leading to a lap 4 restart. Jenison and Uhrig lined up with Johnson and Hudson at their backs and resumed their brawling for another nine laps. In the process, Hudson came into sole possession of third place, Adams ran third and behind him Lineham was wheel-to-wheel with Johnson. Lineham got his nose past and Gerry DeGasparre, Jr. nosed under Johnson. But Arrenegado spun in turn two.
The two contenders lined up again and went back at it. As before, the lead was hacksawed between Uhrig and Jenison. At the race’s midpoint, Adams supplanted Hudson in third. Now there were twin brawls, one at the front and the other behind them between Adams and Hudson. Johnson ran fifth, trying to find an opportunity, just ahead of DeGasparre, Kuhn and Lineham.
Lap 20 saw Jenison finally push fully ahead of his antagonist: Uhrig dropped in and tried to press ahead underneath. He got his nose in before Jenison dropped. There was contact and Uhrig spun into turn three. A charging Chad Baxter had to spin in order to avoid a wreck with Uhrig.
Jenison was joined at the front by Adams for the restart with 14 laps to go. Hudson and Johnson followed, just ahead of Kuhn and DeGasparre. Lineham follwed up with Baxter outside. Jennison grabbed a half car lead with Adams hanging on outside and Hudson grabbed third again. Adams was as worthy an opponent as Uhrig and the two went side-by-side into lap 27. Lineham had come past Kuhn and was running on Johnson’s high side, looking for fourth as Kuhn watched for any chances that might come his way. Suddenly, Adams slid uptrack and fell back drastically. Hudson rushed in with Lineham on his tail, followed by Kuhn. DeGasparre and Belcher were arguing side-by-side behind them. Lineham began looking under Hudson as Adams spun in turn three.
Jenison and Hudson lined up again with Lineham and Kuhn in row two. Belcher and Lovelace loomed behind them. Out of the box came another door-to-door between Jenison and Hudson.
Lineham roared up to Jenison’s bumper as Lambert spun again in turn one. A second try at the restart saw Hudson stick his nose ahead crossing the stripe. Lineham stuck his nose in underneath and made it a three-wide with Jenison in the middle. Hudson came out strongly ahead, but not quite enough to drop into command. Lineham and Jenison rushed forward again as they ran under the white flag three wide. It was a brawl around to turn four where Jenison came loose and sideways. Lineham bolted forward as Hudson, stuck outside, could only watch. He was, however, able to roar in with a second place finish as Kuhn secured his championship with the third.
Sixth on the night went to Lovelace, followed by DeGasparre, Arrenegado, Baxter, Johnson and Uhrig.