By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE — Saturday afternoon’s storm fronts spared Lincoln Park Speedway their wrath for an evening of racing and Brownsburg’s AJ Hopkins was one of five drivers to take advantage.
Hopkins took over the lead in the sprint car A-main with six laps remaining and claimed his third win of the season at LPS. Derek Groomer knows how to get to victory lane as well as he also picked up his third feature win by edging out Travis Shoulders for the UMP Modified title. Brownstown’s Jason Hehman made his first trip to the Putnamville oval and he made it count with the UMP Super Stock win over Bryce Shidler. Jordan Almanza claimed the bomber mid-season championship with a 20-lap win over Megan Cavaness. Josh Foxworthy won the second bomber feature.
Almanza went wire-to-wire to win the mid-season feature for the first time. He started on the pole after winning a six-car dash to align the cars for the feature. Starting on the pole, Almanza used the cushion to his benefit, setting a torrid pace out front. However, Cavaness was right on his rear bumper for the duration of the feature that had an added five laps. Josh Litton ran third through the halfway mark before Tyler Neal challenged door-to-door before taking over third in the final seven laps. Matt Raber cruised home fifth after starting 12th and Tom Cox came forward from 13th to take sixth.
In the sprint car feature, Colten Cottle started on the pole and held that spot for the bulk of the 20-lap A-main. However, Hopkins was hot on his heels as the two separated a bit from Dakota Jackson running third. Brent Beauchamp ran fourth ahead of Nate McMillin before a lap seven caution.
On the restart, Cottle maintained the point running the top side to perfection to keep Hopkins at bay as the two began to get into lapped traffic on lap 12. Hopkins would show his nose to Cottle several times as Beauchamp moved briefly into third ahead of Jackson with McMillin and Shane Cockrum running side-by-side.
On lap 19, Hopkins tried to make his move ripping into turn three on the middle line and slide up the track as Cottle attempted to keep the lead. Hopkins couldn’t clear Cottle on the slider and his right rear connected with Cottle in turn four, forcing a spin by the Kansas, Ill. driver. The caution re-set the field with Cottle going to the tail.
Once the green flag returned, Hopkins stayed out front to pick up the win as Brazil’s McMillin roared into second-place ahead of Jackson, Cockrum and Kent Christian.
Groomer was another green to checkered flag winner as he ran a flawless race out front of the field to pick up the win. Shoulders ran close behind for the duration of the race after starting on the pole next to Groomer. Jeff Deckard was third as the lead pack built a lead ahead of Josh Boller over the last five laps. Rob Brickert would come home fifth.
In the UMP Super Stock division, Hehman came in leading the national points and helped his cause by picking up his fifth feature win of the season.
After starting second, Hehman quickly got to the lead and didn’t look back as Michael Clark ran close behind. The pair got into lapped traffic on the 13th circuit with Shidler running third. Clark made a challenge to Hehman with two laps to go, but spun in turn four to bring out a caution. On the restart, Hehman remained out front to take the checkered flag ahead of Shidler, Dale Hayes, Austin Phelps and Wes McClara.
This weekend will feature sprints, modifieds, super stocks, bombers and mini sprints.
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint car feature
1. AJ Hopkins, 2. Nate McMillin, 3. Dakota Jackson, 4. Shane Cockrum, 5. Kent Christian, 6. Tim Creech II, 7. Joe Ligouri, 8. Brent Beauchamp, 9. Hunter O’Neal, 10. Matthew McDonald, 11. Josh Cunningham, 12. Travis Berryhill, 13. Jadon Rogers, 14. Shelby VanGilder, 15. Brady Ottinger, 16. Eric Burns, 17. Jeff Nanny, 18. Adam Wilfong, 19. Colten Cottle, 20. Harley Burns, 21. Patrick Lee, 22. Justin Meneely
Heat winners: Hopkins, McMillin, Jackson
UMP Modified feature
1. Derek Groomer, 2. Travis Shoulders, 3. Jeff Deckard, 4. Josh Boller, 5. Rob Brickert, 6. Dan Lewellen, 7. David Baldwin, 8. Tyler Loughmiller, 9. Sydney Landes, 10. Jay Humphrey Jr., 11. Aaron Pace, 12. Donald Smiley, 13. Michael Kettnich, 14. James Walters, 15. Tim Prince, 16. Jake Leitzman, 17. Justin Cundiff, 18. Cole Parker, 19. Carlos Bumgardner, 20. James Grider
Heat winners: Humphrey, Walters, Deckard
UMP Super Stock feature
1. Jason Hehman, 2. Bryce Shidler, 3. Dale Hayes, 4. Austin Phelps, 5. Wes McClara, 6. Jonny Newgent ,7. Larry Raines, 8. Paul Wright, 9. Matt Jordan, 10. Michael Clark, 11. Scott Ricketts, 12. Justin Massie, 13. Hayden Rogers, 14. Doug McCullough, 15. Shelburn Meeks Jr., 16. James Hodge, 17. Kenny Fields, 18. Michael O’Conner
Heat winners: Clark, Hehman
1. Jordan Almanza, 2. Megan Caveness, 3. Tyler Neal, 4. Josh Litton, 5. Matt Raber, 6. Tom Cox, 7. Joseph Raber, 8. Jeff Allen, 9. Devin Wallen, 10. Gary Hayden, 11. Mark Dickerson, 12. Corey Anstead, 13. Travis Heramb, 14. Glen Ogden, 15. Jeremy Tate, 16. Ethan Litton, 17. Cody Wright, 18. DJ Smiley, 19. David Wallen, 20. Chad Steinert
B-main winner: Joseph Raber
Heat winners: Ogden, Dickerson, Almanza
Bomber feature 2
1. Josh Foxworthy, 2. Bob Farris, 3. Larry Cowan, 4. Chad Casassa, 5. Jim Litton Jr., 6. Mathew Grimes, 7. Justin Bumgardner, 8. Jacob Steinway, 9. Keivan Clodfelter