Cabin Fever Event Starts Plymouth Speedway Racing Season
By: Anita Goodan
A good crowd was on hand Saturday, May 1 to witness the start of the 2021 racing season at Plymouth Speedway.
Sheldon Oblerle had to work to the front of the pack after starting third in the Thunder Stocks Feature. Brandon Metcalf led the field to the green flag, but could not keep up with Travis Wolford’s machine. Wolford passed Metcalf on the second lap, but soon had Oberle on his tail. Oberle and John Rhoads were battling for position early in the race, but by the time the fourth lap was in the books Oberle led the field and didn’t look back. Brandon Shelhart worked his way into the top three after a couple of caution flags and took over the second spot by lap seven. It stayed in that order for the rest of the 20-lap feature with Oberle (Hanna, Indiana) the winner, Shelhart in second and Wolford in third.
“Thank you to everyone who helped me with my car and thank you to my sponsors,” said Oberle. “I’d like to thank Plymouth Speedway for letting us run in the track before the start of the race because not many other tracks would let us do that. We had a great night.”
It was a hard fought race in the UMP Modifieds race with starters deeper in the pack making the podium. Devin Wright led for a lot of the 25-lap feature but Curt Spalding was able to sneak past Wright’s Modified on lap 15 after a caution drew up the field. Spalding, who started sixth, had to fend off Frank Marshall who shot from the tenth spot to second after 10 laps into the Feature. Wright ended up slipping to third place on lap 18 and that is where he finished on the night. Curt Spalding (Watervilet, Michigan) grabbed the first place position, while Marshall finished second and Wright with the third place spot.
Spalding said, “I’d like to thank everyone for helping me and keeping us moving up and down the road. Thank you also to my sponsors. There are a lot of people who help work on this car.”
Josh Shantz put Ontario, Canada on the map at Plymouth Speedway by winning the 600 Non-Wing Sprints Feature. He had to get by a strong pole-sitter Ed Cleveland for much of the race, but snuck by after a late-race caution. Cody Williams was able to push his car into the second position after holding the third place spot for much of the Feature. Shantz (St. Agatha, ON, Canada) won the feature with Williams in second and Cleveland in third.
“I heard the Americans were fast so I had to find out,” Shantz said in his post-race interview. “We struggled in Tulsa and were terrible in Peru, Indiana, but I watched five-and-a-half hours of video and learned a lot! I’d like to thank my sponsors and everyone who worked on the car, and my parents back in Canada.”
Michael Clark had to work to get to the front of the Super Streets feature. He started second to John Rhoads, but fell back in the lineup after a couple of laps. RJ Akers was able to take the lead from Rhoads on lap three in turn four and held onto the lead until about lap nine when a caution bunched up the field. By then, Kory Conner drove up to the top three by lap 12 after falling from the third place position at the start of the race to about fifth. A time-shortened race found Clark (Merrillville, Indiana) with the win, Conner with second and Akers with third place.
“My thank-you list is long, but I want to thank all of my sponsors, my Dad, and my wife for their help and support,” Clark said, sporting a new, black cowboy hat in his victory photo. “I’m going to wear this hat every week, and I’m going to keep it in my car!”
The Front Wheel Drive Feature saw Aaron Tatman at the front of the race after starting on the outside pole, but he could not hold off a charging Josh Gamblin. Gamlin took over the top spot on lap seven after starting fifth on the night. Jeremy Jones had been running in the second and third position for a lot of the 20-lap race, but suddenly left for the pits near the end of the Feature. This allowed Josh Lank to slip up in the order to finish third. Tatman was able to keep up with Gamblin, even through lapped traffic, and captured the second place finish. Gamblin (Kokomo, Indiana) came away with the trophy.
Gamblin said, “Thank you to everyone who helped to get this thing running. It’s awesome!”
Cars are back on the track Saturday, May 8 for more great racing with UMP Modifieds, Super Streets, Thunder Stocks and 600 Non-Wing Sprints. The grandstands open at 3:30 p.m., hot laps are at 5:30 p.m. and racing is at 6:30 p.m. ET.