Weber scores Grundy Late Model Opener
Murphy wins MASS Main Event
By Stan Kalwasinski
Morris, Ill., May 13—Jim Weber captured the 30-lap late model stock car feature race at the Grundy County Speedway Friday night as the Northern Illinois third-mile paved speedway kicked off its 52nd year of weekly stock car racing with its Cabin Fever season opener.
The 52-year-old racer from Homer Glenn wheeled his Tri Cor Commercial Carpentry-sponsored, Senneker Performance Chassis Chevrolet to the win, holding off the late charge of DJ Weltmeyer at the checkered flag. Two-time late model champion Ricky Baker finished third, followed by seven-time Grundy titlist Eddie Hoffman, Dave Gentile Jr. and Joe Vinachi. Fastest qualifier, Larry Schuler finished ninth.
Hoffman and James Gregait battled side-by-side for the first five laps of the main event as the 13-car field sorted itself out. Hoffman had a slight lead when the first of two yellow flags flew with five laps complete. When green flag racing resumed, Hoffman set the pace with Weber moving to second place.
With about 12 laps in the books, Weber moved inside of Hoffman and took over the top spot. Weber led the way with Hoffman, Weltmeyer and Baker giving chase. At one time, Weltmeyer and Baker battled pretty hard for the third spot. The race’s second caution flag appeared with nine laps left, giving Weltmeyer a chance at the leader. With laps running out, Weltmeyer came within a car or so at the end with Weber holding a 0.203-second advantage.
“We held on. I was kind of worn out those last few laps,” said Weber. “I’m older than DJ (Weltmeyer). He has a lot more in the tank. I probably ran the car a little harder than I should have when I had the lead.”
Leading from flag to flag, Kevin Murphy won the Midwest MASS Stock Car Series sportsman 25-lap main event. Picking up $1,000 for his effort, the 30-year-old Murphy, hailing from Manhattan, bested Cody Clubb, Rickey Mathis Jr., David Einhaus and Connor Kosowski. The race was red flagged with five laps to go as Eddie Ligue hit the turn three wall hard, pretty much destroying his car. 21 cars started the 25 lapper.
“We struggled during qualifying,” said Murphy, a two-time sportsman champion at Grundy. “We figured something out in the heat race and tuned on it a little more for the feature. The car was really good.”
Scotty Gardner was the winner of the 25-lap street stock headliner. Gardner defeated Randy Weese, James Dean, Chad Bayuk and last year’s division champion, Scott Gardner. Trevor Starek claimed top honors in the 25-lap four-cylinder feature, finishing ahead of Danielle Dobczyk and Jonathan Stevens.
Scott Koerner won the Midwest Mayhem Midgets feature, which was cut short to 19 laps because of an accident.
The finish (late models):
Jim Weber, DJ Weltmeyer, Ricky Baker, Eddie Hoffman, Dave Gentile, Joe Vinachi, Scott Koerner, James Gregait, Larry Schuler, Dean Patterson, Matt Chester, Verne Fagerberg, Mike Dimand