July 10, 2018
Frank Heckenast Jr. and Mike McKinney win at Shadyhill
By Stan Kalwasinski
Medaryville, Ind., July 10—Illinois speedsters Frank Heckenast Jr. and Mike McKinney were big winners at Shadyhill Speedway Tuesday night.
Heckenast won the 40-lap DIRTcar UMP Summer Nationals “Hell Tour” 40-lap late model stock car main event. The 30-year old racer from Frankfort, Ill., picked up his first “tour” victory of the year although he was the fourth ranking driver in the Summer Nationals standings before the night’s racing started. The event marked the first Summer Nationals event held at the quarter-mile dirt oval since 2000.
Heckenast, who previously had won only one Summer Nationals event in his career (in 2015), inherited the lead with 15 laps complete when leader and series points leader Brian Shirley tangled with a slower running Aaron Hubner, who was trying to exit the race track in turn three. Shirley crashed hard into an embankment outside turn three with Hubner flipping in the process. Hubner escaped injury in the red flag incident with Shirley having to restart at the tail of the field.
Heckenast had been chasing Shirley in the early laps with Shirley seemingly in control as he had led the 20-car feature field since the drop of the green flag after starting on the outside of the front row. Heckenast, the evening’s fastest qualifier, went on to take the checkered flag and the $5,000 win with a 0.930-second lead over Rusty Schlenk. Billy Moyer, looking for his 100th Summer Nationals win, finished third, followed by Gordy Gundaker, Brandon Thirlby and Jason Feger. A recovering Shirley finished eighth.
“I feel bad for (Brian) Shirley. It was a really bad deal,” said Heckenast after his win. “Once we got in the lead, my car was pretty good. I wasn’t very good in second. When I got into the lead, I definitely could hold my own. The track was slick, but better than I expected.”
Heat races were won by Shirley, Gundaker and Schlenk as 20 cars were on hand for the competition.
On Wednesday night, the tour moves to the Thunderbird Speedway in Muskegon, Mich., during the final week of the 2018 “Hell Tour.”
The Late Model Finish:
Frank Heckenast Jr., Rusty Schlenk, Billy Moyer, Gordy Gundaker, Brandon Thirlby, Jason Feger, Jake Rendel, Brian Shirley, Paul Stubber, Kyle Cooper, Bob Mayer, Darren Wireman, Trevor Gundaker, Cody Fultz, Keith Williams, Dan Richardson, Jordan Danford, Scott DuVall, Aaron Hubner.
On fire during the early part of the UMP modified tour, McKinney came back strong Tuesday night as he won his sixth Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals feature race at Shadyhill. The 25-year-old McKinney, who hails from Plainfield, Ill., had won four out of the first seven tour feature races held, but had been shutout from victory lane since June 28 when he scored his fifth victory at Illinois’ LaSalle Speedway. Lining up on the outside of the front row of the 22-car starting field, McKinney never seemed to be challenged even with the race being slowed by two caution periods. McKinney scored the $1,000 win in the 25-lap headliner over Frank Marshall, who started on the inside of the front row. Rounding out the top six finishers were Bobby Stremme, Jamie Lomax, Devin Wright and Nick Allen.
“I knew the track was going to be pretty narrow there (at the start),” McKinney said. “I needed to get the jump at the start and get our line there in the middle (groove) so we could use all the track we wanted to. I was here last week (for the track’s Firecracker 50) and we learned a lot for tonight. I’m glad it all paid off.”
Asked about the races two yellow flag periods, McKinney commented, “It was good to get away from the lapped cars a little bit. My dad was signaling be during the yellows that I was running good. That’s all I needed to know. I could turn laps around this place all day. We had a lot of fun.”
Heat races were won by Marshall, McKinney and Stremme as 27 cars were on hand for the competition. Curt Spalding won the “C” Main over Tom Bell and Kenny Carlson.
Jake Straka of Hebron, Ind., won the four-cylinder division feature race.
The Modified Finish:
Mike McKinney, Frank Marshall, Bobby Stremme, Jamie Lomax, Devin Wright, Nick Allen, Phil Dixon, Curt Spalding, Roger Cavness, Brad DeYoung, Zeke McKenzie, Tom Bell, Adam Pockrus, Josh Lolmaugh, Josh Hesson, Kenny Carlson, Dylan Caldwell, Jason Berry, Dustin Golden, Corey Bevard, Ed Thomas, Riley Misch.