WoO Hot Laps at Jacksonville saw Christopher Bell turn the first lap under 10 seconds...
(Bill W) May 1, 2019, Monroe, IA – It’s hard to think of a track more snake-bitten than Jacksonville Speedway has been with the World of Outlaws and Mother Nature the past couple of years (0-4). Now that I think about it, over the decades, I have made many trips to J-ville to watch it rain! Perhaps Morgan County is a bit of a rain tunnel?
In all seriousness, last Sunday night, my ride home to Iowa saw a broad smile over my face. That’s certainly not normal after a rainout, but what we did get to see before the rains came was fantastic.
Ken Dobson and the staff at Jacksonville Speedway has done a tremendous job over the last several years in their promotions and upgrades in the facility. As someone who has been fortunate enough to announce there on several occasions with the Sprint Invaders and MOWA over the years, I can attest that much has been done. Sunday was no different, as the track was ready for a big crowd, and it got it.
Jacksonville is always entertaining and unpredictable. The tight banked quarter-mile with the unforgiving wall always has you on the edge of your seat. Ellen W marks it at the top of her track list. When the WoO is in town, however, you can ramp that up ten times! There are certain tracks that you see on the WoO schedule, that are must-see in person events that you circle on the calendar, and J-ville is one of them. When you add the POWRi midgets on a track tailor-made for them, you need your head examined if you’re not in the house! Putnamville, Kokomo and Angell Park are on the can’t miss list as well. You never know when or if they’ll be back, and all of these tracks are unpredictable. The locals time in right with the WoO regulars, and it’s game on after that.
It started Sunday in hot laps when Christopher Bell, who won his first WoO feature at Jacksonville became the first driver to tour the oval under ten seconds. No one hit that mark in time trials, but Aaron Reutzel led 27 drivers under Logan Schuchart’s old track record of 10.805, by touring in 10.028 seconds. It was on! The first flight went pretty much without incident, but once a rut developed in turn three for the second flight, the drama began.
A brush with the wall saw Brent Marks suffer a collapsed wing and front end damage. He would not get a time in, but would make his “mark” later in the heat. You had two choices, let it eat on top and hope for the best, or give up mega-speed staying lower on the track. When Sheldon Haudenschild ripped by me on the backstretch, I knew trouble was awaiting in turn three. A hard pitch to the right saw him hit hard and carom down the track. He was uninjured and came back for more excitement. Gio Scelzi also folded his front axle in the same fashion in his first trip to J-ville. Donny Schatz was king of the second flight, followed by David Gravel, Ian Madsen and Paul Nienhiser from up the road.
The midgets hit the track next for heats. Jesse Colwell and Tucker Klaasmeyer put on a Kunz car sliding exhibition with Colwell winning heat one…Logan Seavey prevailed in the second heat from outside row two in tight racing action with Kaylee Bryson and Holley Hollan, before she flipped in turn one collecting Bryson. It was not Bryson’s race, as she was collected in a Daniel Robinson spin shortly after…While eyes were on Rico Abreu coming from the tail in heat three, it was Jake Neuman who prevailed over Zach Daum…Jason McDougal is always exciting to watch, but two spins in the fourth heat early cut the drama. Tanner Carrick led coast to coast from row two.
Sprint car heats were even more off the chain. A four-car jumble led the first heat, and on the restart, Bill Balog surged from sixth to third. Jac Haudenschild was in his first action of the year “just trying to find a race” after being rained out at Attica, then Wayne County then Kokomo. A spin on the third lap collected Dylan Tuxhorn, but the veteran was unfazed and full of gusto! Scotty Thiel had a run from fourth on the restart and tried sliding in front of Sweet for second before getting sideways. A tap from Sweet sent him all the way around. Joey Moughan used that restart to get into a transfer from tenth. Jac didn’t need the inspiration to get up on the cushion and circled all but the top three in the last five laps…Another National Sprint Car Hall of Famer, Sammy Swindell showed his prowess by winning heat two. Cory Eliason went fifth to third before getting upside down. Christopher Bell went from sixth to fourth after the restart, and Jacob Allen held off Joe B. Miller for the final transfer…Schatz was gone in heat three. Abreu spun, as did Scelzi. Kerry Madsen started eighth and moved his way up to fifth. Contact is common, and Madsen tagged Schuchart on the way to a transfer, flattening the latter’s left front…Marks was the story of heat four. Starting tenth, he worked quickly forward and picked his way to second and a Dash transfer behind Gravel. After drawing the third spot in the Dash, Marks would win it.
Hollen recovered from her heat flip to win the midget B main from the tenth starting spot in an electrifying charge. McDougal got things going as well, rocketing from twelfth to second. The rains came while the WoO B main hit the track, but anyone who said they hadn’t gotten their money’s worth by then would be lying. Nonetheless, the track and the series are looking for a make-up date.
The All Stars come to Jacksonville in June...be there!
The forecast is looking great for this weekend at Knoxville Raceway. Hopefully, we can get another one in the books there.
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Check out my results and stories on Friday’s Lake Ozark Speedway WoO tilt on the website.
Bill W Media