Chris Martin won the Sprint Invaders event at Lee County Speedway Friday (MF Photography)
(Bill W) Donnellson, IA, August 21, 2020 – Chris Martin won out in a classic battle that saw three lead changes Friday night at the Lee County Speedway. The win for the 2016 Sprint Invaders champion was the sixth in his career, and came aboard the Chris Martin Racing #44.
The 25-lap feature got off to a tough start, as eighth starter Paul Nienhiser got sideways in front of the field. Luckily, no contact was made and he restarted at the tail. A second try at green saw two-time and defending series champion, John Schulz, tip over in turn three. He was uninjured.
Pole-sitter Kaley Gharst shot out to an early lead ahead of Josh Higday and Martin, before someone hit the turn four cone two laps in. A simultaneous incident in turns one and two ended the night for Cam Martin and Dugan Thye. The caution negated a Chris Martin pass of Higday for second.
Gharst led again at the green flag, and got into lapped traffic by the ninth circuit. On lap 11, Higday dove to the bottom of turn three and slid in front of two cars, the leader and a lapper. The daring move gave him the lead.
Martin would used a similar move to get by Gharst for second on lap 13. Riley Goodno entered the top three by moving by Gharst on the following circuit. Later, we would find out the 17 year old driver had no brakes.
Martin ran down Higday and slid in front of him to take the lead on lap 17. Lapped traffic became heavy, but with five laps to go, Austin Miller banged into the turn four guardrail to bring one more caution.
In clean air, Martin pulled away to win ahead of Higday, Goodno, hard-charger Lynton Jeffrey, who came from row ten, and Dustin Selvage. Nienhiser recovered from the tail for sixth, and Colton Fisher, Randy Martin, Glenn Saville and Cody Wehrle rounded out the top ten. Randy Martin, Higday and Chris Martin won heats, and Higday also claimed the Dash.
“We’ve had a lot of mishaps this year,” said Martin in Victory Lane. “It’s definitely been a challenge, that’s for sure. I knew we had a good car coming here. I’ve gotten comfortable here the last two or three years. This is always a fun track, and I’m excited we won here finally. We were racing hard with our friend Josh Higday. He’s helped me out in the past a bunch. It’s always fun racing against friends.”
“Altogether it was a good night,” said Higday. “Of course, we would have liked to win the feature, but sometimes you just can’t get her done. We came home second tonight, and tomorrow we’ll see if we can be one spot better. I just had to go for it (his early pass for the lead). I just felt like I freed up the longer the race went. The wing went forward for some reason. I don’t know if I was hitting it when I was racing or what. We just gave it one more shot at the end. We just came up a little short.”
“It was really tricky up top,” said Goodno of his third place run with no brakes. “You had to get up in it, and just run it. Every time we took off, it was tough. I was just holding on for dear life for 25 laps. The bottom was good at the beginning, but it went away. We went up top other than to lap cars. I don’t think we had enough to catch the top two.”
The Sprint Invaders are back in action Saturday night, Ausgust 22 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa. For more information on the Sprint Invaders, visit www.SprintInvaders.com or look us up on Facebook.
Sprint Invaders A main (started), 25 laps: 1. 44, Chris Martin, Ankeny, IA (3) 2. 35, Josh Higday, Des Moines, IA (2) 3. 22, Riley Goodno, Knoxville, IA (7) 4. 83, Lynton Jeffrey, Prairie City, IA (19) 5. 88, Dustin Selvage, Indianola, IA (9) 6. 50, Paul Nienhiser, Chapin, IL (8) 7. 11, Colton Fisher, Mediapolis, IA (5) 8. 14, Randy Martin, California, MO (6) 9. 70K, Glenn Saville, Razorback, NSW, Aust. (18) 10. 40c, Cody Wehrle, Burlington, IA (10) 11. 13, Brayden Gaylord, Wever, IA (4) 12. 69, Justin Buchholz, Davenport, IA (20) 13. 29w, Wyatt Wilkerson, Morning Sun, IA (17) 14. 9, Daniel Bergquist, Burlington, IA (11) 15. 4, Bailey Goldesberry, Springfield, IL (16) 16. 78, Kaley Gharst, Decatur, IL (1) 17. 83A, Austin Miller, Lacona, IA (15) 18. 11T, Dugan Thye, Burlington, IA (13) 19. 44m, Cam Martin, Ankeny, IA (14) 20. 99, John Schulz, West Burlington, IA (12) 21. 84K, Wayne Kniffen, Fort Madison, IA (21) DNS – 81, Tanner Gebhardt, Burlington, IA; 41, Noah Samuel, Burlington, IA; 31, Austin Sears, Macomb, IL; 2D, Dave Keperling, Hannibal, MO. Lap Leaders: Gharst 1-10, Higday 11-16, C. Martin 17-25. Hard-charger: Jeffrey. KSE Hard-charger: Buchholz.
Randall’s Performance Heat one (started), 8 laps: 1. Randy Martin (1) 2. Riley Goodno (3) 3. Kaley Gharst (7) 4. John Schulz (5) 5. Tanner Gebhardt (4) 6. Austin Miller (6) 7. Noah Samuel (2) 8. Lynton Jeffrey (8) DNS – Dave Keperling
CenPenCo Lubricants Heat two (started), 8 laps: 1. Josh Higday (5) 2. Paul Nienhiser (3) 3. Colton Fisher (6) 4. Dugan Thye (1) 5. Cam Martin (4) 6. Glenn Saville (2) 7. Bailey Goldesberry (8) 8. Justin Buchholz (7)
Paisano’s Ristorante of Preston, Illinois Heat three (started), 8 laps: 1. Chris Martin (3) 2. Brayden Gaylord (1) 3. Dustin Selvage (4) 4. Cody Wehrle (6) 5. Daniel Bergquist (5) 6. Wyatt Wilkerson (2) 7. Wayne Kniffen (7) DNS – Austin Sears
Budweiser King of Beers – Golden Eagle Distributors Shake-up Dash (started), 6 laps: 1. Josh Higday (2) 2. Chris Martin (1) 3. Brayden Gaylord (3) 4. Colton Fisher (5) 5. Randy Martin (6) 6. Kaley Gharst (4)
Kreitz Oval Products: Brayden Gaylord
Pyrotect: Cody Wehrle
Saldana Racing Products: John Schulz