Stenhouse at Attica!

Friday, June 17, 2016
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s mount is ready to spin heads at Attica in 2006Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s mount is ready to spin heads at Attica in 2006 (Bill W) June 17, 2016 – Tonight, Ohio Speedweek gets underway at Attica Raceway Park.  If the stars align, I’ve been there, but not this year.  Fortunately, Tom Myers will be covering a handful of the Ohio Speedweek events this week for the website, starting tonight, so stay tuned.  Tonight, I find myself at the first sprint car race in Eldon, Iowa since Danny Young grabbed a win on the super half-mile in the early 1990’s.  The Sprint Invaders will be there.  I’ll also be at Knoxville Saturday when the NSL pays a visit, and I’ll be making my first ever trip to the Mason City Motor Speedway Sunday with the NSL. 

Ten years ago, I was at Attica on this night.  I had taken a liking to Ricky Stenhouse when he came to the Nationals, driving the Poston #6 in the early 1990’s.  When he brought his 16-year-old son to compete in the family rig in 2004, I wasn’t surprised by the humble and polite demeanor displayed.  That has continued over the years, as he has made his way in 360’s, 410’s, and with USAC, Nationwide and now Sprint Cup.  He is the genuine article.

Some got their first taste of what he was capable of on this night in 2006.  Yes, he had the capable Andy Potter turning the wrenches.  Attica is no easy track to tame.  Few have finished up front in their first trip.  The dry-slick little oval favors the locals with a number of laps.  Many an Outlaw has watched the feature from their trailer.

On this night, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made the huge crowd in attendance take notice of his ability.  The 18-year-old also won on another beast, Fremont Speedway, in his first outing there.  The first indication on this night came when local Byron Reed, who along with Mark Keegan is regarded as the best ever there, passed the youngster in his heat.  When Ricky returned the favor and pulled away, he sounded his first notice.

After disposing of another Attica legend, Butch Schroeder on lap four, he would slice and dice through lapped traffic like he had grown up here.  The sticky gumbo of his home track, “The Ditch” in West Memphis, Arkansas was long behind him, as the field kicked up Ohio dust.  I’ve included my report from that night below. 

I’ve managed to get through my results and stories from 2006 and added them to the site as I continue to work my way back.  You can go to the “Search” page and tag “2006” to find Stevie Smith’s run from back in the pack to win during PA Speedweek at Susquehanna, USAC sprints and midgets from Lake Ozark Speedway, the IRA at Echo Valley Speedway, how Donny Schatz won his first Nationals and much more!  Hope you enjoy!

Turning back the clock at Attica…


Attica Raceway Park

Ohio Speedweek Round 1

All Stars

48 cars

Dale Blaney (4th car out to time) set the standard in time trials on the banked 3/8 miler at 12.618 seconds on a dry surface. Byron Reed (2nd car out) was second quick, followed by Kelly Kinser (10th), Greg Wilson (31st), Brian Smith (1st), Kevin Huntley (8th), Bobby Clark (13th), Brock Mayes (16th), Bruce Robenalt (6th) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (27th). Jason Dukes suffered motor woes in hot laps and scratched for the night. Bryan Grove struck the frontstretch fence in time trials and didn’t get a time in. Tom Busch, who took his first All Star victory at KC Raceway the night previous, also suffered mechanical woes and didn’t get a time in.

Heat one (started): 1. Tim Hunter 2H (1) 2. Dean Jacobs 29 (2) 3. Mike Linder 3 (3) 4. Blaney 2 (6) 5. Rob Chaney 9x (8) / 6. Brandon Martin 11 (7) 7. Mark Keegan X (9) 8. David Harrison 10 (11) 9. B. Smith 55 (5) 10. Robenalt 98 (4) 11. Barry Ruble 63 (10) 12. Aaron Middaugh 91 (12)

Hunter led the 10 lap distance. Heats were worthy of the dust bath bestowed on the nice throng assembled. Linder on the high side, and Blaney on the low battled for several laps, while Keegan surged to sixth on lap two, only to be taken in the end by a persistent Martin. Both would head to the B, as Chaney snaked them for the final transfer.

Heat two (started): 1. Todd Kane 78 (2) 2. Andrew Palker K (3) 3. Stenhouse 40R (4) 4. John Ivy 53 (1) 5. Reed 5 (6) / 6. Huntley 70 (5) 7. Bryan Scott 37z (10) 8. Jamie Miller 7B (9) 9. Tom Busch 4B (12) 10. Craig Mintz 8s (7) 11. Roger Shammo 10s (8) 12. Mike Burkin 48 (11)

Kane led flag to flag. Stenhouse amazed many by returning a pass of Reed and pulling away. Reed had his hands full with Huntley, narrowly edging him for the final transfer.

Heat three (started): 1. Butch Schroeder 7K (4) 2. Clark 8 (5) 3. Lee Jacobs 16 (2) 4. Brandon Wimmer 0 (7) 5. Brian Ellenberger 20E (3) / 6. Kinser 4K (6) 7. Jamie Martin 15m (10) 8. Scott Reilly 18 (1) 9. James Mosher 12m (11) 10. Ed Neumeister 11n (8) 11. Todd King 97 (9) 12. Bryan Grove 45 (12)

Schroeder grabbed the early advantage from L. Jacobs. Neumeister spun on lap two, bringing the night’s first caution. Schroeder led L. Jacobs, Clark, Ellenberger and Aussie Reilly, who had Knoxville regular, Brent Antill, turning wrenches. Wimmer came alive in the Ferkel 0 after the restart and somehow got by Kinser and then Ellenberger, who edged the former by a nose for the final transfer.

Heat four (started): 1. Wilson w20 (6) 2. Phil Gressman 1R (7) 3. Jason Meyers 14 (1) 4. Neil Shepherd 4N (2) 5. Paul McMahan 20 (3) / 6. Danny Smith 4 (4) 7. Brian Paulus 28 (8) 8. Mayes 11B (5) 9. Chad Blonde 5B (11) 10. Paul May 71m (10) 11. Ben Gragg 22B (9) DNS – Jason Dukes 3D

Meyers grabbed the early lead, before the 16 year old son of Terry showed him second on lap five. Wilson followed the youngster by Meyers. On lap six, May stopped bringing caution. Shepherd led Wilson, Meyers, a surging Gressman and D. Smith back to green. Wilson took the lead immediately, while McMahan wrestled the final transfer from D. Smith.

C main (started): 1. Scott (2) 2. May (4) 3. Harrison (5) 4. Blonde (8) / 5. Busch (10) 6. Martin (3) 7. Grove (11) 8. Ruble (1) 9. Burkin (6) 10. Mosher (7) 11. Middaugh (9) DNS – Dukes

Scott took the first lap advantage from Ruble and led the distance in the 10 lapper. A mess ensued on lap five involving Middaugh, Burkin and Mosher. All would restart. Harrison was the late mover getting by Blonde and Ruble for third. Blonde held off Busch, who did what he could from the rear.

Dash (started): 1. Clark (1) 2. Reed (3) 3. Wilson (2) 4. Blaney (4) 5. Schroeder (5) 6. McMahan (6)

Clark dominated the six lapper. The best racing came between Wilson and Blaney. Wilson edged the “Tall Cool One” on the last go-around.

B main (started): 1. Kinser (1) 2. B. Smith (2) 3. Huntley (3) 4. D. Smith (6) / 5. Mayes (4) 6. Paulus (12) 7. Martin (8) 8. May (18) 9. Blonde (20) 10. Robenalt (5) 11. Harrison (19) 12. King (15) 13. Miller (14) 14. Gragg (16) 15. Shammo (10) 16. Reilly (7) 17. Keegan (13) 18. Scott (17) 19. Mintz (9) 20. Neumeister (11)

Kinser hit his traditional huggy pole line and led the way for 15 laps. The lone slowdown came on the white flag lap, when Arizonan Gragg, spun. The second effort was all D. Smith needed to snooker Mayes for the final ticket to the A. Early retirees included Scott, Mintz and Neumeister.

A main (started): 1. Stenhouse (2) 2. Reed (5) 3. Wilson (4) 4. Blaney (6) 5. Schroeder (1) 6. Clark (3) 7. Kinser (7) 8. McMahan (14) 9. Meyers (21) 10. Huntley (9) 11. D. Jacobs (15) 12. D. Smith (10) 13. L. Jacobs (17) 14. Gressman (23) 15. Ivy (20) 16. Linder (11) 17. Wimmer (22) 18. Shepherd (18) 19. Chaney (24) 20. Palker (12) 21. B. Smith (8) 22. Ellenberger (13) 23. Kane (16) 24. Hunter (19)

Schroeder shot out to the early lead in the 40 lapper. Stenhouse was persistent and won the battle for the point on lap four. He began to separate himself from the pack using the high side, until a lap nine spin by Wimmer. Stenhouse led Schroeder and Reed, who were in a serious battle for the runner-up position ahead of Wilson and Blaney. One more lap was in the books before Palker spun. The next 24 laps were high energy and the crowd was on the edge of their seat watching the Mississippi youngster carve through traffic on a night where he first laid eyes on this speedway. The setup by Attica expert Andrew Potter, who was lending a hand to Stenhouse, was picture perfect, and Stenhouse looked like classic Mark Keegan at Attica, schooling both regulars and ringers alike. This win showed non-believers what the rest of us knew. Perhaps on this big stage, they will recognize this 18 year old as the real deal. Around lap 30, Reed began to make the low side work in second and looked to be closing on the rookie, before Linder spun right in front of the leaders, who took some evasive action. Now Stenhouse would lead Reed, Wilson, Blaney and Schroeder back for a five lap finish and that is how it would end. The youngster nabbed $5,000 and his first All Star win. Meyers earned hard-charger honors, marching to ninth from the 11th row.

Bill Wright
Bill W Media
Twitter: @BillWMedia