Saippriacone Wins Wheels for Wheels Invitational at Springport
By: Chris Fobbe
Springport, Michigan (7/20) – In an effort to help raise money to help children regain lost mobility, the Springport Motor Speedway played host to a unique racing fundraiser, the first annual Wheels for Wheels event. A star studded field of Drive Train Specialists Modifieds would be on hand to wage war around the 3/8s (.375) mile, high banked oval. The event was scheduled to be 60 laps long, featuring a break after the 40 lap mark, where teams were allowed to refuel and make minor adjustments.
Reigning Rookie of the Year Chance Rice would lead the field of Drive Train Specialists Modifieds down to the green flag. Rice would set the pace in the early running, but Bobby Heyink would take advantage on a restart, and claim the lead for himself on lap 12. Heyink would have his own challenges as he went about leading the event, but as the yellow flag flew at lap 40 for the break, it was Heyink in the top position. Once the race resumed, a hot battle would break out between Heyink and Jason Parish. Parish would get the position on lap 41, but the two drivers would keep each other on their toes. In a battle of restart gamesmanship, the two drivers were penalized for causing consecutive aborted starts, giving the lead back over to Chance Rice. Rice however would have a short run back up front, as Canadian pilot John Saippriacone would use the outside line and power into the top spot on lap 47. That would be all she wrote, as Sappriacone claimed the big win, Rice was second with Parish, Heyink and Dennis Uhlman completing the top five. Mike Occhipinti was the RacingPartSales.com fast qualifier, picking up a $200 bonus for running a 15.948.
The next feature of the night would be the Sport Stocks. Rick Peck would continue on with his season of domination, taking the big win over a field featuring some top notch cars. While the winner of the last two feature events, Dutch Taylor, suffered mechanical woes after leading early, his grandson Aaron was the runner up to Peck. Ron Fizzell was a strong third, with Gary Martin and Patrick McNamara completing the top five. Peck made is a sweep of the night by picking up the heat race win, and snagging fast qualifier honors with an 18.563.
The ABC Stock Car Series presented by the Duck’s Point C-Store and AP Motors put on three outstanding feature events, the first up being the 25-lap A-feature. After some early fireworks, Earl Miles would put on a show, battling his way to the lead with just five laps left to run. The Hanover, Michigan veteran, a five-time Champion at the Speedway, would snake past Jeremy Lutz to pick up his second feature win of the season and first in the ABC class. Lutz was second with JD Handcock, Joe Barnhart and Mike Ammerman wrapping up top five positions.
In the AP Motors B-Division, it was John Trudell battling through adversity and danger to claim the win. Trudell has an issue with his throttle sticking early in the race that persisted throughout the event, forcing the multi-time winner to physically pull the peddle up with his non-driving foot just to avoid wrecking during the 20-lap affair. Trudell was able to wrest the lead away from newcomer Shane Miller with just three laps left on the board to take the win. Miller was second Craig Stephens, Todd DeWaters and Pat Dent finishing off the top handful.
The C-Division was the final featured event of the evening, with defending C-Division Champion Sabrina Booth leading the charge down to the flag. However, it was to be Steven Pelky overcoming Booth to take the point on lap one. It would be Corby Howk taking the point a couple laps later, but Martin French would be the star of the show, as he came from the very last row to wrest the lead away from Howk and take the lead for himself. In the end, it would be French taking the big victory. Howk was second with Pelky, Robert Kerber and Justin Eideiner completing the top five.
Quinten Bethke was the winner of the Duck’s Point C-Store Dash, while Howk, Ammerman and Handcock won heat races. Andrew Ritter was the fastest qualifying ABC driver with a 16.530.
The Springport Motor Speedway would like to sincerely thank the fans and drivers for helping to raise nearly $2500 for the cause of Wheels for Wheels, helping children regain their mobility. This Saturday night sees the return of the Performance Automotive Northwest Super Late Models, as well as a full program for the Duck’s Point C-Store / AP Motors ABC Stock Cars and Sport Stocks. It is also Parma good neighbor night, so anyone with a Parma ID gets in for absolutely free. Adults are just $10, Seniors $8 and anyone 21 and under is absolutely free! For more information visit us online at www.springportmotorspeedway.com.