Grundy County Speedway
Friday, July 27, 2012
Knippenberg Wins at Grundy
by Matt Panure
MORRIS, Ill. -- Billy Knippenberg slipped past Jeremy Spoonmore with three laps remaining in the Acorn Cabinetry 40 at Grundy County Speedway on Friday Night. It was Knippenberg's first time a car in over a year and the third consecutive win by a Grundy Co. Speedway regular over the traveling MASCS competitors.
Joe Vinachi claimed an extra $100 from Acorn Cabinetry by virtue of highest finishing Grundy regular that has run 75% of their local shows while Spoonmore was awarded an extra $400 by being the top finishing MASCS member. After a disqualification to second-place finisher Ron Vandemeier, Ryan Farrell was credited with third, fellow rookie Frank Slabenek was fourth and Brad Keith rounded out the top five.
With his absence, James Swan relinquished the MASCS points lead. Lyle Nowak finds himself atop the standings by 17 markers over Farrell and 19 over Spoonmore. Swan now sits 79 points back.
The field was led to green by Brad Keith and Jake Finney. Finney, who cut his teeth at Grundy, was unable to utilize the outside line and Keith dashed to the lead. Just two laps in Finney was sent backtracking as Farrell and Knippenberg jumped to second and third. Two laps later Ron Vandemeir moved to the inside of Finney to claim fourth with Spoonmore behind closing out the top five.
A caution for Rick Tackman reset the field on lap four. Tackman clipped the outside wall down the backstretch, spun into turn three and backed into the wall. Although the wreck appeared violent, Tackman drove away and was able to not only continue, but complete the race on the lead lap in 11th place.
Keith took an advantage on the restart over Knippenberg who moved from third to the outside of the front row due to the decision cone. Again proving the inside line as the preferred choice, Knippenberg fell from the outside back in line in the second spot. Knippenberg immediately went to work trying to find the inside line on Keith. With no intentions of trying the high side Knippenberg simply waited for a slip by Keith and rode to the inside to take the lead on lap 12.
Just two laps later Keith was reeling on the high line. Farrell grabbed second on lap 14 and Vandemeier followed to third one lap later. Farrell worked feverishly to close the gap on Knippenberg and chopped off nearly a half second from his disadvantage over the next ten laps. However, a slip on lap 25 allowed Vandemeier to jump to the inside line and swipe the runner up spot from Farrell. Just one lap later Knippenberg's advantage was erased as Ryan Gutknecht was sent spinning to the infield.
When the cone came down only Jeremy Spoonmore was brave enough to take the outside line from a top five spot. Spoonmore jumped to the high line of the front row from fourth with Frank Slabenek trailing to the outside of the second row from sixth and fast qualifier Kyle Shear jumping to the outside of row three from the ninth spot.
For two laps Spoonmore worked furiously to take the lead from Knippenberg in hopes of making a daring pass on the high line. Spoonmore caught a break on lap 28 when Marty McKinney spun. The field's lineup was reverted to the last completed lap, which was led by Spoonmore at the line by 0.034 seconds.
To no one's surprise Spoonmore took advantage of the lead and chose the inside line of the front row. Knippenberg decided to keep the inside and fall back to the second row.
When the green fell again Spoonmore and Knippenberg broke away. The top duo's breakaway was short-lived, however, as another caution fell with nine laps remaining for a spin involving Mike Lange and Vinachi. Because less than ten laps were remaining, the field was subject to a single file restart.
Knippenberg did not allow Spoonmore to break away and continually nudged Spoonmore, testing the MASCS veteran. Knippenberg's chance came with three to go when Spoonmore could no longer hold the inside line going into turn three. Knippenberg took the lead from Spoonmore at the stripe and did not look back over the final mile of the race.
The next event for the Mid-American Stock Car Series is scheduled for Saturday, August 11 at Dells Raceway Park. Lyle Nowak held off James Swan in a thriller the last time the series visited DRP on June 9.
Dells Raceway Park changed it's start times at the midway point of the season. Pits now open at 1:30 p.m., practice begins at 3, fan gates open at 4, qualifying is at 5:15 and racing now begins at 7.
Dells Raceway Park is located at N1070 Smith Road, five minutes north of downtown Wisconsin Dells, Wis., off highway 12-16. For more information including the latest news, the 2012 schedule and more visit www.dellsracewaypark.com.
For more information on the Mid-American Stock Car Series including full results of this event, current points and the 2012 schedule visit www.midamericanracing.com