TOLEDO -- Caleb Armstrongand Jerry Coons Jr. scored victories in the annual Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness USAC open-wheel double-header at Toledo Speedway Friday evening. Ron Hemelgarn, a local businessman and the 1996 Indy 500 winning car owner, presented the 5 foot trophies in the Sun Drop Winner's Circle.
Practice was delayed about 75 minutes when rain came in, but the heavy stuff stayed to the west and south of the track. The crowd was treated to a great night of open-wheel racing and the evening turned out to be perfect for racing.
The USAC Mopar National Midget 30 lap feature was slowed by just 1 yellow flag. Caleb Armstong grabbed the lead on the green over his brother, Dalton at the start and stayed 8 car lengths out front. On lap 16, Nick Drake spun to bring out the caution flag, bunching the field. A great battle for 3rd between Bobby East and new track record holder Kyle Hamilton went on for 10 laps, and on the re-start, Hamilton was able to zip to the outside lane and get by East for third. Caleb was very strong out front as he sailed to the checkered flag over Dalton Armstrong, Hamilton, Mario Clouser, East, Bobby Santos III, Darren Hagen, Kyle Larson, Tanner Swanson and Kody Swanson.
A total of 6 drivers broke the existing track record in time trials, with Hamilton slamming the mark down to 14:668. The old mark was 14:983, held by Brad Sweet and set in 2009. Heat race winners were Drake, Hagen and Tanner Swanson.
The finale was the Rollie Beale 100 for the USAC Traxxas Silver Crown Cars and what a show it was as Jerry Coons Jr. led the final 14 laps to take the victory. 3 cars battled the entire distance in a race run in just 29 minutes! Bobby East stayed out front from his number 1 starting spot and stayed there but he had lots of company in Bobby Santos III and Coons Jr. The trio put on perhaps one of the finest open-wheel races held at Toledo in many years as they nosed in and out of traffic, dipped high and low and provided the great competition that the fans came out for. Santos took at least a dozen shots on the high side to get by East, but could not quite pull off the move. Coons dove low entering turn 1 and got by Santos on lap 81, then took to the high lane on lap 86, zipped by East and scored the big victory. The race was slowed by just 1 yellow flag on lap 24 when Taylor Ferns came to a stop in the front straight.
Jerry's win was his second at Toledo in the Silver Crown cars. East came home second, Santos III was third, Kody Swanson fourth and Tracy Hines took fifth, followed by Kyle Hamilton, Tanner Swanson, AJ Fike, Levi Jones and Jacob Wilson. East set fast time at 15:051.
Toledo Speedway's ½ mile high-banked, lightning-fast paved oval is the site for leg number 4 of the 6-race ARCA Allegiant Late Model Gold Cup Series next Friday evening, July 6. A field of 20-25 Late Models is expected for the 100 lap event.
The support race for the July 6 date at Toledo will be a 50 lap Road Course race, which uses parts of the ½ mile, ¼ mile and pit road! Figure 8 cars, Street Stocks, Factory Stocks, Enduro cars, Sportsman and 4 Cylinders make up the field for the wild event, which will pay $500 to win.
The pit area will open at 2:30, practice for the Late Models begins at 4:30 (the front gates will also open at 4:30), time trials are set for 6:15, the road course practice session is at 6:45 and racing begins at 7:30 p.m. Weather permitting, an on-track autograph session with the drivers will be held prior to the start of the 100 lap main event. Bus rides around the speedway are also being planned, if time permits.