FLAT ROCK - It was a night of firsts at Flat Rock Speedway Saturday as Angola, IN driver Scott Hantz held back Johnny VanDoorn and Jason Dietsch to win the exciting 7-Up 125 lap feature for the ARCA/CRA Super Series Late Models, Scott's first Flat Rock win and the Series initial visit to the track. Bobby Hugo edged Danny Bennett by 2 car lengths to grab his first victory in the 300 lap Enduro championship race, and Matt Ringger's 6th place run was enough to seal the deal on his first-ever Enduro championship.
The first visit ever to Flat Rock by the ARCA/CRA cars was a great race as the battle up front waged on throughout the 125 lap contest. West Virginia driver Travis Braden started things off by setting fast time at 12:228. Travis drew an 8 for the inversion, giving Kenzie Ruston the pole starting spot. Pat Zorn led lap 1, but Ruston took control on lap 2 and led for 6 laps. Hantz spun on lap 7 to bring out the yellow flag. Braden had to check up to avoid the incident, ending up with some damage and forcing him to the pits. VanDoorn, not satisfied with his machine, also pitted and rejoined the race after making some adjustments. The man on the move was Nate Caruth, who grabbed the top spot away from Ruston on lap 9 and set the pace through lap 90. The yellow flags were only for minor incidents and the pace of the race was quick, but the competition for position was fierce throughout the pack.
Caruth and Hantz would trade the lead back and forth 3 times, but it took Hantz until that lap 90 mark to challenge the fleet Caruth. Scott got by for the lead on lap 91,only to have Caruth power back by for the lead on lap 99. VanDoorn made his way back to the front and began his bid for the lead with 25 laps to go. At lap 105, Scott became the baloney in the sandwich as Caruth went low, Hantz in the middle and the lapped car of Ruston up high as the trio went 3 wide down the backstretch. Hantz came out with the lead and on lap 107 the yellow appeared when Stan Yee Jr. slowed. The excitement was not over, however, as the double file restart saw Caruth charge up to the high side of Hantz as Nate made a valiant effort to retake the point. Diestch and now VanDoorn also entered the mix for the battle for the number 1 spot, as that duo ran door to door right behind Hantz and Caruth. Scott held the edge as Caruth continued to inch up to the quarter panel of the leader. On lap 112, Caruth got sideways, slid up the track and tagged the turn 3 wall, ending his great effort. Hantz was able to hang on for the win as VanDoorn came home second, Diestch was third and Jay Niewieck picked off several cars in the final laps to climb to fourth at the stripe, while Kenny Tweedy did the same and grabbed fifth spot. Braden, Zorn, Ed Szelagowswki Jr., Nick Gullatta and Ruston completed the top ten. Terry Fisher Jr., who was also in the battle late in the race, had a tire go down and faded at the end after a solid run kept him in contention.
Strategy played a part in the 300 lap Enduro Championship race Saturday night. With the additional 50 laps tacked onto the event, several drivers decided to pit for fuel. Bobby Hugo ran a steady pace, conserved just a bit and held back a great run by Danny Bennett to score his first victory in the event. Jeff Maran led the early stages until his car went up in a puff of smoke. Bennett took control and led for a better part of the race, but Danny pitted, giving the lead to Hugo. The race ran 300 laps straight with no stoppage in an astounding 1 hour and 18 minutes. At the half-way mark, 21 of the 27 cars were still on the track. With 20 to go, Bennett made up almost a ½ lap as Hugo was being conservative with fuel. He chose not to pit, and with 5 to go, Bennett was within striking distance. Hugo held on to take his big victory over Bennett,
Rayce Metdepenningen, Derrick Sheppard (who also did not pit) and Rick Bennett. The top 5 all finished on the lead lap in the very competitive event. New champ Ringger took sixth to secure the crown, with Rick McColl, Dave Bennett, Kyle Metdepenningen and Troy Brehmer rounding out the top ten.
The final race of the season is set for Saturday night, September 15 at Flat Rock. Griller's Select BBQ Sauce will sponsor the popular School Bus Figure 8 races! Fans will be treated to a great night of fun and entertainment as the track's Figure 8 and Street Stock classes will be in action, as well as the Michigan Legends Cars. A Figure 8 Boat race is also part of the final night of 2012.