By DAVID SMITH JR.
Special to The Hays Daily News
Park City, Kansas - April 6, 2013 - Robert Elliott of Clinton, Oklahoma may not have got the result he was looking for during the pill draw to determine his starting position but it is the end result that mattered as he paced himself during the early laps and then set sail to claim the inaugural "Sport Mod Spring Scramble" Saturday night at 81 Speedway in Park City, Kansas as the Bob Howard PDC and Mopar National Championship Racing Association of Park City opened their 2013 race season.
Former division champion Todd Decker of Edmond, Oklahoma drew the number one pill during the redraw of the top ten drivers in points from Friday night heat races and started on the pole for the big fifty lap championship feature finale with Chris Balthrop along his outside. Decker would jump lead lap one before the first caution of the race fell when Tim Echeveria spun in turn two.
The restart saw Decker and his Bob Howard PDC sponsored sport mod got the jump on the restart and motored back out front while Balthrop and Ross McCartney battled for the runner up position. McCartney, working the bottom of the track, took over the second position on lap five while ninth starting Robert Elliott made his way into the fourth position.
Balthrop would get back around McCartney for the runner up position on lap six and was working to put distance between him and McCartney before the caution would wave again, this time on lap seven when Bobby McGehee lost a tire down the backstretch.
On the double file restart Balthrop took advantage of his outside front row restarting position and out ran Decker exiting turn two and would take the lead on lap eight. Decker would not be denied as he regained the top spot one lap later, only to see Balthrop drive around him in turns one and two and take the lead on lap ten.
While this side by side battle was going on, it became a three car battle for the lead as Elliott began sticking his nose into the action.
It was three wide racing for the lead with Balthrop up high, Decker down low and Elliott in the middle for two more laps before the caution would slow the pace once again, this time for defending tour champion Travis Johnson as he got spun entering turns three and four while battling for the fifth position.
On the lap thirteen restart, Decker return the favor on the double file restart as he out motored Balthrop exiting turn two to take the regain the lead. McCartney got a good restart from his fourth position and would power past Elliott and Balthrop for the runner up position and on lap sixteen would pass Decker to take the lead coming out of turn four.
McCartney's lead was short lived as Elliott, aboard the Johnie Rauschenberg owned #09, Fine Roofing/ Whitson Hot Shot Service/Dakota Moore Consulting sponsored, Precision Engine Service powered Western Flyer sport mod, got passed the leader exiting turn two to take the lead for good.
As Elliott was pulling away from the field on lap seventeen, the battle for the runner up position was far from over as seventh starting Kinzer Edwards of South Coffeyville, Oklahoma quietly worked his way into contention and would take over the runner up position on lap twenty over McCartney, Decker and a fading Balthrop.
Elliott would open a half stretch lead before the mandatory red flag fuel stop slowed the race on lap twenty-five with only fuel being allowed by the crewmen.
The running order at the races half way point was Elliott, followed by Edwards, Decker, Mark Harrison, McCartney and Chad McNamara with Elliott once gain powering his way from the rest of the field once racing action resumed.
Harrison would pass Decker for third around lap twenty-seven and was battling Edwards for the runner up position before the caution would wave on lap twenty-nine when Thomas Andsager came to a stop in turn two.
Elliott again jumped into the lead on the restart and by lap thirty-five had once again opened a half stretch lead. The modified veteran began approaching lapped traffic on lap forty-two and would only be slowed one more time, this coming when the races final caution fell on lap 47 when Frank Graven spun on the front stretch.
The attempted restart was aborted as Edwards was penalized two positions for jumping the restart, which moved Harrison the second spot.
Once racing resumed there was no catching Elliott the final three laps as he went the rest of the way unchallenged to claim his fifth career tour victory and a $2000 pay day. Harrison came home second while Edwards rebounded to finish third. Decker settled for fourth while Johnson worked his way back up through the field, after restarting at the tail after his spin, to round out the top five.
In the caution filled "B" feature, Echeveria started ninth and work his way to the front to claim the fifteen lap victory over J.D. Choate, Marlin Farr and Chris Lyons.
The next event for the Bob Howard PDC and Mopar NCRA southern sport modified division will take place on Sunday night of Memorial Day weekend, May 26th with another $2000 to win event.
The Bob Howard PDC and Mopar National Championship Racing Association of Park City, Kansas presented by Precise Racing Products southern sport modified division would like to thank the following 2013 partners:
Park City, Kansas, Smiley's Racing Products, Hoosier Racing Tires, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bob Howard PDC and Mopar
81 Speedway/Park City, Kansas
NCRA Southern Sport Mods
B Feature: 1) Tim Echeveria, 2) J.D. Choate, 3) Marlin Farr, 4) Chris Lyons, 5) Greg Deterding, 6) Bobby McGehee, 7) Caleb Edwards, 8) Tim Ford, 9) Craig Ridgway, 10) Thomas Andsager, 11) Courtney McCartney, 12) Creighton Decker, 13) David Fisher, 14) Bobby Fiest, 15) Greg Deterding, 16) Jason Martin, 17) Tommy Huddleston, 18) Andrew Wallace, DNS) Steve Little, Kyle Choate
A Feature: 1) Robert Elliott, 2) Mark Harrison, 3) Kinzer Edwards, 4) Todd Decker, 5) Travis Johnson, 6) Cleo Adams, 7) Chad McNamara, 8) Brandon Smith, 9) Ross McCartney, 10) J.D. Choate, 11) T.J. Duffey, 12) Kenny Morris, 13) Bud Longpine, 14) Greg Deterding, 15) Caleb Edwards, 16) Chris Balthrop, 17) Craig Ridgway, 18) Thomas Andsager, 19) Frank Graven, 20) Tim Ford, 21) Tim Echeveria, 22) Bobby McGehee, 23) Marlin Farr, 24) Chris Lyons
Lap Leaders: Decker 1-7, 9, 13; Balthrop 8, 10-12; McCartney 16; Elliott 17-50