Johnson, Pihl seal deal at Salina


Special to The Hays Daily News

There were five classes racing on Friday night at Salina Speedway, and six drivers came away victorious. Included in the winner's column were two drivers that had victory elude them in the final laps during last week's races.

From the outside pole in the IMCA Modified feature, Shannon Johnson led the 17-car field into turn one. The Salinan, whose last win was two years ago in a Hobby Stock, held that spot until the caution waved on lap 12. In an eight-round battle to get to the checkers, Johnson held off Brian Knoell and picked up his first IMCA Modified victory. Teammates Jesse Richter and Mike Petersilie were next across the line. The point leader, Joe Cleveland, worked his way to second, but hopped the cushion and fell back to fifth. Johnson, who led the majority of the previous week's feature, took a heat win, along with Rodger Peck.

The "streak" was broken in the IMCA SportMod division. Falun's Kurtis Pihl finally put an end to the seven-win sequence put together by Tyler Frye. Pihl's #3K battled for the top spot with Brenden Damon, Frye, and Jesse Levin as the laps wound down. Damon moved in front of the pack coming to the white flag, but a caution moved Kurtis back to the lead for the restart. In the two-lap shootout, Pihl drove away for his fourth victory of the season, but his first in three months. Damon held off Levin for second, while Frye was involved in a melee that dropped him out of the top ten. Mark Franklin, runner-up in the points, rallied from the back for a fourth-place finish. Frye did win the first heat race, while Brandon Belvill took the second.

Two-man "cruisers" made their return to the Saline County oval on Friday. The "Ryan White Memorial" featured cars that were driven and braked by one man, while the passenger ran the gas pedal. A 19-car field was on hand to race for the $1,000 top prize, but only one team could take it home. That was the team of Andy Dunbar and Sam Schwebach, from Derby. They outclassed the pack, including runners-up Ken and Drew Barry from Superior, Nebraska. Ronnie Heath and Steve Streit, the winners 24 months ago in their last visit, placed third. The three heats went to Shipman/Smith, Kreager/Russell, and Dunbar/Schwebach.

The other full-fendered classes were in action and produced two exciting "A"-mains. Breaking a winless streak from June of 2012, Tommy Fose returned to Victory Lane in his IMCA Hobby Stock. The Ellis, Kansas racer whipped his tiger-striped #27 to the early lead and never relinquished it. Brian Stich, a third-row starter, tracked down Fose late in the race but couldn't make the pass. John Steele, the winner of the third heat, placed third. Other heat wins went to Mike Traskowsky and Pete Beaumont.

When asked about the Topekan on his rear bumper, Fose exclaimed "I heard someone coming, but I wasn't worried."

Hutchinson's Scott Miller raced to his second win of the year in the Street Stock category. Using the low groove to get to the front, Miller steadily pulled away from James Weve and Scott Cossel in the twenty-lap feature. Curtis Woods and Mike Traskowsky took the second and third heats, while Miller swept the program by taking the first. The standings tightened at the top with Tony Steenson and Duane Toyne experiencing problems in the feature.

Salina Speedway's "Championship Night', for all seven classes, is next Friday. Delbert Smith's 4-point advantage could be erased by Darrick Klima in the Late Models. Duane Toyne has led the Street Stock points all season, but Tony Steenson is only 4 markers behind. Aaron McBride, just13 points back, is pressuring Mike Traskowsky in the IMCA Hobby Stocks. "Smokin" Joe Cleveland can wrap up the IMCA Modified title by starting his heat race next week, but Corey Lagroon and Brian Knoell will duke it out for the second spot. The Mod Lite title is Justin Kinderknecht's to lose, but Brandon Gray and Nick Watts are tied for the second spot. Tyler Frye will be officially crowned Champion in the IMCA SportMods, while Mark Franklin will try to hold off Kurtis Pihl as the runner-up.

The 2013 title winner for the Mini Stocks will be Brian Dunsworth, as long as he starts his heat race. The 4-cylinder division will hold their "6th Annual Barry Brittendall Memorial" race for front-wheel drive compacts.