GAS CITY, Ind., Oct. 23 — Matt Westfall of Pleasant Hill, Ohio repeated his winning ways of Friday night by posting his third non-wing 410 sprint car feature victory of the season at Gas City I-69 Speedway Saturday night. He earned $3,000 for winning the 25-lap main event during the second half of the two-day, fourth annual Fall Festival of Speed, which put an exclamation point on the 2022 season for the quarter-mile dirt track.
Dillon Nusbaum of Warsaw, Ind., was triumphant in the 20-lap UMP modified feature. Andy Bishop of Gas City was the star of the show in the 15-lap sportsman stock feature, while Josh Gamblin of Kokomo, Ind., dominated the 15-lap hornet feature.
Westfall had to pass Anton Hernandez of West Lafayette, Ind., twice before he sealed up his victory on Saturday, but ironically the other three feature winners led every lap of their respective main events. Although all three are stars at Gas City like Westfall in their divisions, it was the first Gas City feature victory of the season for all three too.
Despite big fields and stiff competition, all four feature winners also won their qualifying heats.
Non-Wing Sprint Cars
Westfall started on the pole in the sprint car feature in his familiar yellow Ray Marshall Motorsports No. 33M, which is a DRC chassis with a Gressman-prepped Chevy engine. The team is sponsored by Buckeye Machine, Hempy Water and All Star Performance.
Hernandez, who started second, led the first lap. Westfall took command on lap two, but the pace slowed with three laps down due to the first of two caution flags.
Westfall continued to lead following the restart, but Hernandez powered into first place on lap five with his Benic Enterprises No. 2B. By lap 10 Hernandez had a 1.222-second lead over Westfall, while Geoff Ensign of Sebastopol, Calif., ran in third place followed by Harley Burns of Stearleyville, Ind., and Tye Mihocko of Peoria, Ariz.
Westfall had cut Hernandez’s advantage to just 0.505 of a second on lap 14 when the second yellow waved. Ensign was still third at that point, but Mihocko had wrestled fourth away from Burns on lap 11.
Westfall retook the lead from Hernandez on the restart and led the final 10 laps. He had about a 1-second lead for most of them, but on the last lap Mihocko passed Hernandez to nail down second, and Westfall had a huge 2.046-second margin of victory. Mihocko also finished second on Friday night.
Hernandez finished third on Saturday followed by Ensign and Burns.
Nobody could catch Nusbaum in the 20-lap modified feature. The 2018 track champion lined up fourth, got a terrific start, and led the whole race despite one yellow with four laps down that closed up the field.
Jimmy Hayden of Coatesville, Ind., was second in the early going but he ran into problems with four laps down which brought out the race’s only caution flag. That gave second to Tyler Loughmiller of Brazil, Ind., who chased Nusbaum for the next 15 laps to no avail.
Clayton Bryant of Yoder, Ind., passed Brian Ruhlman of Clarke Lake, Mich., for third at the halfway point and finished in the show position. Ruhlman placed fourth and Todd Sherman of Churubusco, Ind., rounded out the top five in the 20-car field.
Nusbaum’s car is sponsored in part by Elliott’s Custom Trailers and Carts, Head Racing Engines, Weston Skies Travel Agency and Dairy Queen of Plymouth, Ind.
Bishop started second in the 15-lap sportsman stocks main event in his Thompson Trucking/R & R Transmission No. 14B and led all the way despite several yellows that wiped out his advantage.
Ryan Freeland of North Salem, Ind., ran in second place from the start until lap nine, when Josh Litton of Paragon, Ind., took the runner-up position. Litton couldn’t do anything with Bishop either, and he was 0.556 of a second behind Bishop’s No. 14B at the checkered flag.
Freeland finished third followed by the winningest driver in track history, James Headley of Marion, Ind., and Reece Novak of Gosport, Ind.
Gamblin had the smallest margin of victory of all the feature winners, just 0.288 of a second, but he led all 15 laps of the hornet main event with his No. 19 Honda Civic after starting second. The 34-year-old alignment technician’s car is sponsored by Knight and Son Heating and Cooling, Worldwide Jewelry and Pawn, Backyard Builders, City Tire, Uniques by Mary and Jonsey’s Lawn Care.
Gamblin had a big lead of 1.972 seconds over polesitter Kaleb Hinkley of Fremont, Ind., when a yellow flew with 12 laps down to muddy the waters. Jerry Manns of Angola, Ind., was third at the time, as he had taken that spot from Topher Hillman of Camby, Ind., on lap four.
Hinkley ran second for the whole race and finished in that position, just inches behind at the finish. Manns placed third. Jeremy Jones of Gas City passed Hillman on lap eight and finished fourth, while Hillman rounded out the top five in the largest hornet field of the year at Gas City.
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