Herb Neumann Jr goes wire to wire in Open Wheel Modifies at Citrus County Speedway.
Two weeks ago Herb Neumann Jr seemed to finally get the handle behind the wheel of the 01 Open Wheel Modified normally piloted by his son, Curtis. After Curtis moved out of state to pursue his career, father Herb decided to see what he could do behind the wheel of this proven winning machine. The first few races in the car saw Herb struggle to get the handle on the chassis, and adjust to the new type of car, after running Super Late Models for many seasons. Two weeks ago all the bugs seemed to be worked out, as driver and machine were in perfect harmony. Neumann was out front, and looked to have the fastest car on this night. But lady luck would have other plans, a flat tire under a lap 17 caution, would steal his first Open Wheel Modified victory. This week, Neumann would return, looking to avenge his bad luck. Lady luck seemed to realized she owed him one, as the 6 row invert would put Neumann on the pole for the 40 lap feature event.
Neumann would rocket out to an early lead before the first caution would fly on lap 5 for contact between Tommy Schnader (19) and Jarrett Snowden (4). Both drivers would tag the rear of the field for the restart. Neumann would again drive away on the restart, and again looked to be the class of the field. Behind him Steven Hise (2) would settle into the 2nd position in his brand new racer, and Richie Smith (42) was flying through the field. While Neumann was well out front, Smith would run down Hise, and make the pass for the 2nd spot, then setting his sights on the leader. Neumann had a nearly insurmountable lead, his car began to loose itís handle late in the race, but he was just too far ahead for Smith to catch. Lady luck however would again test Neumannsí mental strength. With only 3 laps left in the event, caution would fly for contact between Smith and Hise off of turn 4, sending Smith for a spin. Hise would take blame for the incident, sending himself to the rear, and giving Smith his spot back for the restart. This set up a 3 lap shoot out between Neumann, Smith, and last race winner L.J. Grimm (25) for the checkered flag. Neumann would bring the field to the restart green, with Smith right on his bumper, and Grimm trying the outside lane on Smith for 2nd. All three drivers would give all they had over the final 3 laps, with Neumann just edging out Smith at the line for the victory, with Grimm running a solid 3rd. Neumann was happy to finally get the monkey off his back, and take his 1st feature win in his new ride. Smith wanted the victory, but was almost as happy to come home in the 2nd position. Smithsí season has gotten off to a rough start, losing two motors in as many weeks in his modified. Smith and his crew had just put their new power plant in on Friday night, and were very happy with itís performance. Heat race winners were Smith and Doug Miller (53).
16 Sportsman put on their best race of the young 2012 racing season. Ernie Reed (55) would benefit from the 6 row invert, and start from the pole position for the 25 lap feature. Reed jumped out to the early lead, followed closely by point leader Chris Harvey (51) in 2nd. 2011 points champion Brandon Morris (56) would settle into the 2nd position, and quickly go to work on the two front runners. Morris would make his way past Harvey for 2nd, and then move to the lead on lap 9, getting by Reed for the top spot. 8th place starter Mark Peterson (73) would follow Morrisí lead, moving to the 2nd position behind Morris. Back in the pack Mike Bresnahan (69) and Aaron Williamson (13) were charging from their starting positions deep in the field. Bresnahan would find his way towards the front first, leaving Williamson to battle with the mid pack cars. Lap 17 saw Bresnahan move by Reed for the 3rd position, and set his sights on the two front runners with only 8 laps left in the event. Lap 19 would see the final caution of the night as Williamson would make contact with Dennis Neighbor Sr (83) while racing for the 6th spot, causing heavy body damage to both machines. The field would reset for the restart, with Morris leading, followed by Peterson, and Bresnahan. Morris scooted away on the restart, and let the two trailing drivers battle it out for 2nd behind him. Bresnahan would finally find an inside line off turn 4 to wrestle away the 2nd spot from Peterson with only 2 laps remaining. Morris would prove to have too large of a lead, and go on to take his 2nd victory in row in the Sportsman division. Bresnahan would see the laps run out on his charge to the front, and settle for the 2nd spot just ahead of Peterson in 3rd. Heat race winners were Bresnahan and Lance Dubach (771).
The Pure Stock field would see young Dustin Dinkins (96) take advantage of his front row starting spot to take early control of the 20 lap feature event. That lead however would be short lived, and 8th place starter Eugene Malverty (23) would move to the top spot on lap 2. Behind him his son Nicholas Malverty (17) would move by Dinkins on lap 4 for the 2nd position, and set his sights on dad. These two drivers have been part of some of the most exciting finishes this season, and this one would not disappoint. Nicholas would catch his father with only a few laps left in the race, and go to work on getting the victory. As the two drivers took the white flag, Nicholas had been battling on the outside lane for several laps. Both drivers would race door to door, side by side through the final corner. When the dust settledÖ..Nicholas would once again show dad how itís done, taking the victory, and his 2nd feature win of the year. Tyler Stickler (9) would rally from an early race flat tire to take the 3rd position at the stripe. Nicholas Malverty was also your heat race winner.
The Mini Stock division saw two familiar foes square off for the checkered flag. 2011 points champion Jeremy Sharrone (32) and Ashlee Williamson (84) would both work their way by early race leader Shannon Kennedy (46) on lap 12, and the battle was on. Williamson looked to have the faster way around over the final few circuits, looking high and low for a way around Sharrone. After several attempts, Williamson would run out of laps. Sharrone would go on to take his 3rd feature win of the season just ahead of Williamson in 2nd, and Kennedy in 3rd. Williamson and Jessey Mallory (50) were your heat race winners.
Bo Bass would make it 2 for 2 in 2012 at Citrus County Speedway, winning the feature event. Following Bass to the line in were Chris McClelland (98) in 2nd, and Darren Bass (25) in 3rd.
This Saturday night will see the return of the Super Late Models for their 35 lap feature event. Joining on the race card will be the Modified Mini Stocks, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, and the Hornet division. This will be the last race before the Citrus County Fair comes to town, and the track will take a 3 week break in the racing action. So come on out and get your racing fix before itís too late!