Notes: Gasser's victory makes history at PPMS
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com managing editor
Kari Gasser of Vienna, Ohio, made history on Saturday at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway in becoming the first female winner in the track’s Super Late Model division.
Gasser, who was the first female winner in any class with an E-mod victory in 2005, shed a few tears in crossing the finish line at the half-mile oval in her UPS Freight-sponsored Rocket Chassis owned by Joe Johnson.
“I can’t quit crying,” Gasser said in beginning her victory lane interview. “(The tears) just came when I seen that checkered flag.”
Gasser broke through as a winner at a historic track where the list of Super Late Model track champions includes Steve Baker, Mike Johnson, John Flinner, Mark Banal, Lynn Geisler and other long-time veterans.
“Before I come here, I think, ‘I’m never going to win in this division, it’s so tough.’ I mean, the guys I’m racing with have been racing for as long as I am old,” Gasser said. “I never thought it would come, but it’s here. I can’t believe it!”
Tommy Beck took the lead early in the race with the third-starting Gasser and Geisler giving chase. Gasser pulled even with Beck a few times, but couldn’t complete the pass as Geisler and Michael Norris battled for third behind them.
After Norris had a flat tire to draw a yellow, and another caution flew on the restart, Gasser went to the outside and made the move work in taking the lead from Beck. Ferree dropped Beck to third and a lap-21 restart set up a dash to the checkers.
Gasser held off Ferree the rest of the way while Baker, Geisler and Norris rounded out the top five.
Other female feature winners in PPMS history are Laura Lukon in Crate Late Models, Deana Groves in E-mods along with Sara Schrum and Hannah Ramsey in the young gun division.
• An Illinois double-dip went to Scott Bull of Fairbury, who captured features at Farmer City Raceway and his hometown Fairbury American Legion Speedway on June 1-2.
• Getting a two-victory weekend, Jason Perry of Payson, Ill., picked up UMP DIRTcar features at Montgomery County Race Park in New Florence, Mo., and his home track, Quincy (Ill.) Raceway on June 2-3.
• In winning June 2 at Virginia Motor Speedway, Tim Shelton led the final three laps after Davis Lipscombe broke. "I had mixed emotions when I saw him pull over to go to the pits," Shelton said. "I want to win, but if there is anyone that deserves a win, it is Davis.”
• Extending a personal win streak to six, Jackie Boggs of Grayson, Ky., won June 2’s feature at Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park.
• Russ Scheffler of Waukesha, Wis., won a pair of WDLMA races June 1-2 at Manitowoc County Expo Speedway and Plymouth Dirt Track.
• Garrett Alberson of Las Cruces, N.M., pulled off another sweep of June 1-2 action at El Paso (Texas) Speedway Park and his hometown Southern New Mexico Speedway.
• At Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway on June 1, John Tindal of Fancy Farm, Ky., clicked off his third victory in the last four Crate Late Model features.
• Friendship Motor Speedway has put a $200 bounty on Justin Hudspeth of Ronda, N.C. — his second bounty of the year — after he swept a pair of June 2 features at the Elkin, N.C., track.
• In winning June 2 at Ontario’s South Buxton Raceway, Kirk Hooker came out of semi-retirement for one last race with long-time crew chief and fellow Canadian Brett "Mudd" Buchanan, who is moving to Alberta.
First things first
First-time occurrences at the dirt track:
• Moving up from the Crate Late Model division, Derek Doll of Greenwood, W.Va., notched his first Super Late Model victory at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va., on June 2.
• Division rookie Dave Fieber held off veteran Ron Berna on June 2 at Shawano (Wis.) Speedway for his first WISSOTA-sanctioned Late Model feature victory.
• At East Bay Raceway Park near Tampa, Fla., Mavrick Varnadore of Dover, Fla., earned his first victory as a high school graduate, winning June 2’s Late Model feature one night after picking up his diploma.
Weekly points chases
UMP DIRTcar (Super Late Models): Jim Moon of Zionsville, Ind. — who has entered more races than any other driver — is on top of the standings through May 27, 50 points ahead of Kevin Weaver of Gibson City, Ill. Dewayne Kiefer, Scott Schmitt and Michael Kloos round out the top five.
UMP DIRTcar (Crate Late Models): Evan Taylor of Woodlawn, Tenn., tops the standings with 1,058 points, leading Clayton Miller (1,036) and Mark Oller (1,020).
AMRA: Chris Garnes of Evans, W.Va., has 604 points to lead Ronnie Mayle (480) and Andy Bond (453).
ULMA: Through May 28, Brandon Imhoff of Lake Ozark, Mo., is on top with 1,104 points. He’s chased by Jason Russell (1,073) and Chris Cox (888).
NeSmith Chevrolet Series: Through June 4 races, Brent Barrett of Cleveland, Miss., maintains a 10-point edge on Shannon Lee of Lumberton, Miss., in the Crate Late Model organization.
IMCA: Nate Beuseling of Silvis, Ill., had a three-point margin on reigning champ Ray Guss Jr., through May 27 with Chad Cooney, Tyler Bruening and Darrel DeFrance holding top-five spots.
WISSOTA: Jake Redetzke of Eau Claire, Wis., is on top through June 3 with a 40-point edge on Mike Prochnow. Todd Frank, Chad Becker and Kyle Peterlin round out the top five in standings in the upper Midwest.
Upcoming weekly specials
Among non-touring and independent special events this weekend at dirt tracks around the country:
Belle-Clair Speedway, Belleville, Ill. (June 8): The Bud Select 40 pays $1,500-to-win for UMP DIRTcar Late Models.
Farmer City (Ill.) Speedway (June 8): The former UMP track is hosting an unsanctioned $1,500-to-win Super Late Model event, then coming back with a non-winged sprint car special two nights later (no Late Models at Sunday’s show).
Winchester (Va.) Speedway (June 9): The Paul Johnson Memorial will pay $3,000-to-win for Super Late Models (open-tire rule). Limited Late Models will be among other divisions in action.
Peoria (Ill.) Speedway (June 9): The quarter-mile oval hosts another round of its Budweiser Super Late Model miniseries, paying $2,000-to-win.
Cannonball Motor Speedway, St. Clairsville, Ohio (June 10): The Sunday Shootout Series event pays $2,000-to-win for the recently reopened track.