Made in the shade: Noonan grabs ALMS win
By Dustin JarrettDirtonDirt.com chief writer
WAUSEON, Ohio (May 23) — Casey Noonan of Sylvania, Ohio, overtook Holland, Ohio’s Ky Harper early in Saturday's main event and held on for a popular $2,000 Sunoco American Late Model Series victory at Oakshade Raceway in a caution-free 30-lapper. | ALMS notebook | Slideshow
“My car worked really well out there,” said the slender Noonan, who notched his third career series victory. “I felt like I was better on the bottom, but I could run anywhere I needed to get around the traffic.”
Jon Henry of Ada, Ohio, finished second and moved into the series points lead while Harper, coming of his first series victory the previous night at Mount Pleasant (Mich.) Speedway, was third. Fourth spot went to former series champ Brian Ruhlman of Clarklake, Mich. while Rick Delong of Whitehouse, Ohio, completed the top five.
For the second straight night of ALMS action, Harper started on the pole and, after two aborted starts, jumped out to the early advantage. Noonan tucked into second with Henry third, Kevin Reeve fourth, and Ruhlman fifth. The top three inched away from the field and Ruhlman slipped by Reeve to take over fourth.
As the lead trio began working through backmarkers, Noonan pulled alongside Harper on lap seven. Using a lapped car as a pick, Noonan rolled by Harper for the lead in turns one and two while Henry’s attempt to follow suit was denied.
Noonan wasted little time opening up a six-length lead on Harper, Henry and Ruhlman. As the leader weaved through the back of the field, Harper and Henry waged a fierce battle for second that saw the two young guns run side-by-side nearly seven full laps before Henry edged ahead with 10 laps remaining.
Henry used multiple lines to try to track down Noonan. Although he was able to cut into the sizable lead Noonan had built, Henry ran out of laps and, when the checkered flag waved, Noonan was first across the stripe. “Hopefully this is the first of many this year,” Noonan said.
Notes: Noonan has a family-built Noonan’s Performance Machining engine under the hood of his Rocket Chassis. ... Noonan’s previous ALMS victory came Aug. 7, 2007 at Oakshade. ... Forty-six entries were on hand. ... Notable drivers failing to make the feature lineup included Chris Ross, Eric Spangler, Skeet Reckner, Hillard Miller, Scott Baker, Brad Eitinear and Dean Anderson. ... Reigning series champ Rusty Schlenk's Lawrence Motorsports No. 11 got upside down in hot laps and he piloted the Wagner-owned No. 83 the rest of the evening. ... Curtis Deisenroth, who debuted a brand new C.J Rayburn Race Car with a four-bar suspension, broke a steering pin after hot laps and retired for the night. ... Jon Henry currently leads Ky Harper and Brian Ruhlman in the Sunoco ALMS points. ... ALMS competitors complete the Memorial Day weekend on Sunday for the Johnny Appleseed Classic at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
Sunoco ALMS at Oakshade: (1) Casey Noonan, (2) Jon Henry, (3) Ky Harper, (4) Brian Ruhlman, (5) Rick Delong, (6) Rusty Seaver, (7) Ronnie Perrine Jr., (8) Curtis Roberts, (9) Dusty Moore, (10) Kevin Reeve, (11) Rich Neiser, (12) Dan Wallace, (13) Shawn Negangard, (14) Rusty Schlenk, (15) Tyler Boggs, (16) Tom Sprague, (17) Ryan Vanderveen, (18) Kerry Mathew, (19) Chris Keller, (20) Devin Shiels, (21) Jake Ruefer, (22) Ron Miller, (23) Rody Schroyer. Heat race winners (among 46 cars): Reeve, Noonan, Ruhlman, Henry, Harper. Consolation winners: Boggs, Schroyer. Provisional starters: Mathew, Sprague