Ken Essary ends winning streak of Wells
By Bryan WimberleyDirtonDirt.com correspondent
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Aug. 21) — Grabbing his first series victory at Springfield Raceway in nearly four years, Race Brothers Show Me Racing Series founder Ken Essary of Cape Fair, Mo., edged red-hot Justin Wells by three lengths in Saturday's 25-lap feature.
Polesitter Randy Zimmerman of Fort Scott, Kan., finished third, Larry Campbell of Van Buren, Ark., placed fourth and Dustin Mooneyham of Aurora, rounded out the top five.
"We got a good draw tonight in the redraw and started on the front. The track kind of rubbered down, made it a little difficult for the cars in the back to get through there. It was a lot of fun," said Essary, a National Dirt Late Model Hall of Famer. "I didn't know how close Wells was on us, because we was in lapped traffic so bad there that you were just trying to work those cars, not worrying about who was behind you at the time."
The sixth-starting Wells, winner of seven of nine series races and three in a row heading to Springfield, couldn't quite track down his mentor.
"It was a pretty clean race, the track was kind of difficult to pass and kind of rubbered up and got one-laned there," Wells said. "Wished we would have done a little better on the redraw, but no gripes. It would have taken a miracle to get around him. I caught him, but passing him would have been another thing."
Wells actually got turned around on the first attempted start, but he was returned to his starting spot for the next go-around as Essary jumped to the lead over Zimmerman and Campbell on lap one. Essary held a slim four-length advantage just six laps in, but Wells was already up to third place, getting by Campbell.
After Don Cloyd's lap-eight spin for the final yellow, Essary led Zimmerman and Wells back to green with Zimmerman dipping under Essary to challenge for the lead on the restart. Essary shut the door and broke Zimmerman's momentum to hold the point. As Essary entered lapped traffic on lap 15, he edged away from his pursuers. Two laps later, Essary threaded the needle through lapped cars, making things three-wide and a little hairy on the tight quarter-mile oval.
The battle raged behind Essary as Wells finally passed Zimmerman for second with five laps to go. Wells quickly charged towards Essary, pulling to his bumper on lap 23. The two drivers were nose-to-tail at the white flag lap, and Essary held on for the victory.
Notes: Essary's Swartz Race Car is powered by a Hatfield Racing Engine and sponsored by Performance Foam Insulation, R and R Graphics, ARW Digital Balancings, Marty's Auto & Machine and Scobee Powerline Construction. ... Essary has 14 career series victories, third on the all-time list. ... It was his first victory since June 6, 2009 at Tri-State Speedway in Pocola, Okla. ... The 11-minute feature ended at 9:39 pm and was slowed by two cautions. ...ï¿½ Coming into race, BW Engine Machine of Monett, Mo., placed a $200 bounty for anyone that could beat Justin Wells running a spec motor race car (by spec rules). Essary collected. ... Jordan Holloway of Monett, Mo., was a late arrival, missing hot laps and heat races, due to having hauler problems. Holloway started at the rear of the field and dropped out early. ... The pits were filled with 84 race cars in five divisions. ... Springfield's next Late Model event is Sept. 18 for a co-sanctioned event between Lucas Oil MLRA Series and MARS Dirtcar Series. ... The Show Me Series returns to action Sept. 3 at Midway Speedway in Lebanon, Mo.
Show Me Series @ Springfield: (1) Ken Essary, (2) Justin Wells, (3) Randy Zimmerman, (4) Larry Campbell, (5) Dustin Mooneyham, (6) Brandon McCormick, (7) Jarrod Hilton, (8) Colton Dunlap, (9) Chris Morelock, (10) Darrell Mooneyham, (11) Brandon Cheek, (12) Joseph Gorby, (13) Patrick Johnson, (14) Ray Peacock, (15) Scott Fry, (16) John Driskill, (17) Don Cloyd, (18) Mark Penticuff, (19) Dwight Niehoff, (20) Ron Johnson, (21) Jordan Holloway, (22) Larry Jones. Heat race winners (among 22 cars): Campbell, Hilton, Wells.