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Attica Raceway Park

Schlenk capitalizes on red flag for Attica victory

April 28, 2012, 5:48 am
By Brian Liskai
Attica Raceway Park
Rusty Schlenk earned $3,000 at Attica Raceway Park. (Action Photo)
Rusty Schlenk earned $3,000 at Attica Raceway Park. (Action Photo)

ATTICA, Ohio (April 27) — Taking advantage of a 23-minute red flag to rework his car’s setup, two-time series champion Rusty Schlenk of Weston, Ohio, overtook Jon Henry on a late-race restart for a $3,000 victory at Attica Raceway Park on the Sunoco American Late Model Series.

“I made the wrong decisions for the initial setup ... we were junk,” Schlenk said in victory lane. "But when the red came out the crew thrashed on this thing and when they dropped the green I knew we had this.

"They guys also told me that if Jon wins he would tie me for most career wins here — I wasn’t going to let that happen.”

The eighth-starting Henry, of Ada, Ohio, settled for second in the 30-lap feature while Matt Miller of Whitehouse, Ohio, was third. Jeff Babcock of Wayne, Ohio, and 18th-starting Russ King of Bristolville, Ohio, rounded out the top five finishers.

Schlenk and Henry put on a show for Attica fans, battling hard through the feature. But the red flag that appeared after Chris Ross of Chatham, Ontario, tore down a large section of the frontstretch fence — he wasn’t injured — with seven laps remaining proved to be the difference.

Schlenk’s crew made wholesale changes to his Lazer Chassis while track personnel patched up the fence. The difference was quickly obvious, as Schlenk drove around Henry on the restart and never looked back on route to his 12th career victory at Attica.

At the outset, Schlenk and Chris Keller paced the field to the green flag, but a Mike Bores spin required a complete restart. On the second start Schlenk took the lead over Keller, Brian Ruhlman, Henry, Ross and Miller.

Ruhlman took the second spot on the third lap with Henry up to third a lap later. Ruhlman and Henry raced side-by-side for second right on the rear bumper of Schlenk, with Henry slipping by on the sixth lap and quickly challenging Schlenk.

Henry drove under Schlenk into the top spot on the seventh lap as they raced into lapped traffic with Ruhlman, Miller, Ross, and a closing Jeff Babcock in tow. Following a caution on lap nine, Henry continued to utilize the bottom groove to lead over Schlenk, Ruhlman, Miller and Babcock.

Lapped traffic came into play by lap 13 as Schlenk drove to Henry’s outside as they battled for the lead with Miller grabbing third. Once clear of traffic, Henry opened a little breathing room over Schlenk with Miller, Ruhlman and Babcock giving chase.

Henry caught the rear of the field on lap 18, but Schlenk was struggling a bit up against the cushion. The car on the move was Russ King, who started on the ninth row and was up to seventh with 10 laps to go.

Justin Coulter and Ryan VanderVeen got together on lap 22 to bring out the caution with the running order Henry, Schlenk, Miller, Ruhlman, Babcock and King. On the restart, Ross climbed the frontstretch fence just past the flagstand, causing the lengthy race stoppage.

That’s when Schlenk’s crew went to work. On the restart, Ruhlman and Keller both spun to bring out the caution. When the green flew again, Schlenk drove his machine to the curb and rocketed past Henry who bobbled in turns one and two.

With six laps to go, Henry regained his composure and closed on Schlenk. Schlenk built enough momentum to drive to his 13th career series victory.

Notes: Schlenk’s Lazer Chassis is sponsored by Zeller Automotive, Micro-Armor Lubricants and Main & Company. ... Schlenk’s 13 victories puts him sixth on the all-time Sunoco ALMS list; he broke a tie with Jerry Bowersock of Wapakoneta, Ohio. ... True Value of Woodville sponsored the night’s racing. ... Ky Harper of Holland, Ohio, made a 14th-to-sixth charge. ... Among drivers failing to make the main event: Dan Wallace, Jeremy Canada, Curtis Deisenroth, Troy Catterene, Steve Sabo, Larry Kingseed and Justin Chance. ... Attica’s weekly Late Model division, sponsored by Summit Racing Equipment, will run topless May 4. ... Attica hosts ALMS competitors again on July 27.

Sunoco ALMS @ Attica: (1) Rusty Schlenk, (2) Jon Henry, (3) Matt Miller, (4) Jeff Babcock, (5) Russ King, (6) Ky Harper, (7) Mike Bores, (8) Devin Shiels, (9) Ryan Missler, (10) Phil Ausra, (11) Ernie Haynes, (12) Brian Ruhlman, (13) Ken Hahn, (14) Dusty Moore, (15) Ryan VanderVeen, (16) Kyle Perry, (17) Justin Coulter, (18) Casey Noonan, (19) Don Gordon, (20) Chris Keller. Heat race winners (among 35 cars): Keller, Henry, Bores, Miller. Consolation winners: Noonan, King.

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