MEDARYVILLE, Ind. — Former race winner Jacob Poel returned to the Shadyhill Speedway and captured the 16th annual Firecracker 50 for DIRTcar UMP modified stock cars Monday night.
Having not been at the quarter-mile dirt speedway since winning the annual 50 lapper in 2013, the 29-year-old Spring Lake, Mich., driver ran third most of the race behind leader Randy Lines until moving into the lead with nine laps to go and scoring the $3,000 victory.
Starting fifth in the 22-car field, Poel settled into third place with Lines leading and Curt Spalding running second. With three yellow flag caution periods slowing the first half of the race, the last 33 laps were run caution-free with Lines building a full straightaway lead over Spalding at the half-way mark.
Just past the 25-lap mark, Poel moved to second and set his sights on leader Lines. With 11 laps to go, Poel moved right behind Lines and passed Lines for the lead, using the outside groove to take the top spot with nine circuits to go.
Slower traffic kept the top five bunched up with Lines trying to wrestle the lead back. On the final lap, Bobby Stremme attempted to grab third place only to spin out as the rest of the field charged to the checkered flag.
At the finish, it was Poel, Lines and Spalding making up the top three with Nick Allen, Jesse Bitterling and Jamie Lomax completing the top six. Brad DeYoung, Adam Pockrus, Lynn Johns and Jimmie Haager rounded out the top 10.
“I put soft tires on and was kind of biding my time,” said Poel. “I saw the flagman give the half way signal. I started reeling those guys in. I caught Randy Lines there when he caught lapped traffic. Everybody was on the bottom (groove) and my car could roll through the middle. It was a little chopping off (turn) two (on the bottom) and I would get a nice smooth run in the middle there. I had enough room to get around them and squeeze passed.”
With a field of 48 entries on hand, six 10-lap heat races were needed to set the starting field. Poel, Scott Orr, Pockrus, Lines, Spalding and Mitch Bailey were heat winners.
Michigan’s Collin Thirlby won the $500-to-win, 25-lap “B” main over Erny Gingerich and Brandon Bahnerth. Allen and Steven Brooks claimed victories in the 15-lap “last chance” races.
The night’s other division feature race winners were Chris Tippit (I-Mods), Chris Joseph (Pure Streets), Brock Farmer (Sport Compacts) and Hannah Jones (Teen 4s).