Cottle Conquers Gas City Sprint Foes

Shane Cottle won Friday's non-winged sprint car feature at Gas City I-69 Speedway. (Randy Crist Photo)
Shane Cottle won Friday's non-winged sprint car feature at Gas City I-69 Speedway. (Randy Crist Photo)

GAS CITY, Ind. – Shane Cottle became the sixth different winner in as many non-winged sprint car races held so far this year at Gas City I-69 Speedway when he held off Max Adams for the 25-lap feature victory Friday night.

It was the headliner of a five-division show called the Jack and Jiggs Classic, named in honor of track owner Jack Himelick and former promoter Jiggs Thomason, who were both in attendance.

Jacob Denney won the 20-lap USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 midget feature. Derek Losh of Rensselaer, Ind., recorded his fourth modified feature victory of the season at the Grant County quarter-mile dirt track over the only other driver to have won in that division so far this year, Zeke McKenzie.

Andy Bishop led all 15 laps of the street stock feature to earn his third consecutive victory in that division. Gage Allen thwarted the stranglehold the Headley family has had in the hornet division by getting his first victory of the season in that 15-lap main event to close the evening’s activities a few minutes before midnight.

Polesitter Cole Ketcham led the first two laps of the sprint car feature before a red flag flew after Max Guilford took a hard flip on the frontstretch. Luckily the driver from Auckland, New Zealand, climbed out of his car under his own power.

Adams, driving the famous Paul Hazen No. 57, took the lead from Ketcham on the frontstretch on lap three and led through lap 15, using the high line while Cottle concentrated on the low one. Adams seemed to be faster in turns one and two while Cottle appeared to have the upper hand in turns three and four.

Following a yellow for a spin by Tyler Kendall in turn two on lap 15, Cottle passed Adams for the lead on lap 16 by dipping under him in turns three and four. He led the rest of the way. Driving Jamie and Michelle Paul’s DRC with a Foxco-prepped engine, Cottle took the checkered flag .446 seconds before Adams did.

C.J. Leary stayed close in third place waiting to capitalize on a mistake by the two drivers ahead of him, but that never occurred and the reigning USAC AMSOIL sprint car champion placed third. Travis Hery finished fourth and Brayden Clark rounded out the top five.

Adam Taylor started second in the USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 midget feature and led the first 12 laps before Chet Gehrke dipped under him in turn two for the lead and brought Denney along with him to assume second. Denney, who is 15 years old, passed Gehrke with two laps to go and then beat him to the checkered by .123 seconds. Taylor held on for third followed by Stratton Briggs and Alex Watson.

The modified feature got off to a rough start when popular Dillon Nusbaum of Warsaw, Ind., the track’s 2018 modified champion, flipped in turn two with one lap down. Luckily he got out of his car under his own power.

Polesitter Ryan Sutter of Coldwater, Ohio led the first lap but McKenzie got the lead in turn three on lap two and led through lap eight. Losh slipped under McKenzie in turn four to assume command for the first time on lap nine. McKenzie was having nothing of that, however, and he powered under Losh in turn two on lap 11 to regain the lead. McKenzie stuck to the low line and Losh took the high side as they battled tooth and nail before Losh got the lead for good with a move to the outside of McKenzie as they were going through Turn 2 with five laps to go.

Losh’s XR1 Rocket by Ruhlman, which has a Mullins Race Engines powerplant, was .974 seconds ahead of McKenzie’s Vanquish powered by a Hogue engine at the checkered. Aaron Orr finished third followed by Sutter and the division’s defending track champion, Scott Orr.

Bishop led all 15 laps of a caution-plagued street stock feature with his No. 14 sponsored by Thompson Trucking and R & R Transmission. Bill Bradley the only other driver to win a street stock feature at Gas City so far this year other than Bishop, finished second. Mark Wooten was third; Adam Lantz finished fourth and Andrew Short placed fifth.

James Headley Jr. led the first 12 laps of the hornet feature with his father, James Headley glued to his car’s back bumper. Headley’s car appeared to lose power on the backstretch working lap 13 and it looked like he was headed to the pits, and in the confusion Allen passed them both, led the next two laps, and came up the surprise winner. Headley finished second, .784 seconds behind. Kolton Sollars finished third. Bill Lewis placed fourth and Headley Jr. rebounded to finish fifth.