Fennewald Surprises With Wheatland Late Model Win

Three-time defending track champ Johnny Fennewald (21) closes in on Kaeden Cornell in the final laps Saturday night at Lucas Oil Speedway. (GS Stanek Racing Photography)
Three-time defending track champ Johnny Fennewald (21) closes in on Kaeden Cornell in the final laps Saturday night at Lucas Oil Speedway. (GS Stanek Racing Photography)

WHEATLAND, Mo. – Johnny Fennewald came from seemingly nowhere to capture his second-straight Warsaw Marine & RV ULMA Late Model feature on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Speedway.

Fennewald made it two feature wins in a row when he made a last-lap pass of Kaeden Cornell in the headliner of the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series program presented by Benne Media. Fennewald took home $1,000 courtesy of Hickamo Country Store.

Also earning visits to victory lane in the program Presented by Benne Media were J.C. Morton (Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods), Terry Phillips (Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds) and Derek Brown (O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks).

Fennewald wasn’t much of a factor until near the end as it appeared to be a two-car race most of the way. Cornell and Brad Looney started on the front row of the late model feature and wasted little time pulling away from the field with Cornell taking the lead, opening a 1.82-second margin 10 laps into the event.

Looney was able to close in on lap 15 when Cornell encountered trouble with a lapped car and Looney cut the lead to half a second. Third-place Tucker Cox, meanwhile, was 10 seconds behind the leaders and eighth-starting Fennewald was running behind him.

Finally Looney slipped past Cornell in turn three on lap 20. But on the next circuit, Cornell pulled alongside Looney on the inside, exiting turn two, and slid in front of him in turn three. Looney was unable to slow his momentum in time before the two cars made contact, with Looney getting the worst of it and having to exit via a tow truck.

That left a five-lap shootout with Cornell in front of suddenly second-place-running Fennewald, Cox and Cole Henson as the race returned to green.

Three-time-reigning track champion Fennewald put the heat on Cornell until passing him in turn two of the final lap when Cornell slipped high.

“I knew we had five extra laps tonight,” Fennewald said. “My car really wasn’t that good (early). This track’s different tonight and we had to start so far back. I just said everybody’s gonna be on the bottom and realized I was gonna have to get up on the top and just rim-ride.

“I don’t really like doing that. It’s pretty abusive on equipment. That caution came out and I seen that Kaeden was not near as good in one and two and that’s where I shine. I was like he can ride that cushion in three and four, but I’ll pass him in one and two. It was like playing a chess game.”

Fennewald finished five car lengths in front with Henson third, Cox fourth and Larry Ferris in fifth.

Morton of Springfield took the lead with six laps remaining and held off Andy Bryant for his first Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mod feature win of the season.

Morton went around Bryant – who had grabbed the lead two laps earlier – coming out of turn four to complete lap 14. He held on from there to win by about four car lengths.

“We’ve been struggling here the last couple of weeks, just trying some different stuff,” Morton said. “We finally went back to what we know and it came to life tonight.”

Dillon McCowan started on the pole and jumped to the lead with Morton moving from a fifth-starting position into second by lap three.

Morton and seventh-starting Bryant were closing in on McCowan on lap eight and the leader spun in turn four with Morton going around him for the lead.

McCowan kept going and the race stayed green, dropping McCowan well back in the pack. Bryant went around Morton three laps later and the running order was Bryant-Morton-Kris ackson when the race’s first caution flew on lap 13.

“We had that restart there and Andy got out and got going there,” Morton said. “He bobbled in one and two and I had to hit it perfect down here (in turns three and four). I assume he hit the rut and it shoved the nose and that gave me the advantage and then, I just had to hold on.”

Lucas Isaacs finished third with Eric Turner fourth and McCowan rallied for fifth place.

Phillips, prepping for next Wednesday’s USMTS Wednesday Madness program at Lucas Oil Speedway, captured the Pitts Homes USRA Modified feature by a comfortable margin.

“We had too much time on our hands this winter and I’ve rebuilt this thing three times,” Phillips said. “So I thought we’d better race it sometime. I’m thinking, hoping what we’ve done has helped. It felt pretty good.”

Third-starting Robbie Reed sprinted to the early lead before Phillips went around him on the outside coming to the start-finish line to finish lap five.

Following a lap eight caution and ensuing restart, Phillips gradually pulled away and, without another caution, dominated. He wound up winning by 4.1 seconds over Reed, who edged Paden Phillips by a few feet for the runner-up spot.

Brown made it 3-for-3 in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks in 2020, taking the lead with six laps remaining and driving away for the victory.

“I really like a race track like this. It brings the driver out,” Brown said. “You have to finesse every lap and hit your marks. That’s the only way you’re going to go fast on a track like this. It took about 10 laps, but I finally figured out what I needed to do.”

Reggie Jackson started on the pole and set the pace, but Tony Anglin advanced from eighth to second before a lap-nine caution. Those two and third-place Brown were separated by a half-second when the action was slowed.

Brown went from third to first on lap 14, going past Jackson and Anglin in turn two. He had a 1.4-second lead when a caution came out with four laps to go, giving Jackson and third-place Toby Ott an opportunity.

But Brown had a flawless restart and went on to beat Ott by two seconds with Tim Brown third, Jackson fourth and Ted Welschmeyer fifth.