ROSSBURG, Ohio — Five down, eleven to go and the inaugural 16-division Blue Collar Bash will become history at Eldora Speedway.
Capturing feature events Saturday evening were Luke Hall (BOSS Non-Winged Sprints), Bryan Nuckles (Legends), Duane Chamberlain (Late Models), Jason Hehman (Oakshade Sportsman) and Mason Covey (UMP Pro Late Model). The remaining 7 classes; Fremont/Attica Trucks, Circle Track/Waynesfield Trucks, 305 Sprints, UMP Sportsman, Chevettes, Compacts and Mini Sprints will complete their program Sunday afternoon when they are joined by the Winged Sprints, Eldora Stocks, Hometrack Stocks and UMP Modifieds in their complete programs.
Second-generation driver Sheldon Haudenschild shot from his pole position to run away and hide at the onset of the BOSS A-Feature; but as he began moving in on lapped traffic, the race took on a new look.
Lap by lap, Haudenschild’s advantage dwindled as Luke Hall, Dallas Hewitt and Matt Westfall inched forward.
Multiple times Hall would nose up beside Haudenschild, but when the young sensation would see the nose of Hall’s car, he would get a burst of speed and pull away. Finally, in the closing laps, Hall did a bonsai pass through turns three and four to take the lead that he was to hold to the finish.
A multi-car crash four laps from the finish momentarily stopped the action, but that didn’t deter Hall. On the restart, he picked up where he had left off and drove to victory over Haudenschild, Hewitt, Westfall and Tony Beaber.
Nuckles, another second-generation hot shoe, was on a mission. Taking advantage of his heat race victory, Bryan started on the outside pole and that was the momentum he needed. A quick burst into the lead on the initial start was aborted with a turn three spin mid-pack. That brought the field back to a complete restart and Nuckles had to duplicate his efforts; which he did.
The green came out one more time and one more time, Nuckles shot into the lead. He continued a blistering pace, as the field behind him duked it out for position, often three and four wide on the half-mile clay oval.
A vicious crash involving Nelson Stewart brought out the red flag in the closing laps. The car was worse for the wear following the multi-time rollover; yet Stewart (father to three-time NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart) climbed from the car unscathed.
With the field re-lined, Nuckles picked up where he had left off and cruised to the victory over Robert Stough , Sean McPherson, Matt Erich and Derek Menshew.
In what turned out to be the most competitive feature event of the day, Chamberlain survived a last lap shootout with Jerry Bowersock to take the narrow win.
Brian Ruhlman appeared to have the race in the bag; that was until the halfway point when slight contact with a lapped car found Ruhlman looping it out in front of Chamberlain, Bowersock and Jeff Babcock. The foursome had been running under a literal blanket.
The restart gave the point to Chamberlain, with Babcock and Bowersock in close pursuit. A last lap caution flag bunched the field for one final charge to the finish.
With the double-file restart, Chamberlain chose the outer lane and that gave him the momentum he needed to carry out the deed. Bowersock crossed the line second, followed by Babcock, Ruhlman and Rob Starkey.
Jason Hehman, a runner with the UMP Sportsman class, chose at the last minute to race with the Oakshade Raceway Sportsman class and he is glad he did. Despite a 400-pound weight disadvantage, Hehman jumped into the lead at the onset and withheld a wild last lap charge from Richard Patton to take the victory.
Patton charged into turn three on the final circuit and appeared that the momentum could take him into the leader; however, he backed down just enough to avoid contact and settled for runner-up honors. Following them across the line were Paul Pardo, Barney Craig and Billy Ruff.
Covey’s victory in the UMP Pro Late Model class came over Jacob Hawkins.