PEORIA, Ill. — An absolutely perfect Central Illinois evening greeted the fans at Peoria Speedway Wednesday night for NASCAR Night, and they were not disappointed as NASCAR stars ended up 1-2-3 over some of the toughest UMP modifieds in the Midwest.
The marquee event became a chess match between two NASCAR veterans on a wicked fast race track , with Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace engaging in a line-swapping 25 lap battle to the end. Schrader prevailed with a lap 18 pass of Wallace, who won the previous night in Lincoln.
Polesitter Billy Tuckwell jumped to the lead on the bottom after driving side-by-side with a rim-riding Derrick Doerr. Tuckwell made the pass stick under the judges stand on lap one, and Doerr immediately was under attack by Wallace. Doerr stayed committed to the top of the track, but Wallace scooted by on the bottom on lap three. A Joe Wagner spin slowed the action on lap three, and it took three attempts to get the race re-started.
When the race finally went green again, Tuckwell changed lines, blasting the cushion after spending the first three laps down low. Wallace took advantage, wrestling the lead from Tuckwell as the duo passed the judges stand on lap five. Wallace moved back to the high side, and Tuckwell followed until a lap-10 caution.
Schrader was running third after the re-start, and ran the cushion past a bottom-hugging Tuckwell on lap 12 and set sail for Wallace. A lap-14 restart set the stage for the winning pass with Wallace moving back to the bottom and Schrader on the berm. The two veterans ran in a dead heat until Schrader finally rocketed off the top of turn four and passed Wallace down the frontstretch on lap 18.
Schrader extended his lead as the last 12 laps went caution-free for the win. Wallace finished second, followed by fellow NASCAR driver Justin Allgaier, Tuckwell and Gary Cook Jr.
“I was trying to get Kenny to go to the bottom and he finally did, so I jumped to the top and got by him,” Schrader explained. “That was a lot of fun out there! I mean, that is what you want right there — a two-groove race track. That was a heck of a race and I only managed to (tick) one person off.”
Matt Murphy won the limited late model feature over Brian Crebo, while Jeremy Kingsley copped the hornet main event.