MORRIS, Ill. — Brett Sontag has won plenty of races at the Grundy County Speedway over the years.
Friday night he scored another one as the former five-time track champion captured overall honors in the Frank Welch Memorial 94 late model stock car event.
Run in three segments of 30, 30 and 34 laps, the event honored the memory of Frank Welch, who was among those instrumental in building the new Grundy County raceway prior to the 1971 racing season and officiated at the speedway until his passing in 2009. Sontag, who won the inaugural Welch event in 2010, posted third-, seventh- and first-place finishes in the triple legs.
Point leader and defending late model division track champion, Ricky Baker led all the way and won the first 30-lap segment, posting his eighth feature win of the season at the third-mile paved oval. Baker, who had a blistering lap of 14.951 seconds during time trials to grab fast time honors among a field of 24 entries, finished ahead of Paul Shafer Jr., Sontag, Eddie Hoffman and Anthony Danta.
The second 30 lapper of the evening was won by veteran John Nutley, who garnered his first feature win of the season. Nutley defeated James Gregait, Larry Schuler, Hoffman and Brandon Clubb. The race saw a multi-car pileup occur in turn four on lap three with the cars of Baker, Shafer, D.J. Weltmeyer, Dave Gentile Jr. and others involved. Shafer and Weltmeyer were done for the night.
The final 34-lap segment saw Sontag start on the inside of the front row with Sontag leading all the laps. Sontag bested Schuler, Baker, Hoffman and Chris Cooling in the finale.
“The car was pretty fast in the first run and I was just trying to save the tires,” Sontag said. “Me and Danta had a real battle there for a while. I don’t know what happened in the second run, but Weltmeyer apparently got turned and crashed into the side of me.
“I thought we would be junk for the last one. I put a spring rubber in the right rear and a turn of bar to make it (the car) turn better. It worked pretty good.”
Sontag claimed the overall win by one point over Schuler, who was trailed by Hoffman, Cooling, Baker, Gentile, Danta, Clubb, Nutley and Gregait in the final points tally.
John Senerchia won the 25-lap feature for street stock competitors, while Cirk Lindemuth captured the 15-lap pure stock (four-cylinder) main event.