Westfall Masters Gas City Sprint

Matt Westfall races under a colorful sky Friday night at Gas City I-69 Speedway. (Randy Crist Photo)
Matt Westfall races under a colorful sky Friday night at Gas City I-69 Speedway. (Randy Crist Photo)

GAS CITY, Ind. — Matt Westfall became the seventh different non-winged sprint car winner at Gas City I-69 Speedway this year on Friday night.

Scotty Weir started second in the 20-car sprint car feature, passed polesitter Shane Cottle for the lead in turn two on the first lap, and led the first 17 laps of that 25-lapper.

It wasn’t as easy as it sounds, as by lap 12 the top four drivers — Weir, Cottle, Scott Hampton and Garrett Abrams —were running in a pack just inches apart.

Cottle dipped under Weir for the lead on lap 18, but two laps later Westfall passed both Cottle and Weir by going low in turn four. Westfall had to survive two restarts, including one after a red with one lap remaining when the car of Sterling Cling got on its side in a turn four tangle that also involved Adam Byrkett and Anthony D’Alessio. Luckily no one was hurt.

Westfall stuck to the low side and took the checkered with Cottle, Hampton, Weir and Dallas Hewitt following right behind him.

Thomas Meseraull, who has seven feature victories so far this year at Gas City, had to qualify through the B main (which he won), and he finished ninth in the feature.

Twenty-three USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 midget drivers signed in, and Stratton Briggs put an end to Chett Gehrke’s domination of that division at Gas City this season. Briggs won the 20-lap midget feature after Gehrke won three similar races earlier this year, but finished fifth during the final Friday night show of the year.

James Headley Jr. was forced to start at the rear for the hornet feature since he won the last three hornet main events at Gas City, but it didn’t matter as he made it four in a row in that 15-lapper to close the show. It was his seventh feature victory of the year at Gas City.

Charlie Riley, senior pastor of Abundant Life Church, led wire to wire to win the special Faster Pastor school bus race. Mark Atkinson, senior pastor of Eastview Wesleyan Church, finished a close second. Steve Hood, the nextgen pastor at New Hope Baptist Church, came on strong in the late going to place third, while Jared Webb, pastor of Lakeview Wesleyan Church, rounded out the field.

The $500 prize money was given to the minister who brought the most fans, which turned out to be Pastor Riley anyway. After climbing down from the hood of his school bus after his jubilant victory lane celebration he told the large crowd on hand that he’d donate the money to a veterans’ charity.