JACKSONVILLE, Ill. – Former Sprint Invaders champion Matt Sutton has been in a slump and was starting to doubt his abilities, but that self doubt was erased on Friday night as Sutton went flag-to-flag win at Jacksonville Speedway.
In preliminary action it looked as though the night would belong to the current Sprint Invaders point leader Russ Hall as after making the long tow down from the Des Moines area, Hall dominated both his heat and the Budweiser “King of Beers” Shake Up dash. And after rolling a two to put himself on the front row for the twenty-five lap main event, Hall seemed poised to make it a clean sweep.
Matt Sutton had other ideas though as following a no-start that saw series regular Andy Huston get upside down in turn one, Sutton used his pole position start to take the lead at the drop of the green. Only one lap would be scored though before Tim Moore and Brian Armitage tangled in turn one and the caution waved again on lap six when a broken right front sent Patrick Moore for a spin in turn four.
On the restart Jerrod Hull worked past Hall to take the second spot and he did his best to keep pace with Sutton as the leaders navigated lapped traffic. The caution waved one last time on lap seventeen when Armitage spun in turn one and it was during this caution period that misfortune struck the top two drivers in the point standings.
Having run over something on the track, Hall suffered tire issues and drove to the pit area while Ryan Jamison was now fighting steering issues. Jamison was able to stay on the track, but was no longer at speed after running just outside the top five throughout.
Once back to green Hull made one strong run at Sutton diving to the bottom in turns one and two, but the leader shook off that challenge and then maintained at least a five car-length advantage over the final laps to score the $1,200 victory.
“I just haven’t been very good lately so the crew said we’ll handle the setup and you handle the driving,” said an elated Sutton in victory lane after executing a perfect 360 in celebration.
Jerrod Hull would settle for the runner-up money, Korey Weyant finished third and after fighting mechanical issues in his heat race Jimmy Hurley drove from nineteenth up to fourth. Dustin Selvage who came into the night ranked third in the Invaders point standings closed the gap on the leaders by finishing fifth.