The third time was really a charm for the Short Track Auto Racing Series Saturday night.
After having the first two STARS events postponed due to rain, the cars and drivers filled the pits to kick off their 2013 season. For the ninth time, two local legends were honored for their dedication to midget racing in the Joliet area. Don Carter Sr. and “Big Jim” Anderson were on the minds of many competitors Saturday night at the Grundy County Speedway for the ninth annual “Carter/Anderson Classic.
For the second straight year, a first time winner emerged as Austin Prock found himself in victory lane. The 2012 STARS Rookie of the Year and son of NHRA champion crew chief Jimmy Prock started on the pole for the 36-lap main event and led flag to flag en route to his first career midget victory.
“It feels great to finally get this win. Last year was a struggle for us with dropping out of several races where we were either leading or running up front, so to take the checkers first is a big sigh of relief for us,” stated Prock, an Avon, Ind. native.
For the fifth time in nine chances, Jimmy Anderson came home second in his father’s race.
“We fought some throttle issues for most of the day. That hurt us coming off of the corner, so to come home second is a plus,” Anderson said. When asked about finishing second for the fifth time, the two-time defending champion stated, “It’s something I’ve been accustomed to, but we will get it figured out and hopefully bring one home for dad and Big Don one year.”
The 2008 Carter/Anderson Classic winner and last year’s points runner-up, Patrick Wilda Jr., completed the podium. Last year’s race winner, Billy Hulbert, came home fourth and Tyler Trainor rounded out the top five. Wilda was the night’s fast qualifier and picked up a heat race win. Hulbert was the other heat race winner.
The Illini Racing Series sportsman midgets made their 2013 Grundy County debut Saturday night, and it was Dave Ohlendorf picking up his first career win as well. After battling both Jimmy and Mike Anderson for most of the race, Ohlendorf took over the top spot after Jimmy Anderson dropped out due to mechanical failure on lap 20 of 30. Ohlendorf would go on to lead the final 10 laps to pick up the win.
Defending champion Patrick Bruns and Lamont Critchett completed the podium, with Basil Hicks and 2012 Carter/Anderson Illini winner Mike Anderson rounding out the top five. Jimmy Anderson became the first Illini driver to break the 15-second barrier in qualifying, filling in for Eric Pershey. Mike Anderson and Lamont Critchett took home the heat race wins.
The Classic Modified Series had a familiar face in victory lane to kick off the season. Former series runner-up Tom Schnabel completed the event sweep by taking the 20-lap feature win. The fast qualifier and heat race winner edged out John McGeorge and 2012 champion Erica Ensor at the line. Greg Wills and Tom Wills completed the top five.
It was a night of firsts for the STARS series competitors, as Brian Tedeschi took home his first STARS feature win in the INEX Legends series. Tedeschi beat out Cullen Camasta by a tenth of a second. Rookie, Austin Kunert finished third ahead of Johnny Kringas and Drew Higginson. Tedeschi was the fast qualifier on the night and Matt O’Leary took home the heat race victory.
The CSR SuperCups returned to action on the third-mile paved oval. Mike Harrold came home victorious to open the season with Brody Hayes trailing at the line by only 78 hudredths of a second. Jayden Cave, Jaden Fryer and Jamie Domski rounded out the top five. Fryer was on the top of the speed charts in qualifying and was the winner of the heat race.
STARS will have a week off before returning to the Grundy County Speedway for the third running of the Freedom 50 on July 6. Gates for the “Freedom 50” open at 5 p.m. with races starting at 6:30.
Log on to www.stars-racing.com, like STARS on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shorttrackauto or follow STARS on Twitter @shorttrackauto for more information.
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Patrick Wilda Jr., 33, Wilda- 14.715; 2. Jimmy Anderson, 36, Guess- 14.741; 3. Tyler Trainor, 25, Trainor- 14.802; 4. Ryan Probst, 99, Probst- 14.903; 5. Tyler Baran, 11, Baran- 14.930; 6. Austin Prock, 41, Prock- 14.994; 7. Nick Baran, 87, Baran- 15.038; 8. Billy Hulbert, 88, Hulbert- 15.051; 9. Nick Wagner, 32, Wagner- 15.202; 10. Terry Ahern, 6T6, Ahern- 15.372; 11. Mike Anderson, 51, Anderson- 15.448; 12. Tom Eyman, 2, Eyman- 15.448; 13. Kyle Kettmann, 6, Kettmann- NT 14. Brad Greenup, 4, Greenup- NT; 15. Charlie Judd, 75, Judd- NT
FIRST HEAT (8 Laps): 1. Wilda 2. Trainor 3. Wagner 4. M. Anderson 5. N. Baran 6. T. Baran. 7. Kettmann DNS
SECOND HEAT (8 Laps): 1. Hulbert 2. J. Anderson 3. Prock 4. Probst 5. Eyman 6. Ahern
FEATURE (36 Laps): 1. Austin Prock 2. Jimmy Anderson 3. Patrick Wilda Jr. 4 Billy Hulbert 5. Tyler Trainor 6. Nick Wagner 7. Ryan Probst 8. Tom Eyman 9. Mike Anderson 10. Tyler Baran 11. Nick Baran 12. Brad Greenup 13. Terry Ahern 14. Kyle Kettmann (DNS)
LAP LEADERS: Prock, laps 1-36