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Baker wins Magnabosco Memorial at Grundy County Speedway

Rich Zifko won the Fair Time 200 4-Cylinder Enduro Sunday at the Grundy County Speedway.
Rich Zifko won the Fair Time 200 4-Cylinder Enduro Sunday at the Grundy County Speedway.

He never lost the points lead, but on May 30, Ricky Baker did lose a little bit of his swagger during a dry spell at Grundy County Speedway that began after he won his third late-model feature of the season.

The dry spell officially is over.

Baker put on one of his most powerful shows of the season in the 70-lap Magnabosco Memorial, leading the final 49 laps and beating Eddie Hoffman to the finish line by 1.120 seconds.

Baker was biding his time behind early leader John Nutley when Nutley’s No. 96 began spewing gasoline after an overflow hose broke. The race was stopped on Lap 21 and Nutley went to the pits for repairs.

Inheriting the lead on the restart, Baker had no challenges the rest of the way. Hoffman took second place away from Anthony Danta on Lap 37 but spent the rest of his evening looking at Baker’s bumper about five car-lengths in front of him.

Gentile ran a strong race to finish third, ahead of Danta, Brett Sontag and Larry Schuler. Nutley came from the back to finish 11th in the 20-car field.

Tommy Knippenberg claimed his seventh feature of the season in the Mid-American class, working his way through the field and passing racelong leader Luke Baldwin with just seven laps remaining. Baldwin held on for second, while John Ventrello, Kevin Gentile, Joe Vinachi and Matt Clemmons completed the top six.

Jason Kolbe made his first appearance of the season in a street stock a bountiful one, leading almost wire to wire in the 25-lap feature.

The real battle was for second place between Logan Love and John Senerchia. It went to Senerchia, with Love hanging on for third ahead of points leader Eddie Ligue, Don O’Leary and Billy Rud. After winning her heat, Danielle Dobczyk prevailed in the pure stocks main in a one-lap shootout at the finish with Austin Blackwell.

Fair Time 200 Enduro

A field of 27 cars took the green flag for the Inaugural Fair Time 200 Enduro for 4 cylinder Pure Stocks style cars with Rick Zifko picking up the win with a late race pass over Alex Clubb.

Best looking car award winner Dylan Marshall started on the pole and led the first 4 laps of the 200 lap event before Alex Clubb would move past and take the lead. Clubb would set a blistering early pace and by lap 50 only second running, Mike Cunz, and third place, Justin Mikel, were on the lead lap. Shortly after the 1⁄4 mark of the race, Clubb would pass second and third and was only car on the lead lap.

Zifko, and Dan Schmeissing who were 2 of the 3 cars who had to start a lap down because of a rules infraction were working their way through the field and cracked the top 5 by lap 55. Schmeissing was the first of the leaders to run into problems when he dropped out of the race while running in the 4th spot on lap 85.

As the drivers closed in on the halfway fuel break at lap 100, Zifko moved into second spot but was still a lap down to the leader. At the break the top 6 were Clubb, Zifko, Cunz, Mikel, Joe Labombarbe and Mark Ross Jr.

On the restart, Zifko would line up behind Clubb and made quick work of him getting by the leader and putting himself on the tail end of the lead lap. Labombarbe and Cunz were both running in the top 5 when they retired to the pit area with mechanical problems. This would move Mikel up to third, Ross up to fourth and Dave Eder into the top 5.

Zifko slowly started eating into the lead but by lap 150, had only managed to get within a half a lap of Clubb. Around this time, Clubb’s lap times seemed to slow down some, and in the next 30 laps, Zifko inched closer and closer to leader. At lap 180, Zifko caught Clubb, and the top 2 drivers battled hard for the top spot with Zifko making the pass on lap 184 and leading the final 16 laps. In victory lane, Clubb told fans that he blew a brake line and was having to use the emergency brake just to slow down in the corners. In the end, only Zifko and Clubb would finish on the lead lap. 

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