MORRIS – Ricky Baker thanked his crew after his seventh late-model feature win Friday night at Grundy County Speedway for adjusting a car that almost spun out during qualifying.
He also owed a debt of thanks to the yellow flag, without which he would have had a hard time getting to victory lane. The yellow allowed Baker to close the gap on leader John Nutley.
Nutley opened a big advantage after taking the lead from James Gregait on Lap 14. It was typical of a few other races this season where Nutley has led the most laps – but not the last one. Things dramatically changed this time when Gregait went around Eddie Hoffman in turn four on Lap 20. The yellow came out, and both were sent to the back.
Suddenly, what seemed to be a runaway turned into a bumper-to-bumper battle. Still, Baker wasn’t sure.
On Lap 25. Nutley dropped in right behind him and hung with Baker for two laps, but eventually fell back by about five car-lengths. Baker beat Nutley to the finish line by 0.822 seconds. Billy Knippenberg was third, followed by Larry Schuler, Chris Cooling and fast qualifier Pat Kelly.
Late-model heats went to Knippenberg and Chuck Sottosanti.
Ricky Wilson made the outside groove work to perfection in passing the top two cars en route to his first pure stocks victory of the season.
Wilson spent several laps working on second-place Alex Gay before passing her via the upper groove. He then tracked down leader Nick Clubb and made the winning move just four laps from the finish.
At the finish it was Wilson by 1.286 seconds over Mike Yuris. Clubb, Zach Sontag, Gay and James Gross completed the top six. Pure stocks heats were captured by Austin Blackwell and Mikey Slabenak. Justin Mikel was the fast qualifier.
Street stock points leader Eddie Ligue made it five feature wins on the season with a near wire-to-wire run. Ligue took the top spot from Rob Scamen on Lap 2 and never was headed. John Senerchia came the closest, easing past Jake Bradley for second and staying within 0.399 seconds of Ligue at the checkered flag.
In the Mid-American main, points leader Tommy Knippenberg won for the eighth time in a runaway over Jason Hendron, Matt Clemens, Kevin Murphy, Joe Vinachi and Jeremy Clubb.
GRADE SCHOOL SOFTBALL
A.V. Martinez 10, Minooka 9: Minooka was led by Maggie Joutras, Cierra Bachmann and Hannah Justak with two hits each. Faith Cunning, Bella Alessio, Allie Vandergrift each had one hit for the Indians.
Illinois Valley Titans tryouts: The Illinois Valley Titans traveling baseball team is looking for players 11 and younger for the 2015 season. Tryouts will be at noon on Sept. 6 at the Naplate baseball diamond. If it rains, the tryouts will be at noon on Sept. 14. For information or anyone interested in tryout and can not make it, please call Jeff Demoss at 630-878-9817 for individual workouts.