MORRIS – The season-ending Lee Schuler Memorial at Grundy County Speedway is a special race no matter what the year or who comes away with the trophy.
But when a Schuler wins it...
“Well, I’ve been doing this a long time and first is certainly better than second,” Larry Schuler said after capturing the 38th running Sunday. “But for it to be this race to do it in means all the world to me. It really does.”
The 61-lap event, held in honor of Larry Schuler’s legendary father, brought to a close a 2014 season that saw Ricky Baker emerge as a back-to-back late-model champion.
Schuler and Baker ran 1-2 in the feature, which saw a breath-holding final two laps in which the leaders had to negotiate through some oil that had been spilled from the middle of the back straightaway into Turn 4.
Schuler, leading Baker by three car-lengths and with the lapped car of Jeremy Spoonmore just ahead, saw his No. 30 careen crazily through the turn.
Baker’s second-place finish clinched the season championship over Eddie Hoffman, who finished third in the race.
Schuler took the lead from Hoffman with a move on the bottom on Lap 6. For much of the race, he was comfortably in front. Hoffman maintained second place until Lap 23, when Baker zoomed by.
Behind the top three, Anthony Danta finished fourth, ahead of Brandon Clubb, Chris Cooling, John Nutley, James Gregait, David Einhaus and Chuck Sottosanti.
Joe Vinachi closed the Mid-American division season strong by winning his second feature event of the weekend. Vinachi took the lead from track champion Tommy Knippenberg and held Knippenberg at bay the rest of the way. John Ventrello, Jim Kachel, Chuck Yuris and Luke Baldwin followed.
Johnny Senerchia won for the third time this season, but it didn’t stop teammate Eddie Ligue from capturing the street stocks track title. Senerchia beat Don O’Leary to the finish line by 0.252 seconds. Bob Davis was third, followed by Jake Bradley, Jason Kolbe and Peter Hernandez. Ligue was seventh.
The pure stocks feature saw Zach Sontag win out in a close battle with Ricky Wilson. Justin Mikel was third, followed by Spencer Leake and Dan Schmeissing. The division crown was clinched by Austin Blackwell.
The Legends feature went to Johnny Kringas over Tommy Jones and Austin Kunert. Patrick Bruns beat teammate Jimmy Clark in the Illini Midgets main.