The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

October 28, 2012

Johnson wins at Winter Nationals

ENID, Okla. — Travis Johnson thrilled the hometown crowd as he led all 20 laps of the sport modified main event at Enid Speedway’s 47th annual Winter Nationals Sunday afternoon to claim the championship crown.

“We had a pretty good hot rod today,’’ Johnson said “The track was a little slicker than yesterday, but we kept our nose clean and stayed out front.”

Johnson exploded off the pole aboard his Custom Shack Western Flyer Express and set up a straight-away lead in a mere four laps.

Johnson was maneuvering lapped traffic when a twin spin brought out a caution in lap 17. The restart tightened up the field on Johnson’s half-a-lap advantage and put the hard-charging Todd Decker on his bumper.

Johnson had the fastest ride and never looked back on his path to the finish. Decker finished second, followed by Joe Adams, J.D. Choate and Mark Harrison.

Woodward’s Tommy Weder was untouchable in the late model championship race as he led the entire feature to claim the 2012 championship.

“The car was awfully good tonight,” Weder said. “It is always good to home come.  I grew up watching racing here and started my first dirt-tracking on this track.”

Two yellow flags waved before the gladiators of dirt could get their race under way.  

Weder put his Tara Apartments-sponsored ride out front, only to see another caution come out for debris. Weder picked up where he left off when the race went green and took a half-a-lap lead to the finish line.

Ronnie Warman finished second with Chris Kratzer, Jimmy Segraves and Gary Gorby trailing at the line.

You only have to lead the last lap to win, and that’s just what Wichita’s Kirby Robe did to claim the title in the modified championship race.

“This is awesome,” Robe said. “What an unbelievable race.”

Don Hodge claimed the lead on the start and boasted nearly a straight-away advantage when a yellow flag waved in lap 8 as Cole Traugott came to the stop on the back wall.

Flyin’ Ryan McAnich found the quick way around on the start, and despite two late race cautions, looked to be the man to beat. A violent restart sent him flying over the wall in turn two in lap 18.

Hodge resumed the lead, only to be taken out of the race in turn one by McAnich. Both drivers vaulted from their cars and a fistfight erupted in turn two.

Robe hurried away when the race went green and held the lead to the line.

Greg Burt made a late challenge, but settled for second followed by Mickey Lassiter, Dan Powers and Tyler Davis.

Darren Moses of Valley Center, Kan, outlasted the field in the caution-riddled street stock feature to claim the Nationals title.

A yellow waved on the start as Jerrod “The Wild Child” Reimer slid sideways and collected three cars. A four-car pileup on the restart kept the track under caution.

Moses sprinted off the outside pole and showed the way when the race finally went green. Moses found a fast line and sported a straight-away advantage when Shelby Stucky took a wild ride after she clipped the back wall and rolled off the track, bringing out a red flag in lap 5.

Moses hurried away on the restart and was never challenged on his path to the checkers.

Les Mertens claimed second, followed by Chris Pitts, Wesley Kruckenberg and Jason Nulf.

Billy Phelps was in the right place at the right time as he captured the win in the factory stock main. Lance Sessions exploded off the front row and led the start, but all that effort was for naught as Stan Sanders spun to a halt in turn two. Sessions continued his run on the restart, only to see a caution wave the next time around.

Sessions headed up the field for a third time and had a straight-away lead when Brad Costello came to a rest at the top of turn three in lap 4. Sessions had a strong lead when the next caution waved, but his luck ran out as he dropped a drive shaft on the track.

The restart saw cars scattering all over the track and reduced the feature to a two-lap shootout. Phelps inherited the lead and raced to the finish.

James Weve, Sonny O’Hair, Branden Rhodes and Kenton Sanders rounded out the top five.

Warman won the late model heat. Reimer and Moses took the honors in street stock.  B feature winners were Bryan Powers in modified and Chris Cary in sport modified. Frank Graven posted the win in the sport modified C.

A red flag came out when racing legend Buddy Mullens rolled violently on the back straight in the modified B feature. Two red flags waved early in the sport modified C feature, first when Creighton Decker slammed into the wall on the back straightaway, and then for a fierce crash between Nick Shenberger and Courtney McCartney.

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