Sunday, August 12, 2018

Tri-State Report By Paul Haas

The Interstate Racing Association brought the WCM Racing Tri State series to Ingalls Motor Speedway in Ingalls, Indiana on August 11 for the second of four races at four different tracks that will comprise the 2018 schedule. The forecast improved through the week leading up to race day and while there were periods of overcast skies, no rain materialized and the great day of racing was had among the nearly 40 cars that took to the track in five different division of competition in America’s premiere quarter scale racing series.
One of the most notable facets of the day centers around a racer who did not play a prominent role and that will be discussed more later in this report.
The first division to take to the tight oval was the East Coast Modifieds as they timed in their qualifying efforts. Top qualifier in the ECM was Todd Holloway with a lap of 6.093 followed by Tony Watcher at 6.156, and Jeff Grahn who clocked in at 6.170. The rest in order were John Wachter, Todd Gunder and Chris Stump.
ECM heats were both won by Holloway with Tony Watcher taking second in the first followed by Jeff Grahn. The results of the second heat of ECM were put tallied with those of the first to set the lineup for the ECM 150 lap main with Holloway on the pole, Tony in second, Grahn in third starting position followed by Stump, John Watcher, and Todd Gunder.
Holloway led the main flag to flag without much of a challenge being offered by the others. Tony Watcher lost his 2nd place spot after 16 laps when he went to the back. Tony made his wat back to third by lap 44 but could not get back to 2nd until lap 127 when Grahn fell out of competition while running in 2nd place. Grahn too had been sent to the back early in the race but got back up toward the front quickly. He was able to get close to Holloway on occasion but did not have enough to really make Holloway nervous.
Stump stayed in 4th and 5th most of the race until he dropped out after 114 laps. Todd Gunder made it 89 laps before taking his machine to the pits. Tony Watcher had a slip on lap late in the race that let John Watcher get by to take over 2nd place where he would finish behind Holloway and ahead of Tony Watcher.
Next up in the day’s running order was the Buschhhhhhhhhh Division where four very inexperienced drivers (well three and one long in the tooth veteran who masquerades as an inexperienced driver) battled it out. Jarrett Raber was the top qualifier after setting fast time and winning the first heat ahead of Orrin Sunde, Dave Dygon and Tim Stump. Dave Dygon won the second heat ahead of Raber, Stump and Sunde.
Top Qualifier Raber led the field to the green flag for the start of the 100 lap main followed by Dygon, Sunde, and Stump. Dygon got past Raber on the start and Sunde also took advantage of the very young Raber momentarily. Raber was not to be counted out as he showed the stock he comes from and quickly got back into shape and by lap 11 was back up to 2nd place when Dygon made a “whoops” giving the lead to Sunde. Stump would only lead one lap of this race but was a smooth and consistent and regularly benefited from the others misfortunes. Raber returned to being the lead dog on lap 55 giving Dygon and the others the same view as at the start. Raber stayed out front while Dygon and Sunde took turns in 2nd place. Then, on lap96 Raber missed a mark while Stump was running in 2nd after Sunde had dropped out on lap 89. Stump quickly took advantage of the youngster’s error to take over 1st and lead the 97th lap. Just as quickly, Raber recovered and got back past Stump and held on for the win. Very good racing and driving by this group.
The wild and quirky Sprint cars were next up in the order. Todd Holloway was top qualifier here too as he set fast time and won both heats. Dave Raber qualified second, with Kevin Ligon third, Mike Miller fourth, and Larry Hopson fifth after Raber, Ligon, Miller, and Hopson would finished third through fifth in that order in both heats. These guys are consistent, if nothing else.
Miller quickly got from his 4th place starting position to the point of this 100 lap contest after a caution on lap four put him there. It was no fluke as Miller hung in the lead for 20 laps until lap 28 when he slipped up and fell back to third returning Holloway to the front of the pack. From there, Holloway took control and the checkers in this one. Raber, while strong in the heats just never got it all together in this one and lingered in 4th place most of the race. Ligon would settle into 2nd and Miller into 3rd as the laps went by to the end. Hopson did not answer the call to the line for this one and was credited with a last place finish.
A field of six Limited Sportsman competitors was entered for the day. This may seem a bit slight, and it may be that it was, but with the advent of the Buschhhhh Division (a very good thing) cars that would’ve been among the Limiteds are now in the new division. AND, this group of six made for a very stout field and some excellent racing and driving.
Matt Graves set fast time at 6.024 with Tim Barth only 2/1000’s behind at 6.026. Graves would secure the top qualifier honor by winning both heats while Barth finished 2nd in the first heat and 3rd in the second heat. Ken Leiker was third best qualifier after finishing 2nd in the second heat. Rest of the order was Scott Rance, Mark Hogue, and Tim Loos.
As the 100 lap main got underway Barth got the jump on Graves and immediately took over the lead. Only 11 laps later Graves made the move that put him back in front with a clean pass on Barth. Leiker fell from his 3rd place starting position to 5th on the start moving Rance to 3rd and Hogue to 4th. They would stay that way until lap 30 when Rance had to take it to the pits and end his day. That made it Graves, Barth, Hogue, and Leiker until Barth got back in front of Graves on lap 47 and Leiker got past Hogue on lap 58. Lap 64 saw Hogue get around Leiker for 13 laps before Leiker overtook Hogue again. Then on lap 90 Hogue would get back in front of Leiker but no celebration yet for Hogue because Leiker would come back to 3rd on the last lap of this great race with lots of door to door racing and more than enough passing. Good car control throughout in this one.
The Sportsman Division had a strong field of sixteen entrants for Race #2 in the Tri State Series. The “B” Main for the Sportsman this day would certainly have rivaled most any “A” Main in the Midwest, and some said even anywhere in the country. Part of the reason for that was alluded to at the opening of this report.
One of the most prominent and successful racers in all of quarter scale racing failed to qualify for the “A” main in this one. Most others present said that they could not remember a time when Greg Hilber did not make the “A”. Greg had struggles most of the day and did not have much fortune in the “B” as he tried to make the “A” from there. Our heart goes out to Greg as we know the intensity of his competitive drive. Greg, ever the gentleman, will be back and true to form, and we look forward to that. It is a testament to the man and his racing that his missing an “A” merits such notice.
After qualifying and then four heat races that saw four different winners, top qualifier in the Sportsman Division was Chris Hogue who, coming off of his National Championship win, showed no loss of desire. Nick Ellis qualified second after winning one heat race and finished second in the other. Randy Brown did the same in his heat races to qualify third. Fourth best qualifier was Gabby Allshouse with a strong showing of heat finishes of 2nd and 4th. Fifth in the qualifying results was Jeff Grahn, and Tony Watcher secured the sixth qualifying spot. Those six were locked into the 200 lap “A” while the other 10 were relegated to the 75 lap “B” main to determine the other four who would fill out the starting field for the “A”.
To have a “B” Sportsman lineup that includes, Greg and Matt Hilber, John Cibella, Todd Holloway, John Watcher, Rick Liehr, and J.R. Parsley (at his home track) evidences the strength of the field in this day’s Sportsman Division. Matt Hilber would lead this race from flag to flag. Watcher fell to 6th place for his 3rd place starting spot. Liehr too suffered a similar fall from 4th to 7th. Greg Hilber started at the rear and did make it up to 4th from which he would’ve transferred to the “A” by lap 24, but could not hang on to the end. Joining Matt Hilber in transferring were Chris Stump, Todd Holloway, and John Cibella. Those not transferring, but showing good effort were Greg Hilber, John Watcher, Rick Liehr, Alex Livingston and J.R. Parsley.
Now the field for the 200 lap Sportsman “A” was set. The race would include three fuel stops, dividing the contest into four 50 lap segments which helped keep everyone on the lead lap unless they had real trouble. Chris Hogue took the green to start the 200 lap Sportsman “A” main at the front of the field and held sway until he got out of shape on lap 53 and found himself near the rear. In the meantime Brown had struggles as did Allshouse who both dropped down the running order. At the same time, Holloway and Cibella were making their way toward the front.
Ellis inherited the lead from Hogue’s miscue, but it was only to be so for 10 laps as Hogue showed his mettle and got back to the front on lap 63. Brown and Allshouse were also making progress and running 4th and 5th as 70 laps were completed.
Hogue had his way for the rest of this one. Matt Hilber had mechanical issues after only 32 laps and dropped out. Chris Stump would end this race in 9th and Randy Brown in 8th after a strong showing all weekend. 7th place went to Tony Watcher and Allshouse took 6th. Ellis settled for 5th just behind Jeff Grahn who made a good showing and finished 4th. The low spot on the podium went to Holloway who came to 3rd from his 9th place start position after doubting his decision to run Sportsman this weekend. Joining Holloway on the podium in 2nd place was Mr. John Cibella who started 10th in the lineup after transferring from the “B”. I told you that was a great “B” field!!!.
Hogue was the class of the day in Sportsman, but all of the racers in all division showed great class in their conduct and their racing.
Thanks to Scott and Kim Rance, J.R. and Tina Parsley, and everyone who had a part in putting on the show or participating in the show. Ingalls is a great place to race. Thanks to our presenting sponsor WCM Racing, the first name in quarter scale, and our associate sponsors, Ken Leiker Motorsports, your quarter scale super store, QSAC, and Barth Racing Concepts. You are all greatly appreciated. (Several hundreds of dollars’ worth of prized were given away, and KL Motorsports raffled a new motor too at only $10 a ticket!
Next up is the Lansing leg of the 2018 Tri State Series on September 14th and 15th, and then the inaugural Kil Kare Tri State on September 28th and 29th.
Tri State points after two races and one drop will be posted here very soon.

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