Joe Wood, Jr. made a rare appearance with the National Championship Racing Association of Park City, Kansas presented by Precise Racing Products pay off in a huge way as he retook the lead on lap thirteen and never looked back to claim his first career NCRA sprint car series victory Sunday night at 81 Speedway in Park City. The race was the 28th consecutive season opener for the series and the “Sprint Car Maynia” event paid $3000 to the Oklahoma City driver, the extra $1000 courtesy of Mike Seltzer Jewelers of Wichita.
Wood and Seth Bergman started on the front row for the twenty-five-lap championship feature with Wood jumping into the lead as the green flag fell. Bergman, fifth starting Wayne Johnson and Danny Jennings followed with Wood holding on to a six-car length lead over Bergman by lap five.
Jennings began making his move to the leader on lap eight when he passed Johnson for third position and then, one lap later, got underneath Bergman for the runner-up position.
By this time Wood had opened a half stretch lead and began catching the slower cars on lap nine. This allowed Jennings to cut the deficit to five car lengths and when Wood got pushed up the track in turn two on lap ten, Jennings took advantage and drove underneath to take the lead going down the backstretch.
Lap eleven saw the only caution of the feature fall when Forrest Southerland spun in turn two.
On the final restart, Wood was on Jennings bumper and coming around to take lap thirteen, Wood shot underneath the leader and retook the going down the front straightaway.
Johnson would also get past a fading Jennings for the runner-up position and by then Wood had opened a full-stretch advantage before catching the back of the field again on lap seventeen. Johnson would close the deficit to three car lengths with five laps remaining but Wood would hold to claim the six-car length victory.
Johnson settled for second while eighth starting Matt Covington came home third. Bergman and defending series champion Don Droud, Jr. rounded out the top five.
Former series champion Jeremy Campbell worked his way up from his thirteenth starting position to finish sixth.
The four, ten lap heat races for the thirty-car field were won by Jennings, Stasa, Jon Freeman and Johnson while Southerland took home the twelve-lap “B” feature.
The next event for the NCRA sprint car division will be held on Saturday night, June 10, at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Nebraska in a co-sanctioned event with the Carpetland Nebraska 360 sprint series.
81 Speedway/Park City, Kansas
May 28, 2017
1st Heat (10 Laps): 1) Danny Jennings, 2) Seth Bergman, 3) Wyatt Burks 4) Kaden Taylor, 5) Kyle Clark, 6) Craig Carrol, 7) Brian Gramm, 8) Mike Spear
2nd Heat (10 Laps): 1) Jeff Stasa, 2) Joe Wood, Jr., 3) Don Droud, Jr., 4) Jeremy Campbell, 5) Mickey Walker, 6) Ryan Roberts, 7) Fred Mattox, 8) Jamie Passmore
3rd Heat (10 Laps): 1) Jon Freeman, 2) Matt Covington, 3) Forrest Southerland, 4) Jake Greider, 5) Waylon Weaver, 6) Ray Seeman, 7) Craig Dollansky
4th Heat (10 Laps): 1) Wayne Johnson, 2) Alex Sewell, 3) J.D. Johnson, 4) Josh Fairbank, 5) Andrew Deal, 6) Jeff Russell, 7) Ryan Padgett
B Feature (12 Laps): 1) Forrest Southerland, 2) Kyle Clark, 3) Andrew Deal, 4) Jay Russell, 5) Craig Dollansky, 6) Kaden Taylor, 7) Craig Carroll, 8) Mickey Walker, 9) Fred Mattox, 10) Ryan Roberts, 11) Mike Spear, 12) Waylon Weaver, 13) Brian Gramm, 14) Ryan Padgett, 15) Jamie Passmore, 16) Ray Seeman
A Feature (25 Laps): 1) Joe Wood, Jr. (1), 2) Wayne Johnson (5), 3) Matt Covington (8), 4) Seth Bergman (2), 5) Don Droud, Jr. (3), 6) Jeremy Campbell (13), 7) Danny Jennings (4), 8) Jon Freeman (7), 9) Alex Sewell (11), 10) Jake Greider (10), 11) Kyle Clark (16), 12) Wyatt Burks (12), 13) Craig Dollansky (19), 14) J.D. Johnson (9), 15) Andrew Deal (17), 16) Mickey Walker (22), 17) Forrest Southerland (15), 18) Craig Carroll (21), 19) Josh Fairbank (14), 20) Fred Mattox (23), 21) Jay Russell (18), 22) Kaden Taylor (20), 23) Ryan Roberts (24), 24) Jeff Stasa (6)
Lap Leaders: Wood 1-10, 13-25; Jennings 11-12
by David Smith Jr.
Photo by Gary Cornelison