Hein Snags 5th RPM in a Row
In one of the most exciting nights of pavement sprint car racing in recent memory, Matt Hein charged past King of the Wing Champion Jojo Helberg in heavy traffic to claim his fifth Rory Price Memorial in a row! Ending the race on lap 29 of 40 under light mist, the drivers agreed it was unsafe to continue and Hein collected the $5000 win.
The night started off with Helberg rolling out first for qualifying and absolutely shattering the all time track record on the 3/8 oval by clocking a 13.682 on his first lap. The rest of qualifying was a formality as no one could come close to the recent winner at the high banks of Speedways Winchester and Toledo. The white hot Helberg claimed Davey Hamilton’s King of the Wing Midwest leg championship before heading to Evergreen to lay down the ultra fast lap. Heat race action saw a full invert for two races as drivers jockeyed to claim their starting positions for the 40 lap eighth running of the RPM race and a $500 reward for winning the 12 lap sprints. Second quick Matt Hein at a 13.971, claimed heat 1 and Helberg took home heat 2, but not before getting passed by Scott Aumen. Aumen suffered a flat tire the following lap, setting up the top two qualifiers out front to slug it out in clean air for the opening laps of the main event.
The Rory Price Memorial got started under threatening skies and took three tries to complete the first lap, with multi car tangles in turn one for the two initial attempts, thinning the field by 4, including fan favorite Billy Kennelly. When racing finally commenced, Helberg darted to an early half straightaway lead. The clean air for the leaders didn’t last long as the duo began lapping cars in earnest by the end of the third lap. The two diced through slower cars and were quickly lapping top 10 runners when Hein made his move in heavy traffic to lead lap 16. The rocket men had third place a lap down by lap 25. The torrid pace was slowed when Aumen made a daring three wide attempt entering one with all four wheels below the white line and clobbered the infield tire. The restart attempt was called off when Shawn Rice spun in turn two and light mist started to fall. Hein never looked back and the race ended under caution when the drivers notified officials that the surface was too damp and unsafe to continue.
RPM8 ended under a series of controversies. Darren Yates and Jake Mann, who had been running third and fourth a lap down, left the surface before the final yellow fell, and Shawn Rice, who had been running third at the time he spun, brought out the final caution, creating a great deal of confusion as to who rounded out the top five. Then later, after being informed of post race inspection involving the engine pump, the Helberg crew loaded up quickly and rolled out the back gate, saying they had a plane to catch on their way by!
In other action, Mike Steltz claimed his first Outlaw Figure 8 win since returning to competition, Duane Schoesbeck claimed the win in the Street Stock main event, FSCRA saw John Grosvenor sweep the Evergreen events this year with his second win at the historic facility in 2014 and Jason Majors took home top honors in the Pro 4 Trucks. Next up is Super Late Model Championship night for 100 laps on the 5/8 oval in an exciting close battle for the NASCAR championship.