The curtain has drawn on the 2014 racing season at the Double-X Speedway. For 25 consecutive seasons the clay oval has provided fans and drivers from across the nation with a hometown version of Sunday Night Thunder. The final night of competition was highlighted Sunday, Aug. 3, by a veteran visiting victory lane, along with the crowning of champions in the point battles in each division.
The mainstay of 25 seasons has been the Winged Sprints, and Sunday night saw another mainstay, California veteran Randy Martin, pick up the feature win. Martin has had some very strong runs this season in the sprint car division, running weekly in the #0 machine of car-owner John Thoenen. Martin was not to be denied Sunday night as he earned the pole position for the feature event with a strong run in his qualifying heat race. Leading the field to the green flag along with fellow heat winner Corey Nelson, Eugene, on the outside of row one and traveling veteran Mitchell Moore, Edgerton, who won the third heat, starting right behind him, Martin was able to take the lead on Lap 1 and hold off the strong challenges behind him to secure the victory. Using all of the grooves on the racing surface, Martin held off the early challenges of Nelson, who was running a strong second for many laps until he was passed by another veteran of many seasons at the Double-X, Lanny Carpenter, Clarksburg, who made a strong run to claim second place at the checkered flag. Young Nelson finished third, with rookie Ricky Stangl, Lee's Summit,Â claiming fourth. Fifth place went to Kyle Bellm, Nixa, with Moore finishing sixth. California's Tyler Blank, who had to change the rear end in his car after hot laps, came from 13th to place seventh. TJ Muths, Sedalia, finished eighth, Curtis Boyer, New Haven, ninth, and 10th place went to first-time sprint car competitor Kameron Key, Warrensburg.
Martin was joinedÂ on the front straightawayÂ by Carpenter, as the two veterans enjoyed another evening in the spotlight at the Double-X Speedway.
The B feature was won by Taylor Walton, Warrensburg. Joining Walton in transferring to the main event were Lone Jack's Cody Baker, Brandon Imhoff, Nathan Ryun, Higginsville, and California's Tyler Elliott, who charged from 20th starting position in the A to finish 11th.
The Street Stock division saw veteran John Clancy, California, claim victory over another driver very familiar with the clay at the Double-X, Steve Beach, Eldon, who finished second. First-year driver Cole Henson, Russellville, finished a solid third, with Dylan Bias, Centertown, and Blake Davidson, Mokane, rounding out the top five, respectively. Cole Graves, Tipton's Destiny Dowell and Tuscumbia's Dale Berry completed the field. Berry and Beach claimed the heat race victories.
It was a stellar night for Gage Wineland, Syracuse, as he picked up the win in the Hobby Stock feature event. After starting sixth on the grid, Wineland moved past early leader Will Register, Sedalia, on Lap 3 and didn't look back as he claimed the victory. Register ran a strong second, holding off first-year driver Eddie Lavery III, Tipton. Chuck Coffey, Windsor, finished fourth, and Fulton's Cole Canada crossed the strip in fifth place. Claiming positions six through 10 were Sedalia's Kevin Prall, California's AJ Wirts, Sedalia's Mike Schrader, Eldon's Laura Atkinson and California's Rudy Wirts, respectively. Heat races were won by Coffey and Register.
The 600cc Micro Sprints were on hand to fill out the card for the final event of the season Sunday night and it was Mile Paulus, Marshall, who stood tall in victory lane. Paulus led form the outset and was followed under the checkered by Marshall's Nick Schaefer, Columbia's Scott Hathman, Quinton Benson and Ayrton Gennetten, Versailles, in the top five, respectively. Columbia's Jordan Howell finished sixth, Columbia's Dean Hathman seventh, Brian Lunsford eighth, Clinton Boyles ninth, and Kyle Schlotz, Jefferson City, 10th. Heat races were claimed by Paulus and Schaefer.
After the races were completed, awards were presented to the top point earners in each division who competed each week. In the Hobby Stock class, the top 10 point leaders were: first, Gage Wineland; second, Kevin Prall; third, Will Register; fourth, Mike Schrader; fifth, Chuck Coffey; sixth, Eddie Lavery III; seventh, Rudy Wirts; eighth, AJ Wirts; ninth, Laura Atkinson; and 10th, Rodger Deatherage. Perfect Attendance Awards for the Hobby Stock division were presented to Gage Wineland, Kevin Prall, Mike Schrader and Rudy Wirts. Eddie Lavery III was crowned the Rookie of the Year in the division.
In the Street Stock division, eight drivers were eligible for year-end point awards. First place went to John Clancy; second, Steve Beach; third, Cole Henson; fourth, Dale Berry; fifth, Chris Dunham; sixth, Harlan Dowell; seventh, Curt Turpin; and eighth, Jake Dent. John Clancy and Cole Henson were honored for their perfect attendance and Cole Henson was named Rookie of the Year in the Street Stock division.
In the Winged Sprint division, which had some of the highest car counts this season, 14 drivers earned point awards for their efforts this year. Champion in the division was Jonathan Cornell. Second place went to Kyle Bellm; third, Randy Martin; fourth, Tyler Blank; fifth, Corey Nelson; sixth, TJ Muths; seventh, Taylor Walton; eighth, Evan Martin; ninth, Brad Ryun; 10th, Ricky Stangl; 11th, Lanny Carpenter; 12th, Tyler Elliott; 13th, Casey Baker; and 14th, AJ Wirts. Perfect Attendance Awards were presented to Kyle Bellm, Randy Martin, Tyler Blank and TJ Muths. Ricky Stangl was honored as the Rookie of the Year in the Winged Sprints division.
The People's Choice Award, in which the fans vote for their favorite driver, was presented to Kevin Prall from the Hobby Stock division. Glen and Linda Burlingame were presented the award for Outstanding Service to the Double-X Speedway.
After the awards ceremony, the fun races for the year were run. In the Hobby Stock division, the Powder Puff race was won by Tanya Canada with a turn four, last-lap pass. Second went to Shelley Fisher, third Rachael Crowder, and fourth place Ellie Wirts.
The Mechanics race in the Hobby Stock division was claimed by Craig Halderman. Jason Johnson finished in second place, and Dillon Davenport placed third.
The 600cc Micro Sprints Powder Puff race was also won with a turn four last-lap pass by Kelsey Brauner. Second place went to Vonnie Lewis, and third to Sasha Sullivan. The Mechanics race in this division was won by Daniel Steen, over Adam Skinner and Troy Schlotz.
The Street Stock division Mechanics race was won byÂ Jimmy Rogers, second was Ryan Middaugh and third was Gage Wineland.
In the Winged Sprints division, only the Mechanics race was contested with Richard Brainard picking up the win. Ricky Bland finished second, Rudy Wirts third, and Tom Kreisel fourth.
The final race of the night was the "Family Tradition" raceÂ for three generations of the Brown family of Marshall. Young Ben Brown claimed the victory over second grandfather Davis Brown, andÂ Ben's dad Frank Brown finished third.
Double-XÂ Speedway track owners and operators Kyle and Carol Wirts, California, and the entire staff extend thanks to all of the fans and competitors, sponsors and support personnel for helping to make the 25th season of Sunday Night Thunder a resounding success, and all look forward to the beginning of the 26th season in 2015.