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Photo By Bill Miller - Complements of www.tjslideways.com

Hagen Wins Montpelier Motor Speedway Season Opener

By Pete Smith

Driving into the facility at Montpelier Motor Speedway, one cannot help but being taken back to a different time in racing. The facility sits in a small picturesque Indiana town not far from the city center. itís a throwback to small community centered tracks that a one-time were very prominent though-out the country. A throw-back to a time when small towns stood behind their tracks and were proud of what they provided for the community, which was clearly the case with Montpelier Motor Speedway, as you enter the town of Montpelier on highway 18 you are greeted by a large sign for the speedway and as you enter the grounds you will encounter groups of citizens walking to the track from the surrounding community.
 

Admittedly it had been awhile since I had witnessed a midget race on dirt, walking into the pits I was excited of getting back in touch with this form of racing. A nice field of 25 midgets , 31 Modifieds , 14 super street stocks , 14 Thunder Cars and 6 front wheel drives were on hand along with a large crowd for the midget opener. Several big name driver were on hand for the night and when the hot laps for the midgets took the track Thomas Meseraull hauler pulled in bringing another the midget field to 26 car. In hot laps it was apparent that Darren Hagen would be the car to beat as he was on a wire. The 26 car field was divided into 3 heats with the top 5 transferring and the top three getting the redraw. Heat one saw the 3 of Darren Hagen scorch his way through the field from a 7th place starting spot, he was flowed to the line by the 5x of Justin Peck , 56p of Aaron Pierce , 17e of Blake Edwards and 21x of Nick Speidel. The second heat got off to a rough start as the 4 of Bobby East and 27 of Ross Rankine came together at the line causing Rankine to take a tumble, he was ok but the 27 machine was on the hook and out for the heat. The 4 was also sent to the tail for contact, and on the restart the 85 of Shane Hollingsworth jumped out to the lead. The battle was in the pack as the 16 of Thomas Meseraull and 4 of East knifed there way through the field to second and third respectively by the 3rd lap. Then the battle was on between the two East hounding Meseraull on the high side, On the 5th circuit of the track there battle would come to an abrupt end as Meseraull would slide high into East, East getting upside down as a result. East was uninjured but the 4 was done for the heat. Hollingsworth would go on to take the victory in the heat also making the transfer in order were 16 of Thomas Meseraull , 10 of Billy Wease , 3n of Jake Neuman , and the 21 of kurt Mayhew. In the Third Heat The 6p of Parker Price Miller would take the win followed by the 11c of Chet Gehrke, 5c of Colton Cottle , 21D of Justin Dickerson , and the 17 of Michael Koontz but the story of the heat at least for me was seeing Johnny Heydenrich back in a car piloting the 22, He would retire from the heat on lap 8 due to an ill handling car.
 

The B main saw the 4 of Bobby East storm through the field and set sail in the green to checkers race claiming the 16th starting spot in the feature, also transferring to the a were the 27 of Ross Rankine , 22 of Johnny Hydenrich , 2 of Stratton Briggs and the 44 of Tyler Ransbottom. For the feature the redraw gave the 56p of Aaron Peirce the pole , the 5x of Justin peck sitting to his outside and the favorites Shane Hollingsworth 6th , Darren Hagen 8th and Bobby East way back in 16th after having to come through the B. From the drop of the green action was intense , the 5x of Justin peck taking the top spot on the start and Hagen and East dicing through the field. The pace was slowed on lap 4 when Aaron Pierce running 2 spun coming out of turn 2 collecting the 16 of Thomas Meseraull, both would be done for the night. By lap 4 the 85 of Shane Hollingsworth had worked his way to 2nd , Hagen to third, and Bobby East had gained 9 positions in 4 laps restarting in 7 place. Immediately after the restart the race was red flagged for the 9p of Parker Price-Miller getting tangled up with another machine and flipping, he was okay but done for the night. When the action resumed it was Darren Hagen getting by the 85 of Hollingsworth and then on lap 7 passing the 5x of Peck to take the lead. Shane Hollingsworth would follow the 3 by on lap 9 the 4 of Bobby East would likewise pass Peck taking third, for the next 8 laps the battle was between East and Hollingsworth with East finally taking the spot in traffic on lap 17. Darren Hagen would go unchallenged and claim the victory in a dominant performance. Hagen went on to show his class on the track was matched by his class off handing his racing gloves to a young fan that had suffered burns in a gas explosion. Bobby East in the 4 machine , Shane Hollingsworth in the 85 , Colton Cottle in the 5c and 11c of Chet Gehrke rounded out the top 5 .
 

The racing in the modified division was wheel to wheel all night with the 47 of Collin Thirlby claiming the feature win. Wins also going to the 14 of Glenn Bradley in Super Streets , 41 of Ron Faugh in Thunder Cars , and 92 of Brandron McDaries in front wheel drives.
 

I personally really enjoyed my first visit to Montpelier, I was astounded by the way the track held up all night .  In a conversation with one of Montpelierís track workers he had explained that back when the track was a half mile Georgia clay had been brought in and they were in the process of digging it up and adding it to the surface of the present track. The track conditions all night well maybe not proof of the origin of the clay were sufficient evidence to edict the skill of Montpelier staff in track preparation. The track not only stayed good all night it got better and seemingly heavier throughout the evening. Montpelier is a great example of an Indiana bullring with excellent racing and great value for the fans, the tickets prices were only $10.00 for this show. The staff is exceptionally friendly and the facilities are clean and well kept, I highly recommend a trip there to anyone.

Read Pete's Weekly Column at www.luvracing.com


 

 

Montpelier Motor Speedway - 700 South Jefferson Street - Montpelier, Indiana 47359

Owners & Promoters - Harold & Lori Hunter

Track Phone 765-728-8210