Fuqua gets CMS opening night victory
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April 4, 2015  |  by Sam Stoecklin

WARRENSBURG, Mo.--Central Missouri Speedway (CMS) began its 2015 race season on Saturday evening for KDKD 95.3 FM ‘Today’s New Hit Country’ race night. A total of 89 drivers signed in for competition in five race divisions. Opening night had its challenges for those in attendance as fans braved the early April cold temperatures.

Track personnel did their best to stay on top of a difficult and stubborn race surface while the talented group of drivers and crew personnel skillfully searched for the best drive lines on the track to run in and for the best setup options based on track conditions.

In USRA Modified action, 22 drivers contested three heat races to earn spots on the grid for the 25-lap feature event. West Plains, Missouri’s Logan Martin fought off Dean Wille and Zach Sanders of Kearney, Missouri for the heat one victory. Johnny Fennewald of Appleton City flew the checkers in heat two ahead of Jim Moody and Terry Schultz of Sedalia. The third and final prelim event went to Lewis Jackson with Tim Karrick and Edgerton, Kansas driver Dalton Kirk finishing close behind.

Earlier in the evening, track owner/promoter Earl Walls spoke at the driver’s meeting regarding the newly resurfaced track. As it turned out, Walls’ prediction that the track would be rough in places materialized as by the time the USRA Modifieds hit the track, several pressure ridges had built up particularly in the turns.

Drivers either watched the previous main events and knew what they were facing or heard from their crew personnel before going out what was going on with the track surface. As the old race cliché states, everyone had to race on the same surface and all but one car present made their way to the track.

Logan Martin’s impressive early season continued as the youngster earned the pole position alongside Johnny Fennewald for the initial green flag. Not long after racing began, defending track champion Terry Schultz pulled into the hot pit area during a lap one caution period. Schultz’s crew quickly made repairs and Schultz rejoined the field just before the race resumed.

At this time, Martin led Fennewald, Tim Karrick, Lewis Jackson and Jim Moody near the front. Shortly after the restart, Jim Moody had a rare spin in turn one up on the high side as the field slowed once again under caution. Richard Layne tried to avoid Moody’s stalled car but made contact with Moody and although both cars were able to drive away, only Layne was able to continue racing after a quick trip to the hot-pit area.

Up front, Martin paced the field for the restart with Fennewald and Karrick close behind. The turn four exit had its challenges as drivers did their best to maneuver their way through it. Gunner Martin’s car went around in turn two to draw a caution as the field raced their way through lap two. Fennewald had a strong restart when racing resumed but Logan Martin held point at the front until a few laps later when the caution flag came out for Kansan Steven Bowers, Jr., who had stalled in the track exit lane.

For the next restart, Martin led Fennewald, Karrick, Dalton Kirk, Jackson, Zach Sanders, Darron Fuqua, Justin Johnson and Dean Wille. On lap five, Fennewald began to put heavy pressure on the #36 of Martin just as Matt Johnson of Archie, Missouri retired from the events. Karrick ran strong on the low side and challenged Fennewald for second on several occasions to make for a three-car breakaway by lap ten.

Wille’s night came to an end as he also retired from the race near lap ten. Karrick continued his pursuit of Fennewald for second until another caution fell over the field when Gunner Martin suffered a spin in turn four. With 15 laps remaining, Logan Martin led Fennewald, Karrick, Jackson, Kirk, Fuqua, Tyler Schmidt, Schultz and Layne with Kirk rocketing into second shortly after racing resumed in the wild event.

Logan Martin then lost the lead to Fennewald in a tight battle as drivers jockeyed for positions inside the top five. Several changes in the order took place in turn two as Karrick fell back after his car nearly stalled out in turn. At the same, Kansan Dalton Kirk wanted in on the lead action along with Fuqua, who made his move inside the top five in a furious battle among front runners.

Fennewald held the lead until he also spun from the lead in between turns one and two on lap 17, which led to a late-race caution with eight laps remaining. It was later reported that Fennewald’s window net had actually came undone and ultimately falling into the steering wheel and getting caught up, which led to his spin from the lead.

In the end, the race turned out to be exciting for the fans to watch with multiple changes in position in the running order but for the hard-working drivers, it was an edition of excitement as they did everything they could to put forth their best efforts. With Fuqua now in command, Jackson showed he was a force to be reckoned with as he ran solidly inside the top three throughout the course of the race.

As the laps wore down, Fuqua held the lead in pursuit of his first-ever CMS win with Jackson moving to second while Logan Martin rebounded to third after falling back earlier in the race. Kirk also ran solidly inside the top five as Terry Schultz rebounded to the upper reaches of the running order. Tyler Schmidt found a preferred line to advance through the field late in the race in a close battle with previously leader Logan Martin.

Near the end of the race it was not to be for Dalton Kirk as he fell from contention on lap 20 after a valiant effort. Fuqua ultimately had all the right moves on this night and came away the victor. It was an all Kansas one-two-three finish as Lewis Jackson and Tyler Schmidt finished second and third. Logan Martin, Karrick, Schultz, Layne, Fennewald, Kyle Graves and Craig Crossette completed the top ten. In victory lane, Fuqua stated, “I’m worn out after that one, but I’ve got to thank the crew for getting me here, we will definitely have to nut and bolt on the car after this one but it feels good to get my first win here.”

USRA Modified Feature Results

1st- 87-Darron Fuqua, Mayetta, KS
2nd- 3J-Lewis Jackson, Wellsville, KS
3rd- 66T-Tyler Schmidt, Easton, KS
4th- 36-Logan Martin, West Plains
5th- 1k-Tim Karrick, Basehor, KS
6th- 90-Terry Schultz, Sedalia
7th- 0-Richard Layne, Kansas City
8th- 21-Johnny Fennewald, Appleton City
9th- 14-Kyle Graves, Fulton
10th- 99c-Craig Crossette, Valley Ctr, KS
11th- 32p-Nick Pence, Raymore
12th- 23-Steve Twenter, Sedalia
13th- 30-Dalton Kirk, Edgerton, KS
14th- 69-Zach Sanders, Kearney
15th- 7j-Justin Johnson, Gardner, KS
16th- 75-Gunner Martin, Blue Springs
17th- 68-Dean Wille, Warrensburg
18th- 77-Steven Bowers Jr, Topeka, KS
19th- 16s- Matt Johnson, Archie
20th- 00-Jim Moody, Odessa
21st- 97k-Brian Johnson, Independence
DNS- 8x-Chad Thomasen, Louisburg, KS

Next Saturday, April 11, ULMA Late Models join the regular weekly program for the first of six appearances this season. Pit gates open at 4:30 with grandstands opening at 5. From this point forward in the season, the driver’s pill draw for starting positions will close promptly at 6:15. If drivers are not officially signed in prior to this time, they will not earn points for advancing through the field and will earn finishing points only.

Adult admission is $12, Senior Citizens 65 and older $10, Military w/I.D. $10, Kids ages six to twelve $5, children five and under are free. Admission is free for anyone permanently confined to a wheelchair. Weekly pit pass is $30. Be sure to check out the latest schedule updates, track news, and general race information online at www.centralmissourispeedway.net. Find CMS on Twitter @CMSgoing_green and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Central-Missouri-Speedway.

CMS thanks its primary sponsors for their support this season! Cliff Harris Warrensburg Ford, Budweiser, KMZU 100.7 FM, Sunoco Race Fuels, Pepsi, KMMO FM 102.9, Midwest Coatings, Better Country KIX 105.7 FM, Comfort Inn Warrensburg Station, 610 Sports Radio Kansas City, KRLI FM 103.9 & KAOL 101.3 FM The Grenade, Heartland Waste, and 'Today's New Hit Country' 95.3 FM KDKD.

This year’s list of outstanding business partners includes: Victory Trophies & Plaques, Roundabout Café, Batliner Recycling, DQ Grill & Chill of Warrensburg, Blue Springs Chiropractic, Economy Lumber, Brooks Automotive LLC, Kleinschmidt's Western Store, OK Tire Stores, Eickleberry Concrete & Construction, Finish Line Performance, Wolf Tire Service, Economy Lumber and Hardware, Rod End Supply, JA Performance, Seeburg Mufflers, and RacinDirt.com.

CMS is located 3.5-miles north of Warrensburg, MO from the junction of Highways 50 and 13 in Warrensburg. From the Higginsville/Warrensburg exit off I-70, head south on Highway 13 for twelve and half miles towards Warrensburg.



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