By Tom Gianinni
(CLERMONT, IN) When team haulers rolled into Lucas Oil Raceway there was no story bigger than the points leader Justin Blackdeer’s team not rolling in with them. Blackdeer who came into the event leading Jim Foose by 26 points could only pray to maintain his points lead as the 51 machine remained idle in the garage. The rest of the top 5, Jared Mogard, Allan Young and Tim Knott, would all have a fire lit under them in this one as they would try to shrink the points gap between them and the lead. Jacob Cochran won the pole to start the event followed by last week’s winner Jake Douglas. Points contenders Allan Young and Tim Knott started 3rd and 4th. Matt Vaade would round out the top 5 on the starting grid. Sparks were flying early when contact between Jim Foose and Jordan Harnish led to a pileup on lap 1. The rest of the race would, for the most part, be clean and green. Fifth in points Tim Knott’s chances at slimming the points margin would suffer an early blow when his 41 car was sent for a spin into the inside wall.
After leading the first few laps, pole winner Jacob Cochran would surrender the lead to the class of the field, Jared Mogard, for the first and final time. The win was Mogard’s second on the season. Early leader Cochran followed Mogard to the line to finish 2nd, his fourth top 5 of the season. Allan Young would cash in a good points night finishing third. Matt Vaade finished 4th and Jim Foose rounded out the top 5 when the Toyota of Tom Giannini ran out of gas on the last lap while running in 5th.
The points landscape is much different following the 100 lap event. Justin Blackdeer was able to maintain his lead with the cushion he had built up over the first ten events. However, that lead is now slim now. Move over Jim Foose, there’s a new driver in second. Jared Mogard would leap frog Foose in points, 10 points behind first place. With his top 5, Foose only lost one spot to 3rd. Allan Young remained in fourth. With his struggles, Tim Knott is now tied for 5th with Tom Giannini, 47 points behind the lead.
The series rolls into Langley Speedway next week for twin races, a format loved by both teams and drivers. Catch the Ironman Challenge Twin 75s next Wednesday at 9 pm. Will the points leader show up? Will Jared Mogard continue his mid season surge? Tune in next week to find out!
Editors Note: Following post race penalties, Jared Mogard was disqualified from the race win and received no points for his appearance. Standings in the race review were before any penalties were issued.