June 7, 2000 Results

A Dude and a Young Lady Win at Open Wheel Wednesday Tony Stewart Blows Right Rear Tire While Leading Midget Feature

Pevely, Mo. (June 7) -- Danny "The Dude" Lasoski won the winged sprint car feature at I-55 Raceway in the fifth version of the track's annual "Open Wheel Wednesday" event.

Tony Stewart, who won the NASCAR Winston Cup race just four days earlier, led 21 laps of the 25-lap companion MARA Midget feature before his right rear tire blew. That turned the race-long, second-place battle between Sarah McCune and Steve Knepper into a four-lap dash for the victory.

McCune held off Knepper, one of the country's best midget drivers, to become the first woman to win a main event on the oval at I-55 Raceway since the track opened in 1977.

The 22-year-old, who lives in Toledo, Ohio, was greeted by a standing ovation from the big audience attending the race as she climbed from her car on the front straight. She signed a number of autographs for young girls who flocked to her car after the race.

Lasoski drove Tony Stewart's Home Depot sprint car at I-55 Wednesday and finished second in his heat to Danny Smith. The other sprint heats were won by Bobby Hawks, Terry McCarl, Steve Short and Jim Moughan.

Blake Feese won the semi for the sprints. Craig Kinser spun during the race, but executed a 360-degree loop and kept going without causing a yellow. He did not transfer to the feature.

Lasoski started on the outside of the front row in the feature and jumped into the lead in the first turn. He pulled from the field on the start and the next two restarts, but was caught in lapped traffic on lap 19 by Danny Smith. Smith hounded Lasoski as the two weaved through lapped cars, but coasted to a stop on the 22nd lap when his right rear tire shredded. Lasoski easily stayed in front on the restart and led the final three laps. Tim Montgomery and Moughan were second and third.

Tony Stewart signed autographs before the show with fellow NASCAR driver Ken Schrader, co-promoter of I-55 Raceway. After the session was over, Schrader rushed Stewart to the pit area in a golf cart so he could hot-lap a sprint car and midget, two rides he had lined up for the event.

Stewart finished third, behind Lasoski, in his sprint car heat before relinquishing that ride. Stewart then won one of the four midget heats. Steve Knepper, A.J. Fike and Critter Malone won the other heats. McCune finished second in her heat.

Fike won the midget dash as Stewart finished fourth. Stewart drew the second starting spot for the feature and repeatedly moved away from the field in a 25-lap race slowed by four yellows.

A red flag came out when Mike Hess, trying to dive under Stewart for the lead on lap two, got sideways, tumbled high in the air and landed hard and upside down in the third turn of the 3/8-mile Pevely oval. The car was shortened considerably, and one if its front wheels continued came to rest in the middle of the front straight. Hess was sore but walked from the wreckage.

As Stewart cruised in front of the field, McCune and Knepper exchanged the second spot a couple of times. As the laps wound down, Knepper ran inches from the back of McCune's car but appeared to be running the same line in the turns as she was and could not pass.

Stewart's hot pace finally took its toll on his right rear tire, which popped as he rode the cushion in turn four on what would have been lap 22. After his car was towed from the track, McCune held off Knepper to win the feature.

What was on McCune's mind as she coasted around the track waiting for the green to fly for those last four laps? "All I was thinking was ‘keep it straight!'" she said.

Dude Donates Prize Money in honor of "Awesome"
Following his victory, Lasoski signed his $2,000 first-place check over to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in memory of Steve "Awesome" Bradley, who died two years ago. Bradley was befriended by Schrader and Lasoski years ago. Unable to work due to the complications of CF, he spent much of his life traveling to races with the two as a crew member when his health permitted. The two had team uniforms made for Bradley, and at least one carried his nickname, "Awesome" embroidered over the pocket. Bradley was buried with a die-cast model of a Lasoski sprint car.

Stewart Thanks Track for Letting Him Have Fun
When Stewart was interviewed over the track public address system at intermission, he was thanked for spending his evening at I-55 Raceway. "I should thank you for having me here," he said. "I'm having the time of my life. I don't get to do this very often."

Sprint Car Rides with Schrader
Schrader arranged to have Jack Hewitt's two-seat sprint car brought to the track. A lucky fan went for a ride with Schrader, as did two fans who bid for the rides on two St. Louis radio stations. The auctioned rides netted more than $2,600 for the Children's Miracle Network of Greater St. Louis and St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

Former Champions Recognized
Two of I-55 Raceway's first champions, sprint car drivers Gene "Tubby" Black and Ronnie Milton, sat beside Schrader and Stewart and signed copies of a commemorative autograph card. Sprint cars were the featured class when the I-55 Raceway oval opened in 1977. A drag strip that operated at the site previously was destroyed during the great Mississippi River flood in 1993.


 

 

M.A.R.A. Midgets

Heat 1:

1.        55 Steve Knepper

2.        72 Jeff Flesher

3.        44 Phil Heavelow

4.        31 Donnie Lehmann

 

Heat 2:

1.        32 A.J. Fike

2.        30 Craig Carey

3.        40 Bruce Donaldson

4.        131 Aaron Fike

Heat 3:

1.        17 Tony Stewart

2.        V4 Mike Hess

3.        66 Tony Beaber

4.        47 Dave Camfield, Jr.

Heat 4:

1.  7 Critter Malone

2.  58 Sarah McCune

3.  17 Clay Klepper

4.  17D Marc Debeaumont

Dash:

1.        32 A. J. Fike

2.        55 Steve Knepper

3.        72 Jeff Flesher

4.        17 Tony Stewart

Semi #1:

  1. 43 Chad Davenport
  2. 22 Steve Apline
  3. 87 Rich Camfield
  4. 46 Michael Cox
  5. 01 Greg Fuechert
  6. 27 Jack Gerber
  7. 3 Roger Brannon
  8. 27 Jon Foster

Semi #2:

1.        45 Tim Snider

2.        15 Jim Snider

3.        17 Bill Schemonia

4.        94 Dave Camfield, Sr.

5.        03 Allen

6.        7 Warrell

7.        7T Tosti

8.        77 Harty

9.        05 Zembelmen

Feature:

  1. 58 Sarah McCune
  2. 55 Steve Knepper
  3. 17D Marc Debeaumont
  4. 131 Aaron Fike
  5. 72 Jeff Flesher
  6. 66 Tony Beaber
  7. 4D Bruce Donaldson
  8. 17 Clay Klepper
  9. 45 Tim Snider
  10. 31 Donnie Lehmann
  11. 15 Jim Snider
  12. 22 Steve Apline
  13. 44 Phil Heavelow
  14. 30 Craig Carey
  15. 17 Tony Stewart
  16. 7 Critter Malone
  17. 47 Dave Camfield, Jr.
  18. 43 Chad Davenport
  19. 32 A.J. Fike
  20. V4 Mike Hess

 

Sprints

Heat 1:

1. 5H Bobby Hawks

2. 9 Shawn King

3. C21 Joey Montgomery

4. 14R Todd Rowland

Heat 2:

1. 24 Terry McCarl

2. 2S Terry Babb

3. 32 Tim Montgomery

4. 51J Ryan Jamison

Heat 3:

1. 4 Danny Smith

2. 20 Danny Lasoski

3. 7B Tony Stewart

4. 71M Paul May

Heat 4:

1. 8 Steve Short

2. 29 Rod Crabdree

3. 7C Bob Thoman

4. 1C Rodney Combs

Heat 5:

1. 1M Jim Moughan

2. 21 Bob Burke

3. 12 J.C. Sulawske

4. 34 Joe Hauck

 

Semi:

1. 1F Blake Feese

2. 29 Bud Kaeding

3. 3 Dean Adams

4. 20 Danny Long

5. Z34 Steve Zelch, Jr.

6. 11K Craig Kinser

7. 24B Keith Burch

8. 95D Lee Dunn

9. 97.7 Tommy Worley

10. 95R Tommy Rockwell

11. 14 Jeff Masson

12. 3 Andy Holden

13. 86 Wayne Barnes

14. 33 Billy Smith

15. 223 Lancy Gullo

 

Other Cars Present

29L Eddie Lynch

007 Josh Revelle

Feature:

1. 20 Danny Lasoski

2. 32 Tim Montgomery

3. 1M Jim Moughan

4. 24M Terry McCarl

5. 1F Blake Feese

6. 51J Ryan Jamison

7. 29C Rod Crabdree

8. 21C Joey Montgomery

9. 12 J.C. Sulawske

10. 9 Shawn King

11. 29B Bud Kaeding

12. 4 Danny Smith

13. 7C Bob Thoman

14. 21B Bob Burke

15. 71M Paul May

16. 20 Danny Long

17. 1C Randy Combs

18. 2S Terry Babb

19. 8 Steve Short

20. 34 Joe Hauck

21. 3 Dean Adams

22. 7B Paul Patterson

23. 5H Bobby Hawks

24. 14 Todd Rowland

 

 

 

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