Full program highlights LMS racing

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By Mark Huey

Lancaster Motor Speedway inched closer to the end of the 2009 season with a full program Saturday.

LMS will not race for the next two Saturdays to honor programs at I-77 Speedway in Chester. A Shrine benefit race is Sept. 12 and the Pop Pursley Memorial Race is Sept. 19.

LMS action returns Sept. 26 when the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series, in its fourth series,  hosts the fifth round of the Countdown to the Cup Series Championship.

On Oct. 3, LMS will honor several people: Garland Parker, Jason Payne and Junior Sexton. This will be the first race dubbed as “The Memorial.” Racing continues in October, with events planned Oct. 10 and Oct. 17. These are points races, which culminate with a points banquet in November.

In the Young Guns division Saturday, Andrew Yandle and Brandon Blackmon have been in the top two points all season. Last week, Blackmon sustained heavy damage to his No. 28 car. This week, the number was taped on the side of the Josh Langley machine. It appeared Yandle had the upper hand on the first lap until Austin Baker stopped at the turn four exit. This caused the race to go under yellow from the start. On the next restart, Yandle developed a push through the center of the corner, allowing Langley to maneuver under No. 33 in turn three. Langley took the lead and never yielded for the win.

He was followed by Yandle, Amanda Blackwell with a superb top-three finish, Chad Adams Jr., Amanda Bell, Austin Baker and Nathan Geist.

The Crate Sportsman division ran next in an anticipated thriller. Defending track champion Kenny Ramsey and Travis Payne started on the front row as heat winners. Fireworks were expected and they didn’t disappoint.

On the first lap, a four-car battle found the first corner, with Payne securing the top spot over Ramsey and Ricky Taylor. He led for three laps, with big battles for position behind him. Ramsey had a big run entering the corner and raced Payne hard. The two connected in the middle of the banking and drag-raced off turn four for the lead. Ramsey had a slight edge at the line, but Payne scrapped back. Tire smoke belched from the two aggressors. In turn one, Payne was on the high side and started spinning. Ramsey was on the low side and took the lead. The call was for Payne to go to the rear for the spin. A reluctant Payne restarted eighth.

While Ramsey settled in for the rest of the event, Payne was ripping through the field. He raced back to fourth where a battle with Jody Bigham, Shaun Medlin and Chris Bell was intense.

Ramsey and Payne discussed the matter on the track after the event, with Ramsey doing a celebratory spin under the flag stand. Taylor was second, Barry Mathis third, Payne fourth and Bigham fifth. Medlin, Chris Bell, Joey Englebrecht and Scott Walden rounded out the field.

The 14-car Super Street division opened with defending winner Travis Mosley and Brandy Baker on the front row. It was an all-Baker night, with Baker winning by a comfortable margin. Baker appeared to have all of the kinks out of his machine after a few weeks misfortune. A few lengthy cautions sidelined action as the track crew had to clean up from two crashes. Justin Rallings broke a radiator and dumped lots of water in the banking of turns one and two.

Then, a very scary wreck involving Andy Windrel happened near the entrance of the pit area on the front stretch. It appeared the right rear tire broke off his No. 83 car and sent him into a multiple barrel roll. The incident caused some surface damage and the crews again had to repair it.

Windrel was OK, crediting a safely built Knox Bailey racer. Baker won and was followed by Mosley, Ricky Taylor, Matt Cauthen and Jody Bigham.

The Pure Street division featured Frankie McGuire’s return in a brand new No. 29. He and Jerry Sexton started on the front row after winning the heats. This was a flawless event, which saw McGuire and Steve Hinson open the race with a lead battle on the backstretch.

When McGuire took control, he never looked back and took the win rather leisurely. He was followed by Hinson, Jason Starnes and Randy Greene.

The NDRA GM Performance Late Models found heat winners Brandy Baker and Jerry Dover on the front row. The field was short this week due to many drivers racing in Virginia for a three-day show. Matt Long, Ron Parker and Chris Steele were among the familiar names of LMS NDRA drivers to make the show by finishing in the top four of their heat races.

That race was rained out Sunday night and will be reset later.

Back at home, Baker took the early lead, with Bryan Crook running strong in second after a short battle with Steve Banal.

Once the race started, Baker was never challenged, while Crook stayed within sight of the No. 16 car. Banal battled Dover for third. The race was only slowed twice under caution. Dover was third, Banal fourth and Thomas Hedgepath raced back to fifth after spinning early in the race.

The Stock Four feature was started by Wes Helms and Blake Rallings. Rallings thrilled the crowd with a big heat win. Rallings received the hard-luck award, encountering early problems, which sent him to the pits early. He finished 13th.

Meanwhile, Helms and Jeffrey McGuirt pulled away from Michael Brown and Ray Adams. Dylan Terlinde was fifth. McGuirt made a few attempts to close on Helms, but couldn’t draw near No. 98.

Vintage racing capped the night, with Shawn Mangum winning the event over Ben Helms and Rocky Price.