Schlenk Wins at Gas City Saturday

In the only late model race held this year at Gas City I-69 Speedway, Rusty Schlenk of McClure, Ohio won the 25-lap headliner Saturday night as the track closed its 2020 season with the “Tin Top Spectacular,” the second half of its two-day “Fall Festival of Speed.”

There were 128 open-wheel race cars on the grounds on Friday and 118 stock cars on Saturday.

Tim Wilber of Quincy, Mich., won the 25-lap UMP modified feature and also finished second in the street stock feature, which was won by 2019 and 2020 track street stock champion Andy Bishop of Gas City.

The final feature of 2020 at Gas City ended with a surprising bang, which seemed apropos for the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hornet champion James Headley of Marion, Ind. won the race with his son, 2019 hornet champion James Headley Jr. of Wabash, Ind. in second, but then they crashed on the frontstretch just after crossing the start-finish line.

Duane Chamberlain of Richmond, Ind., who won the late model portion of the first annual “Fall Festival of Speed” at Gas City last year, started fourth in that feature on Saturday night. “Insane Duane” got a great start and used the outside line to blast into the lead in Turn 1 on the first lap. But Schlenk got a good start too, rising from fifth to third on the first lap and then into second by lap two.

Driving a Domination Race Car powered by a Mullins-prepped engine, the 34-year-old Schlenk took the lead from Chamberlain on lap four and led the rest of the way. The three-time UMP national champion had a 1.999-second lead over Chamberlain by lap 15 and he stretched his advantage to 2.231 seconds at the checkered on lap 25. After that there was nothing to do but celebrate and promote his sponsors, which include Tom Finch Automotive, Velocita-USA, VP Racing Fuels and Lubricants and Buckeye Concrete Coatings.

Chamberlain finished second. Cody Bauer of Farwell, Mich. both started and finished third. Tristan Chamberlain of Richmond, Ind., the 13-year-old son of Duane, placed fourth and Rusty Smith finished fifth. Mason Covey of Seymour, Ind. started 20th and last but finished sixth.

Having already sewn up Gas City’s 2020 UMP modified championship with seven feature victories, Derek Losh of Rensselaer, Ind., wasn’t in attendance at the Grant County quarter-mile dirt track Saturday night. Many other modified drivers were anxious to step into the spotlight in Losh’s absence, but in the end the star of that show was Wilber.

Wilber started third in his Ruhlman Rocket, which is powered by a Scott Bailey engine. The beginning of the race was plagued by many cautions, but Wilber took command on lap two and led the rest of the way. His car is sponsored by his business, Buckshot Auto Sales, as well as Zero Graphics and Hoosier by Buckshot.

Bradley Jameson of Royal Center, Ind. spun in Turn 4 with four laps down while running second, which gave that position to Bobby Stremme of South Bend, Ind. But Stremme got too high in Turn 2 with five laps down, which allowed Bub Roberts of Warren, Ind. to move into the runner-up spot and eventually secure that excellent finish.

The second half of the modified feature went more smoothly than the first part. Stremme and Terry Sroufe of Huntington, Ind. had a good battle for third before Sroufe took control of the show position on lap 22 and went on to finish there. Stremme hung on for fourth and Jameson finished fifth. Bill Griffith of Van Buren, Ohio was that race’s hard charger, coming from 19th to sixth.

The 25-lap street stock feature was also a complicated contest with numerous crashes. Polesitter Kory Conner of San Pierre, Ind., led the first four laps before Jeff Matheny of Centerville, Ind. led laps five through eight. At that point Matheny and Beau Cooley of Wheatfield, Ind. tangled in Turn 4, which gave the lead back to Conner, with Bishop right on his tail.

Bishop passed Conner for the top spot with a move to the outside as the pair charged through Turn 4 on lap 14. As the laps ran down Bishop was able to pad his lead with his No. 14 sponsored by Thompson Trucking and R & R Transmission. Then the fight was for second between Wilber and Conner, with Wilber eventually getting the runner-up spot. Conner held on for third. James Williams finished fourth and Donovan Paskan of Clayton, Mich., placed fifth.

Headley started second in the 20-lap hornet feature and led the whole race with his No. 0, which is sponsored in part by Dudding’s Heating and Cooling, Garriott Electric, Edwards Automotive, TJR Trucking and Headley Tree Service.

Headley Jr. started fifth but moved up consistently until he was behind his dad on lap 12. The pair ran nose-to-tail as is their custom until the last-lap fireworks.

Kaleb Hinkley of Angola, Ind. finished third followed by polesitter Jason Wert and Kolton Sollars of LaFontaine, Ind.

Surprisingly there were three flips during the course of the event. Garrett McClain flipped in Turn 2 with two laps down in the third late model heat. Bill Peck flipped in Turn 4 with four laps down in the fourth street stock heat. Aaron Tatman flipped in Turn 4 with 12 laps down in the hornet feature. Luckily none required an ambulance ride afterwards.

Competitors and fans can watch the track’s website at for news about the 2021 season. They can also follow the track on Twitter: @GasCitySpeedway; Instagram: @GasCitySpeedway and Facebook: GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas.

Gas City I-69 Speedway is located on State Road 22, approximately a half-mile west of I-69, exit 259. It is about halfway between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.

Gas City Speedway PR