Fultz Revisits Victory Lane; Stacked Field Tunes up for 400
Knowing how to handle a situation is important in all aspects of life, whether it be a full count in the bottom of the ninth at the World Series, how to make a frozen pizza or driving around the high banks of Winchester Speedway. When practice makes perfect is the name of the game, several drivers followed just that over their Labor Day Weekend.
The World Stock Car Festival at Winchester Speedway in Indiana, was a tune-up for drivers and teams across the Midwest for the upcoming 38th Annual Winchester 400 - a CRA Super Series race that every driver would love to have his or her name on the winners list.
Home Sweet Home
Cincinnati, Ohio is where race winner Jeff Fultz calls home. He also says that Winchester Speedway is his home track, where he grew up since he was little. Therefore the motivation to put his #67 Chevy in Victory Lane on Labor Day was intense.
Fultz piloted his red rocket from the 14th starting position, claimed the lead on lap 73 and never looked back. It seemed earlier in the 100 lap event, that the lead was not where you wanted to be. Scott Hantz was collected in a lap cars trouble on lap 19. Johanna Long regained the lead following the accident until lap 51, when she was helped into the front stretch wall and ending her strong run. Brian Ickler also came to pit road during the same caution while running second, after being sent to the tail for contact with Long.
Fultz meticulously picked off one car at a time, finally reaching the top spot and putting it on cruise control. With two wins of the 100-lap event in Winchester, Fultz will be looking to pick up his first career 400 victory.
Ickler Tunes-Up Car for Kyle Busch; Almost Wins After Early Trouble
Following a pair of disappointing finishes for the Joe Gibbs Racing star, Kyle Busch is looking to have his luck get turned around quickly. Helping with that idea is his friend and fellow West Coaster Brian Ickler. The #51 Camry can usually be found up towards the front, but lately mechanical failures and poor handling have hampered the team's efforts.
On Monday afternoon, Ickler showed that they have turned the program around. Qualifying fourth fastest of the 25 cars, Ickler was up front from the start. Following Pensacola, Florida driver Johanna Long for several laps, Ickler wanted to make a move to the lead. Unfortunately for the only Toyota team in the field, he make slight contact with the back of Long, sending her into the inside wall and in turn the #51 car to the tail for Ickler's role in the incident.
Following some adjustments on pit road, Ickler drove his heart out, passing at least a car a lap, and coming home second at days end. Rowdy should be all set when he returns mid October, for the Winchester 400.
Johanna has Long Day After Great Start
Johanna Long continues her quest to move up the racing ladder, competing all over the United States. With solid finishes in her most recent races this summer, Long was looking to see if she could get to victory lane on the high banks of Winchester. Her solid qualifying run enabled her to start from the outside pole, in front of veterans Scott Hantz and Brian Ickler.
Long jumped to an early 15 car length lead, before settling into a rhythm out front while everyone else battled behind. An early caution with Zach Hulvey put Scott Hantz and others on her tail. Hantz worked around Long on lap 17, and just a few laps later was caught up in trouble with a lap car, giving the lead back to Long.
Several laps later with the #10 car out front, Brian Ickler was working the back bumper hard lap after lap. With the high bank of the half-mile, speeds are fast and no rumor for error. Brian Ickler, rubbed the back of Long exiting turn 4 just past halfway, resulting in her to slide into the inside wall. After extensive damage to the front end, she rejoined the race staying on the lead lap, much to the excitement of the packed stands. Johanna muscled her battered machine home to a tenth place finish.