Rushville’s Tate Martz extended his point lead on Saturday night August 21st at the Shelby County Fairgrounds when the Midwest TQ Racing League™ presented by Vincennes University competed at the Shelbyville, Indiana oval.
The MTQRL three quarter midgets started the day off by making an appearance at the Grover Museum in conjunction with the Shelby County Historical Society’s “Free Root Beer Float Saturday.” While the root beer floats were being served in the 1904 Emporium on the Streets of Old Shelbyville the MTQRL show truck and several cars were displayed on the sidewalk in front of the museum. Russ Hankins brought his vintage TQ to the event and it was displayed alongside the current cars of Chris Guinn, Bill James, Roger Ramsey, Wayne Willis, Ray Faulkner, and Chuck and Tammi Leary.
Once the action moved to the fairgrounds Martz started the evening off on the right track by topping the 26 car field in qualifications when he turned a lap of 17.335 seconds. Martz then went on to win the Jackson Oil & Solvents Duel for Fuel, his heat race and feature to score only the second “clean sweep” in the history of the MTQRL.
Kyle Lux got the jump on polesitter Jon Steed to start the 25 lap feature and Lux would lead the field until the red flag was displayed on lap six when Bill James, Rob Walton and Jamie Ross tangled in turn two with Ross flipping. While the field was coming to a stop Rick Robinson suffered brake failure, left the racing surface in turn one, and hit the fence surrounding the outer horse track. Both Ross and Robinson were okay but the accident would eliminate both and the cars of Kenny Byrge, James, R. Walton and Tad Cheek.
On the restart CJ Leary took over the point and would lead the next fourteen laps until Martz, who had started eighth, was able to get by the rookie driver after a good battle for several laps. Martz went on to lead the final six laps to take the win over Leary, Will Nedderman, Lux and Steed. Bobby Walton, Caleb Faulkner, Jason Willis, Chris Guinn and Chad Hankins rounded out the top ten.
Heat races were won by Leary, Robinson (twice), R. Walton, Martz and Steed while Byrge won the B Main.
Martz’s battle with, and then eventual pass of, Leary earned him the INOX Slick Move of the Race. Leary was the highest finishing rookie and was named the Tony Stewart Rookie of the Race. Robinson’s misfortunes saw him being named the Duane & Sonja Alexander Hard Luck Driver and Guinn came from the tail of the field to finish ninth (passing twelve cars) and was the Ward’s Apparel Hard Charger. A drawing was held at the drivers meeting and $50 gift certificates were awarded to B. Walton (Jackson Oil) and Brett Hankins (Ward’s Apparel).
Steed declined the Green Tech Tail Gunner Challenge which would have been worth an extra $800 if he could have won the feature after relinquishing his pole position and starting from the rear of the field. At the next race where qualifications are contested the challenge will now be worth an extra $900.
Martz continues to lead the season standings over Leary, Willis, Guinn and Nick Speidel. Martz also leads the Jackson Oil & Solvents Duel for Fuel standings (over Willis) and the Ward’s Apparel Hard Charger standings (over Leary). Leary leads both the Tony Stewart Racing Rookie of the Year standings (over Faulkner) and the Tony Stewart Foundation Leader of the Pack standings (over Martz).
The next race on the MTQRL schedule will be Saturday evening August 28th at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Madison, Ind. Practice is set to begin at 5:00 pm, qualifications are at 6:00 pm and racing begins at 7:00 pm.