Rushville’s Tate Martz scored his fourth win of the season on Saturday night when the Midwest TQ Racing League™ presented by Vincennes University competed at the Shelby County Fairgrounds in Shelbyville, Ind.
Martz, the defending champion and current point leader, started the feature in tenth place and quickly made it known that he was the car to beat by passing six cars in the opening lap.
On lap three the action was slowed when Brayton Leisure spun bringing out the caution. The field was now bunched behind polesitter Chad Hankins, Chris Mann, Martz, Rick Robinson and Bobby Walton. On the restart Martz made quick work of Mann and set his sights on leader Chad Hankins.
With Martz trying to track down Chad Hankins another driver was also making his way to the front, Brett Hankins. On lap ten Martz got by Chad Hankins to take the lead and the following lap Brett Hankins moved into third place.
On lap thirteen, just as the leaders were beginning to encounter lapped traffic, a three car accident occurred in turn one collecting the fifth through seventh place cars of Bobby Walton, CJ Leary and Jason Willis. Walton and Willis would retire to the pits with Leary restarting on the tail and receiving a warning for rough driving.
On the restart Leisure and Chad Rouse spun in turn three bringing out the caution once again. While under yellow Chris Guinn slowed to a stop in turn four with a small fire. Both Leisure and Guinn were done for the night.
Martz pulled away on the restart with the Hankins brothers battling for second. On lap fifteen the caution waived once again when fifth place running Kyle Lux spun in turn four. On the final restart of the race Martz continued to show his dominance putting several car lengths between himself and the rest of the field. Chad and Brett Hankins battled side by side for two laps with Brett taking over the runner up spot on lap seventeen.
Martz led the final sixteen laps to take the checkered flag ahead of Brett Hankins, Chad Hankins, Leary and Robinson. After the race the MTQRL officials assessed a three position penalty to Leary for rough driving. This penalty moved Jeff Bruce into fifth place for his best career feature finish.
Caleb Faulkner finished in sixth place and was named the Tony Stewart Racing Rookie of the race. Martz passed nine cars and was the Ward’s Apparel Hard Charger while Bobby Walton received the Duane & Sonja Alexander Hard Luck Driver award. A drawing was held at the drivers meeting and $50 gift certificates were awarded to David Craig (Jackson Oil) and Bobby Walton (Ward’s Apparel).
Willis was the nights fastest qualifier, Martz won the Jackson Oil & Solvents Duel for Fuel and heat winners were Chris Mann (twice), Rob Walton, Leary and Brett Hankins.
Martz continues to lead the season standings over Leary, Willis, Guinn and Speidel. Martz also leads the Ward’s Apparel Hard Charger standings (over Leary), and has clinched the Jackson Oil & Solvents Duel for Fuel standings. Martz and Leary are tied in the Tony Stewart Foundation Leader of the Pack standings while Leary has clinched the Tony Stewart Racing Rookie of the Year.
The next race on the MTQRL schedule will be Saturday evening September 18th at the Twin Cities Raceway Park in Vernon, Ind. Practice is set to begin at 6:00 pm with racing immediately following.