Waldron’s Chris Mann won the first feature of his career and became the ninth different feature winner in seventeen races this year when the Midwest TQ Racing League™ presented by Vincennes University closed out the 2010 season with Fan Appreciation Night at the Rush County Fairgrounds in Rushville, Ind.
Jason Willis started the evening off by setting quick time with a lap of 12.697 seconds in qualifications. 2010 MTQRL champion Tate Martz won the Jackson Oil & Solvents Duel for Fuel and heat wins went to Kenny Byrge, Caleb Faulkner and Brett Hankins.
Polesitter Chad Hankins took the lead to start the 25 lap feature with outside front row starter Kyle Lux on his heels. Lux got around Chad Hankins on lap two but his time at the front was short lived as he nearly spun, drove through the infield, and rejoined the field in tenth position. Lux’s misfortune gave the lead back to Chad Hankins with Rob Walton and Bobby Walton in hot pursuit.
The caution came out on lap seven when Rob Walton spun in turn two collecting Martz and Brett Hankins. All three cars were unable to continue with Martz’s car going back to the pit area on the wrecker. On the restart Chad Hankins continued to lead with Bobby Walton, Willis (from eleventh starting position) and Chris Mann battling for the runner up spot. By lap ten Mann had moved into second place and on lap twelve Byrge, who had recovered from an opening lap spin, moved into fourth.
On lap fourteen the top five were shuffled as Mann took the lead from Chad Hankins. Bobby Walton continued in third with Rick Robinson now in fourth ahead of Byrge. The next lap Willis regained fifth place from Byrge and then promptly spun in turn two bringing out the caution yet again.
On the restart Mann pulled away from Chad Hankins and the rest of the field. After a few laps Chad Hankins began to slowly reel Mann back in and the duo raced side by side. On lap twenty-two Chad Hankins got under Mann in turn two and regained the lead. Mann took note of the move and the following lap used it himself to get under Chad Hankins and take the lead once again.
With Mann on the point the caution flag waived yet again for a spin by Byrge in turn two. On the restart turn two again proved treacherous as Robinson and Brayton Leisure spun.
On the final restart of the race Mann held off a charging Chad Hankins to lead the final two laps and score his first feature win. Chad Hankins took a career best second place followed by Lux, Bobby Walton and Bill James. Rounding out the top ten were Robinson, Will Wilson, Faulkner, Jeff Bruce and Byrge.
James’ fifth place finish was the best of his career. He improved ten positions and was awarded the Ward’s Apparel Hard Charger for his efforts. Faulkner was the highest finishing rookie and was named the Tony Stewart Racing Rookie of the Race. Willis, who started the evening off on a high note by setting quick time but ended the night parked in the infield, was given the Duane & Sonja Alexander Hard Luck Driver award. A drawing was held in the drivers meeting and $50 gift certificates were won by Will Wilson (Jackson Oil & Solvents) and Chad Hankins (Ward’s Apparel).
Martz ended the season as the Jackson Oil & Solvents Duel for Fuel champion (over Willis) and the Ward’s Apparel Hard Charger champion (over Faulkner). He led 90 of the 390 feature laps contested this season to top the Tony Stewart Foundation Leader of the Pack standings (over CJ Leary). Leary, who won three features earlier in the year, is the Tony Stewart Racing Rookie of the Year (over Faulkner).