Rice Takes Joie of Seating in Owosso Legends
By: Dave DeHem
This past Saturday August 6, 2011 The Turbo Blue-Michigan Legends Series Summer Shoot-Out presented by Joie of Seating beat out Mother Nature at the very fast 3/8 mile Owosso Speedway for a full show of Legends Car Racing. Plagued by rain all over the state the staff at the Owosso Speedway and its Promoters Rick and Jennie Miracle hung tight and got in the full show before a pretty decent crowd in spite of the weather. Rick and Jennie have created a family friendly atmosphere that permeates all thru the Speedway and it really shows as there were good field in all divisions.
Last month’s Michigan Legends Series race at Owosso Speedway saw many racers thru out the field passing for position. With a very tight point’s race, Saturday's race was no exception with a great battle for the lead and some good racing thru the pack as well. At the final checkers of the night it was Chance Rice bringing home yet another victory in this 2011 campaign.
Heat races were the first events of the night once the track was dried out and the Michigan Legends drivers ran three excellent races for the fans. Heat race number one went to Veteran driver, Ben Rouster over Rick Kilbourn and Guy Fire. Heat race number two went to Sean McPherson over another of the Rouster family, Levi, and last week’s feature winner, Loren Short in third spot. Heat race number three went to Chance Rice in front of John Turnbull Jr. and the 28Q of Grant Quinlan.
17 cars answered the call for the 30 lap feature race on this very fast, progressively banked 3/8 mile race track. The Owosso Speedways wide configuration lends itself to some very competitive and exciting racing and tonight’s feature proved to be no exception. While the field would be slowed a few times for caution and actually red-flagged for two separate incidents stemming from a blown engine and a blown rear-end that resulted in extensive clean-up, the racing at the front of the pack was exceptional.
Tony “The Tiger” Monge led from the drop of the green with the 12 of Turnbull in hot pursuit of Monge. Turnbull was able to grab the lead at lap 4 with Rice coming with him in second spot and grabbing the point a lap later. The caution flew for a 360 degree spin and another car stooping on the track with mechanical difficulty. Owosso has double file restarts and what they call the “Owosso Option” that allows the drivers to choose what lane they will re-start in as they pass a cone at the start/finish line. Rice chose the outside line while Turnbull took the inside line for the re-start. When the green flew to get the race going again it was a dogfight for the lead between the machines of Turnbull who re-assumed the lead, Rice, Monge, Levi Rouster, Ben Rouster, and Loren Short. A little separation opened up and the lead trio of Turnbull, Rice, and Monge put some distance between them and the 3 car pack of Rouster, Rouster, and Short. Monge slid back a bit to join the battle for the third while Rice set sail to track down Turnbull who was commanding the lead.
These two would battle lap after lap with Rice diving under Turnbull only to not be able to complete the pass. This duo would go like this for five laps until a lap 10 red flag for Josh Indig’s blown engine would stop the field.
At the choice for the re-start Rice decided to fall into the inside lane behind Turnbull while Loren Short took advantage of the situation and moved to the outside pole with the #8 of Matt Todd behind him. There was a big shuffle of cars at the re-start but the battle between Turnbull and Rice was renewed with an additional player in Short who jumper into the fight while Monge, Todd, and Sean McPherson staged a battle for the fourth spot.
After a lengthy battle, Rice was able to get the lead on lap 13 until a caution for debris would slow the field again. This time Rice took the pole position at the choice with Turnbull falling in behind him. Loren Short grabbed the outside pole with McPherson jumping in behind him.
With the green flying again the battle was now on for second place between the #3 of Short and the #12 of Turnbull as Rice in the #36 was shoving off and checking out to a sizable lead while further back in the pack the Rouster brothers were having a battle with Monge.
The field would settle in for a bit with Todd, McPherson and young Grant Quinlan waging a fierce battle for fourth until a lap 20 caution flag would again slow the field. Rice grabbed the lead hole at the choice with Short once again on the outside, however the re-start would be short lived as a five car spin in turn 1-2 on lap 21 would eventually red flag the race as clean-up of rear end grease around the track took place.
For the final re-start, Chance Rice grabbed the pole with Turnbull following in behind him and Short and Ben Rouster grabbing the outside two front rows. Rice got the lead and at the final green flag of the night and held it until the end of the race while the 12, 3, and 28Q machines of Turnbull, Short, and Quinlan would duke it out for second, finishing in that order. Matt Todd would complete the top five while Ben Rouster, Levi Rouster, Matt Barton, Cody Falkner, and Chris Bither rounded out the top ten.
While the racing action had been slowed and stopped a few times during the 30 lap event, the action throughout the field was excellent and the racing for position close and exciting.
Next Friday night, August 12, 2011 brings the series to the “Track the Stars Call Home” the Spartan Speedway located just outside of Lansing in Mason Michigan for another full program of Turbo Blue Michigan Legends racing. For complete results, point standings, and driver information please check out the official website of the Michigan Legends Series at www.michiganlegends.com and “We’ll See You at the Races”
Michigan Legends “Where Racing Matters”