PHOTO COURTESY OF IN THE DIRT PHOTOS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Hutchinson, Kansas – July 26, 2014 - Jack Dover took advantage of race long leader J.D. Johnson’s misfortune to claim his second straight late July victory atop the famed half mile Kansas State Fairgrounds oval as he won the 58th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Hutchinson Grand Nationals presented by Mel Hambelton Ford Saturday night in Hutchinson, Kansas.
By virtue of winning Friday night’s dash that set up the starting field for Saturday night’s championship 25 lap feature finale, J.D. Johnson started on the pole and quickly opened up a fifteen car length lead over outside front row starter Jeremy Campbell as the green flag fell. J.D. Johnson, aboard the Whitehead Motorsports #8w, had pulled out to a full straight away lead by lap five before reaching the back of the field on lap ten. That is when the first caution flag of the feature fell for a Jimmie Hobbs spin on the front stretch.
On the restart J.D. Johnson once again throttled from the rest of the field with Campbell, C.J. Johnson, Jon Freeman and fifth starting Dover giving chase. Dover passed Freeman for fourth heading down the back stretch on the restart while J.D. Johnson continued to open up a sizeable lead.
With ten laps to go the leader began to slow his pace and one lap later the complexion of the race would change as a bolt in the steering box would break causing J.D. Johnson to slide up the cushion and hit the wall coming out of turn four. With no steering, Johnson would coast helpless into the middle of the track which saw Campbell taking evasive action and somehow missed Johnson’s sprinter. Defending tour champion C.J. Johnson was not as lucky as the rear of his familiar #45x collected J.D. Johnson’s car and would take an easy roll over on the front stretch. The damage to the rear end of C.J. Johnson’s sprinter was too excessive for him to continue and he would be credited with a ninth place finish. J. Johnsons hopes of sweeping the weekend and a possible $4000 pay weekend would also be dashed.
Once racing action resumed, Campbell gained command of the lead with Dover hot on his tail. Campbell worked the high side of the half mile track while Dover’s preferred line was down low and with five laps to go, both raced side by side for the lead. Heading down the backstretch, both drivers continued side by side with Dover powering out of turn four to take the lead on lap twenty-one.
From there Dover and his Ford power plant was on a rail and he would go on to claim his fourth series victory of the season, second straight Hutchinson Grand Nationals championship and a $3000 pay day. But that wasn’t all the excitement for the Springfield, Nebraska driver as he got loose entering turns one and two and would execute a series of flips into the turn two wall. He was uninjured and despite the damage was able to make weight at the scales.
Campbell’s frustrating two weeks of blown motors and scrambling for a motor for the Hutch Nationals came to a delightful end as he would finish second and regains the point lead over C.J. Johnson. Seventh starting Harli White lost her front nose wing back on lap five and during the red flag back on lap twenty, would have the crew put on another one. It seemed to work to her advantage as she went from sixth after the red flag to third with just a hand full of laps left and appeared to have finished third. However, a left rear tire infraction caused her to suffer a disappointed DNF allowing Freeman to finish in that position. Raymond Seeman and Jeff Stasa rounded out the top five.
The NCRA sprint car tour will take one full month off before getting back into action over the Labor Day Holiday weekend, kicking off on Saturday night, August 30, at 81 Speedway in Park City. From there the 360-ci sprinters will head to the famed Belleville High Banks in Belleville, Kansas.
Kansas State Fairgrounds/Hutchinson, Kansas
Friday Night; July 25, 2014
1st Heat: 1) Jeremy Campbell, 2) Jon Freeman, 3) C.J. Johnson, 4) Harli White, 5) Jeff Stasa, 6) Forrest Southerland. 7) Jake Greider
2nd Heat: 1) Tyler Drueke, 2) Cody Forshee, 3) J.D. Johnson, 4) Jake Martens, 5) Raymond Seeman, 6) Brandon Hahn, 7) Jimmie Hobbs, 8) Jack Dover
Friday Night Dash Results: 1) J.D. Johnson, 2) Jeremy Campbell, 3) C.J. Johnson, 4) Jon Freeman, 5) Jack Dover, 6) Jeff Stasa, 7) Harli White, 8) Raymond Seeman, 9) Cody Forshee, 10) Brandon Hahn, 11) Jake Martens, 12) Forrest Southerland, 13) Tyler Drueke, 14) Jimmie Hobbs, 15) Jake Greider
Saturday Night Championship Feature: 1) Jack Dover, 2) Jeremy Campbell, 3) Jon Freeman, 4) Raymond Seeman, 5) Jeff Stasa, 6) Forrest Southerland, 7) Cody Forshee, 8) J.D. Johnson, 9) C.J .Johnson, 10) Jimmie Hobbs, 11) Jake Greider, DQ) Harli White, DNS: Blake Hahn, Jake Martens, Tyler Drueke