Blonde Tames Salem Highbanks

By Mike Strevel

SALEM, Ind. (July 12, 2003) –
The Salem Speedway in Salem IN was host to the Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Super Sprint Series Saturday night. At the historic track it was another record breaking performance by the fastest short track cars on asphalt as Litchfield MI driver Jason Blonde not only broke the track record during qualifying, he also captured the 30 lap main event.

The day started with the best 20 teams in winged asphalt sprintcar competition fighting the highbanked monster known as Salem Speedway. The Hamilton Trucking qualifications were very exciting to the gigantic crowd and Blonde was given a standing ovation when he lowered the existing track record to 14.430! This averages out to nearly 139 miles per hour. It was the always-entertaining Kevin Newton second quick at 14.540 and Johnboy Hotchkiss third fastest at 14.735.

The United Trailers heat race went to Kevin Feeney, Brian Lay captured the Dowker Engines heat and Tom Fedewa won the Wolverine Steel heat.

The feature started with Gary Fedewa and Chris Hayes making up the front row and the race was on to see who could be the third ever AVSS winner at this legandary oval. The feature went green until lap 26 when a quick caution was thrown for debris and then it quickly finished. The early leader was G.Fedewa who looked great in his Dowker chassis and held the lead until lap 22. The sixth starting Blonde was having an incredible battle with Feeney and Hayes. It looked like G. Fedewa might be able to hold off the driver of the Jim Brown owned car, but it was to no avail as Blonde was able move around Feeney and Hayes on laps 19 and 20. He then made his pass for the lead on lap 21 and was not to be headed. After the quick yellow on lap 26 it was a fast and furious finish as Blonde took the checkers. Behind him it looked like Feeney would finish second, but his motor broke on lap 27 and Hayes and G.Fedewa fought for the runner-up position. It was three time AVSS champion Gary Fedewa holding off Hayes in taking second over Hayes, Johnboy Hotchkiss and Dennis Craft were the top five finishers. An interesting piece of information was when a member of the Salem IN police force who was providing security in the infield was able to clock the AVSS cars with his radar gun racing down the backstretch at over 158 miles per hour!

The very happy Litchfield MI racer thanked his crew and sponsor Southwest Truck Service for the incredibly well handling car. The third win of the season for the expectant father as he moved into second in the point’s chase. The staff of AVSS would like to thank everyone involved at Salem for their great hospitality and support of AVSS. The Suspension Spring Specialist driver of the race was Craft and the winner of $200.00 from Hamilton Trucking was Blonde in setting the new track record.

The AVSS will next return to action on Saturday July 19 at Auto City Speedway in Flint MI. The pit gates open at 2:30, hot laps at 3:30, qualifying at 5 and racing at 7. The AVSS website is for more information.


Qualifying- 1. 55 Jason Blonde 14.430(NTR) 2. 99 Kevin Newton 14.540 3. JB Johnboy Hotchkiss 14.735 4. 98 Kevin Feeney 14.782 5. 11 Chris Hayes 14.890 6. 42 Gary Fedewa 14.973 7. 40 Tim Cox 14.982 8. 70 Dennis Craft 14.985 9. 20 Tom Fedewa 15.065 10. 44j Dorman Snyder 15.117 11. 24 Bill Tyler 15.165 12. 71 Curt Shumaker 15.220 13. 4 Troy Underwood 15.282 14. 26 Jeff Bloom 15.303 15. 35 Ryan Katz 15.408 16. 61 Jimmy McCune 15.592 17. 45 Brian Lay 15.765 18. 69 Doug Stepke 15.870 19. 27 Rick Toncray 15.914 20. 99 Hud Cone N.T.

Heat 1- 1. Feeney 2. Blonde 3. McCune 4. Snyder 5. Cox 6. Stepke 7. Underwood

Heat 2- 1. Lay 2. Craft 3. Hayes 4. Newton 5. Bloom

Heat 3- 1. T. Fedewa 2. Hotchkiss 3. Shumaker 4. Toncray 5. G.Fedewa 6. Katz

Feature- 1. Blonde 2. G.Fedewa 3. Hayes 4. Hotchkiss 5. Craft 6. T.Fedewa 7. Bloom 8. Newton 9. Shumaker 10. Katz 11. Underwood 12. Feeney 13. Snyder 14. Toncray 15. Cox 16. Lay 17. Stepke 18. McCune