Hurryin' Hank Lower Collects Auto City Victory


By Duane Turner

FLINT, Mich. (September 4, 2004) –
Hank Lower from Angola, IN took his first AVSS win in five years at Auto City Speedway. “I’ve drove for 40 years, and it has been a while since I have won here (Auto City)!” Stated Lower in victory lane. “It is nice to start in the front, but that is the way it goes sometimes. The fast six were all right there with me, but we held them off. We need to thank Manufactured Housing, Groosbeck Trucking, Booth’s Tree Farm, Barb and Stan Lahnum, Smith Enterprises, Grates Wrecker Service, and Hogue Engines.”

Lower would lead the field down to the green with Curt Shumaker alongside. As the green waved, Lower and Shumaker ran side by side down the front straight, with Lower gaining the advantage coming out of turn two. Current points leader Bill Tyler dropped into third, with Larry Gibson, and Kevin Feeney in tow. The caution came out quickly just as the first lap was completed for Johnny Scherer who dropped off the banking in turn two and came to a stop while running in the sixth position. The lap one restart had Lower setting the pace, but Feeney made a quick move to get by Gibson for the fourth position. One lap later, Gibson would return the favor, and reclaimed fourth from Feeney.

The top five cars settled into position in the early stages, but some cars from the rear of the field were on the charge. Jeff Bloom had moved into 10th, after starting 14th, on lap six. Then one lap later, he took ninth away from Jason Blonde. On lap nine, Bloom moved past Underwood to take over eighth. As Lower moved in on slower traffic on lap 13, the pack tightened up, and the race was on. Shumaker quickly closed in on Lower, and was less than a car length away at the 15 lap mark. Just behind the front duo, Tyler and Gibson were running side by side, with Gibson using the lapped traffic and taking over third on lap 16.

With only 10 laps to go in the 30 lap contest, Jimmy McCune moved past Feeney to take over fifth, just as Bloom moved past Shane Butler for seventh. On lap 24, McCune found a way around Tyler to take over fourth. With the laps winding down, Gibson was closing in on the leaders. While Shumaker looked for a way around Lower, Gibson moved to the outside of turn three and found himself running side by side with Shumaker. Gibson took over second by a nose on lap 25, then set his sights on Lower. As Gibson exited turn two, he began to slow, and came to a stop in turn four with a broken drive line.

With five laps remaining, Lower continued to lead over Shumaker, McCune, Tyler, and Feeney. On the ensuing restart, Feeney and Tyler made contact in turn one, sending both cars spinning off the track. Feeney would restart, but Tyler was forced to retire with a flat left rear tire. The second try of the lap 25 restart was Lower, Shumaker, McCune, and now Bloom and Butler in the top five. As Lower again took off into turn one, Shumaker kept pace, but could not mount a serious challenge for the top position. Underwood took advantage of the late race restart, and used the lapped cars to move past Butler and Bloom to take over fourth. Over the final five laps, Shumaker would stay close to Lower, but would have to settle for second at the end of the 30 laps. “Hank was just awesome tonight.” Stated Shumaker, “I tried to pass him so hard on those last two restarts. I tried low, and high, but Hank was just awesome. We will take second, and try again next week.” McCune, Troy Underwood, and Bloom rounded out the top five. Butler, Jason Blonde, Mike Ling, Ryan Katz, and Brian Lay completed the top ten.

With the season winding down, all eyes are focused on the AVSS Championship race. With Bill Tyler entering the Auto City event with a slim 20 point lead, second place Jason Blonde needs a little luck to be holding the trophy at the end of the season. That little luck came in a late race tangle for Tyler that resulted in a flat tire, ending his evening. The 20 point cushion has been whittled down to just eight points for the final two races on September 10 and 11. Third place Brian Lay, and fourth place Curt Shumaker only have one point separating the duo for the third position. Another one point separation for position is Gary Fedewa and Shane Butler who are fighting for seventh, with Troy Underwood only five points behind as well.

The fastest short track cars in the world will head to Dixie Motor Speedway in Birch Run, MI on Friday, September 10th. A 100 lap super late model race and school bus figure 8′s will be on the card at Dixie. Gates open at 4:00, practice at 4:30, time trials at 6:00, and racing at 8:00. Then Saturday, September 11, the Auto Value/ Bumper to Bumper Super Sprints will head to Marne, MI and Berlin Raceway for the 2004 Season Championships. Late Models, and the sportsman division will be on hand as well. Pit gates open at 11:00 am, with racing getting underway at 7:00. For more information, log on to the official AVSS web site at http://www.supersprints.com.

Hamilton Trucking Time Trials: 1) 8m Larry Gibson 12.930 (121.810 mph) 2) 33 Kevin Feeney 13.000 3) 34 Johnny Scherer 13.010 4) 24 Bill Tyler 13.040 5) 71 Curt Shumaker 13.110 6) 37 Hank Lower 13.120 7) 19 Jimmy McCune 13.140 8) 4 Troy Underwood 13.150 9) 61 Jason Blonde 13.170 10) 10 Shane Butler 13.210 11) 35 Ryan Katz 13.230 12) 20 Brian Lay 13.300 13) 99 Mike Ling 13.360 14) 26 Jeff Bloom 13.360 15) 42 Gary Fedewa 13.420 16) 8 Ryan Davis 13.460 17) 7 Tyler Underwood 13.510 18) 46 Mike Ford 13.550 19) 14 Dave Baumgartner 13.580 20) 6 Sondi Eden 13.620 21) 11 E.J. Calloway 13.630 22) 3a Mike Astrauskas 13.640 23) 69 Davey Brown 13.800 24) 33b Steve Irwin 13.850 25) Z George Gustafson 14.110 26) 11 Matt Blaisdell 15.280

United Trailers Heat #1, Top 5 to A-man (No Time): 1) 99 Mike Ling 2) 19 Jimmy McCune 3) 8m Larry Gibson 4) 24 Bill Tyler 5) 8 Ryan Davis 6) 14 Dave Baumgartner 7) 3a Mike Astrauskas 8) 10 Shane Butler 9) Z George Gustafson (dns)

Dowker Engines Heat #2 (No Time): 1) 26 Jeff Bloom 2) 4 Troy Underwood 3) 7 Tyler Underwood 4) 6 Sondi Eden 5) 33 Kevin Feeney 6) 35 Ryan Katz 7) 69 Davey Brown 8) 71 Curt Shumaker 9)11v Matt Blaisdell

Hoosier Racing Tire Heat #3 (No Time): 1) 61 Jason Blonde 2) 42 Gary Fedewa 3) 37 Hank Lower 4) 46 Mike Ford 5) 20 Brian Lay 6) 34 Johnny Scherer 7) 11 E.J. Calloway 8) 33b Steve Irwin

Lane Automotive B-main, Top 5 to A-main (No Time): 1) 34 Johnny Scherer 2) 35 Ryan Katz 3) 71 Curt Shumaker 4) 3a Mike Astrauskas 5) 10 Shane Butler 6) 69 Davey Brown 7) 11 E.J. Calloway 8) 33b Steve Irwin 9) 11v Matt Blaisdell 10) 14 Dave Baumgartner (dns) 11 Z George Gustafson (dns)

Auto Value/ Bumper to Bumper Super Sprints A-Main, 30 Laps (No Time): 1 37 Hank Lower 2) 71 Curt Shumaker 3) 19 Jimmy McCune 4) 4 Troy Underwood 5) 26 Jeff Bloom 6) 10 Shane Butler 7) 61 Jason Blonde 8) 99 Mike Ling 9) 35 Ryan Katz 10) 20 Brian Lay 11) 42 Gary Fedewa 12) 6 Sondi Eden 13) 46 Mike Ford 14) 33 Kevin Feeney 15) 8 Ryan Davis 16) 7 Tyler Underwood 17) 69 Davey Brown 18) 24 Bill Tyler 19) 8m Larry Gibson 20) 34 Johnny Scherer 21) 3a Mike Astrauskas

Lap Leaders: Hank Lower 1-30

Hard Charger: Jeff Bloom +9

Hamilton Trucking Fast Time: Larry Gibson 12.930 (121.810 mph)

Provisional Starter: Davey Brown