Blue Collar Bash Story

SUNDAY STORY: Blue Collar Bash Produces First-Ever Female A-Feature Winner and Oldest Winner ROSSBURG, OH (October 28) —  Eldora Speedway history was created this weekend, as the inaugural Blue Collar Bash produced the first-ever female A-Feature winner and the oldest known driver to capture an A-Feature on the legendary .500 mile clay oval.   Paige Polyak […]

Blue Collar Bash Produces First-Ever Female A-Feature Winner and Oldest Winner

ROSSBURG, OH (October 28) —  Eldora Speedway history was created this weekend, as the inaugural Blue Collar Bash produced the first-ever female A-Feature winner and the oldest known driver to capture an A-Feature on the legendary .500 mile clay oval.   Paige Polyak drove a determined race to capture the 305 Sprint trophy while 74-year old Art Ball captured his 299th career and first-ever Eldora victory in the Fremont/Attica Truck division.

Rounding out the twelve division program with checkered flags were Shane Stewart (Sprints), Mike Sawmiller (Circle Track/Waynesfield Trucks), Rusty Yarger (Chevettes), Dale Puckett (Compacts), Rod Henning (Mini Sprints), Brian Ruhlman (UMP DIRTcar Modifieds), Barney Craig (Eldora and Hometrack Stock Cars) and Jason Hehman (UMP Sportsman).

Jess Stiger, who had captured Saturday’s preliminary heat race for the 305 Sprint Cars, appeared poised to duplicate the triumph Sunday afternoon.   However, midway through the 15-lap chase, Polyak began closing in on Stiger, with a decidedly quickly car through the turns than Stiger.   Lap after lap Polyak would move in on Stiger, only to drop back on the straights.  After a couple of moves to the outside, the pert 18-year old outsmarted Stiger with a low side pass coming off of turn four – a pass that proved to be victorious.  Following Polyak and Stiger across the line were Jamie Miller, Jeremy Duposki and Kean Kester.

When the 22-car Winged Sprint Car finale took to the high banks, it was Kyle Sauder jumping into the lead at the dropping of the green flag.   But Sauder instantly had his hands full, as seventh place starter Stewart moved all the way into the runner-up position by the completion of one lap.   Sauder’s momentum kept him out front through three circuits when the yellow flag appeared for a spinning Bryce Dickson.

That was all Stewart needed, as on the restart he shot by Sauder and never looked back.  From that point forward Stewart let everyone know that the battle on the race track would be for the positions behind him – and that was the exact response as Sauder had his hands full holding back first Dallas Hewitt and then a quickly arriving Jimmy Stinson.   A late race spin dropped Hewitt deep into the pack, while Stinson stepped up the pace enough to get past Sauder for runner-up honors behind Stewart.   Completing the top five behind Sauder were Danny Smith and Ron Blair.

Art Ball has won in many types of race cars and at many race tracks, but a win at Eldora has eluded Ball and his familiar pale blue #01.   At least up until Sunday afternoon.   Ball took advantage of Saturday’s heat race win to line up in the pole position for the finale, a spot he parlayed into a close victory over Kent Brewer.  Bob Dibble and Tim Schatzinger rounded out the finish.

The companion A-Feature for the Circle Track/Waynesfield Trucks turned into a marathon as multiple crashes and spins decimated the 26-truck field in the early stages.   Once settled down, the battle up front turned into a Sawmiller chase as Mike Sawmiller held off a quickly closing Jerry Sawmiller to take home the trophy.   Erik Wolleson, who like Polyak is a graduate of go-kart racing, drove to a strong third place finish.   Dennis Wood and Troy Campbell completed the top five.

Rod Henning’s Mini Sprint feature came after a spirited race-long battle with Aaron Farney.   Multiple times Farney would close the gap, but could never quite muster the power to move to the front; having to settle for second at the finish.

Hehman’s victory in the UMP (United Midwestern Promoters) Sportsman class was his second of the weekend.  Saturday afternoon he prevailed over the Oakshade Sportsman class.   Just as in the Mini Sprint finale, it was a two-car chase to the finish in the UMP Sportsman division as Hehman had his hands full trying to hold back Steve Peeden.   He was able to do so, with Jake Leitzman, Jim Bailey and Terry Rushlow following at the finish line.

In the early going of the UMP DIRTcar Modified A-Feature, it was Todd Sherman up front, with a strong Cory Seeling in strong pursuit.  Seeling, turning in his best performance of the season, hung in tight with Sherman until multi-time Eldora champion Brian Ruhlman moved into the picture.   At that point, Seeling had to break his concentration from the Sherman battle to that of holding off Ruhlman.

He was able to get the job done for quite a few laps before giving way to Ruhlman, who then duplicated the pass on Sherman.

With ten laps in the chase, Seeling’s run came to an abrupt halt as he made heavy contact with the turn one wall and in the melee collected several other cars to end his otherwise successful run.

On the restart, Ruhlman continued to pull away from the field.   Jeff Babcock moved up to challenge and eventually pass Sherman for second, but ran out of time to mount a serious challenge on Ruhlman.   Finishing behind that trio were Brent Hole and Justin Matson.

Barney Craig joined Hehman as a double winner over the weekend that found over 200 race cars converging upon Eldora Speedway.   Craig, the reigning Eldora Speedway Stock Car champion, doubled up in the Blue Collar Bash Stock Car classes; with wins in the Eldora and Hometrack Stock A-Features.

Following him in the Eldora finale were Anthony Goode, Mark Wooten, Garry Domoe and Adam Schaeff, while Robbie Sternberg, Terry Rushlow, Josh Steinberg and Dave Golembiewski, Jr. finished behind him in the Hometrack closer.

The Blue Collar Bash brought the 2012 racing season at Eldora Speedway to a close.   While a complete schedule of events for 2013 is in the works, the historic speed plant has released information on its traditional major events.   That news, along with ticket and campsite purchase options, is detailed on the track’s website


Hall, Nuckles, Chamberlain, Hehman and Covey Carry Checkered Flags

ROSSBURG, OH (Oct. 27) – Five down – eleven to go – and the inaugural 16-division Blue Collar Bash will become history at Eldora Speedway. Capturing feature events Saturday evening were Luke Hall (BOSS Non-Winged Sprints), Bryan Nuckles (Legends), Duane Chamberlain (Late Models), Jason Hehman (Oakshade Sportsman) and Mason Covey (UMP Pro Late Model). The remaining 7 classes; Fremont/Attica Trucks, Circle Track/Waynesfield Trucks, 305 Sprints, UMP Sportsman, Chevettes, Compacts and Mini Sprints will complete their program Sunday afternoon when they are joined by the Winged Sprints, Eldora Stocks, Hometrack Stocks and UMP Modifieds in their complete programs.

Second generation driver Sheldon Haudenschild shot from his pole position to run away and hide at the onset of the BOSS A-Feature; but as he began moving in on lapped traffic, the race took on a new look.

Lap by lap, Haudenschild’s advantage dwindled as Luke Hall, Dallas Hewitt and Matt Westfall inched forward.

Multiple times Hall would nose up beside Haudenschild, but when the young sensation would see the nose of Hall’s car, he would get a burst of speed and pull away. Finally, in the closing laps, Hall did a bonsai pass through turns three and four to take the lead that he was to hold to the finish.

A multi-car crash four laps from the finish momentarily stopped the action, but that didn’t deter Hall. On the restart, he picked up where he had left off and drove to victory over Haudenschild, Hewitt, Westfall and Tony Beaber.

Nuckles, another second generation hot shoe, was on a mission. Taking advantage of his heat race victory, Bryan started on the outside pole and that was the momentum he needed. A quick burst into the lead on the initial start was aborted with a turn three spin mid-pack. That brought the field back to a complete restart and Nuckles had to duplicate his efforts; which he did.

The green came out one more time and one more time, Nuckles shot into the lead. He continued a blistering pace, as the field behind him duked it out for position, often three and four wide on the .500 mile clay oval.

A vicious crash involving Nelson Stewart brought out the red flag in the closing laps. The car was worse for the wear following the multi-time rollover; yet Stewart (father to three-time NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart) climbed from the car unscathed.

With the field re-lined, Nuckles picked up where he had left off and cruised to the victory over Robert Stough , Sean McPherson, Matt Erich and Derek Menshew.

In what turned out to be the most competitive feature event of the day, Chamberlain survived a last lap shootout with Jerry Bowersock to take the narrow win.

Brian Ruhlman appeared to have the race in the bag; that was until the halfway point when slight contact with a lapped car found Ruhlman looping it out in front of Chamberlain, Bowersock and Jeff Babcock. The foursome had been running under a literal blanket.

The restart gave the point to Chamberlain, with Babcock and Bowersock in close pursuit. A last lap caution flag bunched the field for one final charge to the finish.

With the double-file restart, Chamberlain chose the outer lane and that gave him the momentum he needed to carry out the deed. Bowersock crossed the line second, followed by Babcock, Ruhlman and Rob Starkey.

Jason Hehman, a runner with the UMP Sportsman class, chose at the last minute to race with the Oakshade Raceway Sportsman class and he is glad he did. Despite a 400 pound weight disadvantage, Hehman jumped into the lead at the onset and withheld a wild last lap charge from Richard Patton to take the victory.

Patton charged into turn three on the final circuit and appeared that the momentum could take him into the leader; however, he backed down just enough to avoid contact and settled for runner-up honors. Following them across the line were Paul Pardo, Barney Craig and Billy Ruff.

Covey’s victory in the UMP Pro Late Model class came over Jacob Hawkins.

Sunday’s action will begin with practice laps at 12:30, followed by the racing program at 1:30. Complete ticket and schedule information can be found on the track’s website