GREAT FALLS, Montana — Since Brock Lemley first hooked up with the Great Falls-based Peterson Racing team last year, they have been hard to beat in Big Sky Sprint Tour action in Montana. That proved that to be the case again when the Bellingham, Wash. driver stormed from the tenth starting position to win Friday’s season opening event at Electric City Speedway.
With the victory, Brock Lemley has now taken the checkered flag in the main event six times in eight starts aboard the Peterson Racing No. 23n Ostrich-powered Rocket. Current plans are for Lemley to venture over to Montana to race that car a lot more this season.
“That car is great. It’s fun. It’s a lot of fun to come out here,” said Lemley, who showed he was more than pleased with how his car performed in the 25-lap main event. Lemley had a bad start and some mechanical problems in his heat race earlier in the evening and as a result was forced to start mid-pack for the main event. However, quick repairs soon made Lemley’s ride one of the cars to beat in the end.
On a track that had gone dry slick by the time feature race came up, many cars went to the bottom of the track and stayed there. Lemley, however, was one of the few who were able to use the topside of the track to their advantage. Lemley quickly picked off cars in the opening laps and in short time found himself in third place behind former series champion Joe Ramaker of Boise, Idaho and early leader Josh Ostermiller of Billings.
After battling with the seventh-starting Ramaker for a time, Lemley made the pass for second place and was then stalking Ostermiller, who had traffic to contend with. Ostermiller was strong on the bottom of the track in the turns, but the slower cars ahead of him were also there. Ostermiller managed to get around a couple of cars on the inside coming off the turns to keep the lead while Lemley sailed around the topside, but one car finally held up Ostermiller enough to allow Lemley’s momentum up top to carry him by for the lead.
“We just planned on everyone going low,” Lemley said. “It took a lot of throttle control (to run high), but it gave us a lot of momentum. I think I had a little bit of an advantage on Josh. I never saw him try the top.”
After taking the lead, Lemley went on unchallenged. A late caution came out for a spin by rookie driver Vernon Hill of Black Eagle, Mont. On the final restart, Ramaker motored around Ostermiller on top of the track in Turns 1 and 2 to take second place, where he would finish aboard the Ramaker Racing No. 98 Ostrich-powered J&J.
“I wish I went to the top a little sooner and a little harder. I think I would’ve been fine up top.” said Ramaker, who is racing this weekend as a dad for the first time. “It was a matter of who went where and when. But, first race of the year, I’m happy. We changed a lot on the car (after the heat races), threw the kitchen sink at it.”
Ostermiller would finish third in the Harvey Ostermiller No. 12 Ostrich-powered GF1 after a strong performance. Leduc, Alberta visitor Casey Adams finished fourth in the Adams Racing No. 12a Bel-powered Maxim and Billings driver Jerry Brey finish fifth in the Rick Rogers No. 17j Wesmar-powered Eagle.
David Hoiness, defending Big Sky Sprint Tour champion Trever Kirkland, Phil Dietz, Kelly Miller and Dennis MacEachern rounded out the Top 10. Lethbridge, Alberta visitor Bill Boyce turned in an 11th place finish with a smaller sportsman motor. The only other stop to racing in the main event occurred a couple of laps into the race when the red flag was thrown for Cody Brown’s rollover on the front stretch after tangling with Mark Sweet.
Joe Perry, Hoiness and Adams each won heat races earlier in the evening. In hotlaps, Casey Adams turned in a time of 12.007 seconds around the 3/10-mile clay oval, which was reported as the fastest lap ever turned by a sprint car at Electric City Speedway.
The Big Sky Sprints race again tonight at Electric City Speedway in Great Falls. More information on the Big Sky Sprints can be found online at http://www.bigskysprints.com.
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Big Sky Sprints
Electric City Speedway
Great Falls, MT
May 18, 2012
Heat 1 (10 laps): 1. 28 Joe Perry, 2. 12 Josh Ostermiller, 3. 98 Joe Ramaker, 4. 44 Kelly Miller, 5. 31 Colton Akerstrom, 6. 1x Vernon Hill, 7. 38 Jerry Brown.
Heat 2 (10 laps): 1. 27dd David Hoiness, 2. 3 Dennis MacEachern, 3. 9 Sean MacDonell, 4. 1 Bill Boyce, 5. 21 Calvin Fitch, 6. 20 Cody Brown, 7. 35 Chip Roe.
Heat 3 (10 laps): 1. 12a Casey Adams, 2. 17j Jerry Brey, 3. 37 Trever Kirkland, 4. 23n Brock Lemley, 5. 72 Phil Dietz, 6. 77 Mark Sweet.
Feature (25 laps): 1. 23n Brock Lemley, 2. 98 Joe Ramaker, 3. 12 Josh Ostermiller, 4. 12a Casey Adams, 5. 17j Jerry Brey, 6. 27dd David Hoiness, 7. 37 Trever Kirkland, 8. 72 Phil Dietz, 9. 44 Kelly Miller, 10. 3 Dennis MacEachern, 11. 1 Bill Boyce, 12. 28 Joe Perry, 13. 9 Sean MacDonell, 14. 38 Jerry Brown, 15. 21 Calvin Fitch, 16. 35 Chip Roe, 17. 31 Colton Akerstrom, 18. 1x Vernon Hill, 19. 20 Cody Brown, 20. 77 Mark Sweet.