The early part of Saturday evening may not have been that productive for Ransomville Speedway Pro-Stock champion Mark Schulz. The conclusion was, however, as Schulz ended up turning in a stellar driving performance to win the Raceway Speed & Performance King Of The Hill 100.
Schulz overcame a bad starting position, race traffic, accidents and the relentless late-race pressure of Jody Herrivan to score the victory, his eighth of the season at Ransomville.
"With it being 100 laps, I just tried to pace myself and we had a pretty fast car," said Schulz. "Jody is an excellent race car driver on a dry track and I figured as long as I kept it on the bottom, he probably wasn't going to get around me on the top as that part of the track was pretty well used up."
The night did not start out well for Schulz, as he spun on two separate occasions in his heat qualifying race. He finished sixth, the last transfer spot from that heat to the King Of The Hill.
"Well, I got into a crash early in the heat race and banged up some wheels," Schulz said. "And then on a later restart the guys checked up and we got down off the track a little bit and into some water and went around in a circle again. It wasn't a very good start to the night."
It would get much better.
Schulz started 20th in the 30-car King of The Hill field and began his march toward the front. Ken Sargent jumped into the lead at the beginning from his outside pole start, with Steve Lewis, Herrivan, Jeff Martin and Roger Chrysler taking chase.
Sargent maintained the lead as Lewis and Herrivan swapped the second position on a few occasions. The field was slowed by five caution flags in the first 36 laps.
The most serious incident of the night occurred on lap 43, when the bumpers of Martin and Chrysler hooked together going down the frontstretch, and both spun at the entrance to turn one, blocking the track. The ensuing 10-car pile-up required a red-flag period but no one was injured. Several cars, including Chrysler's restarted the race.
By this point, Schulz had advanced to fourth, behind Sargent, Lewis and Herrivan. When the race resumed, Schulz eventually worked by Lewis for second on lap 46.
Following the mandatory field fuel stop on lap 50, Schulz caught and passed Sargent, coming out of turn two on lap 54. Herrivan gained second on lap 66 and the chase of Schulz was on.
Herrivan made several attempts to get by Schulz over the remaining laps, coming into light contact with Schulz's car a few times. Schulz held firm.
Coming out of turn four on the last lap, the pair approached the checkered flag side-by-side with Schulz prevailing by about three feet. Lewis placed third about seven car lengths back.
"This caps off a fantastic season," said Schulz.
"Schulz is a good clean racer," Herrivan said. "If I had to lose to anybody, I guess it might as well been to him. My car wouldn't restart worth a bean. Once we got going for a few laps it got a lot better."
The Street Stocks also ran a companion 35-lap race that produced 11 caution periods. Polesitter Alex Morris jumped into the lead at the beginning, followed by Shawn Graham, Steve Buzzard and Cory Sawyer.
A strong-running Sawyer passed Morris on lap three in turn four. Morris brought out the second caution flag on lap 10 as he stopped on the track with fuel pump problems. Following the restart, Ransomville 1999 Street Stock champion Rick Sinnott moved into second but could not catch Sawyer. Paul Gaboury was third.
Ransomville ran races on Friday as well. Randy Chrysler was best in Sportsman over Don Martin. Dave Schulz and Jon Miller were the top two in Pro-Stocks. Sinnott beat Sawyer in Street Stocks.
The weekend card completed Ransomville's 1999 stock car season.