On Saturday, Brownstown Speedway will host the 17th Annual 50-lap Indiana Icebreaker featuring the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series with $10,000 on the line. There are many changes to note, as well as potential setbacks to prevent some drivers from claiming the prize. It's anyone's money for the taking on Saturday night, but lets break down a few drivers who have high hopes of capturing the 2014 Indiana Icebreaker.
One of the largest changes that occurred in the off season was the reconfiguration and new topsoil added to the quarter-mile oval. There has also been a significant amount of banking added. Although only one night of racing has been ran on the new surface, it held up well and proved to be a very well improved track compared to the track fans and drivers alike have been familiar with in the past. Another big change occurred mid-season last year. Former track promoter Tim Keithley stepped down and current track promoter Jim Price took the spot. Last weekend began his first full season with the title of promoter.
There has been a great amount of buzz about the upcoming Indiana Icebreaker. One of the biggest stories, which was made official Wednesday, was Jimmy Owens to drive his Club 29 car rather than his regular, well-known Bloomquist Chassis. Owens, the three-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Champion has teamed up with Darrell Lanigan, the two-time World of Outlaws Late Model Series Champion earlier in the year. Jimmy made his Club 29 debut on March 14 at Volunteer Speedway. He went on to win the $4,000 feature and it was pretty clear he had made a good decision. With a rich history at Brownstown, including ten starts (none worse than ninth position), eight top fives and a Jackson 100 win in 2012, the Newport Nightmare hopes to accompany his 2010 Indiana Icebreaker win with a second this weekend. He rolls into Brownstown Speedway sitting in the sixth position in Lucas Oil points.
Another driver who is coming on strong this season is four-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Champion Earl Pearson Jr. After a few years of battling and testing, EPJ and the team at Longhorn Chassis are coming back with the results they need to make a statement. After six races in Florida, he claimed four podium finishes. Earl, like Owens, has also had great success at Brownstown Speedway, winning the Jackson 100 in 2009 and winning a pair of Indiana Icebreakers in 2006 and 2009. He finished tenth last year and is a strong contender going into Saturday's race. You can bet he will be hungry to add his third Indiana Icebreaker to his long list of victories.
Finally, I look for the 17 year old phenom Bobby Pierce to battle his way to the feature and do very well in the 50 lap main event. 2014 being only his fourth year driving super late models full time, I found that his ability to hold off O'neal, Lannigan, Bloomquist, Stapelton and Owens in his heat race at the Icebreaker in 2013 extremely impressive. He went on to finish fifth in the feature. Bobby also had a fourth place finish in the 2013 Hoosier Dirt Classic/UMP Summernationals race. He adds a runner-up spot in the 2013 UMP Summernationals Championship, a fourth place finish in the World 100, and most recently a win at East Bay in February to his resume. It's definitely safe to say the Smooth Operator lives up to his name and will be a force to be reckoned with on Saturday evening.
Other confirmed entries include defending Icebreaker winner Dennis Erb Jr., four-time Icebreaker winner Don O'neal, Scott Bloomquist, John Blankenship, Ray Cook, Jeff Babcock, Justin Rattliff, Brian Shirley, Randy Weaver and Billy Moyer Jr. Also making his debut back to the Brownstown Speedway since the 2011 UMP Summernationals race is Jeep Van Wormer.
Last Saturday, Brownstown held its season opener. A solid amount of talented drivers filled the pits to tune up for the Icebreaker. In the late model division, Joe Janowski picked up the win over John Gardner and Tim Prince. Early in the race, Duane Chamberlain got turned around while leading, collecting Marty O'neal and Tim Prince. Chamberlain and O'neal's nights would come to an end but Price would rejoin the field after a visit to the pits and raced his way up to third place.
In the Fast Max UMP Modified division, Jamie Lomax edged Devin Gilpin and Kent Robinson in the main event. Devin Gilpin was hoping to pick up the opening night victory as he did in 2013, but he just couldn't match Lomax as they battled inches apart for the entire event. Kent Robinson also challenged for most of the race on the outside. Lomax declared he would be back for more this Saturday. Kent plans to race in his late model for the $10,000 prize.
The Fast Max UMP Modifieds as well as the pure stocks will join the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series action on Saturday night. For more information, be sure to visit www.brownstownspeedway.com.