Baker Wins Grundy’s Schuler Memorial Late Model Special


Ricky Baker poses in victory lane after winning the 61-lap Lee Schuler Memorial Late-Model Stock Car Special at Grundy County Speedway in Illinois on Sunday night. (Photo by Chris Goodaker)

MORRIS, Ill. — Two-time track champion Ricky Baker raced to victory in the 61-lap Lee Schuler Memorial Late-Model Stock Car Special at Grundy County Speedway Sunday night during the track’s annual feature night.

The race is held annually to honor the memory of Lee Schuler, who was a regular on the Chicago-area late-model scene for many years and won the Grundy Track Championship in 1972. Schuler’s sons, Larry and Tracy, and her grandson, Tristan Batson, followed in her career footsteps.

Baker, the 37-year-old sprinter from Plainfield, drove his Rod Baker Ford-sponsored No. 52 to victory, his fourth victory of the year on the third-mile paved oval. Baker earned the fifth Schuler Memorial 61 lap of his career, winning for the fourth time in the last six years. After qualifying ninth fastest, Baker started on the outside of the front row in the 20-car field.

Baker rolled to the checkered flag for starter Greg Kuntz with a 1.264-second margin of victory over Stan Zolodz IV, who won Schuler’s race in 2020. Blake Brown, Josh Nelms, Eddie Hoffman and early race leader Scott Tomasik they completed the “top six”. ” The fastest qualifier, Larry Schuler, finished seventh, holding on to a poorly-handling car on the final lap.

Tomasik and Anthony Danta led the night’s headliner until Baker took the lead on lap 26. Danta retired shortly after with ignition problems. The only caution of the race came on lap 29 for an incident that eliminated both Dave Gentile Jr. and Jim Weber from contention.

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“We fought all day,” Baker said after his win. “We threw a lot of stuff at it for qualifying: the first lap the car was good and the second lap was really free. We had a tire (during qualifying) that shrunk a lot. I left the car alone after that. I was controlling my pace for a while, but at the same time trying to push it. I am trying to get this car ready for the Bettenhausen race in two weeks.”

Clay Curts won his second sportsman main race in a matter of days and captured the division’s 40-lap main event. Earning a win on Friday night, Curts came back and scored his second win of the season ahead of Matt Clemens, David Einhaus, Vince Cooper and Kevin Murphy.

More or less securing the track championship, Scotty Gardner won his fifth street race of the year. Randy Weese, Scott Gardner, Sal Lozano and Chad Bayuk chased the winner to the finish line.

Jordan Caskey was the winner of the 25-lap Midwest Mayhem Midgets feature race. Caskey, 24, a member of the Ohio-based NASCAR ThorSport Racing truck team, passed Scott Koerner for the lead on lap nine and took his first win of the season despite multiple cautions that delayed his race to the victory. . Tom Schnabel finished second, followed by fastest qualifier Travis Mahoney, Basil Hicks and Doug Orseske. Koerner dropped out of the race, but still claimed his sixth midget championship.

Winning for the second time this year, Danielle Dobczyk came home as the winner of the 30-lap race for pure four-cylinder competitors. Zach Chanda finished second with last year’s champion Cameron Preisler third. Chris Peters won the 20-lap main event for Midwest Champ Karts, defeating Dustin Heath and Cameron Mason.

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Jacob Senerchia earned his seventh notable win of 2022, taking top honors in the 25-round Super Cup Series main event over Carter Appleton and Sy Salinas.

The end:

Feature: Ricky Baker, Stan Zolodz IV, Blake Brown, Josh Nelms, Eddie Hoffman, Scott Tomasik, Larry Schuler, DJ Weltmeyer, Tristan Batson, Jim Weber, James Gregait, Tony Brutti, Steve Seligman, Dean Patterson, Mike Dimand, Tom Smith , Jeff Wakeman, Dave Gentile Jr., Mike White, Anthony Danta

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