Aaa Blake Brown #71 Win Dsc 7216
Blake Brown on his way to winning the 61-lap Lee Schuler Memorial race at Illinois’ Grundy County Speedway Sunday night. (Stan Kalwasinski photo)

Brown Stars On Grundy’s Night Of Features

MORRIS, Ill. — Blake Brown was the winner of the 61-lap Lee Schuler Memorial late model stock car special at the Grundy County Speedway Sunday night as the track hosted its annual Night of Features program.

Brown, the 31-year-old speedster from Caledonia, Wis., drove his McCloskey Farms/Sundance Repair & Recovery/Corrigan Cattle Farm-sponsored, Jeff Olson-wrenched, Chevrolet No. 71 to the victory, his third of the year at the third-mile paved speed plant.  

Brown took starter Greg Kuntz’s checkered flag with a 1.902-second victory margin over Anthony Danta.  Stan Zolodz IV finished third with Ricky Baker, James Gregait, fast qualifier Larry Schuler and Eddie Hoffman chasing the leading duo at the end.  By virtue of his seventh-place finish, Hoffman wrapped up his eighth career late model championship – the all-time record at Grundy.

A field of 19 cars took the green flag with front row starters Tony Brutti and James Gregait racing side-by-side for a few laps until Gregait finally took command. Gregait paced the field until about the 16th lap when Brown raced into the lead.

It was all Brown the rest of the way as the event saw all 61 laps run without a yellow flag caution period.

“I was just pacing it, just riding in case we got a late yellow (flag),” said Brown.  “I just wanted to make sure I had tires left. The car was so good. (My crew chief) Jeff (Olson) had it hooked up. I was able to ride and maintain.  

“This is a special race to win. It couldn’t be better timing as the next race is the Bettenhausen (Memorial 100) in two weeks. We’re hitting a good stride.”

Kenny Benson captured the 35-lap sportsman feature race and posted his first career championship at the speedway. Winning for the sixth time this season, Benson defeated a fast-closing Jeremiah Senko at the finish. Ron Vandermeir Jr., Scotty Gardner and Kevin Murphy rounded out the top five. Murphy started the evening with a one-point lead over Benson for the sportsman title. 

Dominating all season, Matt Chester put “icing on the cake” for his championship as he won the 30-lap street stock headliner. It was Chester’s 10th win of the year.  Chester raced to the finish line ahead of Scotty Gardner, fastest qualifier Cameron Preisler and Randy Weese, who brought down the curtain on a 30-year racing career.  

Cory Lelak took home top honors in the 25-lap pure stock (four-cylinder) division feature. Lelak finished ahead of Zach Legner and Matt Lee with Legner claiming the overall division title. With seven laps to go, Dan Schmeissing’s car blew the engine with a huge fire erupting. Schmeissing was not injured.  

Travis Mahoney was the winner of the 25-lap Midwest Mayhem Midgets feature, posting his fifth win of the season. Mahoney scored the win ahead of Tom Schnabel and early race leader Basil Hicks. Escaping injury, Derek Bettenhausen crashed and flipped his mount during a lap-one, multi-car incident.