by Jacob Hord, @HordRaceWatcher
As Eldora Speedway celebrated the legacy of Earl and Berneice Baltes, founders of the legendary speedway, late model drivers took advantage of the Sunday show to get one more tune-up in before the famous World 100 week began. Thirty-nine of the late models signed in on a sweltering September day.
After setting quicktime in qualifying and a second place finish in his heat race, Ricky Weiss found himself sitting on the outside pole of the 30 lap, $5,000 to win feature event.
To his inside was Logan Nickerson, and as they brought the field to the green flag, they were side-by-side through the first couple of corners, but Weiss was able to inch his Sniper Chassis ahead of Nickerson as they got into turns three and four and solidify himself as the leader.
Jason Jameson, who started third, started battling with Nickerson for the second spot, and claimed the second spot from Nickerson with one lap completed. Unfortunately for Jameson, he and Nickerson made contact in turns one and two on the following lap, sending Jameson for a half-spin, bringing out the yellow.
Weiss got a good restart, not allowing Nickerson to gain any ground. Fourth-running Tripp Gerrald made his way into the second spot on the restart, and set his sights on Weiss for the lead. Weiss built his lead to 1.730 seconds on lap eight before another yellow came out.
Another good restart by Weiss didn’t give Gerrald a chance to make a move. Gerrald did end start to inch closer to Weiss for the lead, but Weiss quickly added another two-tenths of a second to his lead on lap 13. At the halfway point of the race, Weiss enjoyed a 1.678 second lead, but was getting close to lapped traffic. Weiss’ lead held steady around the 1.6-1.7 second range, but the yellow came out once again on lap 17, this time for tenth-running Nick Hoffman, who had a flat right front tire.
What would be the final restart would be a dandy of a restart for Weiss. He quickly built a 1.111 second lead, and grew it to 1.433 seconds on lap 19. With nine circuits remaining, Weiss had a 1.404 second lead and a clear track in front of him. Gerrald did cut into the lead momentarily, getting it down to 1.080 seconds with seven laps to go, but that’s when Weiss turned the afterburners on, and would end up cruising to a 2.290 second win over Gerrald and Nickerson. This is Weiss’ second #BaltesClassic win at Eldora, and gives him some good momentum going into the World 100 week.