Cyrstal, MI (Wednesday, June 2, 2021) - Hartford Speedway was set for two nights of sprint car racing this weekend. Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans raining out the Great Lakes Super Sprints (GLSS) portion of the weekend on Friday. Saturday brought sun and the Great Lakes Traditional Sprints (GLTS) to the 3/8 mile track in Hartford, Michigan.
Steve Irwin is no stranger to success at Hartford, and it didn’t take long for him to get to work. Irwin paced the field in qualifying over Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series (BOSS) regular Parker Frederickson and Williamston’s Max Frank, while Lee Underwood and Brian Ruhlman rounded out the top five.
Irwin was pitted in heat race one against 2020 GLTS runner up, Brian Ruhlman, who jumped out to the early lead. Eventually, Irwin ran down and passed Ruhlman with one lap to go.
Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. Irwin was both on Saturday. After winning his heat race, Irwin drew a one, starting him on the pole of the feature. Irwin had no issues jumping out to the early lead at the drop of the green flag. Lap 13 brought the first and only caution of the night. Irwin mastered the restart jumping back out to the lead. Keith Sheffer Jr. moved his way up to 2nd place from his 6th starting position picking up the Hard Charger Award. However, Sheffer ran out of time before mounting a challenge for the top spot. Underwood, Ruhlman and Mike Galadja rounded out the top five.
Sunday, GLTS and Irwin towed north to Crystal Motor Speedway. A new night and track provided the same results for Irwin.
Irwin once again started the night with quick time over the 17 car field in qualifying, starting him 4th in heat one. The lone blemish on the weekend for Irwin came in the heat race. Irwin finished 2nd behind GLSS regular, Danny Sams III, who shed the wing to run with GLTS.
Finishing 2nd in his heat landed Irwin back in the redraw for the feature. This time drawing a 3. Irwin would roll off inside of row 2. Iriwn had no problem finding his way to the front of the field, eventually winning his 2nd GLTS feature of the weekend. Keith Sheffer Jr., who lead the first half of the race, wrapped up a very impressive weekend. The former Butler track champion, now focusing primarily on non wing racing, finished runner up both nights with GLTS. Mike Astrauskas, Max Frank and Mike Galajda rounded out the top five.
Steve Irwin now finds himself on top of the GLTS points standings. Next on tap for the GLTS non-wing sprints is a trip to Butler Motor Speedway on June 12th. The race brings non-wing sprints back to the Battlegrounds after being absent from the schedule for quite a few years.
Story - Derrick Bean, Horsepower Happenings
Photo - Jim DenHamer