Kokomo, IN (Monday, October 19, 2020) - Travis Stemler and Dillon Nusbaum had one thing in common entering Saturday night at the Kokomo Klash; neither driver had ever picked up a feature win in the event at the Indiana bullring. Now, both have new hardware for the trophy case, although neither driver had it easy.
Stemler kicked off his evening by winning his heat race. With no redraw for this event, all heat race winners would start at the front of the field. By virtue of his win, Stemler would start from the outside pole for the 25 lap feature event. But Stemler had a decision to make, keep his car as it was for a track that was bottom dominant throughout the heat races, or adjust for the top side that began to come in.
The Ionia, Michigan driver made the right call and picked up the lead on the high side on the first lap. But, Bill Sheets wasn’t letting Stemler get away. Sheets actually worked his way around Stemler, however, a caution on the same lap would give the lead back to Stemler. Then it was Mike Spatola who took his shot at Stemler, as he worked around Sheets to move into the runner-up position. Spatola never let the #4 machine open up a lead. Lap after lap, Spatola would apply the pressure, but Stemler was up for the challenge in leading all 25 laps en route to the victory.
”It was just awesome!” commented Stemler after the event. “The track changed a little bit, but Anklam Racing gives me one helluva piece to go racing, and it was a good car tonight.” Spatola survived a late-race battle with Devin Gilpin to secure the runner-up finish.
For Nusbaum, it was a different type of race. James Walters picked up the early race lead and was looking to drive away from the entire field. Nusbaum worked his way to the 2nd position and set his sights on Walters. Inside 10 laps to go, Nusbaum would work his way around Walters and set sail. Nusbaum was never challenged for the remainder of the event and picked up his first-ever Kokomo Klash victory.
“I kinda wish I knew how big of a gap I had at the end, I would have slowed it down a bit,” stated Nusbaum after the event. “I’m really happy for myself and everybody involved to get this win,” finished Nusbaum.
Kokomo Speedway now wraps up their 2020 season this coming weekend, October 23rd & 24th, with a World of Outlaws doubleheader. The Morton Buildings Late Models take to the track on Friday for the $25,000 to win Hoosier Dirt Shootout, while the NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars invade the property for the Fall Fling on Saturday.
For more stories from around the region, be sure to log onto www.horsepowerhappenings.com. Listen to the Horsepower Happenings Podcast, with new episodes every Monday night at 9:00 pm.
Story - Rich Frantz, Horsepower Happenings
Photo - Jim DenHamer