Krankel Races to Third Ironman Late Model Win!
By Steve Birmingham
May 29, 2004; Granite City, IL -Tom Krankel scored the hat trick Saturday, winning his third straight Ironman Late Model feature at Tri-City Speedway.
Krankel won his qualifying heat but discovered an oil leak while waiting on the front stretch for the start of the Dash for Cash. His mount was quickly towed to the pits for repairs, relegating him to the sixth place starting spot for the main event. Dash winner and past feature winner Ken Rumble elected to give up the $100 bonus and start the feature from the pole.
Rumble took the early lead but had Jim Gibson and Ken Johnson dogging his every move. As the trio fought for the top spot Krankel steadily moved forward and by lap six was three lengths behind the leader. The two fought through lapped traffic and several caution periods before Krankel was able to get within striking distance. Krankel tried the low groove in turns three and four for several laps but couldn't make the move stick.
As the two roared through turn three on lap 12 Krankel finally drew alongside the leader. They touched, separated and touched again as they roared out of four and onto the front stretch with Krankel the leader. Once ahead krankel danced off to a two-length lead and the winner's check.
"The car was real good in lapped traffic and Kenny is real fast, but if it was an open track it would have been hard for me to get around him," Krankel said. "The car ran real good tonight, and it seems in the last couple of weeks, on restarts, it wanted to sputter a little bit. We had a hole in the oil filter in the dash, but we got that fixed and here we are."
Rumble, Gibson, Shannon Kuhn and Ed Purcell rounded out the top five. Ken Johnson, Sr., and Rumble won the remaining qualifiers.
Bert Jacoby, so close to victory every race this season, would not be denied Saturday as he fought his way to the front and won his first Mountain Dew Sportsman main of the year. Steve Johnson, Randy Hanks and Sam Kizer fought it out in the early going as Jacoby bulled his way to the front. By lap four he was tapping on Hanks shoulder and convincing him to move aside. After Hanks shrugged off several attempts, Jacoby stuck it low in turn two and led Hanks by three lengths to close lap seven. One lap later Hanks spun out of contention and Jacoby breezed to the checkers ahead of Johnson, Rick Squires, David Walker and Bob Williams. Williams and Squires won the qualifiers.
"That was a lot of fun," Jacoby said in Victory Lane. "It's a lot of fun racing those guys, and Randy and I have raced quite a bit together. I don't know what happened to him but I saw he fell out so I'm sorry to see that."
Steve Meyer, Jr., won his heat and as well as the rough and tumble Budweiser Modified feature, topping Jay Hughes and Bobby Martintoni for his first win of the season. Hughes and Dean Vickers won the other qualifiers.
Brad Yotter won his first career Dominos Street Stock feature, besting Ricky Huebner and Mark Pflueger. YOtter, Pflueger and Brian Crawford won the qualifiers with Andy Beavrs winning the Semi.
Aaron Wood captured his first career Auto Trader Factory Stock win, besting Ken Bell and Todd Erickson. Bell land Josh Porch took the qualifiers.