Hess Wins "Bob Wente Midget Classic" in Classic Wente Fashion!
By Steve Birmingham
August 22, 2004; Granite City, IL - Mike Hess took a page from history Sunday, jumping to the high side and rim riding in classic Bob Wente, Sr. fashion to win the presitgious 50-lap "Bob Wente Midget Classic" at Tri-City Speedway.
Hess grabbed the $3,000 winner's check from promoter Bob Wente, Jr.'s hand, banked $1,400 in lap money sponsored by the friends and family of Midget racing, and took a tight hold of the late Bob Wente's coveted George Amick Memorial Trophy.
"I love the longer races and if it had been 100 laps it would have fine with me," Hess said in Victory Lane. "The longer it is the better I get. Usually in a 50 or 100 lapper we' re right there at the end. It was a rail tonight."
Greg Leukert bolted from his pole position to lead the first three while Hess and Joey Montgomery fought it out for second. Montgomery used a high side pass to finally get the lead spot with Hess right on his nerf bar for second and Justin Allgaier third. As the laps ticked by the pair put on their owen private duel for the lead, leaving Allgaier 20 lengths behind.
As the pair sailed out of turn four to complete lap 23, Hess jumped to the top and, finding no cushion, powerted past for the lead. Once ahead he stayed on top and was never headed. Chasing him home were Montgomery, Rich Camfield, Brett Anderson, Chad Branson, Steve Knepper, Leukert, Ryan Gerster, Cameron Dotson and Mario Marietta.
Knepper put on a great run, having to win the first Semi to earn a spot at the tail of the main event. Knepper ran as high as fifth before jumping the cushion and falling back several spots. He fought his way back only to jump it again and lose more ground before battling back to his sixth place finish.
The qualifying heats were won by Justin Allgaier, Hess, Montgomery and Branson. The Dash went to Leukert withthe second Semi going to Jeff Gass.
Brad Loyet may be starting his junior year in high school this week, but he took the Outlaw Micro Sprint ranks to school, leading all 20 laps to win the companion Outlaw Micro Sprint feature. Loyet jumped out to a huge lead at the drop of the green and was never challenged. Rounding out the top three were Andy Malpocker and Kevin Swindell. The qualifying heats went to Loyet, Rich King, Austin Brown and Tiffany Wyzard. Brody Stewart and Brian Steele won the last chance races.