The inaugural Freedom 40 at Atomic Speedway (Waverly, OH) took place in 1990, but there was never a more dominating performance than the ones fans witnessed last night as Cole Duncan dominated the race from it’s onset. The Lockbourne, OH native got off to a hot start on the evening when he timed in 2nd quick out of the 32 cars that took time. He continued on to win his heat, redraw the number 1 pill, and lap up to the 5th position during his $4,000 triumph.
Cole Duncan was never seriously challenged throughout the 40 lapper. He was able to maneuver through lapped traffic, and when it was all said done Duncan had lapped up through the 6th position. The win was his 5th triumph of the season, 4 of which have come at the Atomic Speedway. His other victory on the 2015 season came at Fremont Speedway (Fremont, OH).
|Atomic Speedway under a beautiful and sunny October sky|
Brad McCown and his crew had Atomic Speedway in tip-top shape following a week of cold and rainy weather. Relentless track work and sunny skies proved to be the remedy as the high-banked 3/8th mile oval was bad-fast from the drop of the green in hot laps to when the checkered flag flew at the end of the night.
The favorite heading into the night’s racing had to be the “King of the All Stars” Dale Blaney, who had won in each of his last 7 visits to the speedway. 33 other drivers vied to unseat him atop his Atomic Speedway throne.
The no. 22 machine piloted by Cole Duncan paced the field to green for the 40 lap finale with National Sprint Car HoF inductee Danny Smith alongside. Duncan took command heading into the first turn and held the point position as he crossed under the flagstand to complete lap one followed by 4th starting Caleb Armstrong, Danny Smith, Cap Henry and Sheldon Haudenschild.
The first race stoppage came with 2 laps complete as the familiar no. 56 of Ryan Myers came to a stop on the top of turn 3. The field returned to green after Myers rejoined the field but it was short lived. Only one more lap would be completed before the 2nd place car of Caleb Armstrong, who had set quick time on the night, got upside down in turns 1 & 2.
Fresh off the red flag, Cole Duncan led the field back to green with just 3 laps complete. By the time 7 laps were in the books, Sheldon Haudenschild had worked up from his 8th starting spot to claim the 2nd position and began his pursuit of the polesitter Duncan.
The field quickly got into traffic on the 8th circuit but it did not last long. Ryan Myers stopped to bring out his 2nd yellow of the evening, which reset the field. Only one more lap would be completed after the ensuing restart as R.J. Perkins would wind up on his lid when his no. A79 machine turned over in turn 4. Open red flag conditions followed with 9 laps scored; crews could add fuel only.
Cars got back to green with 9 laps completed following the 2nd red flag of the event and two laps later the 2nd place car of Sheldon Haudenschild found trouble when he also got upside down in the middle of turns 1 & 2. Haudenschild’s night came to a disappointing end. Also retiring to the pit area under red was Cap Henry, who was running 4th when the red flew.
Inheriting the runner-up spot was again Danny Smith. Restarting behind him with 11 laps complete were Dale Blaney, Jimmy Stinson, and Danny Holtgraver.
The final 29 laps were run caution free following the 3 red flags and 2 cautions that slowed the field previously. On the restart following the Haudenschild mishap, Jimmy Stinson found the top-side of the speedway as he moved from 4th to 2nd in one lap. Stinson then had his sights set on the leader but had nothing for him.
Duncan moved into lapped traffic once again on the 16th circuit and by lap 26 had opened up a straightaway advantage over Jimmy Stinson.
Through the middle portions of the race it was Danny Holtgraver who appeared to have the fastest car on the track. Holtgraver, who was piloting the no. 70 owned by Pete Grove for the first time, found a lot of speed through the middle of the speedway. After starting in 11th position, he had quietly moved up through the field.
Biding his time, Holtgraver finally worked into the 3rd position after getting under Dale Blaney who was having trouble getting by a lapped car. Dale Blaney would hold the 4th position for the remainder of the race with Randy Hannagan sitting a ways back in 5th.
|Caleb Armstrong was all smiles after
receiving his $500 Fast Time award
Dean Jacobs, the winner of the B-Main and 17th place starter, had moved up into the 6th position at one point but a flat RR retired him from the race with 7 laps to go.
Cole Duncan took the checkers on lap 40, finishing 3.862 seconds ahead of Jimmy Stinson. Danny Holtgraver, Dale Blaney, and Randy Hannagan rounded out the top 5.
Caleb Armstrong earned the $500 Fast Time award when he set quick time over the 34-car field with a lap time of 11.739 seconds. Winning the four heat races were Armstrong, Cole Duncan, Jimmy Stinson, and Danny Smith
|Dean Jacobs car following his nasty
flip during hot laps. His crew did make repairs
Six drivers got upside down on the evening. Dean Jacobs flipped off of turn 2 during hot laps. The crew was able to rebuild the car in time for his heat race. Chris Fraley and Bob Tucker brought out red flags in their respective heat races. Caleb Armstrong, R.J. Perkins, and Sheldon Haudenschid all flipped during the 40-lap finale.
The OVSCA 410 Sprints were also joined on the card by 44 Modified ($1,500 to win) and 30 Sport Mods ($1,000 to win).
Freedom 40 Finish [start]: 1. 22-Cole Duncan  ($4,000) 2. 6-Jimmy Stinson  3. 70-Danny Holtgraver  4. 1-Dale Blaney  5. 11N-Randy Hannagan  6. 4-Danny Smith  7. 9P-Parker Price-Miller  8. 60-Kory Crabtree  9. 22B-Ryan Broughton  10. 22D-Josh Davis  11. 8-Dave Smith  12. 40-Mark Imler  13. 30-Hud Horton  14. 97-Dean Jacobs  15. 35R-Ronnie Blair  16. 99-Todd Kane  17. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild  18. 21-Cap Henry  19. 59-Bryan Nuckles  20. A79-R.J. Perkins  21. 56-Ryan Myers  22. 7c-Caleb Armstrong 
Qualifying Results: 1.7c-Caleb Armstrong 2. 22-Cole Duncan 3. 1-Dale Blaney 4. 21H-Cap Henry 5. 11N-Randy Hannagan 6. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild 7. 6-Jimmy Stinson 8. 4-Danny Smith 9. 56-Ryan Myers 10. 84-Nathan Skaggs 11. 70-Danny Holtgraver 12. 99-Todd Kane 13. 60-Kory Crabtree 14. 9P-Parker Price-Miller 15. 35R-Ronnie Blair 16. 59-Bryan Nuckles 17. 21-Kody Swanson 18. 40-Mark Imler 19. 3F-Chris Fraley 20. c1-Clay Riney 21. 22D-Josh Davis 22. 22B-Ryan Broughton 23. 3FX-Dean Kester 24. 83x-Nate Reeser 25. 8-Dave Smith 26. 22R-Kevin Roberts 27. 9w-Lance Webb 28. 30-Hud Horton 29. 08-Brandon Conkle 30. 12-Nick Roberts 31. A79-R.J. Perkins 32. 45-Bob Tucker NT. 7A-Dave Dickson NT. 97-Dean Jacobs
Heat One: 1. 7c-Caleb Armstrong 2. 11N-Randy Hannagan 3. 56-Ryan Myers 4. 60-Kory Crabtree 5. 8-Dave Smith 6. 22D-Josh Davis 7. 08-Brandon Conkle 8. 21-Kody Swanson DNS. 7A-Dave Dickson
Heat Two: 1. 22-Cole Duncan 2. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild 3. 9P-Parker Price-Miller 4. 22B-Ryan Broughton 5. 97-Dean Jacobs 6. 40-Mark Imler 7. 84-Nathan Skaggs 8. 12-Nick Roberts 9. 22R-Kevin Roberts
Heat Three: 1. 6-Jimmy Stinson 2. 1-Dale Blaney 3. 70-Danny Holtgraver 4. 35R-Ronnie Blair 5. A79-R.J. Perkins 6. 3FX-Dean Kester 7. 3F-Chris Fraley 8. 9w-Lance Webb
Heat Four: 1. 4-Danny Smith 2. 21H-Cap Henry 3. 99-Todd Kane 4. 59-Bryan Nuckles 5. 30-Hud Horton 6. 83x-Nate Reeser 7. c1-Clay Riney 8. Bob Tucker