AMS Opener Goes to Harrison


Mike Harrison won the American Modified Series opener at Fayette County Speedway. (Tyson Graves Photo)

June 12, 2020 at Fayette County Speedway ($2,000 to win)


(Recap By Tyson Graves)


Friday night the long awaited American Modified Series season opener took place at Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown, Illinois. After the start of the season was delayed by nearly two months by COVID-19, many drivers were itching to get after it on the Illinois bullring. 44 competitors signed in Friday evening with their eyes on the $2,000 to win top prize. The event drew in cars from seven different state across the Midwest.


The night was kicked off with group qualifying that saw Josh Harris quickest in group A and overall with a lap of 14.406 seconds. Group B fast time went to Highland, Illinois driver Mike Harrison with a lap of 14.917 seconds. The SPEC Race Engines qualifying set the stage for four heat races that would begin to set the field for the nights feature event.


Josh Harris was the overall fast qualifier Friday night. (Tyson Graves Photo)

In heat race one the caution flew on the start for the 43 of Larry Anderson and forced a complete restart. Josh Harris, the driver dubbed "The Kentuckian," drove off into the Illinois sunset as he picked up the heat win. Youngster Hunt Gossum came home in the second transfer spot followed by Rick Conoyer. The battle in the closing laps was for the final transfer spot. Michael Bolyard was able to hold on at the line, sending a former AMS Champion Trent Young to a B-Main.


Heat race number two was a dandy from the start. Early on it was veteran modified ace Jeff Leka battling with the #K19 of Will Krup. Krup was able to get away from Leka on lap three before the caution flew for the spinning #66 of Tyler Blankenship from nearby St. Elmo, Illinois. On the restart the yellow flew once more for #70 of Brian Bielong. Will Krup led the final seven laps in route to the heat race win. Chris Smith and Jeff Leka finished second and third. The final transfer spot went to Brian Bielong who rallied after his lap three spin.


The third heat race was all Mike Harrison. After starting on the pole he drove away from the field. In the closing laps Summerfield, Illinois driver Rodney Standerfer closed in on the back bumper of Harrison but it was too late as the top four ran single file in the bottom groove. Steven Meyer Jr and Danny Schwartz picked up the other transfer spots into the feature event.


The final heat race of the night seemed like a marathon as it was a race of survival plagued by several cautions. Early on the #88 of Rob Lee got sideways in turn one and collected Nathan Lynch and Phil Bible. On the restart Tyler Nicely, the defending AMS champion took the point, but a caution for the spinning car of Ed Roley led to another complete restart. Tyler resumed the lead until debris brought out the caution as the battle for the transfer spots was like a hornets nest with drivers three and four wide. Nicely drove away in the final four laps for the win. Levi Kissinger was runner up and Willy Myers third. The final transfer spot went to local Wade Wenthe from nearby Effingham, Illinois.


With a stout field of cars, many top names were left to battle it out in a pair of B-Mains to fill the final spots for the $2,000 to win show. In B-Main one the caution flew before we even got started as Mark Cole got sideways in turn two. Trent Young took the race lead early as the battle for second and final transfer spot was highly contested throughout this one. Brian Shaw was battling early for that spot before contact with another car made him pull off. Young built a commanding lead running the top portion of the speedway. Don Grimm came away with the final transfer into the feature event.


B-Main number two would set the final two transfers into the main event. On the opening lap they were three wide off four for the lead. The 24S of Jacob Steinkoenig took the lead. Caution flew on lap five as Christopher Cole lost his driveshaft and came to a stop. On the restart Ryan Eilers made his presence known as he battled Steinkoenig for the lead. Ryan would fall short as he held off a charging Ed Roley in the final corner to make the feature event.


The field was set for the $2,000 to win season opener. Two provisional starts were awarded to fill the remainder of the field. Brain Shaw from Robinson, Illinois received the first. The second went to Evansville, Indiana driver Mark Cole. In the redraw Mike Harrison drew the one to start on the pole and Will Krup got the outside pole. Josh Harris and Tyler Nicely would start third and fourth respectively.


Tyler Nicely and Mike Harrison battle for the lead. (Tyson Graves Photo)

All of the nights action set the stage for the 30 lap main event that would award the winner a $2,000 payday. Will Krup muscled to the lead on the first lap. Krup and Harrison battled hard for the first four laps before Harrison was able to drive by on the outside and take over the top spot. Josh Harris continued steady in the third spot early as Tyler Nicely ran fourth. On lap seven the battle heated up between Nicely and Harris with Harris continuing to hold off Nicely.


On lap 12 Josh Harris was able to run down Will Krup to muscle away the runner up spot. But on lap 13 the caution flew for Rick Conoyer going around in turn two. On the restart we seen a surge from the 25 of Tyler Nicely. Harrison now had his hands full as the two battle side by side. On lap 15 the yellow flew once again as Trent Young slowed on the speedway. On the restart Nicely took over the top spot from Mike Harrison. Harrison followed Nicely closely looking for a way around as Tyler had moved up and taken the high side line away from him.


At lap 20 Hunt Gossum showed himself to be a threat as he took over third with the leaders in sight. On lap 21 Mike Harrison was able to take the lead back after Nicely went back to the bottom. By lap 25 Harrison had a half a straightaway lead and didn't look back. He maneuvered lap traffic in the final couple laps to pick up his first win of the 2020 season. Defending series champion Tyler Nicely came home second with 15 year old Hunt Gossum rounding out the podium.


Series announcer Barry Barnes interviews Mike Harrison in victory lane. (Tyson Graves Photo)

The Summit Racing Equipment American Modified Series continues its weekend Saturday night at St. Francois County Raceway in Farmington, Missouri. Hot laps are scheduled for 6pm. Grandstand admission is $10. Stay up to date with all the series happenings at their website www.americanmodifiedseries.com.


A Feature

1 3 Mike Harrison Highland, IL 24H

2 4 Tyler Nicely Owensboro, KY 25

3 5 Hunt Gossum Mayfield, KY 99G

4 1 Josh Harris Utica, KY 22H

5 2 Will Krup Mt. Carmel, IL K19

6 8 Levi Kissinger Mt. Vernon, IN 8K

7 13 Michael Bolyard Farina, IL 28

8 6 Chris Smith Highland, IL 15

9 10 Jeff Leka Buffalo, IL 3L

10 15 Danny Schwartz Ashmore, IL 21D

11 18 Jacob Steinkoenig Highland, IL 24S

12 17 Trent Young Hopkinsville, IL 176

13 7 Rodney Standerfer Summerfield, IL 28S

14 11 Steve Meyer Jr Stanton, IL 1A

15 16 Wade Wenthe Effingham, IL 22

16 21 Brian Shaw Robinson, IL 1S

17 9 Rick Conoyer Wentzville, MO 14C

18 19 Don Grimm Edwardsville, IL 11

19 22 Mark Cole Evansville, IN 81

20 12 Willy Myers Collinsville, IL 21M

21 20 Ryan Eilers Highland, IL 3

22 14 Brian Bielong Summerfield, IL 70


B Feature 1

1 1 Trent Young Hopkinsville, IL 176

2 2 Don Grimm Edwardsville, IL 11

3 8 Brian Diveley Springfield, IL 11D

4 7 Darren Wireman Wheatfield, IN 82

5 9 Zac Harris Clarksville, TN 98

6 11 Mark Cole Evansville, IN 81

7 6 Luke Hubbell Hastings, MI 23

8 5 Larry Anderson Clay City, IL 43A

9 13 Charles Day Yukon City, OK 75X

10 3 Brian Shaw Robinson, IL 1S

11 4 Tyler Blankenship St Elmo, IL 66

12 10 Zach Hoffman Troy, IL 1Z

13 12 Alex Reid Terre Haute, IN 40A

14 14 Jacob Rexing Brighton, IL 59R


B Feature 2

1 2 Jacob Steinkoenig Highland, IL 24S

2 1 Ryan Eilers Highland, IL 3

3 4 Ed Roley Mattoon, IL 95

4 3 Josh Sissom Cape Girardeau, MO 19S

5 6 Rob Lee Sorento, IL 88

6 5 John Clippinger Evansville, IN 16C

7 11 James Walters 34W

8 8 Cole Hussong Mattoon, IL 98C

9 9 Keith Harre 27

10 12 Nathan Lynch Bourbonnias, IL 14N

11 14 Phil Bible 51

12 7 Joey Lee Farina, IL 662

13 13 Troy Carter Salem, IL 6

14 10 Christopher Cole Evansville, IN 81C


Heat 1

1 1 Josh Harris Utica, KY 22H

2 2 Hunt Gossum Mayfield, KY 99G

3 3 Rick Conoyer Wentzville, MO 14C

4 4 Michael Bolyard Farina, IL 28

5 5 Trent Young Hopkinsville, IL 176

6 6 Brian Shaw Robinson, IL 1S

7 7 Larry Anderson Clay City, IL 43A

8 9 Darren Wireman Wheatfield, IN 82

9 8 Zac Harris Clarksville, TN 98

10 11 Mark Cole Evansville, IN 81

11 10 Charles Day Yukon City, OK 75X


Heat 2

1 3 Will Krup Mt. Carmel, IL K19

2 7 Chris Smith Highland, IL 15

3 1 Jeff Leka Buffalo, IL 3L

4 6 Brian Bielong Summerfield, IL 70

5 2 Don Grimm Edwardsville, IL 11

6 8 Tyler Blankenship St Elmo, IL 66

7 4 Luke Hubbell Hastings, MI 23

8 9 Brian Diveley Springfield, IL 11D

9 5 Zach Hoffman Troy, IL 1Z

10 10 Alex Reid Terre Haute, IN 40A

11 11 Jacob Rexing Brighton, IL 59R


Heat 3

1 1 Mike Harrison Highland, IL 24H

2 2 Rodney Standerfer Summerfield, IL 28S

3 3 Steve Meyer Jr Stanton, IL 1A

4 4 Danny Schwartz Ashmore, IL 21D

5 5 Ryan Eilers Highland, IL 3

6 7 Josh Sissom Cape Girardeau, MO 19S

7 6 John Clippinger Evansville, IN 16C

8 9 Joey Lee Farina, IL 662

9 11 Keith Harre 27

10 8 James Walters 34W

11 10 Troy Carter Salem, IL 6


Heat 4

1 1 Tyler Nicely Owensboro, KY 25

2 2 Levi Kissinger Mt. Vernon, IN 8K

3 3 Willy Myers Collinsville, IL 21M

4 6 Wade Wenthe Effingham, IL 22

5 4 Jacob Steinkoenig Highland, IL 24S

6 5 Ed Roley Mattoon, IL 95

7 7 Rob Lee Sorento, IL 88

8 8 Cole Hussong Mattoon, IL 98C

9 9 Christopher Cole Evansville, IN 81C

10 11 Nathan Lynch Bourbonnias, IL 14N

11 10 Phil Bible 51


Qualifying 1

1 1 Josh Harris Utica, KY 22H 14.406

2 19 Jeff Leka Buffalo, IL 3L 14.569

3 21 Hunt Gossum Mayfield, KY 99G 14.771

4 4 Don Grimm Edwardsville, IL 11 14.828

5 11 Rick Conoyer Wentzville, MO 14C 14.831

6 17 Will Krup Mt. Carmel, IL K19 14.856

7 2 Michael Bolyard Farina, IL 28 14.925

8 5 Luke Hubbell Hastings, MI 23 14.974

9 8 Trent Young Hopkinsville, IL 176 14.981

10 6 Zach Hoffman Troy, IL 1Z 15.028

11 9 Brian Shaw Robinson, IL 1S 15.092

12 14 Brian Bielong Summerfield, IL 70 15.128

13 13 Larry Anderson Clay City, IL 43A 15.188

14 12 Chris Smith Highland, IL 15 15.196

15 3 Zac Harris Clarksville, TN 98 15.210

16 16 Darren Wireman Wheatfield, IN 82 15.220

17 10 Tyler Blankenship St Elmo, IL 66 15.315

18 20 Brian Diveley Springfield, IL 11D 15.726

19 22 Charles Day Yukon City, OK 75X 15.903

20 15 Alex Reid Terre Haute, IN 40A 15.978

21 7 Mark Cole Evansville, IN 81 16.271


Qualifying 2

1 15 Mike Harrison Highland, IL 24H 14.917

2 18 Tyler Nicely Owensboro, KY 25 14.948

3 2 Rodney Standerfer Summerfield, IL 28S 14.981

4 21 Levi Kissinger Mt. Vernon, IN 8K 15.093

5 14 Steve Meyer Jr Stanton, IL 1A 15.146

6 12 Willy Myers Collinsville, IL 21M 15.216

7 10 Danny Schwartz Ashmore, IL 21D 15.261

8 1 Jacob Steinkoenig Highland, IL 24S 15.270

9 5 Ryan Eilers Highland, IL 3 15.305

10 6 Ed Roley Mattoon, IL 95 15.335

11 11 John Clippinger Evansville, IN 16C 15.376

12 7 Wade Wenthe Effingham, IL 22 15.444

13 3 Josh Sissom Cape Girardeau, MO 19S 15.533

14 19 Rob Lee Sorento, IL 88 15.642

15 8 James Walters 34W 15.833

16 4 Cole Hussong Mattoon, IL 98C 15.947

17 16 Joey Lee Farina, IL 662 16.139

18 17 Christopher Cole Evansville, IN 81C 16.427

19 20 Troy Carter Salem, IL 6 16.463

20 9 Phil Bible 51 16.794

21 22 Keith Harre 27 18.742

22 13 Nathan Lynch Bourbonnias, IL 14N 18.867


Contingency Award Winners

SPEC Race Engines (Overall Fast Qualifier) $100 Certificate: Josh Harris

HYPERCOILS (Heat Race #1 Winner) (1) 5" Spring Certificate: Josh Harris

FOX SHOX (Heat Race #2 Winner) $100 Certificate: Will Krup

FAST SHAFTS (Heat Race #3 Winner) $75 Certificate: Mike Harrison

AERO WHEEL (Heat Race #4 Winner) $80 Certificarte: Tyler Nicely

VP Racing Fuels (B-Main #1 1st Non-Transfer) (5) Gal of VP Fuel: Brian Diveley

VP Racing Fuels (B-Main #2 1st Non-Transfer) (5) Gal of VP Fuel: Ed Roley

PEM Racing (4th Place Finish) Quick Change Gear Set: Josh Harris

MAXIMA RACING OILS (Tuff 5th Place Finish) Care Package: Will Krup

HOOKER HARNESS (Safe 6th Place Finish) $75 Certificate: Levi Kissinger

WILWOOD DISC BRAKES(Lucky 7th Place Finish) $50 Certificate: Michael Bolyard

VP RACING FUELS (Hard Luck) VP Fuel Jug: Rick Conoyer

ALLSTAR PERFORMANCE (Hard Charger) $100 Certificate: Jacob Steinkoenig

WILES DRIVESHAFTS (Longest Tow for Event) $100 Certificate: Charles Day


(Results via My Race Pass)

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