Damon Paul Wins the Terry Sprague Memorial at Southern Illinois Raceway
PC: 357Studios/357's World of Dirt
Marion, Ill (9/12/20) Damon Paul is your 13th Annual Terry Sprague Memorial winner at Southern Illinois Raceway! The nineteen-year-old from Stony Point, New York worked the bottom to perfection all night long to cap off one crazy night.
The night started out good moving through hot laps and heat races quickly. Then the rain came. There was just enough time to get the big wheel dash in to decide the line up for the dash to set the top 6 for the feature.
The rain was steady, but not hard. Just enough to make the rubbered down track look like glass. The SIR track crew got to work tearing and cutting it up as soon as the rain ceased. They got her packed in and ready to go. The track was completely different before the rain, from slick to super tacky.
For the qualifiers and dash, the bottom was the place to go with a cushion starting to take hold just in time for the Last Chance race. Moving on from the LCQ to the Show would be Rodney Stealy, Brandon Carey, Jaxon Bishop, Matt Carr, Joe B Miller, and Brenden Bright.
Starting on the pole for the feature was former SIR track champion, Aiden Purdue. The top 4 of Purdue, night 1 winner Brian Carber, Paul, and Layden Pearson separated themselves early from the rest of the pack until the first caution on lap 4.
Chris Andrew, who had been running fourth, got turned around in turns three and four near lap 10. He had been battling hard with Scotty Milan for the spot. On the restart Emerson Axsom had trouble getting going, this caused Pearson to check up. When he did so Scott Anderson got into his left rear causing it to flat. Pearson went back to the pits to attempt to get it changed but ran out of time and his night was over.
From there Purdue would run the top, Carber would run a mix of top and bottom, while Paul was working the bottom. Paul battled with Carber for second while Purdue pulled away to lead at the halfway point. Before Aiden Purdue could get too far a cation came out just two laps past halfway allowing everyone to regroup.
Damon Paul got a great restart and pulled alongside Purdue heading down into turn one. Paul went low and Purdue went high. Coming out of turn two the two were side by side heading into three. Purdue was able to lead the next three laps but he and Paul would be side by side down the backstretch each time heading down in to turn three.
Paul made his move throwing a slider on Purdue in three and four, it was executed perfectly. It took Purdue's momentum off the top away and Damon Paul was the new leader going down the front stretch. Purdue was resilient and did not let Paul away easy. Applying pressure until a caution came out.
Damon would end up running away to the win, using the bottom in turns one and two and the middle in three and four. Brian Carber ended up second, defending champ Frank Flud third, Aiden Purdue fell back to fourth, and Joe B Miller earns the Hard Charge after gaining 18 spots to finished 5th.
Paul was more hyped up for this win than any driver I have seen this year and he had this to say about the win. "It's crazy, the last time we were here, we didn't even make the show. That was about three years ago and it feels awesome to come back here and to completely win it. It is an unreal feeling for sure."
Damon usually runs all over Pennsylvania at Action Track USA, Greenwood Valley, and Jersey at Bridgeport Speedway. He says "It's nothing like this, there is no big cushion and it's all right around the bottom for the most part. It's awesome to be able to come out here and run the bottom and not have to bang the cushion to be able to win it."
Being more adept to flatter tracks, Damon was somewhat prepared for a high banked track having run at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway before. "It is definitely the closest thing we have to the track here, it is actually similar to this. It's a little bit longer and more narrow corners. We ran there a couple weeks ago and it definitely got us close to what we needed to do to be fast here."
1. (144) Damon Paul , 2. (41C) Brian Carber , 3. (81) Frank Flud , 4. (37) Aiden Purdue , 5. (51B) Joe B Miller , 6. (2G) Brandon Rose , 7. (39) Russ Disinger , 8. (12) Trey Robb , 9. (17Z) Zach Pence , 10. (5) Gavan Boschele , 11. (20R) Brendan Bright , 12. (40) Rodney Stealy , 13. (97) Scotty Milan , 14. (11T) Trey Marcham , 15. (45) Scott Anderson , 16. (55) Brandon Carey , 17. (2) Jaxon Bishop , 18. (12G) Gage Robb -DNF, 19. (77) Robbie Smith -DNF, 20. (1V) Johnny Boland -DNF, 21. (8) Chris Andrews -DNF, 22. (42) Emerson Axsom , 23. (11L) Laydon Pearson , 24. (93) Matt Carr -DNF
B-Main Results (Top 6 transfer to A-Main):
1. Rodney Stealy, 2. Brandon Carey, 3. Jaxon Bishop, 4. Matt Carr, 5. Joe B Milller, 6. Brenden Bright, 7. Chris Cobin, 8. Daniel Shaffer, 9. Jace Park, 10. Laine Hite, 11. Kenton Brewer, 12. Scott Britton, 13. Matthew Howard, 14. Matt Veatch-DNF, 15. Bobby Elliot-DNF, 16. Austin Schaeffer-DNF, 17. Zac Taylor-DNF, 18. Camden Winter-DNF
Dash Results (Set Top 6 for A-Main):
1. Aiden Purdue, 2. Daom Paul, 3. Brian Carber, 4. Laydon Pearson, 5. Chris Andrew, 6. Zach Pence