UPIR: Dubord increases lead, wins twice

ESCANABA – Gary Dubord, Jr. of Escanaba continued his stranglehold on the top spot in the sportsman (650) microsprint point standings Saturday night by winning twice in the first Art Richer Memorial Races at the Upper Peninsula International Raceway.

Dubord, who led the field by 40 points coming into this weekend, copped the feature and second heat on the quarter-mile oval.

This marked the fifth straight feature victory for Dubord, who won 9-of-10 races overall this season.

“I knew I had to be patient,” Dubord said of a race consisting of at least four yellow (caution) flags. “I didn’t want to take a chance on wrecking. I actually like the cautions. That gives my engine a chance to cool down.”

In the feature, Dubord was followed by Dave Hosking of Bark River and Karen Degnan of Escanaba.

“We really appreciate the Richer family being here and supporting our track,” Dubord added.

Scott Degnan of Escanaba took the checkered flag in the 600 microsprint feature and second heat.

In the feature, he was followed by Jered Cech of Rhinelander, Wis. and Gregg Brayak of Wilson.

“This was a pretty good night for the Degnan family,” said Scott. “Karen took third (in the sportsman microsprint feature and second heat) and our son Drake (age 7) was racing against older kids and got fourth in the (junior microsprint) feature. This feels great because last time (on July 7) I hit the wall and totally wrecked the car. We were gone on a family vacation for a week, and really had to scramble to get parts. Racing is all about peaks and valleys. We had to completely rebuild the car, but it ran real good tonight.”

The track was dry prior to that race when rain moved into the area.

“I had to try to keep the car straight because the track was getting slick,” said Scott. “Although, it stayed in pretty good shape. I just had to be a little more patient.”

The 4/6 cylinder feature, which was scheduled to conclude the night’s festivities, was postponed due to the rain and rescheduled for Saturday.

Joe Johnson of Escanaba became a double-winner for the second straight time, taking the street stock feature and first heat.

“I couldn’t do this without my father-in-law (Ron Atkins of Escanaba),” said Johnson, who was eighth in the point standings earlier this month and since leapfrogged to third. “He provides all the funding, and I drive and work on the car.

“The track was a little tacky tonight. I just stayed high and waited things out.”

He was followed by Ron Jenshak of Escanaba and Greg Bruce of Gladstone.

A scary turn of events took place in the street stock feature when a car driven by Bill Ebben of Lakewood, Wis. was hit from behind and apparently caught fire under the hood.

Ebben, who bailed out of the vehicle, was examined by medical personnel at the scene and was okay.

Ty Springer of Eagle River, Wis. swept to victory in the junior microsprint heat and feature. He was followed by Logan Getzloff and Jesse Liss, both of Bark River in each race.

Matt Valiquette of Greeen Bay captured the IMCA modified feature, followed by Lonnie Dalgord of Escanaba and John Ostermann of Niagara, Wis.

The races drew 104 drivers. Feature winners received $100 apiece, with funding donated by the Art Richer family, Earl Possi Racing and Dean Bloniarz Equipment of Perronville.

Boys’ and girls’ bikes for prize drawings were provided by Wal-Mart.

Also included were four Milwaukee Vintage modified exhibition races, including two during the intermission.

Action resumes at the U.P. State Fairgrounds track Saturday at 6 with the first Luke Sanville and Ryan Harper Memorial Races, which will also be Bay Area Girl Scouts’ Race Like a Girl Night.