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Daily Journal
     September 22, 2020      #74-266 KDJ
 
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Steven Brooks (5) races Brad DeYoung during the UMP Modifieds feature at Kankakee County Speedway on Friday. Brooks won the race and clinched the season points championship in the process.

Courtesy of Nonstop Action Photography

Three championships locked up at Kankakee County

Bill Yohnka
Special to the Daily Journal


Heading into the final chapter of the local racing season Friday, some of the championship stories are finished, but others still are saving plenty of drama for the final night of racing. The first three champions were crowned in an exciting night of competition at the Kankakee County Speedway on Friday, leaving a healthy balance of season-long points racing and other drivers going all out to end the season in victory lane next weekend.

Brooks secures UMP Modified title

Steven Brooks put a focus on racing locally as opposed to chasing bigger races on the road. While he had solid finishes early in the season in Kankakee, feature victories were elusive until late in the season. Brooks broke a victory drought with a win on Sept. 4 and followed it up Friday night with a feature win that secured the season points championship in Kankakee.

“Everybody knows Brooksie is gonna be on the bottom [of the track],” said Brooks of his own reputation in victory lane Friday night. “But I figured I’d give them a show, winning this one on the high side.”

Brooks secured the win by out-running pole-sitter Derek Losh, Ian Keller, Brad DeYoung and Bradley Jameson, who rounded out the top 5.

Hubbard wins Kankakee’s newest division

“The support from the Factory Stock division has been amazing,” said track promoter Tom Smith in Friday night’s drivers meeting.

The division was a new addition to the speedway on a limited basis last season, and with the shortened schedule this year, the division was added to the weekly schedule.

In appreciation for the big car counts, track officials planned double features that turned into triple features because of the 34 cars coming to race in the class. The cars were split into two groups for a pair of 15-lap features. The top-10 in each of those races earned a position in the night’s final event.

In the first feature, Brandon Shelhart held onto win, but Austen Hubbard showed he could come from the back of the field to challenge for the victory, finishing in second.

In the second feature, it was Wally Kerst who battled from the 10th starting position to take the win against early race leader Trevor Bitterling.

In the third Factory Stock feature to finish the night, Hubbard showed why he is the 2020 Kankakee Champion. Since RJ Akers made the jump to the more powerful UMP Stock Car ranks early in the season, the division has been dominated by Valparaiso native Hubbard.

Hubbard never looked back once he took the lead over Brandon Shelhart. The feature win secured Hubbard the championship.

Momper wins UMP Sport Compact race and championship

Jake Momper has made a name for himself by using every bit of high side real estate and momentum to earn victories. Friday night was a little different, as Momper hugged the bottom of the track to secure the win and the season points title against Matthew Balthozar.

UMP Pro Late Model chase stays tight

It will be a three-way race for the track championship Friday night, as point leader Torin Mettille, Kyle Cooper and Chase Osterhoff only are separated by 19 points.

On Friday, four of the top seven drivers in UMP Pro Late Model points nationally were in attendance in Kankakee. Torin Mettille, the current national and track point leader helped himself with a second-place finish to Logan Moody. While Mettille was having to settle for second, Chase Osterhoff was pushing his 130 car to the limit battling for the lead. In turns one and two, Osterhoff made the most daring move of the night by throwing his car between Mettille and Moody, creating a three-wide race for the lead down the backstretch.

Osterhoff was on the outside in turns 3 and 4 when he pushed it too hard and spun around. The mishap dropped Osterhoff to third in the points race, but all three front-runners have a legitimate shot at the championship going into Friday.

UMP Street Stock provides thrilling finish

Coming into the season, Matt Fabrizius, of Genoa, never had won a feature at Kankakee. When he won his first, he then went on to win five straight and claim the top spot in the UMP Stock Car points.

On Friday, Fabrizius came out on top in the best battle of the night. Last season’s track champion, Zachary Zuberbier, took to the high side of the track to race Fabrizius side by side lap after lap trading the lead a handful of times in the 15-lap event.

Zuberbier fell short in his drive for the win, but he received a big round of applause as the 4z machine pulled off the track after an exciting effort.

“I haven’t raced this hard all season,” said Fabrizius in victory lane. “That was fun.”

Schwartz pads UMP Pro Modified lead

Deece Schwartz returned to victory lane in the UMP Pro Modified ranks. The victory extended his point lead over track groomer and racer Dave Whittington. Schwartz holds a 51-point lead heading into the final night that would be difficult for Whittington to overcome without a serious issue for Schwartz.

Nuts and Bolts

The Kankakee Farmers Market had some interesting and noisy additions Saturday morning, as race cars were on display on Schuyler Avenue. The special event was in celebration of the end of the season at the speedway and was a fun opportunity for kids and adults to be introduced to the world of local auto racing.

Friday’s Championship Night at the Kankakee County Speedway will feature a substantially increased payday in each division. The Pro Late Models, Modifieds and Stock Cars all will race for $1,020 to win, and the Factory Stocks, Pro Modifieds and Sport Compacts will race for $520 to win. Grandstand admission will be $15 for championship night, with kids free with an adult.

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Logan Moody (162) holds off Torin Mettile (116) and Chase Osterhoff during the UMP Pro Late Models feature at Kankakee County Speedway on Friday. Moody won the race, and Mettile finished second. A late spin caused Osterhoff to finish 13th.

Courtesy of Nonstop Action Photography
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