Rice holds off Drown to win Hilltop Late Model feature

Rice holds off Drown to win Hilltop Late Model feature
Diane Bemiller

Wooster drivers Doug Drown (12) and Larry Bellman (59) race side by side into turn three during the 50-lap Ironman Series late model feature event at Hilltop Speedway on July 7. Drown went on to finish second.

                        

The Ironman Late Model Series made its initial appearance at Hilltop Speedway in Millersburg on Friday, July 7, and fans witnessed a 50-lap feature event.

Todd Brennan and Josh Rice brought the 22-car starting field to the green flag. Brennan quickly grabbed the lead from his outside pole starting position and developed a healthy lead well beyond the halfway point. On a restart Josh Rice and Drake Troutman, driving the No. 7 car, began putting pressure on Brennam for the lead. In only a few laps, Rice power slid his way into the lead but still had Troutman and Wooster driver Doug Drown quickly gaining ground on him.

With one lap to go, Drown was pulled alongside Rice but couldn’t make his way into the top running spot. Rice was awarded the feature win, together with a $5,000 payday. Drown finished in the runner-up spot while Ryan Missler, Cody Scott and Ryan Markham rounded out the top five finishers.

In Mod Lite feature action, veteran driver Jimmy Smith, driving the familiar black and white No. 280 mod lite machine, developed a sizeable lead shortly after taking the green. Smith looked to be on his way to another victory when he and second-place runner Clint Snyder collided in turn two in the closing laps of the race, ending the night for both drivers. On the restart it was Jake Bowman with the lead, and a short two laps later, Bowman parked his No. 17 Mod Lite in victory circle. Carson Hubbard finished second, ahead of John Large, Mike Amass and Nick Large.

As the 270 Micro Sprint feature got underway, Todd Reusser grabbed an early lead with Brian Borawitz in pursuit. Reusser and Borawitz raced bumper to bumper most of the race, but Borawitz couldn’t get up the momentum to overtake Reusser for the lead. With the checked flag in the air, Reusser chalked up another feature win and thanked his family for their support in helping him achieve another victory. Following him across the finish line were Borawitz, Jace Pettigrew and Jaxen Salisbury.

The Mini Stock feature saw Colton St. John and Dakota Graciani in the front row for the final feature of the evening. St. John got the edge on Graciani by jumping into the lead at the drop of the green. A lot of racing action took place behind St. John as cars were racing the high and low track grooves, racing for position, lap after lap.

Midway through the feature, St. John began feeling the heat from Billy Dawson, Kenny Long and John Wheeler, all of whom had their eyes set on a feature victory. But in the end, it was St. John rolling to another victory at Hilltop. Dawson, Long, Wheeler and Graciani finished out the top five in the Mini Stock division.


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