Casebolt Dominates Thrilling Bilstein 40 AELMT Event at Attica

May 13, 2018

Attica, OH (Friday, May 11, 2018) – For the second time in as many weeks, the cars and stars of the American Ethanol Late Model Tour (AELMT) made a first-time trip to one of the premier tracks in the Great Lakes Region. Nearly 50 cars made the commitment to the Attica Raceway Park in Attica, OH. for the inaugural Bilstein 40 lap main event Friday night. With that many cars on the property, some of the area’s biggest names in Late Model Racing, had an exceptionally difficult night.

 

Things got interesting early for the AELMT as a number of drivers struggled to find a handle on their cars during the early stages of hot laps and qualifying. A steep, wet, and heavy berm of dirt or “cushion” developed around the third-mile oval that was causing drivers to spin out, go off track, and even sent some cars onto two wheels and caused damage to others. Officials with the Attica Raceway Park knew that the current track conditions were not conducive to good side-by-side racing that fans know and love and made the decision to re-work the race track to take away the race tracks “fat lip”.

 

Drivers were much more comfortable during the Motul Oil and Lubricants qualifying session, coming within four tenths of a second from the Attica Raceway Park track record. Of the 48 drivers to qualify, Brandon Thirlby from Travers City, MI. Claimed the $100 Motul Oil and Lubricants fast qualifier award, turning a 14.565 lap time. Friday’s effort gives Thirlby 9 fast time awards with the AELMT, the most all time.

 

Heat Race and Last Chance Qualifier action was fierce all night as only the top three transferred to the main event from the heat races with the top two making the ever important redraw. From there, three Last Chance Qualifier races were held to determine the field for the main event with only the top two locking themselves in. Several notable AELMT drivers had to race their way in through the Last Chance Qualifiers such as Eric Spangler, Ryan VanderVeen, Hillard Miller, and Jason Playter, Jr.

 

From there the field was set for the Bilstein 40. A quick turnaround from the Last Chance Qualifiers made things difficult for those starting at the back. None of that, however, mattered for the pole sitter of the main event, Steve Casebolt. Casebolt, who had one career win with the AELMT coming into the event, lead flag-to-flag with minor incident. He saw a mid-race challenge from former Attica Raceway Park track champion Doug Drown when Casebolt got caught up in lap traffic. A timely caution on lap 24 for contact between Greg Goke and VanderVeen would help Casebolt separate himself again from Drown. On lap 27, the whole night changed for Drown as he and Ryan Markham made contact in the third turn; Drown was charged as the caution car and sent to the tail along with Markham. With just 13 laps to go, the stage was set for racing action to intensify, and the expectation was met.

 

At the time of the restart, major names with the AELMT were barely inside the top ten, such as Dona Marcoullier, Rusty Schlenk, Travis Stemler and more. That all changed quickly as Marcoullier, Schlenk and Devin Shields went four consecutive laps, nearly three wide the entire time and on a charge to the front. Marcoullier stalled out around sixth place but defending AELMT and Attica Raceway Park feature winner Rusty Schlenk wasn’t through. With a handful of laps left in the Bilstein 40, Schlenk encountered a counter attack from Brandon Thirlby. Inside of 10 laps to go, Thirlby and Schlenk made contact multiple times through the turns, and things finally boiled over on the front-straight-away when the two slammed doors and nearly wrecked out of the race. Schlenk would finish his charge and sneak by Logan Arntz at the finish for third spot, while Thirlby fell to fifth. Casebolt continued his dominating performance and went on to win the Bilstein 40.

 

 

 

“He races hard, [but] I’m not sure what I did to p*ss him off,” said Thirlby. “He almost ended the night for both of us racing for 5th. I guess he has one coming.”

 

Schlenk shared a differing view during his post-race interview.

 

“It wasn’t really a battle,” said Schlenk. “It was Thirlby trying to put me in the wall every lap.” He went on to say, “We usually race each other really clean but he’ll learn to give me some room next time.”

 

During the AELMT Driver Meeting at Attica Raceway Park, it was announced that Saturday’s action at Fremont Speedway was cancelled due to the nearly 100 percent chance of rain throughout the day.

 

With that, the next event for the AELMT will be Friday, May 25th at I-96 Speedway and Events Center in Lake Odessa, MI. That is another scheduled double header for the AELMT, as the cars and stars will travel to Thunderbird Raceway on Saturday, May 26th.

 

For more on the AELMT, log onto aelmt.com, or find them on social media including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

Stay up to date with MBM by “Liking” and following us on Facebook. Listen to all the MBM broadcasts including Horsepower Happenings and Race Day replays on-demand on SoundCloud.

 

Complete Results:

Allstar Performance Heat Race 1:

  1. C9 – Steve Casebolt

  2. 21A – Logan Arntz

  3. 79 – Nick Kurtz

  4. 4G – Kody Evans

  5. 1 – Greg Gokey

  6. 8 – Rob AnderZack

  7. 44 – Matt Shipley

  8. 10 – Brett Miller

  9. 77 – Steve Kester

  10. 30 – Nate Potts

 

Bilstein Shock Absorbers Heat Race 2:

  1. 12 – Doug Drown

  2. 36 – Matt Irey

  3. 51 – Devin Shields

  4. 87M – David Mielke

  5. RH21 – Gregg Haskell

  6. 23V – Ryan VanderVeen

  7. 23H – Ken Hahn

  8. 7 – Kevin Reeve

  9. 42 – Chad Finley

 

YellowHose.com Heat Race 3:

  1. 15 – Jon Henry

  2. 6M – Dona Marcoullier

  3. 5M – Ryan Markham

  4. 15B – Mike Bores

  5. 20 – Chad White

  6. 79M – Cory Maurice

  7. 4T – Andrew Terrill

  8. 7M – Brad Mann

  9. 50V – Ryan Missler

 

Quarter Master Heat Race 4:

  1. 3 – Matt Miller

  2. X3 – Dan Wallace

  3. 13 – JR Hotovy

  4. 18R – Chris Ross

  5. 23W – Brad Wade

  6. 69 – Jeff Warnick

  7. 4 – Jason Playter, Jr.

  8. 185 – DJ Miller

  9. 17X – Dustin Keegan

 

Carbon Green BioEnergy Heat 5:

  1. 2 – Travis Stemler

  2. M14 – Brandon Thirlby

  3. CJ1 – Rusty Schlenk

  4. 21B – Rich Bell

  5. 27 – Eric Spangler

  6. 39 – Hillard Miller

  7. 11 – Rachel Carpenter

  8. 16 – Steve Sabo

  9. 69R – Doug Baird

 

Dupont Last Chance Qualifier 1:

  1. 27 – Eric Spangler

  2. 4G – Kody Evans

  3. 18R – Chris Ross

  4. 79M – Cory Maurice

  5. RH21 – Gregg Haskell

  6. 7 – Kevin Reeve

  7. 30 – Nate Potts

  8. 4 – Jason Playter, Jr.

  9. 44 – Matt Shipley

  10. 16 – Steve Sabo

 

Nuvu Fuels Last Chance Qualifier 2:

  1. 87M – David Mielke

  2. 21B – Rich Bell

  3. 8 – Rob AnderZack

  4. 77 – Steve Kester

  5. 27H – Ken Hahn

  6. 7M – Brad Mann

  7. 11 – Rachel Carpenter

  8. 69 – Jeff Warnick

  9. 20 – Chad White

  10. 17X – Dustin Keegan

 

Michigan Corn Last Chance Qualifier 3:

  1. 15B – Mike Bores

  2. 1 – Greg Gokey

  3. 23V – Ryan VanderVeen (Champions Provisional)

  4. 185 – DJ Miller

  5. 10 – Brett Miller

  6. 23W – Brad Wade

  7. 4T – Andrew Terrill

  8. 39 – Hillard Miller

  9. 69R – Doug Baird

  10. P3 – Jeff Robertson

 

Belstein 40:

  1. C9 – Steve Casebolt

  2. 3 – Matt Miller

  3. CJ1 – Rusty Schlenk

  4. 21A – Logan Artz

  5. M14 – Brandon Tullihirlby

  6. 6M – Dona Marcoullier

  7. 12 – Doug Drown

  8. 51 – Devin Shields

  9. 2 – Travis Stemler

  10. 79 – Nick Kurtz

  11. 21B – Rich Bell

  12. 36 – Matt Irey

  13. 5M – Ryan Markham

  14. 1 – Greg Gokey

  15. 13 – JR Hotovy

  16. 87M – David Mielke

  17. X3 – Dan Wallace

  18. 4G – Kody Evans

  19. 23V – Ryan VanderVeen

  20. 15B – Mike Bores

  21. 27 – Eric Spangler

  22. 15 – Jon Henry

 

 

Photo Credit: American Ethanol Late Model Tour / Kevtron Media

 

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