latemodelamerica.com - LaSalle Speedway - LaSalle
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

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LaSalle Speedway - LaSalle

Aug. 28:  With 25 laps ahead, no one could have foreseen Lake Knutti flipping his ride before a lap could be scored. Luckily the driver exited the car on his own.

Once the green flag was hanging, Mike Provenzano was in charge with Bret Sievert in second over current champion Lil’ John Provenzano. After a restart of lap 4, a three wide battle for the lead between the three ended when Bell took the low line and started challenging Lil’ John, who was in second. 

Rich Bell took over the point during lap nine with Lil’ John now in second. Mike Provenzano fell back to third. Bell’s high run was fast and furious until he moved down in front of Lil’ John, who was still charging hard on the bottom on lap 14. The front runners tangled, with Lil’ John ending the powerful run in a spin. After the restart, Bell moved his machine back to the high line on the point with Mike Provenzano second, Sievert third and Mike Glynn running fourth as high on the track as he could run.

Early in the evening, Scott Schmitt took on the exhausting task of changing his engine in the pit area. Completing the job just as the feature cars were rolling around to take the green. His efforts paid off as he charged his power plant up the pack for a top six run.

Just after the flagman signaled one lap to go, Mike Provenzano hit the gas even harder in his lower line run. As he and Bell headed off the turn four corner, it was Bell ahead but by the time the duo crossed the finish line Mike Provenzano beat him by a nose.

Bell took home the runner up finish over Sievert, Glynn, and Jamie McHugh. ~ Betty Glynn

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Aug. 14: Saturday night at La Salle Speedway, the temps were sizzling and the racing was even hotter before John Provenzano raced to the win in the Late Model final. The UMP Late Model division championship was up for grabs between three very talented drivers – it was obvious early that it would be a hard fought battle to the finish line.

The story could have been ripped from a Hollywood script as the heated action was so well played it seemed more created than reality. Prior to the evening's first event, Provenzano and his son Mike were tied for the points championship, with both holding two season victories to earn 446 points. Rich Bell, who scored three wins, was 11 points behind the pair.

Bell showed up with his program ready for action. He kicked off the night by closing the gap a little with the second fastest lap to collect two points and than won the fast heat for an additional ten points. 

Just after qualifying, "Lil’" John was already sweating the events and their outcome. “I qualified so bad I think it’s over,” he said before the heat contest.

Something changed after strapping on his helmet, however. If the 40-year veteran seemed out of sorts prior to the race, he was not quite ready to go down without a fight. The soon-to-be retiree quickly filed in behind his son, while Bell and Bret Sievert held the lead from the front row. During the final lap, the Provenzano pair made contact with the father holding on tight to grab third behind winner Bell and Sievert. Keith Piano was fourth.

With both heat races in, the stage was set. John was now a mere five points ahead of Bell, who was posted at the top of the main event grid next to Sievert. The points leader was on the inside of row two with Piano as his partner. Mike Provenzano took his spot on the third row with Jason Jaggers.

During several attempts of scoring more than one lap, John charged his way into second around Sievert, but without a lap scored he was working hard and getting nowhere.

“The third time I passed him (Bret Sievert) was the hardest,” he explained later. Sievert went higher on the track in second while Lil’ John chose a lower groove. By the third circuit, Sievert was off his pace, falling back a few spots.

Bell started to pull away and distance himself using lapped traffic, but by lap 14, John had showed his veteran skills and positioned himself on the tail of the leader. On the the next two laps, the two were side by side.

“I knew I needed to run within two spots of Bell,” John said. “I had no idea I would win this race, because earlier my car was terrible. I put the three wheel brakes on and actually had to slow to go faster. I decided I was either going to be a hero or a zero at the end.”

With three laps remaining, there was one amazing battle underway at the front. John was on the point, with his son on his back bumper running in nearly the same groove, while Bell moved to the high side. On the last turn of the last circuit, Bell was flying high in an attempt to steal John’s thunder away on the outside. Bell rammed hard into the outside of the leader just before the finish line and never let off the gas. As the pair crossed the finish line smoke was flying and sheet metal bending as they flew under the flag stand. Bell stayed heavy on the gas and the duo finally came to a stop joined together after the turn one corner.

Nothing could change the fact that the old man schooled the kids on Saturday en route to his final La Salle Speedway track title. Bell’s ride crossed the line as the runner up ahead of Mike, Piano, amd Jason Jaggers, ~ Betty Glynn

Aug. 14 Finish: 1) John Provenzano,2) Rich Bell, 3) Mike Provenzano, 4) Keith Piano, 5) Jason Jaggers, 6) Mike Glynn, 7) Jon Small, 8) Jeff Small, 9) Mark Larson, 10) Gary Hunt, 11) Bobby Morgan, Jr., 12) Randy Manos, 13) Todd Alexander, 14) Terry Knutti.

Aug. 7: 1) Bret Sievert, 2) Ryan Dauber, 3) Mike Provenzano, 4) John Provenzano, 5) Rich Bell.

July 31: 1) Rich Bell, 2) Bret Sievert, 3) Ryan Dauber, 4) Mike Provenzano, 5) Scott Schmitt


July 31st LaSalle Speedway Late Model winner Rich Bell.

(Dan Simpson)



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 17: 1) Rich Bell, 2) Mike Provenzano, 3) John Provenzano, 4) Jason Jaggers, 5) Keith Piano

July 10: Sprint car special - No Late Models.

July 3:  1) John Provenzano, 2) Mike Provenzano, 3) Rich Bell, 4) Scott Schmitt, 5) Keith Piano

June 26: 1. Rich Bell, 2. Bret Sievert, 3. Mike Provenzano, 4. John Provenzano, 5. Mike Glynn.

Rich Bell and #5 Brett Sievert finished one-two at LaSalle Speedway ojn the June 26th.

(Dan Simpson)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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