Boris Jurkovic wins 51st annual Bettenhausen Classic
By Tony Baranek Post-Tribune correspondent September 16, 2012 11:32PM
Updated: October 18, 2012 6:19AM
SCHERERVILLE — The 51st annual Tony Bettenhausen Classic Saturday night at the ASA-sanctioned Illiana Speedway saw myriad yellow flags and just seven of 26 drivers finish the race.
The last yellow couldn’t have come at a better time for Boris Jurkovic.
It came with five laps remaining. Jurkovic, in second place behind leader Erik Darnell, was pretty much resigned to being a runner-up.
“I was trying as hard as I could go, and I know Erik was going as hard as he could go,” Jurkovic said. “It just felt like a stalemate.”
On the restart, however, Jurkovic was able to make the high side work, and four laps from the finish he cleared Darnell and went on to win the 100-lap memorial event for the second time in his career.
A season-high 34 drivers were in attendance. Several local standouts had to race their way into the race via last-chance events. The fast qualifier was four-time race winner and 2012 track champion Eddie Hoffman. His night ended on lap four when he and Robbie Pyle crashed between Turns 1 and 2.
The early leader was Anthony Danta, who stayed atop the field until D.J. Weltmeyer assumed command on lap 20. Weltmeyer gave way to Brian Campbell on lap 37.
While several crashes were occurring behind them, Campbell and Darnell would duel side-by-side and bumper-to-bumper for the majority of the remaining laps. That battle ended with 10 laps remaining, with Jurkvoic taking second away from Campbell a couple of circuits later. The final yellow would be for Campbell, who was spun out in Turn 4.
It was the break Jurkovic needed.
“We got the cautions at the right time,” said Jurkovic, who himself was involved in an early tangle and had to restart in the back. “Them guys were racing real hard up front and didn’t save anything all night long. It was a good race there at the end.”
Jurkovic went on to beat Darnell by 0.242 seconds. Third went to Scott Tomasik, ahead of Weltmeyer, John Nutley, Josh Nelms and Bobby Gash.
In the turbo stox division, the makeup feature race from Sept. 8 went to Nathan Kelly over Bill Serviss. Serviss’ second-place finish clinched for him the fifth division championship of his career.
Jacob McKown, who entered the race only a handful of points behind Serviss, finished third ahead of Johnny Senerchia, Cheryl Hryn and Bobbie Jean Wall.
The last leg of the three-race North Grand Auto Parts Street Stock Challenge went to Chris Woodall, over Senerchia and Wall.
The biggest winner, however, was Logan Love, who finished fifth in the race, captured the all-around series title and a check for $1,000. Love, a regular and the 2011 Grundy County Speedway champion, beat Senerchia for the title by one point.
“With no scoreboard (which wasn’t working) and no radios I didn’t know what was going on,” Love said. “I was doing the math in my head and trying to figure out where we were at in relation to the other competitors. I felt pretty comfortable, but trying to not lose any position and gain as much ground as we could.
“It’s quite a series, to race on a half-mile and a quarter-mile (at Illiana) and at Grundy, three very different tracks. It was a very neat deal.”
Alex Treptow and Chris Csaszwicz were victorious in the two pure stock mains.