STURGIS | The luck of the draw worked in favor of Jim Paisley’s first Black Hills Mini Sprint Association feature win.
Putting the fastest cars in the middle of the pack put Paisley out front for the start of the Black Hills Mini Sprint Association feature at the J.C. “Pappy” Hoel Short Track, and Paisley held off a snarling pack of competitors Thursday night.
Paisley started on the outside of the front row aside pole-sitter Ron Fulk, and grabbed the lead when Fulk’s No. 9 careened out of control and backslid in the standings early in the 15-lap finale.
“I’m not real high in points, so we invert and that put me up in the front,” Paisley said. “It was the invert that allowed me to have the lead and once you have it, you just try and not mess up.”
Paisley guided his Suzuki-powered machine to the win ahead of John Garrigan, Jr., Reggie Shrank, Larry Reub, Jeff Mount and Travis Reber.
“Once you get the pole position you just floor it and hang on,” Paisley said.
The 1/5th-mile dirt oval is usually set up hard packed for short-track motorcycle racing, but with the winged mini sprints the only competitors for the night, Paisley, head of the board of directors for the Jackpine Gypsies, decided to go with a muddier surface.
“We knew tonight was mini-sprints only and we love soft tracks,” Paisley said. “We were still just a little soft, a little rough, but we wanted to make the track so you could race more than one groove and I think we accomplished that. It’s never perfect.”
The lower groove eventually went hard packed , but a well-defined cushion midway up challenged anyone who crossed it and Shrank found that out the hard way.
Shrank’s No. 21 jumped the berm then climbed the frontstretch wall with just a couple of laps left. The bobble cost him any chance at catching Garrigan for third, although he was able to hold off Reub, current BHMST points leader.
Heat wins went to Doug McIntosh, Schrank and Reub.
McIntosh started on the inside of the front row, but his race ended on the first lap because of a broken throttle cable.
Donny Bandy’s night started badly with a tumble on the opening lap of the first heat race, then got worse when he was involved in another crash with Brendan Torres in the B main event.
Bandy was done for the night and Torres also parked his No. 199 with wing and suspension damage after being struck by Bandy’s car.
Mount lined up seventh after winning the B main event followed by Darren Stanz, Tom Peterson, Chester Haynes and Derrick Hopkins.