SCHERERVILLE | It was only a matter of inches, but that is all Paul Shafer Jr. needed to score a victory at Illiana Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
Winning his third consecutive feature race, the 16-year-old Portage High School student drove to the win in the 30-lap main event for Schepel Buick GMC Late Model Stock Cars. Passing Anthony Danta on the inside of the final lap around the half-mile paved oval, Shafer, the division points leader, beat Danta by inches as the duo crossed the finish line side-by-side with the winning margin of victory being 0.020 seconds.
Shaun Wiltjer of Calumet Township was the early race leader with Danta moving into the lead on lap 11 as Dyer’s D.J. Weltmeyer, Mike White, Eddie Hoffman and Shafer ran side-by-side, bumper-to-bumper, three rows deep. Weltmeyer worked his way inside of Danta with the pair dicing lap after lap in door-to-door-formation.
Hoffman, who had taken over third place by lap 14, got into the back of Weltmeyer on lap 26, sending the race contender spinning in turn two for a yellow caution flag. On the restart, Danta got the jump only to see Shafer charging to his back bumper as the laps wound down.
“Danta was leading and Eddie and D.J. were there and I had nothing for them,” Shafer said. “The car was tight (wouldn’t turn) and I couldn’t get up there (to contend). I couldn’t get a nose on anybody.
“(After the restart,) I was all over Danta and got a nose under him off of (turn) four. I kind of bumped him a little bit and I guess I beat him by a little bit. That’s three in a row and that’s more than I expected.”
Chris Woodall of Calumet City win his first feature race of the season as he captured the 25-lap Turbo Stox headliner over Valparaiso’s Ryan Moore and Jacob McKown of Hobart also at Illiana. Class points leader, Chris King rolled to his seventh feature win of the year as the Kouts racer defeated Garrett Harris in the 20-lap Legends division main event. Another first-time winner was Matt Baike of Homewood as he captured the 12-lap Pure Stocks feature in his four-cylinder Dodge R/T.
Shadyhill Speedway: Jordan Danford of Francesville picked up his first feature win of the year on the dirt track, capturing the 20-lap main event for DIRTcar United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) Modified Stock Cars. Danford defeated Wheatfield’s Tom Bell, who is the division points leader. Travis Wolford of Winamac won the 20-lap feature for UMP Stock Cars with veteran Mike Kingma of Lowell claiming his first win of 2013 in the I-Mod class. David Hurst of Chalmers took home top honors in the 20-lap Pure Streets feature with Joey Iliff of Rensselaer winning for the sixth time in Teen 4s feature action.