First Salem Trip a Success; Two Wins Surge Him to South Division Title Lead
Indiana (July 28, 2019) – Ben Ebeling knew he had to show up and perform
at Salem Speedway in order to continue defending his Super Cup Stock Car Series
Southern Division title from 2017 and 2018.
The Inaugural “Super Cup 100” was a necessity in order for the
Hickory, North Carolina driver to meet the minimum eligibility of six races by
the conclusion of the event in the Hoosier State to stay in the hunt after a
slow start to get going in the 2019 season.
Ebeling, entering with an
incomplete total only good enough for seventh overall in the south, immediately
picked up five bonus points by claiming his third Pole Award of the year with a
blistering best time of 18.463 seconds around the 0.555-mile facility.
six-car redraw placed current series runner-up Ron Langdon and newcomer Joe
Cooksey on the front row. Langdon
chose the advantageous outside on the initial start and powered into the early
lead to initially gain five points on his main challenger overall and in the
Northern Division, Kevin Kromer. Cooksey,
who had competed previously around the treacherous 33 degree banked corners on
multiple occasions, would run in the top five the entire distance in the
opening Eddie Gilstrap Motors 50, but coming on strong behind him was a local
favorite among the fans in the stands, New Albany, Indiana’s Josh Clemons.
The driver who lives 45
minutes from Salem Speedway accelerated to the lead on lap six and held his own
out front past halfway. Around that
point, Ebeling, who drew a five for the first 50-lap race, showed his strength
after some practiced patience and was able to get around Clemons on lap 32.
A lap later, the night for Clemons would go from promising to worse when
he came to pit road with a right side tire issue on the No. 14 Clark Memorial
Wound Healing Center / General Waterproofing / Clemons Racing Ford and
eventually potential trouble with a brake caliper or rotor sidelined him during
the second race of the night.
Ebeling never looked back and
earned his second win of 2019. It
was one that involved relentless mental preparation and focus as well as some
pointers received from his team owner Mike Kurkowski, who raced at Salem
multiple times including in the old ASA Series, drivers from the local Great
American Stock Cars class, and many more.
“Following (Clemons) taught
me a few things, even,” the driver of the No. 44 Startown Carpet and Flooring
/ SwannysAutoSales.net / Battery Specialists / ShoTime Motorsports Ford noted. “He
made it hard to pass. It’s such
an awesome racetrack, but man does it work you out.
You’ve got to be on top of it every single split second.
To get three poles and now win at Salem it’s just been a tremendous
year. God has blessed us to have
and Kromer were taking a conservative approach entering the weekend, but fans
in the stands would have never known that.
Both drivers that were making the longest tow among any competitors
fought for every position to gain the maximum points possible.
By the end of the first race, Freeport, New York’s Langdon held off
Walnutport, Pennsylvania’s Kromer by a small margin, even after a few brushes
with the often unforgiving Salem outside wall in qualifying and during the
“All these racetracks I run
they move the walls too close,” Langdon, a former Riverhead Raceway 1/4-mile
regular, brand new to navigating a track this big and banked, joked.
“This place is a blast. I
learned some things that I wouldn’t learn anywhere else.
I actually got aero tight. I
couldn’t believe it. I went into
a turn behind Kevin (Kromer) and the whole nose just went up and I’ve just
never experienced that.”
Behind Kromer at the line were
Cooksey and Lauren Butler to conclude the top five in race number one.
The second feature, the Ford
Dealers 50, had many of the same players waging for the top positions, but one
driver in particular made quite a rally from the back.
Dominion winner from April, Allen Purkhiser, brought a different car for
the high banks and had it dialed in, but contact when trying to pass Cooksey in
the opening laps of the first race resulted in an early exit.
were just coming off four and the guy left a hole up above him and I tried to
fill it and his spotter apparently cleared him when he was not clear,”
Purkhiser explained. “It stuffed
me in the wall and cut my right front. We
got it back to the pits, started looking it over, and had a bent shock and the
toe was way off, but other than that it wasn’t too awful bad.”
The driver of the No. 68 Clear
Choice Auto Glass / Premiere Motorsports Ford started from the fifth row and
was in the top five before halfway. Meanwhile,
Kromer, who started from the pole after the redraw accelerated out to the lead
from the start and gained back five points for those laps led.
Nevertheless, it did not take long for Ebeling to find his way back to
The second 50 laps went
caution free, but that did not slow down Purkhiser from catching the top three
– Ebeling, Kromer, and Langdon – from almost half a lap back.
Slicing his way past Kromer and Langdon and then making up a tenth or
two of a second per lap on Ebeling, who had pulled away from his challengers in
the second half, was the show to watch during this one.
Coming to two laps remaining,
Purkhiser was within two car lengths. After
the white flag was displayed, he peeked his way under the leader, but coming
back to the stripe for the checkers, it was Ebeling narrowly ahead for the
sweep of the night.
“I could barely hear the
spotter, but I caught enough to know that the 68 was coming,” Ebeling
recounted. “I had tried to save a
little bit early in that run, but 50 laps green to checkered is just rough.
If it had been five more laps I don’t know if it would have been
“We drove down into turn
three and I saw the 68 come up beside of me and his right front brake rotor
just a glowing. I said ‘alright,
it’s time to gas up whether it sticks or not’.
I love racing like that. It’s
a lot of fun.”
The nearly perfect night
launches Ebeling all the way into the lead in the Southern Division standings,
by a slim 16 point margin over Mike Potter, who had an average-at-best night,
salvaging seventh and ninth place results.
“We did what we needed to
do,” Ebeling continued. “We
needed to get up here and get as many points as we could and we definitely did
that. I’ve got to thank all the
people that got me here, especially RE Suspension.
They helped us get dialed in. Also,
Chad Bryant with Chad Bryant Racing in the ARCA Series helped me get a handle
of this place before we even got here.”
For Purkhiser, a driver who
only runs a limited schedule in the SCSCS, coming up short of the win was
slightly disappointing, but remarked afterward that he definitely put in every
ounce of effort to take home another trophy.
“I left everything out
there, but just too little too late,” Purkhiser, a runner-up once before at
Salem in the Pro Cup Series more than a decade ago, stated.
“I got under him going into three down here and I pretty much knew I
wasn’t going to be able to pass him but I gave it all I had and just tried to
run him down the straightaway.”
had to be on his toes every lap to stay ahead of Langdon for third and felt
that his mission coming into Salem had been accomplished.
In doing so, the overall point battle turned out to be a wash, with
Kromer having the same 45 point advantage over Langdon as before.
“We’re pretty satisfied
with tonight, considering I never ran here,” the driver of the No. 77 Lehigh
Valley Cancer Institute / Mission R.A.C.E.R. / K2 Motorsports Toyota said.
“We came here with a game plan, we stuck to it, and it worked out.
Next time we come back I think we’ll have a little something for the
68 and the 44 because I learned a lot. I’m
leaving here with a pair of thirds and the point lead and in one piece.”
Butler achieved her second
fifth place finish of the night and moves to third in the overall standings,
ahead of Potter and Bill Ashton with little room for error going into her first
start at Ohio’s Midvale Speedway in two weeks.
Midvale is a track that Kromer
has won at twice before, and is confident he can win again.
“As long as we do our
homework for Midvale and as long as I don’t go on vacation and change the car
around in 24 hours I’ll be good,” Kromer quipped, referencing a family trip
that occurred between Jennerstown and Salem.
Langdon will make his second
Midvale appearance, and also brings optimism.
“We have a setup for that
already,” the No. 17 National Appliance / Oval Speed Unlimited / Langdon’s
Automotive Chevrolet driver indicated. “We
learned stuff when we went there last year, so we have high hopes for that one.
We think that we might pull a win off at that one.”
Visit the official web site www.supercupstockcarseries.com
and the Super Cup Stock Car Series Facebook,
and Instagram for more
information and continued updates throughout the season.
Twin 50 No. 1:
1 44 Ben Ebeling
2 17 Ron Langdon
3 77 Kevin Kromer
4 51 Joe Cooksey
5 53 Lauren Butler
6 35 Bill Ashton
7 99 Mike Potter
8 68N Dale Shearer
9 27 Landon Brothers
10 14 Josh Clemons
11 68S Allen Purkhiser
12 69 Will Kimmel
Pole - 44
Laps Led - 17, 14, 44
Most Laps - 14
Halfway - 14
Hard Charger - 99
Twin 50 No. 2:
1 44 Ben Ebeling
2 68S Allen Purkhiser
3 77 Kevin Kromer
4 17 Ron Langdon
5 53 Lauren Butler
6 51 Joe Cooksey
7 99 Mike Potter
8 35 Bill Ashton
9 68N Dale Shearer
10 27 Hayden Brothers
11 14 Josh Clemons
12 69 Will Kimmel
Pole - N/A
Laps Led - 77, 44
Most Laps - 44
Halfway - 44
Hard Charger - 68S
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