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Blackout Aids Cranston To URSS Win at Belleville

BELLEVILLE — On a track dubbed the “World's Fastest Half Mile,” the United Rebel Sprint Series put on a lights-out performance Friday night at the High Banks in Belleville — literally. With Zach Blurton cruising along and extending his large lead on every lap, the lights on the lightning-quick dirt track went out, leaving everything in complete darkness midway through Friday night's feature.Luckily, all of the URSS drivers were able to get stopped while avoiding other cars, and the red-flag situation gave the rest of the drivers chasing Blurton new life. That included Plains driver Luke Cranston, who used the red flag to help cool down his car and eventually get by Blurton for the win. 

“We did have an awesome car for the heat race, and I have to thank Kirk Reinert for that,” said Cranston, who notched his second URSS win of the season. “It was easy to drive and super straight. We thought we had a shot at it, but here it gets so stretched out. If we wouldn't have had that red flag when the lights went out, I don't think we would have caught him.” Blurton started outside the front row along polesitter Judd Sheaffer and quickly jumped out to the lead. Meanwhile, Jeff Radcliffe was locked into a battle with Sheaffer, Mike Woodruff and Luke Cranston for the next three spots through the first nine laps.That's when the lights went out, causing the red flag.

“When the lights went out, I didn't know what was going to happen,” Blurton said. “I just tried to get it slowed down as fast as I could and kinda go towards the bottom.”Blurton paced the field back to the green on the restart, followed by Woodruff, Cranston, Radcliffe and Seemann.

Blurton again would build a lead, but nothing like the nearly quarter-lap advantage he had before the pause. Instead, the break allowed the rest of the field a chance to catch up to the Jetmore teenager. 

“We were going good, but I don't think we would have caught him,” Cranston said. “It worked out to our favor a little bit.”Cranston got by Woodruff into second on lap 15, then two laps later stuck to the high side and drove around Blurton as the two came out of turn four.“Zach kinda went down there on the bottom, and I think he was kinda getting loose down there,” said Cranston, who started 10th. “I think the car was wanting to turn around on him. We just tried to keep it straigther. Even though it's a long way around here, you have to keep it straight.” Seemann, who started ninth, moved into the top three by passing Woodruff on lap 16, and the top three would stay that way until the checkered flag waved — giving Cranston his second win and Blurton another runner-up finish at Belleville.“I’ve led more than half the laps on two of them up here and ran second both times,” Blurton said.

“If it wouldn't have been for those dang lights … ”Seemann finished third, while Radcliffe edged by Woodruff and Brian Herbert to take fourth in the 20-lap feature.“You want to be on the outside here,” Seemann said. “We got stuck on the bottom a few laps, and it killed us.”

Cranston earned the Keizer Aluminum Racing Wheels Hard Charger Award, going from 10th to first.

Feature results

1. Luke Cranston, 2. Zach Blurton, 3. Ray Seemann, 4. Jeff Radcliffe, 5. Mike Woodruff, 6. Brian Herbert, 7. Keefe Hemel, 8. Josh Fairbank, 9. Jared Kern, 10. Darren Bowman, 11. Kayden Taylor, 12. Howard Van Dyke, 13. Judd Sheaffer, 14. John Webster, 15, Connor Atkinson, 16. Mike Spear, 17. Ken Lutters, 18. Jordan Randles, 19. Larry Radcliffe. 

Heat Winners were Cranston, Blurton and Jeff Radcliffe



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