A faulty fuel vent line and a backfire caused a fire on Kent Owens’ car at Gingerman Raceway.

Derek Wright and Kent Owens have been burning up the track all season long, and this weekend was no exception. On Saturday, Wright qualified with a 1:44.764 followed by Tim Bennett and Owens, both in the low 1:46s. Wright’s qualifying time was more than a second faster than the current track record.

Come race time, it was Owens’ turn to burn up the track — literally! On lap three, Owens’ car backfired while he downshifted. This backfire, coupled with a malfunctioning fuel vent line that spilled fuel under braking, ignited the fuel into a spectacular fireball.

Unbeknownst to Owens, he blazed into turns 2 and 3 as the fireball grew larger. He finally became aware of the problem and pulled off the track. Wright went on to win the race, resetting the track record with a 1:45.827, followed by Tim Bennett with his best finish to date, and Bob Denton in third.

Post race, the damage was assessed on Owens’ car and all it needed was brake hoses, fuel lines and wire hangers. Everyone pitched in and in three hours the car was running and ready for the Sunday races, albeit with a melted tail light and rear fascia.

Sunday’s racing was not quite as exciting as Saturday’s. The pole position on Sunday went to Wright again with a 1.45.052, followed by Bennett and Owens. The track was still fast as Wright’s qualifying time was .8 seconds faster than the track record he had set the day before.

With Wright on pole, he jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. The racing was close for the podium finishers with Wright capturing the victory and resetting the track record at 1.45.706. Bennett tied his personal best, finishing second, followed by Owens, Denton and Bryan White.

All CMC racers agreed to an inverted start in the second race Sunday. CMC Midwest has not done an inverted start in many years and it was well received by racers, and spectators.

With White on the pole an early lead had begun, gapping Denton by about seven car lengths. Denton spun the wheels hard on the start but still managed to keep the faster Bennett, Owens and Wright behind him. Denton was able to create a small gap on the others as they battled among themselves and caught White. It was then Denton’s turn to lead for about three laps until Wright overtook him and led the remaining laps to win the race.

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