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Heckenast Controls Kankakee Summer Nationals Stop

Frank Heckenast Jr. made short work of the DIRTcar Summer Nationals field Tuesday night at Kankakee County Speedway. (Jim Denhamer Photo)
Frank Heckenast Jr. made short work of the DIRTcar Summer Nationals field Tuesday night at Kankakee County Speedway. (Jim Denhamer Photo)

KANKAKEE, Ill. — Frank Heckenast Jr. made it look kind of easy as he sailed to victory in the DIRTcar Summer Nationals 40-lap feature at Kankakee County Speedway Tuesday night.

The 32-year-old racer from Frankfort, Ill., wheeled his Heckenast Racing/Storage Squares/Jim Weber Motorsports Mustang No. 99 to his second victory during the 2020-edition of the Hell Tour, earning $5,000. Heckenast’s first win came on July 23 at Missouri’s Springfield Raceway.

Starting on the pole for the 19-car field, Heckenast grabbed the lead at the green flag and never looked back. Only one early caution slowed the action as Mike Spatola got turned around between turns one and two, bringing out the yellow flag with one lap complete.

Green flag racing saw Heckenast pull out to a commanding lead lap after lap as Jason Feger and Summer Nationals points leader Brian Shirley battled for second. Feger, using the inside groove, finally took over second place but had nothing for Heckenast.

At the checkered flag, Heckenast had a 6.857-second margin over Feger. Ryan Gustin finished third followed by Randy Schlenk, Travis Stemler and a fading Shirley, who was about to be lapped when the checkered flag waved.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself after losing at Lincoln (Speedway on Sunday),” said Heckenast. “That was the hardest I drove the car in a long time. I have to start doing that more often. I didn’t know if anyone was close (to me). I seen (Brian) Shirley (in front of me) with a couple of laps to go and I didn’t know who was in second. I just kept the thing going.”

A field of 20 entries were on hand with Heckenast grabbing fast time honors with a lap of 14.499 seconds. Heckneast, Feger and Shirley grabbed 10-lap heat race wins.  Bob Gardner encountered some engine woes in the second heat race and was unable to start the 40 lapper.

The finish:

Frank Heckenast Jr., Jason Feger, Ryan Gustin, Rusty Schlenk, Travis Stemler, Brian Shirley, Cody Bauer, Jeffrey Ledford, Mike Provenzano, Tim Lance, Jay Morris, Kevin Weaver, Glen Thompson, Mike Spatola, Jeff Curl, Drake Troutman, Donny Walden, Tim Lance Jr., Bryant Dickinson.

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