FREMONT — After getting caught up in a wreck at lap 37 Matt Morton, of Angola, thought a win in the Michael Ross Memorial at Angola Motorsports Speedway slipped through his fingers for the third straight year.
Mechanical issues have plagued Morton the past two years. In 2019 he led 36 of 41 laps before being forced to the pits with mechanical issues.
Before Saturday night’s wreck Morton had paced the 18 car field for the majority of the race. The wreck forced him to the pit area to make minor repairs, sending him to the tail of the field on the restart.
When the green flag flew Morton picked his way through the remaining cars in the field reaching third place at the checkers. Morton was awarded the race win after the first and second place cars failed post race inspection.
“I’ve tried to win the race ever since its first year,” Morton said.
The win was Morton’s third Michael Ross Memorial. He also won in 2014 and 2016.
Saturday night’s race was filled with caution flags with only nine cars remaining on track when the checkered flag flew. The race was red flagged for a brief time when 2019 mini stock track champion Daniel Foulk flipped off of turn three. Foulk was checked out by the Angola Motorsports Speedway safety team and released.
The Michael Ross Memorial is the longest running tribute race at the speedway. Ross, 40, passed away Sept. 12, 2004 after a battle with lung cancer. The memorial race in his honor was started in 2005 with Todd Bennett taking the first win.
“I didn’t get a chance to run with him (Michael Ross), but I have made good friends with the Ross family over the years,” Morton said.
Saturday night’s win was the second of the season for Morton who also took home a mini stock feature win on opening night June 13. On that night Morton drove for Tracy Thompson, a fellow competitor. That was the first win for Thompson’s car.
Morton has run off and on at the track for the past 13 years in the mini stock division. He is looking to pilot his own car the remainder of the season at the speedway.
In other racing action Saturday night Shawn Grace, of Goshen, picked up his second win of the season in the late model division and Zach Henderson, of Hamilton, continued his domination in the street stock division picking up his third feature win. Al Berry, of Auburn, took home the win in the modified division. The front-wheel drive division win went to Chip Heintzelman, of Fort Wayne.
This week the track will host two nights of racing Saturday and Sunday. Saturday night will be autograph night at the track with the five weekly divisions in action. Sunday will feature the VORE’s Welding & Steel Street Stock “Independence 30” with $700 going to the winner. The Shepherd’s Family Auto Group Front-Wheel Drive division “Freedom 20” will see $400 going to the winner. Sunday will also feature an Independence Celebration car show from 2-5 p.m. and a salute to the class of 2020. The class of 2020 will receive free grandstand admission on Sunday.