Instant Replay: 19th Annual Belleville Midget Nationals - 1996 by Paul Haase BELLEVILLE, Kan. (July 28, 2001) - In 1996, Robby Flock finally got what he had been wanting for several years. After finishing in the top-5 six times, Flock could...
Instant Replay: 19th Annual Belleville Midget Nationals - 1996
by Paul Haase
BELLEVILLE, Kan. (July 28, 2001) - In 1996, Robby Flock finally got what he had been wanting for several years. After finishing in the top-5 six times, Flock could never get that prized checkered flag of the Belleville Midget Nationals championship. And it looked as though he would still have to wait another year at the start of the 19th Annual race.
In fact, before the race began a lot of people were wondering just who would take the throne on top of the midget racing world.
Indianapolis 500 polesitter Tony Stewart showed up to get into the Steve Lewis car that had been entered but not raced the two preliminary nights. And when the car drew the top starting position in the heat race during the pill draw for positions, it looked as though the new racing sensation could get into a good starting position in the feature.
What about last year's champion Billy Boat in the Lawson car? He looked real impressive Friday night but was not as impressive Thursday night. What night was he going to have?
At the championship green flag it looked like Boat was once again on his way to getting the big win. Boat pulled away from the pack in no time and led the first nine laps. On the ninth lap he went too close to the rail coming into turn 3, tagging it and breaking his bead loose on his outside rear tire. By the time he came back around he had a flat and had to pull in to change it under the yellow he brought out. After changing the tire he started in the back.
For the next 21 laps it looked like Jay Drake in the Beneto car was going to repeat his Thursday prelim feature run and take the championship. But Flock knew there was still eight laps to run and wasn't going to just give it up to him.
On the 32nd lap Flock got around Drake and held on to get his long-sought Belleville Midget Nationals win.
Stewart couldn't get past his fourth-place position before the 40 laps were completed after having to work his way through the heat races to qualify and starting back in the fifth row.
The qualifying heats started out on a bad note for Cory Kruseman after he tagged the rail coming into turn 4. Kruseman tagged the rail and started into a wide series of flips before finally coming to rest outside the track in turn 4. Kruseman jumped up out of the car immediately after coming to a stop but then went to the ground soon after exiting the car.
He was transported to the hospital to be checked out and his only concern voiced to medical personnel was if he would be able to make it back to see the championship race.
19th Annual Belleville Midget Nationals - 1996
Top 5 finishers:
1. Robby Flock
2. Jay Drake
3. Tracy Hines
4. Tony Stewart
5. Jason Leffler
Reserved tickets for the 24th Annual Belleville Midget Nationals presented by WhoWon.com are available by calling (785) 527-5179, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, or by logging onto the Belleville High Banks Web site.