Hickory Story 97-09-20

NASCAR GOODY'S DASH SERIES FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SEPTEMBER 21, 1997 DAVID HUTTO BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN After only three weeks back at the reins of a NASCAR Goody's Dash Series car, 1995 Series Champion, David Hutto of Rock...

NASCAR GOODY'S DASH SERIES FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SEPTEMBER 21, 1997

DAVID HUTTO BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN

After only three weeks back at the reins of a NASCAR Goody's Dash Series car, 1995 Series Champion, David Hutto of Rock Hill, S.C. seems to have regained his championship form. The 20 year old swept all the honors in Saturday night's American General Finance 100 at the Hickory Motor Speedway, in Hickory, N.C. and in doing so, picked up his first Dash Series win since April 27, 1996.

Hutto got his No. 16 Love Chevrolet / Irmo Grading / Redline Graphics Chevrolet off to a roaring start by posting an 83.383 mph lap in 15.128 seconds around the .363 mile oval to claim his first Busch Pole Award of the season. Series point leader, Mike Swaim Jr. of High Point, N.C. gave Hutto a strong challenge for the coveted inside front row starting position but came up an imperceptible 1/1000 of a second short in his attempt for the pole.

The six caution periods that slowed the event for 22 laps were a mixed blessing for Hutto. The Haskell Willingham prepared Chevrolet had developed an overheating problem early on in the event, and the slower pace of the caution laps allowed time for the engine to cool off. The down side was that David was dangerously close to several of the incidents and only his quick reflexes kept him from being swept up in the fray. Despite the overheating problem, Hutto had the strongest entry on the track and was never seriously challenged.

While Hutto was able to build leads of a half second or more during the long green flag periods, what was going on behind him was, what will most likely turn out to be, the race for the 1997 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Championship. Mike Swaim Jr. and Brian Sockwell, of Brown Summit, N.C. fought door to door and bumper to bumper in their respective bids for the championship crown. When the checkers fell, Swaim had edged out Sockwell for the first runner-up spot and added extra five points to his slim point advantage over Sockwell.

Will Hobgood was not as fortunate as Hutto when it came to avoiding incidents in this event. Hobgood was swept up into three of the six incidents over the course of the event, but managed to recover from all of them to stay on the lead lap and eventually, finish fourth. Even Hobgood's son, Jake Hobgood found himself a victim of his father's unnatural attraction to trouble on this evening. The father, son tag team tagged each other while diving into turn three and battling for position. The contact sent both of the Hobgoods into a long synchronized slide through turn three and four. Jake was unable to get his Pontiac refired in time to stay on the lead lap and eventually finished sixth, one lap off the pace.

Dexter Canipe of Claremont, N.C. had just received official word of his Winston Racing Series National Championship and was making his first NASCAR Goody's Dash Series start in 1997 in Bill Ricker's No. 30 Ricker Trucking Pontiac. The newly crowned Champion celebrated his coronation with a strong fifth place finish on the lead lap.

Rookie point leader, Charles Powell III of Goose Creek, S.C. had to take a provisional starting position in this event after the No. 72 Ocean Conversions and Mobility / Empire Business Pontiac blew an engine late in practice and was unable to complete the engine change in time to qualify. As the green flag sent the 28 car field on their way, the mechanical woes continued for the Alibi's Race Team forcing an uncharacteristic 19th place finish for Powell. But this was not a real good race for most of the 1997 rookie contenders. Doc Brewer of High Point, N.C. was the highest finishing rookie. Brewer brought the Hank Jones Sports Designs / John Boy and Billy Racing Pontiac home in the 11th position for Rookie of the Race honors. Greg Dodgens of Easly, S.C. and Ricky Bryant of Linwood, N.C. were the next two Rookie contenders in this race, finishing 13th and 15th, respectively.

In addition to Hutto's $300 Busch Pole Award, the American General Finance 100 Winners Purse and Series Contingency Awards amounting to $2150, the "Rock Hill Rocket" picked up his second consecutive Halfway Leader Award. Excel Telecommunications independent representative Jerry Rudsill put up the $150 award to the driver who was leading at the halfway point of this event.

The American General Finance 100 for the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series will be televised Wednesday, September 24th at 8:30 pm on ESPN2.

The next event for the NASCAR Goodys Dash Series is The Discount Auto Parts 150 scheduled for October 4, 1997 at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fl. This event will mark the first NASCAR sanctioned event ever held at the beautiful 3/4 mile speedway. The event will be preceded by golf tournaments, personal appearances by many of the Series stars, show car appearances and many, many more activities for fans and racers alike. -30-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Brian Sockwell